Sadia

Sadia is a small township and sub-division under Tinsukia district and lying at the North Eastern corner of Assam. Sadia has the glory of witnessing the joining of Dihing, Dibang and Luhit river to form the mighty Brahmaputra. Apart from being the Eastern most state frontier, Sadia has its own historical and mythological significance. The ruler of Chutia dynasty Gaurinarayan built Sadia in the 13th century, which later became the North Eastern most frontier station during the British period. The name came from Assamese word for cremation, as this place is the place of cremation of a prince from the Gaur Kingdom in Bengal, who came there to build a temple in “Sindhukhsetra” earlier known name for Sadia, as part of their diplomatic relations with the ruling Chuita kingdom. Sadia also significant from mythological beliefs, as this place is considered as the Vidarbha kingdom of Mahabharata. During the period of Ahom rulers, Sadia became a major place for trade from various tribes from the hills. Sadia is also known for having the first printing press in Assam, which was established by Miles Bronson, after this place became the focal point of British missionaries in late 19th century. Sadia is also known for the famous Tamreswari temple, the name originated from “Tam”, which is the word for copper in Assamese that is being used on the roof of the temple. The origin of the temple is still unknown, however what is known that human sacrifices were also made in this temple. It was by Ahom rulers in 18th century that human sacrifices were known to be stopped.
In the present days, apart from being regular victim of flood and river erosions, Sadia is under the limelight for the undergoing construction of the longest bridge of the country, the 9.15 km long Sadia-Dhala bridge on the river Lohit, that will connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Dibrugarh

Founded by the British as a centre of strategic importance, Dibrugarh is one of the major townships along the Brahmaputra in the Eastern corner of Assam. For the British, Dibrugarh was important from Administrative, military as well as trade ground for Eastern Assam, primarily due to the fact that the place lies at the confluence of the Brahmaputra and Dihing river. The name Dibrugarh is known to come from ‘Dibaru’ a stream that used to flow south of the  present town and ‘Garh’ referring to a fort constructed by the British on the bank of Dibaru. Dibrugarh is popularly known as the Tea City of India and together with Jorhat and Sibsagar districts, it produces half of Assam tea cultivation in India.

Since the time of the British, Dibrugarh has been a major economic hub of the North East India. Apart from the tea industry, oil and natural gas, power generation and tourism are some of the major economic activities of the area. The devastating earthquake of 1950 changed the course of the Brahmaputra and destroyed more than three quarter of the town. The people of the town still lives under the constant threat of flood and erosion hazards of the mighty Brahmaputra

Sivasagar

Sivasagar, a small town nestled near two tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra, Dikhow and Namdang, was once the capital of the Ahom Kingdom from 1699 to 1788. Sivasagar formerly known as ‘Rangpur’, came to be known first as Sibsagar and then as Sivasagar, which was derived from the names of one of its rulers Siba Singha and the magnificient Joysagar Tank. This tank incidentally is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, covering an approximate area of 318 acres. A stone bridge cut from a single huge rock still stands over the river Namdang, which was built by King Rudra Singh in 1703. Sivasagar is easily one of the most historically significant towns of Assam, as well as a pilgrimage destination. It is home to the Gourisagar and the Rudrasagar Tanks along with unique historical monuments like the Sivadoul, Rang ghar and Talatal Ghar

Sivasagar is also home to Disangmukh, where the river Disang merges with the Brahmaputra. The Disang river was an important channel of transportation for the Ahom rulers, and was supposedly border to the Ahom capital ‘Rangpur’. Even during the British era, the Disang was the gateway to the Brahmaputra and served as an important port for travelling to other major cities from Sivasagar. Disangmukh is home to people of the Mising tribe of Assam and the area is enriched with their colourful culture. This is the best place to observe the lives of fishermen of Assam who to this day depend on the Brahmaputra and the Disang for their livelihood. Sivasagar was the birthplace of Assam’s first Assamese language magazine ‘Orunodoi’ in 1846.The magazine ushered in a new era of Assamese literature, bringing forth many acclaimed writers and took the initiative of innovating the Assamese dialect rather than borrowing from other languages.
Sivasagar’s economic importance is also worth mentioning. It is the producer of the finest and most expensive tea in the world, which is exported globally. Sivasagar also has several oil and gas fields.

