Nestled in the Brahmaputra valley this state has Tantrik Shaktism, Shivaism and later Vaishnavism flourishing in its laps. From time to time people from different races, religion and culture have migrated to this place.
The Mohmmedan invasions brought Islam into the state. Sikhism flourished here, Buddhist communities have kept the flag of Buddhism flying high. The famous Gurudwara at Dhubri established by the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur is held in the high veneration by the sikhs throughout the country.
With the advent of new faith & religion many temples and monuments were built all over Assam. Most of these architectural graduers belong to the medieval period and represent the architectural style of the Koch, Kachari and Ahom royal courts. These temples and monuments, spread almost all over Assam, bear silent witness to a glorious past.
Temples & Monuments in and around Guwahati
The Shakti Temple of mother Goddess Kamakhya situated on the top of Nilachal Hills, overlooking river Brahmaputra, is 8 Km. away from the railway station of Guwahati.
The greatest shrine of tantric Shaktism find mention in the inscription of the Allahabad pillar of Samudragupta. Devotees from all over India converge on this holy place during Ambubashi and Manasha Puja. City buses ply regularly to Kamakhya. It can be easily reached by auto-rickshaw as well.
The temple of nine planets situated on Chitra Chal Hill in Guwahati. It is 3 km away from the Railway Station. In ancient times, it was said to have been a great centre of study of astronomy and astrology. This is also one of the reasons why Guwahati is referred to as Pragjyotishpur or the city of eastern Astrology. It can be approached by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
The great Shiva temple situated on the Peacock island in the middle of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati attracts devotees from all over the country during Shiva Ratri. One can visit the temple by crossing the river by country boat plying from Kachari ghat. On the north bank of the Brahmaputra, opposite Guwahati, where the third Pandava Arjun is believed to have watered his horse while undertaking journey during Ashwamedh Yajna. Regular ferry services are available to this place.
Situated in the southern-most rim of Guwahati city on the Sandhyachal hill is a well known holy cum picnic spot, called Basisthashram, after the great vedic Sage Bashistha, who is said to have lived here. Three rivulets named Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta meet here and flow perenially adding scenic grandeur to the place. It is 12 Kms. from the Guwahati Railway Station. City buses ply regularly to the Ashram.
An ancient temple where King Bana worshipped Mahabhairab, another incarnation of Lord Shiva. A place of pilgrimage.
Barely 40 kms. away from the sprawling metropolis Guwahati, on N.H. 52 Madan Kamdev is an enigma, a mystery, a marvel and in the words of Omar Khayam, "a veil past which I could not see". Very little is known about the origin of this magnificient archaeological ruins.Written history is almost silent on it, leaving wide room for conjectures and hypothesis.
Kamrupa - the ancient name of Assam, is believed to have derived its name from the legend that love God Kama or Madan, after being turned into ashes by an angry Shiva, was reborn here. One school believes that Madan was reborn and united to Rati on this tiny hillock. The season to visit is from October to May.
The Institution of Satra is a unique feature of Vaishnavism in Assam , founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture.
Satras are basically monasteries which propogate neoVaishnavism. They also became centres for education and dissemination of the art of harmonius living.
In 15th century the first Satra was founded in Majuli. Since then sixty five Satras have come up for the propagation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals. However, at present there are only twenty two Satras in Majuli. The others had to be shifted to safer places due to the devastation of flood and erosion.
The main existing Satras are:
Dakhinpat Satra: Founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the National Festivals of Assam. During Rasotsava several thousand devotees visit these holy Satras every year.
Garamurh Satra: Founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During the end of Autumn, traditional Raasleela (co-acting) is shown with great enthusiasm. Some ancient weapons called "Bortop" (canons) are preserved here.
Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the Satra is famous for "Paalnaam" and Apsara Dance and also its considerable collection of Assamese old utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.
Kamalabari Satra: Founded by Bedulapadma, it is a centre of art, cultural, literature and classical studies. It's branch, Uttar Kamalabari Satra, has showcased the Satria Art in several states of India and abroad.
Bengenaati Satra: It is a storehouse of antiques of cultural importance and an advance centre of performing art. Muraridev, the grand son of Sankardeva's step mother founded this Satra.
The royal robes belonging to the Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, made of gold and an golden umbrella are preserved here.
Shamaguri Satra: The satra is home to famous Mask crafts.
Batadrawa Satra : It is the birthplace of the greatest Vaishnava Saint Srimanta Sankardev,a Shrine and a centre of Vaishnava art and culture. It is about 140 kms. from Guwahati and about 15 kms. from Nagaon town.
Barpeta Satra and Kirtanghar : This famous Shrine and Kirtanghara attracts Vaishanavas from all over India. It was established by Madhadeva, the greatest discipleof Shankardeva.
There is also a mosque built by Pir Giasuddin Aulia and is held that it has one-fourth sanctity of Mecca and so it is known as Poa-Mecca. It is believed that by offering prayer a faithful gains one-fourth (poa) spiritual enlightenment of what could be gained at Mecca and so is known as Poa-Mecca.
Temples & Monuments in and around Tezpur
The ruins of the door frame of Da-Parbatia Temple a few kms. from Tezpur town, is perhaps the finest and oldest specimen of sculptural or iconoclastic art in Assam. It's carving has the characteristics of the style of early Gupta School of sculpture. The door-jambs having two goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, standing below with garlands in their hands in artistic pose and elegance are decorated with beautiful ornamental foliage.
"Preserving the sweet memory of young lovers", Agnigarh or the rampart, surrounded by fire, is perhaps the most beautiful tourist spots in Tezpur. According to legend, Princess Usha, the only daughter of King Bana, was kept inside the palace which was surrounded by rampart of fire. The present Agnigarh, now only a hillock facing the mighty Brahmaputra, provides the tourist a soul touching panoramic view of both the river and Tezpur town.