Tezpur: The Cultural Capital of Assam

This is a guest post by Akash Gogoi who writes about Assam in his blog called All About Assam.


Tezpur is one of the most important towns in northern Assam. It is the headquarter of the Sonitpur and more importantly, it is the gateway to many popular tourist destinations in Arunachal. From here you can find local transport for places like Tawang, Bomdila, Dirang, Bhalukpong, and Seijosa etc.  Nevertheless, Tezpur has a lot on its own to explore. It is an ancient town and some of the archaeological sites date back to the first millennia.

Mythology of Tezpur

According to Hindu mythology, once there was a king ruled in Sonitpur, whose name was ‘Banasur’, who was also an enemy of Krishna (Do note that some other areas in India also claim to have the same story and just like most other mythological stories, we can never be sure). His daughter ‘Usha’. She loved his enemy’s grandson ‘Aniruddha’. One day they both got married by going against Bana’s interest. Due to this cause, somehow Banasur captured ‘Aniruddha’ and imprisoned him into Agnigarh. This time Krishna had to come there to make his grandson free from Banasur’s prison. But there Krishna faced an obstacle, and that was Lord Shiva. Actually, Lord Shiva was a devoted deity of Banasur. In that case, once Shiva promised to help him when he would be in danger.

So, when Krishna went there to fight against Banasur then he remaindered Shiva’s promise to help him. Finally, these two supreme deities faced against each other and an epic war fought in the mythological history of Assam. The river of blood swept away, and the water of the entire Brahmaputra became red with the color of blood. That place where the epic war happened and the river of the blood swept away, today known by ‘Tezpur’. So this is the simple abstract of Tezpur city and how it got the name. (Tez= Blood, Pur=City).

History of Tezpur

Historical ruins of Tezpur dates back to the 5th-10th century and they seem to have been influenced by the Gupta era archetecture that was prevalent in India at that time. Local dynasties of those times generally were subservient to such powers. Most of those constructions are attributed to Salasthambha Dynasty. The modern town of Tezpur developed as it is during the colonial era. Many important Assamese literary and cultural figures such as Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Bishnu Rabha, & Phani Sharma lived here during those times and that is what made Tezpur the cultural capital of Assam.

Reaching Tezpur

Tezpur is easily reacheable from Guwahati (184 KMs/ 4 Hrs ). Regular bus services are available from Guwahati ISBT to Tezpur. It also has an aiport and the nearest important rail stations include Dekargaon and Balipara, where most Naharlagun-bound trains stop.

Top Places To See In And Around Tezpur

Mahabhairab Temple: Mahabhairav Temple is believed to be at least 1200 years old by the archaeologists, dating back to the Salstambha era, although many modifications have been done over the ages. The giant shivling inside the temple is believed to be one of the largest in the world.

Agnigarh: A beautiful mountain with its historical elements. The mighty Brahmaputra River flows near itself. According to Hindu mythology, Agnigarh was a Jail, built by ‘Banasur’ to imprisoned criminals of his state. Today, this is especially famous as the jail, where Krishna’s grandson ‘Aniruddha’ was kept as a captive. Agnigarh is located in the mid of Tezpur city. While some ancient ruins remain, the site has been beautified with new scuptures depicting those events.

Chitralekha Park: Chitralekha Park or Chitralekha Uddyan is another beautiful place. This is also located in the very middle of the city, Tezpur and nearer 1.2 Km to Agnigarh. Chitralekha Park is especially dedicated to Usha’s best friend ‘Chitralekha’ who was also an artist and who helped her in her affair with her prowesses.

Nameri National Park: Nameri National Park is one of the largest national parks of Assam. As per land areas this the 4th largest national park of Assam, which land area is around 200 sq. kilometers. Established in 1978 this wildlife reserve is especially famous for giant Asian Elephants. Apart from elephants, there you can also see other animals like Dhole, Clouded Leopard, Pigmy Hog, Barking Deer, Muntjac, Somber Deer, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Capped monkey, and Tiger, etc.

Orang National Park: Orang is a major national park in Assam, spread accross Sonitpur and Darrang districts. Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, pygmy hog, elephants, wild buffalo and tigers are spotted here regularly. Various types of pelicans, adjutant storks, and many other avian species are also easily visible.

Da Parbatia: A beautiful small village located on the west coast of the city. The village ‘Da Parbatia’ is known for some amazing Hindu temples built during the 6th to the 7th century in Ahom ruling period. However, over time most of the temples were destroyed but if you are interested in archaeological things then it might suit your interest.

Bura-Chapori wildlife Sanctuary: So-called the bird’s heaven the Bura Chapori wildlife sanctuary is a small wildlife reserve established in 1995. Including various species of birds, there are also various reptiles and wild animals are founded here. If you really love seeing colorful birds then it will be proven as the best place for your holidays. Here is a short list of birds founded in Bura Chapori – Bengali Florican {especially famous for}, open bills, monk parakeet, water hen, Bar-headed goose, Greater adjutant, etc.

Sonai Rupai: It is another sanctuary in the Arunachal border, sharing its boundary with the Kameng Tiger Reserve on the other side. Tiger, lesser cats, elephant, wild boar, hog deer and barking deer are some of the mammals found here. Birders can find white winged wood duck, hornbill, pelican, etc.

Bhalukpong: Bhalukpung is a small town on Assam-Arunachal border, divided between both states, and the gateway to Bomdila and Tawang. It is located on the banks of a beautiful blue river which is called Kameng in Arunachal and Jia Bhoroli in Assam. It is a picnic spot for locals and an adventure destination with rafting and angling facilities.

Seijosa: Seijosa is another small palce located on the Assam-Arunachal border. It is the gateway to Pakke Tiger Reserve. Among other things, it is known for various types of hornbills.


Jitaditya Narzary

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