Tezpur

The ancient and eternal ‘land of love’, Tezpur nestles gently by the flank of the River Brahmaputra. Tezpur has always been entwined with the Brahmaputra, and is home to the second and last bridge built over the river in 1987, the Koliya Bhomora Setu. The bridge that spans 3015 metres is an architectural wonder. A place of immense historical prominence, Tezpur literally translates to ‘city of blood’, so named, because according to mythology, Lord Krishna’s war with King Banasur for his grandson Aniruddha, led to much bloodshed, covering the city in blood! Tezpur is dotted with beautiful architectural ruins dating back to the 4th Century AD. The Agnigarh, the fire fortress, stands tall on a hilltop over the banks of the Brahmaputra. It was built by the Baan roja (King) to keep Usha from meeting Aniruddha, and named so as it was surrounded by fire on all sides! Other places of historic significance include the Bamuni hills with structural ruins and the Maha Bhairab Temple on its side. The Chitralekha Udyan, a scenic park established in 1906, the Da-parbatia, an ancient sample of architecture and the Padum Pukhuri, a scenic tank are other attractions for visitors to Tezpur. 
Modern Tezpur was established by the British Colonial rulers in 1835, when it became the district headquarters of Darrang. Later Tezpur became part of Sonitpur district. During World War II, Tezpur sheltered refugees fleeing from Burma. Memories of those days still linger across the city, especially the Cemeteries built by the British.
A hub of cultural renaissance in Assam, Tezpur was home to a number of legendary personalities, including Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, who singlehandedly created the first film and film studio of Assam during the 1930s. Tezpur is quickly becoming the centre of Educational excellence, with some of the best schools and central university in the country.  Many picturesque tea gardens surround Tezpur town, which considerably adds to the economic growth of the place.

Hajo

An ancient pilgrimage site, Hajo lies in the banks of the river Brahmaputra, and is a scared place for followers of Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Dotted with sacred temples, Hajo features a number of archeological sites and artifacts.
The Hayagriva Madhava Temple is one such ancient Hindu pilgrimage site, the current structure of which was built by King Raghudeva Temple in 1583. Interestingly, this temple is a scared place for both Hindus and Buddhists. Buddhist followers believe that this is the place where the Buddha attained Nirvana. Hindus visiting the temple worship the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The entire temple is made of stone and is an excellent specimen of artwork. The Powa Mecca in Hajo is one of the major pilgrimage spots for the followers of Islam, but is also visited by worshippers of other religion. It is believed that the Powa Mecca was built on soil brought from Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, and hence is equal to 1/4th (powa) Mecca!

Goalpara

Goalpara, which literally means ‘village of the milk men’ is steeped in lilting music that gently match the rhythms of the tides of the Brahmaputra that flows beside it. The people of Goalpara heavily depend on the Brahmaputra and their folk music is a clear reflection of their love for the river.
Goalpara was once ruled by the Koch Rajbongshi kings and the dialect that has prevailed since those days is ‘Goalpariya Bengali’. Goalpara came under British rule in 1765.
Goalpara is a prominent place for the Vaishnavite culture and the Shyamrai Sattra, was established here over three centuries ago. The Meshpara Estate Zamindar allotted the Sattra 8 bighas of land following requests by the people and since then, it has been an important centre of Vaishnavite culture. The Sattra is most famous for the preserved ‘Asthi’ (ashes) of Srimanta Sankardeva, which is displayed for the public once a year during September-October. The Shree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math was established in Goalpara in 1969 and a large number of devotees flock to the Math regularly. The Pir Majhar Tomb is located in the heart of Goalpara and every year ‘Uros Mubarak’ is observed here marking the death anniversary of the ‘Pir’. Other places of archaeological and historical significance are the Sri Surya Pahar and the Hulukanda Pahar. It is believed that 99999 Shiva Lingas were established in Surya Pahar by Vyasa to build it as a second ‘Kashi’! Goalpara is a melting pot of religious and cultural diversity and witness to a rich history.

Goalpariya folk songs or lokgeet has brought Goalpara national attention through artists like Pratima Baruah Pandey. Inspite of its cultural heritage, Goalpara has not prospered economically and is still one of the most economically backward districts in the country.

