Assam is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur in the city of Guwahati. Located south of the eastern Himalayas, Assam comprises the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleys along with the Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills with an area of 30,285 square miles (78,438 km²). Assam is surrounded by six of the other Seven Sister States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya.Popularly the Northeatern part of India is also called"The Unexplored Paradise" . These states are connected to the rest of India via a narrow strip in West Bengal called the Siliguri Corridor or "Chicken's Neck". Assam also shares international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh; and cultures, peoples and climate with South-East Asia – important elements in India’s Look East policy.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. A World Heritage Site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognised as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species. Compared to other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility
Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries. The park celebrated its centennial in 2005 after its establishment in 1905 as a reserve forest
Manas National Park
Manas National Park or Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a Wildlife Sanctuary, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve in Assam, India. Located in the Himalayan foothills, it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National park in Bhutan. The park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.
The Kamakhya Temple is a shakti temple situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya, including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric worshipers.
Hajo is an ancient pilgrimage centre for three religions: Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. It lies on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, 24 km from the city of Guwahati in the Kamrup district of Assam, India. The area is dotted with a number of ancient temples as well as other sacred artifacts. The Hayagriva Madhava Mandir is the most famous temple of Hajo. Lesser known temples of Hajo like that of Ganesha was constructed during the reign of Ahom King Pramatta Singha in 1744 AD. The Kedareswara Temple, a Shiva temple, has inscription on the temple showing that it is of Rajeswar Singha period.
Agnigarh is the site of the fortress which was built by Banasura to keep his daughter Usha in isolation. The name itself is derived from the words 'Agni' (meaning fire) and 'garh' (meaning fortress or wall) in Sanskrit. Present day Agnigarh is a hill on the banks of the Brahmaputra which is one of the big tourist attractions in Tezpur. There is a circular stairway leading up to the crest of the hill where there are now sculptures depicting Usha's abduction of Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna and the ensuing battle by Krishna to free them. There is also a viewing platform with the scenery around the river banks as well as the town centre and the Kolia Bhomora Setu bridge across the Brahmaputra.
Hayagriva Madhava Mandir is situated on the Monikut hill. The present temple structure was constructed by the King Raghudeva Narayan in 1583. According to some historians the King of Pala dynasty constructed it in 6th century. It is a stone temple and it enshrines an image of Hayagriva Madhava. Some Buddhists believe that the Hayagriva Mahhava temple, best known in the group of Hindu temples, is where the Buddha attained Nirvana. At this imposing temple, the presiding deity is worshipped as the Man Lion incarnation of Vishnu by the Hindus. Sayani, the first wife of Kalia Bhomora Barphukan donated a family of paiks and also a plot of land for their maintenance to the Hayagriva Madhava temple during the days of Purnananda Burhagohain.Hajo is also a Muslim pilgrimage centre since the mosque known as the Poa Mecca is thought to have some of the sanctity of Mecca.
Assam became a part of India after the British occupied the region following the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-1826. It is known for Assam tea, large and old petroleum resources, Assam silk and for its rich biodiversity. Assam has successfully conserved the one-horned Indian rhinoceros from near extinction, along with the tiger and numerous species of birds, and it provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant. It is becoming an increasingly popular destination for wildlife tourism, and Kaziranga and Manas are both World Heritage Sites. Assam was also known for its Sal tree forests and forest products, much depleted now. A land of high rainfall, Assam is endowed with lush greenery and the mighty river Brahmaputra, whose tributaries and oxbow lakes provide the region with a unique hydro-geomorphic and aesthetic environment.
Geomorphic studies conclude that the Brahmaputra, the life-line of Assam is an antecedent river, older than the Himalayas. The river with steep gorges and rapids in Arunachal Pradesh entering Assam, becomes a braided river (at times 10 mi/16 km wide) and with tributaries, creates a flood plain (Brahmaputra Valley: 50–60 mi/80–100 km wide, 600 mi/1000 km long). The hills of Karbi Anglong, North Cachar and those in and close to Guwahati (also Khasi-Garo Hills) now eroded and dissected are originally parts of the South Indian Plateau system. In the south, the Barak originating in the Barail Range (Assam-Nagaland border), flows through the Cachar district with a 25–30 miles (40–50 km) wide valley and enters Bangladesh with the name Surma.
