Monday, July 28, 2008

Tezpur - The City of Eternal Romance

One of the major cities of Assam, Tezpur is situated on the north bank of river Brahmaputra. Known as Sonitpur in olden days, the city is steeped in mythology and folklore. Very few know the fact that Tezpur js called the city of eternal love. Legend has it that Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna fell in love with Usha, the daughter of Baanasura, the demon king of Sonitpur. Due to love affair between Aniruddha and Usha, a firece battle ensued between Lord Krishna and Baanasura in which the land was drenched in Blood. Hence the name of the place became Sonitpur, which literally means the city of Blood. Undulating lush green valleys flanked by lofty hills and mighty snow-capped peaks of Himalayas, lush green tea gardens and archeological remains from time immeriral draw tourists from far and near.

Agnigarh Hill – A picturesque hill, Agnigarh stands as the mute witness to the eternal romance between Aniruddha and princess Usha. Once there was a massive palace of demon king Baanasur on the hillock, but today no palace exists here. The administration has made Agnigarh an imaginatively developed tourist spot. Here a series of sculptures, an open-air stage, massive mushrooms and a huge waterfall add more to Agnigarh’s charms.

Chitralekha Udyan – Also known as Cole Park, Chitralekha Udyan is a popular attraction of the city. In 1906, Colonel Cole, the then British Deputy Commissioner, develop the park and established an archeological museum here. Cole collected carvings from various ruined temple sites around Tezpur to exhibit inside the museum. The park was neglected for a longtime till 1995 when it was revived by the then Deputy Commissioner. With well-manicured walkways, water sport facilities, open-air stage and a restaurant, Chitralekha Park makes an ideal place for picnics and romantic walks.

Mahabhairab Mandir – Mahabhairab Mandir is believed to have the oldest and second largest Shiva Lingam in India. Built by Sri Swayambar Bharati, also known as Naga Baba, the temple is visited by thousands of people on the Shivaratri day. The huge temple complex houses guest rooms and shopping arcades in its beautifully landscaped surroundings.

Tezpur Festival – An annual festival, Tezpur festival is held in December in the Sonitpur district. Highlights of the festival include music and dance performances by the local artists and Assamese culinary delights. Angling, rafting, trekking, arm wrestling, boating, golf, archery, horse show and fireworks display are other iteresting events of the festival.

Da Parbaita – Situated 3 km away in the western outskirts of the town, Da Parbatia is the ruins of a 600 AD Gupta era temple. Now, only one small entrance door frame to the temple stands erected on a high plinth. The beautiful statues of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna stand along the door pillar with garlands in their hands. The rock carved door frame is decorated with floral motif.

Orang Wildlife Sanctuary – Also referred as mini- Kaziranga the wildlife sanctuary lier 65 km to the west of Tezpur. Spread over an area of 72 km, the sanctuary provide shelter to animals like one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, leopard, wild elephant, sambhar, barking deer, a variety of water birds, green pigeon, teal, geese etc.

Bhakulpong – Located 60 km from Tezpur, Bhakulpong is a must visit for wildlife and nature lovers, and adventure seekers as well. Set by the Kameng river, Bhakulgong offers adventure activities like hiking, rafting and angling. A hot spring and a huge orchid garden are other attractions of Bhakulpong. While in Bhakulpong, pay a visit to Pakhui to see the Bengal tiger, the great pied hornbiil and some endangered bird species.

Nameri National Park – Nameri is some 40 km from Tezpur, sprawled in 212 sq km. The park is home to the white-winged duck (Deo hanh), black bear, rare species of birds, butterflies and a variety of fish. An eco camp is set up at Potasali, on the banks of the river Jiabharali. Run by an NGO the camp offers activities like angling, trekking, rafting and elephant rides.

How to Reach
By Air - Direct flights are available to Tezpur from Guwahati. The Salonibari airport is about 7 km from Tezpur

By Rail – Tezpur is connected to Guwahati via Rangpura station

By Road – Tezpur is well-linked by all season roads to important towns of Assam

Where to Stay
Plenty of accommodation options are available in Tezpur. Prashanti Tourist Lodge, run by the ASTDC is a good place to stay. Other equally good accommodation options are Hotel Basant, Hotel Durba, Arunachal Guest House, Hotel Luit and Chaliha Inn.

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