Jorhat

Jorhat the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom, literally means two haats or mandis-"Macharhat" and "Chowkihat" which existed on the two different banks of the river Bhugdoi during the 18th century. This town was a flourishing and commercial metropolis but a series of the Burmese invasions since 1817 till the arrival of the British force in 1824 almost completely devastated it. But it soon regained its glory. The birthplace of scholars, writers, musicians, poets, painters and historians Jorhat is often termed as the ‘Cultural capital of Assam’. It is also a place of immense archaeological importance, and home to several Maidams and edifices built by the Ahom kings.


Jorhat is home to one of the biggest riverine islands, Majuli, which lies towards the north. The port of Neematighat in the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra is the gateway to Majuli, with ferries that are the only way to reach the island. Neematighat, a place of historic importance, is one of the most prominent river ports in the state, and a source of livelihood to the communities residing near the area. However, in recent years, the port is gradually being swallowed by flood waters of the Brahmaputra, raising serious concern.Jorhat is and always has been the hub of cultural and intellectual movements, and a perfect blend of tradition and innovation. In the year 1915, Jorhat Sahitya Shabha was established in Jorhat followed by Asam Sahitya Sabha that was established on 27 December 1917 in Sibasagar. Jorhat also possibly holds the record for the most firsts in Assam! Jorhat was the first town of the Upper and central Assam to install electricity supply in 1923. The first airplane to ever fly in North East landed in Jorhat in 1928. Jorhat Gymkhana Club is the oldest golf course in Asia and third oldest in the world. The first stadium of Assam was built in Jorhat. The world's oldest and largest Tea Experimental Station is located in Jorhat. The first non-government college of Assam J B College was established here. The city has many research institutes, including the Tocklai Tea Research Institute, NEIST, Rain Forest Research Institute, Central Muga Eri Research Institute and universities like Assam Agricultural University, Assam Women's University & Kaziranga University. Today Jorhat is a rapidly developing city and one of the major business & commercial hubs of North-east India. Majuli Discussion on the Brahmaputra goes unfinished with a special account on Majuli, world’s one of the largest freshwater deltaic island, formed by the river and its anabranch and falling within the district of Jorhat, Assam. Lying at 85-95 m mean sea level, the island extends upto 80 km East-West and 10-15 km in North-South. First recorded land survey of Majuli was recorded during the period of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb during 1662-16, with the mention of Majuli consisting of 13 small islands. As per Survey of India (2008) map, the island has an area of 506.37 sq km. The island is part of the alluvial floodplains of the Brahmaputra and its landform is purely depositional in origin and therefore highly susceptible to erosion by the river. Due to the great earthquake of 1950 the river configurations around the Majuli Island experienced drastic morphological change which resulted in the starting of severe bank erosion. Majuli goes inundated in flood and the frequency and magnitude of flood damage have been increasing over the years. Apart from its unique geographic and physiographic features, Majuli is better known for its heritage as a Vaishnavite cultural site, a sociocultural  resurgence leg by the saint Shankardeva and his prime apostle saint Madhavdeva in the 16th Century AD. The spiritual and cultural movement initiated by this due finds it existence in form of monasteries known as Sattras, which established and casteless social structure and a place of worship by the vaishnavites. The island still houses 30 such Sattras that continues the tradition of passing knowledge and cultural and social principles from generations to generations through hermit-disciple tradition. Some of the unique cultural heritage preserved and harboured in Majuli includes classical dance form known as Sattriya Dance, Sattriya music and art forms, musical instruments, traditional costumes and ornaments, folk lore, festivals and rituals, various manuscripts and paintings etc.
The inhabitants of Majuli include twenty known communities, with the assumption that the earliest settlements were made by people primarily for the suitable agro-climatic factors. The inhabitants of Majuli thrives through agriculture as their prime occupation, while fishing, dairy,  handlooms, pottery and boat making are some of the other forms of ecumenic activities in the island. At present, the Mishing community is the major community in the island, who are burmese descends settling on the Bank of Brahmaputra in the later part of the 17th century. The Mishings have their signature festival named Ali-ai-ligang, which is an agro-based festival, complimenting the fact that their primary economic activity is agriculture. Some of the original inhabitants of Majuli comes from Tibetan-Burmese branch of the Mongoloids, known as Chutias and Deoris. Another community from Tibetan-Burmese branch of the Mongoloids of the Bodo origin are the Sonowal Kacharis inhabitant the island. One of the important communities in Majuli is the Koch people, who are primarily admixture of the Mongoloids and the Dravidians. The Nath community people living in Majuli bearing Dravidian features are primarily known for their skills in cutting silk yarns. The Dravidian origin Kaibatras are involved in water related economic activities. A smaller fraction of inhabitants comprise of Matak community of Mayanmarian origin, the Ahoms of Mongoloid origin and one of the major communities in the state, the Kalitas of Dravidian origin and the Brahmins of the Alpine origin.
Apart from the diversity of people and their origin, culture, traditions in Majuli, the island is also known for rich alluvial ecosystems with wetlands and grasslands supporting a diverse array of wildlife. The island supports a large number of resident and migratory bird species, besides being the home of some of the threatened mammals such as Asian elephant and the elusive fishing cat.

