Six jaw-dropping locations in Assam you should visit on your trip to North East India
You cannot say that you have traveled across India unless you have been to the North Eastern part of the country. And when you do, Assam is one of the seven sisters in North East that you cannot afford to miss if you want to experience the best of India. Famous for its rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, Assam is a box full of treasure comprising of its wetlands, tropical and deciduous forests, historical sites and wildlife sanctuaries. The state also boasts of the river valleys of Brahmaputra and Barak. Having landscapes ranging from manicured tea gardens to golden brown rice fields, Assam is yet to be explored to its fullest.
- Why Assam should be your next travel destination?
- CHANDUBI LAKE
- DEEPOR BEEL
- PARADISE LAKE – NAGAON
- Best time to visit Assam
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Why Assam should be your next travel destination?
- Assam houses 18 wildlife sanctuaries with a wide range of flora and fauna, out of which Kaziranga National Park is home to two-third number of the entire world’s one-horned rhinoceroses. This alone is a good enough reason why you should visit Assam.
- Assam happens to be world’s largest tea producing region. It alone constitutes 52% of the country’s total tea production. Not to be missed, tea was produced in Assam, even before colonisation. It was cultivated by the Singpho tribe of Assam.
- World’s largest river island, Majuli happens to be in Assam which is a unique formation of nature and now a major tourist attraction.
- The mysterious village of Mayong, existing along Assam’s history with its folklore and myths around witchcraft is an interesting place to visit.
- One of the most majestic rivers of the world and India’s widest river Brahmaputra flows through this state. In parts of Assam it gets as wide as 10kms across its width and the sights are splendid to look at.
In this blog, I am going to list out six unique destinations of Assam where you can take a scenic drive to. A road trip across the lengths and breadths of this beautiful state in the North East would be a one of a kind experience for each one who travels to this land of wonders.
The world’s largest river island, Majuli, enclosed by the Brahmaputra River literally translates to – a land in the midst of two rivers. The river island Majuli is a hotspot for art and culture is also home to many tribal communities like Sonowal Kacharis, Deoris and Misings. The panoramic views of the river island where the boats, trees and grey clouds form a reflection on the river waters look no less than a painting. Make sure you visit this incredible island to experience its true splendor and untouched beauty. A scenic drive coupled with a ferry ride is the kind of adventure you’d definitely want to add to your checklists on your trip to the North East.
How to reach Majuli?
- First option is to reach Guwahati by a flight or train and head to Jorhat by road. The drive would approximately take 7 hours and has its own charm, taking you through varied landscapes.
- Alternatively, you could fly to Jorhat Airport or take a train to Jorhat Railway Station directly.
- From Mahatma Gandhi Road in Jorhat, you’d have to take a tempo to Neemati Ghat.
- From Neemati ghat, a 10 to 15 minutes’ ferry ride would reach you to Majuli.
- The other route is via Lakhimpur, though it is usually less opted for being more time consuming.
Where to stay in Majuli?
The best way to experience a delightful stay in Majuli is to put up in the bamboo cottages of the locals. In these cottages, you would also be able to taste the lip-smacking local cuisines prepared by the locals.
What to do in Majuli?
- Enjoy every bit of the ferry ride, which is an activity in itself. The overcrowded yet fulfilling ferry ride across the Brahmaputra River would give you an unparalleled experience to take back.
- The local monasteries, known as Satras are not to be missed. Dating back to 15th century, some of these Satras house more than a hundred monks. The satras are a storehouse of ancient artefacts and relics. Some of the notable ones to visit are Kamalabari Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Garamur Satra and Auniati Satra.
- Explore the villages to know more about the vibrant cultures and lifestyle. If art and pottery interests you even remotely, head to Salmora village and spend some time with the locals to gain some idea on their art and how they have been preserving them for ages.
- Witness the craft of mask making in the house of Hem Chandra Goswami. Different styles of masks, comprising that of humans and of animals that were made as early s 17th century are lined up in the rooms and makes this tour an interesting one.
Chandubi Lake is an eco tourism hotspot in Assam and was formed by the devastating earthquake of 1897 when the forests disappeared and as a result, the lake emerged. Located at the base of Garo Hills and about 65 kms from Guwahati, this marvellous creation of nature is surrounded by tea gardens, quaint villages and deep forests. One of the main attractions of this place is the natural lagoon where a large number of migratory birds arrive during winters, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. You could take a ferry ride in the lake or choose to relax by the lake to watch the sun go by. The hues of the sky above the lake and the golden paddy field along the roads form a breathtaking scenery. Chandubi Lake is slowly emerging as a popular tourist attraction as more people have been going here for a drive or for a retreat.
