Assam - Travel Seven Sisters of North East Region of India
Tucked away in the
North-east corner of India, the States of Assam,
Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland
and Tripura, are fondly referred to as 'The Seven Sisters'. Off
the beaten tourist track, they lie in isolation, a mystery waiting to be
Unfortunately, civilian unrest makes some parts of this
region unsafe, and so there are some travel restrictions for both domestic
and foreign tourists.
ASSAM - Called the Gateway to the North-east of India, Assam, is the most accessible of these States
and is the home of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros (found at the
Kaziranga National Park). The State is synonymous
with tea, being India's main producer and supplying one-sixth of the world's
tea. Also rich in minerals such as petroleum, coal, limestone, dolomite and
refractory clay, it has the country's oldest productive onshore oil
In Guwahati, the commercial capital of Assam, the tour starts
from Kamakhya Temple, Basistha Ashram, Zoo, Gita mandir, Nabagraha Temple,
Assam State Museum. The largest city in the State, indeed in the entire region,
Guwahati straddles the Brahmaputra river, and adjoins the capital,
Dispur. Now the commercial hub, with one of the world's largest Tea
Auction Centres, the city is said to be the legendary Pragjyotishpur, or the
City of Eastern Light. It has a number of ancient temples. The Kamakhya
Temple, 8 km West of the city on top of Nilachal hill, is the most
important and is dedicated to Shakti, Lord Shiva's consort. Umananda
Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the Navagrah Temple, or the
Temple of the Nine Planets, are the other important ones.
Assam is also
the world's largest producer of the golden coloured muga silk produced mainly
at Sualkuchi, about 30 km West of Guwahati. Here you can pick up
bargains from a wide range of silk dresses, sarees, and dress
The Assam is rich in wildlife and has several national parks
and wildlife sanctuaries. Kaziranga lies about 150 km
East of Guwahati.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (lying North near the Bhutan
border), comes under Project Tiger and is home to the rare
Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog and Golden
Langur. The Nameri National Park is Northeast and extends
into Arunachal Pradesh.
Bihu or Jhumur, is a lovely folk dance of the spring
harvest festival. A drink called 'lalsa', is popular here. Meaning red tea, it
is a sweetened, light tea without milk.
Handicrafts - Artist and
sculptors, masons and architects, and others practicing minor crafts such as
weavers, spinners, potters, goldsmiths, artisanns of ivory, wood, bamboo, cane
and hide flourished in Assam from ancient times. Every household possesses a
handloom used to produce silk and (or) cotton clothes of exquisite designs. The
Eri, Muga and Pat are the important silk products of Assam.
Festivals - Assam observes Bhogali Bihu , Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu, Janmashthami and
Durga Puja festivals. Rangali Bihu, the main Bihu festival, is in April. This
festival is essentially in celebration of a good harvest and is accompanied
with lively dances, music and feasting. Guwahati also celebrates the Ambuchi
Festival in July.