Guwahati

The largest city of Assam, Guwahati is the gateway to the North East, the busiest commercial hub and the biggest riverine port of the North East region. Formerly known as Pragjyotishpura, the area was the capital city of Ancient Assam, under the Varman and Pala dynasty rule. The earliest records of Guwahati can be traced back to the Vedic era as it finds mention in the Puranas and the Vedas. It flourished under many kings most notable being King Naraka and Bhagadatta. Xuanjang, a Chinese traveller of 7th Century AD described Pragjyotishpura as one of the most prosperous provinces. He also describes how King Bhakaravarma had built a strong navy base and a flourishing trade centre, through the river channels of Brahmaputra, during that period.


By the 19th century, Guwahati came under the British rule and after independence the capital of Assam shifted from Shillong to Guwahati. The current capital of Assam, Dispur lies within the greater Guwahati city.  Guwahati is located just beside the river Brahmaputra. There are several prominent ports along the South and North Banks which include the Pandu Port, the Kachari ghat, the Uzanbazar ghat, and the Sukleshwar ghat among others. Ferries and boats ply continuously from these ports to places in and around Guwahati. Interestingly the Bharalu, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, cuts across the city to meet the Brahmaputra in a spot also named Bharalu.

The Peacock island, locally known as the Umananda Island lies in the middle of the Brahmaputra and is flocked to by pilgrims visiting the Umananda Devaloi which is a Shiva temple. Guwahati is often called as the city of temples, with the most famous being the shaktipeeth Kamakhya Temple located in the Neelachal hill within the city. Other prominent places of worship which are also of historical importance are Basistha Temple, Sukleshwar Temple, Shivadoul in the north bank, Navagraha Temple etc. Cruises along the river Brahmaputra are one of the prime attractions for visitors. Offered by the Assam Tourism Department as well as private operators, these cruises offer a variety of services from sight-seeing of historical sites to wild life river safaris to luxury trips along the Brahmaputra. Guwahati being the capital city boasts of state-of-the-art sports infrastructure with multiple stadiums to support every kind of sporting activity. Recently Guwahati hosted the South Asian Games 2016 which brought international attention to the city. Guwahati also hosts the Northeast United FC, the Indian super league football club.
Guwahati headquarters the administrative machinery of Assam, as well as being the Centre of all economic as well as cultural activity. It is home to Assam’s most prestigious educational institutes like the Cotton College, which was established in 1901 and recently gained University status and the Gauhati University that was found in 1948. The city has a host of technical institutes the most prominent being the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati.

Concluding the Story

The Brahmaputra also known as the ‘Burha-luhit’ can be called the source and sustenance provider of all life and prosperity in Assam. In addition to the above mentioned places there are several other places of prominence that are worth mentioning. Lakhimpur which lies in the northern bank of the Brahmaputra is historically known as the place where successive invaders from the East first reached the Brahmaputra. From Lakhimpur, the Brahmaputra is navigable as far as Dibrugarh and Sadiya during Monsoons. 
Dhemaji, which neighbours Lakhimpur also got its name from ‘Dhal’ meaning flood and ‘Dhemali’ meaning ‘play’, thus the land where the flooded river played! With the Brahmaputra river flanking the district and its numerous tributaries running through the district, the region is perennially affected by floods. Bishwanath Chariali of Assam is another place in Assam which derived its name due to its connection with the Brahmaputra. The Bishwanath Ghat in the banks of the Brahmaputra is a famous ferry point in addition to being a pilgrimage site due to its many temples. It is considered so holy that is it also known as the ‘Gupta Kashi’ or the ‘hidden Kashi’.
The region’s culture, lifestyle and history are intertwined tightly with the flow of this mighty river.   Respected and revered, the Brahmaputra is much more than a water body for the inhabitants of its river basin.

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