Assam is endowed with petroleum, natural gas, coal, limestone and other minor minerals such as magnetic quartzite, kaolin, sillimanites, clay and feldspar. A small quantity of iron ore is available in western districts.Discovered in 1889, all the major petroleum-gas reserves are in Upper parts. A recent USGS estimate shows 399 million barrels (63,400,000 m3) of oil, 1,178 billion cubic feet (3.34×1010 m3) of gas and 67 million barrels (10,700,000 m3) of natural gas liquids in the Assam Geologic Province.
With the “Tropical Monsoon Rainforest Climate”, Assam is temperate (summer max. at 95–100 °F or 35–38 °C and winter min. at 43–46 °F or 6–8 °C) and experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity. The climate is characterized by heavy monsoon downpours reducing summer temperatures and affecting foggy nights and mornings in winters. Thunderstorms known as Bordoicila are frequent during the afternoons. Spring (Mar-Apr) and Autumn (Sept-Oct) are usually pleasant with moderate rainfall and temperature.
Assam is one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world and consists of tropical rainforests,deciduous forests, riverine grasslands, bamboo orchards and numerous wetlandecosystems; Many are now protected as national parks and reserved forests. The Kaziranga, home of the rare Indian Rhinoceros, and Manas are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Assam. The state is the last refuge for numerous other endangered species such as the Golden Langur (Presbetis geei), White-winged Wood Duck or Deohanh (Cairina scutulata), Bengal Florican, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Pygmy Hog, Greater Adjutant and so on. Some other endangered species with significant population in Assam are the Tiger, Elephant, Hoolock Gibbon, Jerdon's Babbler and so on to name a few. Assam is also known for orchids.
After discovery of Camellia sinensis (1834) in Assam followed by its tests in 1836–37 in London, the British allowed companies to rent land since 1839. Thereafter tea plantations mushroomed in Upper Assam, where the soil and the climate were most suitable. Problems with the imported laborers from China and hostilities of native Assamese resulted into migration of forced laborers from central-eastern parts of India. After initial trial and error with planting the Chinese and the Assamese-Chinese hybrid varieties, the planters later accepted the local Camellia assamica as the most suitable one for Assam. By 1850s, the industry started seeing some profits. Industry saw initial growth, when in 1861, investors were allowed to own land in Assam and it saw substantial progress with invention of new technologies and machinery for preparing processed tea during 1870s. The cost of Assam tea was lowered down manifold and became more competitive than its Chinese variant.
Despite the commercial success, tea laborers continued to be exploited, working and living under poor conditions. Fearful of greater government interference, the tea growers formed The Indian Tea Association in 1888 to lobby to retain the status quo. The organization was very successful in this, and even after India’s independence conditions of the laborers have improved very little
Assamese and Bodo are the major indigenous and official languages while Bengali holds official status in the three districts in the Barak Valley and is the second most widely spoken language of the state (27%).
Traditionally Assamese was the language of the commons (of mixed origin – Austroasiatic, Tibeto-Burman, Magadhan Prakrit) in the ancient Kamarupa and in the medieval kingdoms of Kamatapur, Kachari, Chutiya, Borahi, Ahom and Koch. Traces of the language is found in many poems by Luipa, Sarahapa, etc. in Charyapada (c.7th–8th AD). Modern dialects Kamrupi, Goalpariya, etc. are the remnant of this language. Moreover, Assamese in its traditional form was used by the ethno-cultural groups in the region as lingua-franca, which spread during the stronger kingdoms and was required for needed economic integration. Localised forms of the language still exist in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh. The form used in the upper Assam was enriched by the advent of Tai-Shans in the 13th century.