The destination for this leg of the tour was Shivasagar, the ancient capital of the Ahoms. We got up and left when it was still dark and extremely foggy out. On our way would be two significant Namghors (literally, a place to chant the Lord’s name… a temple of sorts for Assamese Vaishnavites).
Barely 5 kms out of Jorhat town, we first stopped at Dakhinapat Satra (satras, or Vaishnavite monasteries had been set up in the island of Majuli in the 15th century by Shankaradeva and flourish to this date. Some of them, however have in recent years moved to mainland Assam due to land-loss on account of erosion).
After Dakhnipat, we went to visit the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor, one of the biggest and most revered in the region.
Our next stop was at the Auniati Satra.
Shivasagar, earlier known as Rangpur was once the capital of Assam under the Ahoms. Remains from a bygone era are visible in the forms of remains of palaces, some exquisite temples and numerous tanks.
At the center of Shivasagar is the Shiv Sagar Tank, from which the town derives its name. On the banks of the temple are three spectacular temples. The Shiva Temple, one of the tallest of its kind in the world is flanked by the Vishnu temple (right) and the Devi Temple (left).
After exploring much of the town, we headed off to the nearby village of Garhgram, which houses a fine palace dating back to the Ahom times.
We had to get back to Jorhat on the same day. So after wrapping up at Garhgram, we stopped right outside Jorhat town at Nimati Ghat, on the banks of the Brahmaputra. On the other side we could see, against the setting sun, the treetops of Majuli, the largest riverine island in the world. This time due to the strict schedule we adhered to, we had to leave out Majuli. Next time for sure.
My last day in Assam was the laziest. I woke up earlyish and had a nice, long cup of tea, after which i set forth exploring Jorhat on an auto.
That takes care of my Assam Experience. Next up, we travel to Chhattisgarh in the very heart of India. I have worked on four travel guides with the Govt of Chhattisgarh and in the process have covered the state extensively. One of the most memorable trips was in October 2008 when we visited the 11th century Bhoramdeo Temple, deep inside the forests on the Maikal Hills. This little-known gem is sometimes referred to as the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh. The Bhoramdeo Travel Guide was published in March 2009 and is available free of cost from any of the many offices of Chhattisgarh Tourism Board.
Till we meet again…