How to reach Chandubi Lake?
- Reach Guwahati by air, train or roads.
- From Guwahati, Chandubi Lake is a drive of 60 kms along NH 37. The best option would be to hire a Zoom Car and go on a self discovery through the hilly roads. You would also be easily able to get yourself a reserved vehicle from any of the major points in the city.
Where to stay in Chandubi Lake?
What to do in Chandubi Lake?
- Take a leisurely stroll around the lake and enjoy your encounter with nature. Cellular connectivity is almost zero in this area, making it a perfect place for digital detox and for you to unwind in the midst of nature.
- If you happen to spend the night in the jungle camp, you can spend the evening by the bonfire, interacting with other travellers and the locals while savouring on the local cuisines.
- Wake up early to witness a magnificent sunrise and an explosion of colours before your eyes.
- Take a boat ride on the lake to experience the calmness of the ambience.
If you happen to be in Assam, a drive to Jorhat is a scenic treat that you should not let go. Jorhat is known as the ‘tea capital of India’ as it holds about 135 tea gardens in and around the area. Jorhat was the last capital of the Ahom dynasty which reigned supreme for more than six centuries in Assam making it a unique amalgamation of nature, culture and intriguing history. The beautiful tea gardens and green landscapes around Jorhat are simply surreal to look at.
How to reach Jorhat?
- Fly to Guwahati Airport or reach Guwahati by rail or by road and then head to Jorhat by road.
- From Guwahati, take a flight or a train to Jorhat. There are weekly flights too from Kolkata to Jorhat.
Where to stay in Jorhat?
What to do in Jorhat?
- A day trip to Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is a must when you’re in Jorhat. As the name suggests, the sanctuary is famous for their gibbons. You will be given a guided tour in the forest that will take you through uneven trails amidst the forest. Visiting the sanctuary between 6 am to 10 am would increase the chances of spotting an animal. Apart from Gibbons, you can also spot macaques, various birds, elephants, squirrels and sometimes even a leopard.
- Take a tour of the Sukapha Samannay Kshetra to get familiar with the history of Assam. The memorial is located just outside the city of Jorhat and takes 30 minutes to reach from the central area. The memorial houses a massive statue of Sukaphaa, a Tai Prince who founded the Ahom Kingdom. You could also visit the museum located near the memorial.
- To know about the details of the production of tea, pay a visit to Tocklai Institute. Founded in 1911, it happens to be world’s largest and oldest tea research centre.
- Explore the Cinnamara Tea Estate and Thengal Bhawan during the day.
A perfect destination for a short drive from Guwahati, Deepor Beel is a freshwater lake located about 15 kms away from Guwahati. In 1989, the Government of Assam declared Deepor Beel as a bird sanctuary and it is home to 219 species of birds. During winters, a large number of migratory birds can also be spotted here. It is a great place for bird watchers and photographers to engage in and spot endangered species like the Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Spot Billed Pelican, etc.
How to reach Deepor Beel?
- Fly to Guwahati Airport or reach Guwahati by rail or by road.
- Hire a taxi for the day to take you to Deepor Beel or get yourself a self drive car and enjoy the drive while you’re heading towards this bird sanctuary.
Where to stay in Deepor Beel?
Deepor Beel is usually explored on a day trip from Guwahati. But if you wish to spend a day in the lap of nature, away from the city then Bonoriya Eco Camp is an option for you to put up in.
What to do in Deepor Beel?
- You could take a boat ride in the lake and have a close look at the birds.
- Relax by the lake and spot birds that you never saw before.
- Wait till evening to witness an incredible sunset against the lake – a scene you would never forget.
PARADISE LAKE – NAGAON
This incredibly beautiful lake is situated in Kathalguri village under Samaguri Circle of Nagaon district in Assam. The village has a population of not more than 300 people. The beauty of the lake truly justifies the name Paradise. More famously known as Neelapani among the locals, this place has emerged as a tourist attraction very recently. There are various folklores that go around about the lake and give it a name of ‘paranormal lake’. One of them states that there are supernatural powers beneath the lake because of which many youths have lost their lives. It is believed that the colour of the water is blue due to the presence of toxic chemicals in the water and thus it is advisable to not go for a swim in this lake. The nearest town to Paradise Lake is Amoni.
Please note that there are no accommodations near Paradise lake and you will have to take a day’s trip to this spot.
How to reach Paradise Lake?
- Fly to Guwahati Airport or reach Guwahati by rail or by road.
- The distance between Guwahati and Amoni is about 150 kms. There are about 4 trains on this route and you could take one according to your convenience.
- You could also drive from Guwahati to Amoni, which could take 3.5 hours roughly.
- Paradise Lake is located at a distance of 15 kms from Amoni. This last stretch is a bit difficult to manage if you do not have a reserved vehicle or a bike. You could give a try on hiring a tempo from the bus stand or railway station to reach Paradise Lake.
What to do in Paradise Lake?
- Take a hike to the top of the hillock to have a look at the surrounding region and the clear emerald blue waters.
- Cook by the lake in a responsible manner and enjoy a leisurely day in the lap of nature.
- Or simply spend a few hours beside the lake which alone is an experience by itself.
Situated at a distance of about 330 kms from Guwahati, Haflong is the only hill station in Assam and is a great destination for camping. The winding roads, soothing atmosphere and beautiful valleys add up to make a delightful experience for all nature lovers. Haflong is located in Dima Hasao district and happens to be the district headquarters. Haflong produces a considerable amount of horticultural produces like pineapples and oranges. The architecture in Haflong resembles the British Colonial structures and reflects the presence of Britishers in the past. It also has an abundance of natural beauty including lakes, hiking trails etc, that is sure to leave you mesmerised on your trip to the North East.
How to reach Haflong?
- Fly to Guwahati Airport or reach Guwahati by rail or by road. From Guwahati, take a train to Haflong which would take about 7 hours to reach. The journey makes up one of the most scenic train journeys that you’d ever take.
- Alternatively, you can fly directly to Silchar, the nearest Airport. From Silchar you can hire a taxi to reach Haflong by road which would take about 4 hours.
- From Guwahati, you could also travel the distance of 330 kms by road. The roads are in good condition and if you’re a roadtrip kind of person person, this is definitely going to be the option for you. There are no direct buses available to Haflong so it is advisable to hire a taxi from any of the major cities.
Where to stay in Haflong?
What to do in Haflong?
- Sit by the picturesque Haflong lake or take a boat ride on the crystal clear waters. If you have an extra day, head to Panimoor waterfalls, 50 kms from Haflong.
- Dig into nature’s bounty as you visit the Orchid Garden, taste the pineapple and oranges. The local produce is really tasty and you’d surely be tempted to pack some for home.
- If you happen to be in Haflong between August to November, do not miss the mysterious phenomenon of mass suicide of birds in Jatinga. This phenomenon attracts ornithologists and wildlife enthusiasts from across the globe to study and research on the same.
- Make a visit to Maibong, a neighbouring town to have a glimpse at the 12th century monuments and architecture. Ramchandi Temple is a must visit.
- For the adrenaline junkies, adventure activities like paragliding and trekking are a good option. Talk to the locals to find out about the various hidden trails and they would be more than happy to direct you.
Best time to visit Assam
The period from mid October onwards and till mid April is a good time to visit Assam.
April to June are summer months and the temperatures reach to 35 degrees. Though it might be a little difficult to manage the weather, the summers are considered as the best time to spot wildlife.
July to September is to be highly avoided as rain would make travel difficult and the wildlife sanctuaries too are not open for visitors.
Winter months between mid October till mid April is the best time to visit Assam as the weather is soothing and hiking becomes easier.
Apart from the destinations mentioned in this blog, you should also visit the Wildlife Sanctuaries in Assam that can be considered few of the Best National Parks in India.
Also, travellers who love beautiful roads and tend to improvise while being on roads should definitely check this 7-day road trip itinerary to Uttarakhand or this 7 Day Ladakh Road Trip or any of these Travel Itineraries published here on theETLRblog.com
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Hailing from the foothill town of Siliguri, Michelle takes keen interest in storytelling, through words and photographs. Having a home so close to the mountains is what she considers a gift. A law student and freelance content writer at present, she often takes time out to travel to the mountains and pen down her experiences. She believes in giving back to the community through volunteering in local projects and strongly supports community tourism.