Location: 181-km Northeast Of Guwahati, Sonitpur District, Assam
Formerly Known As: Sonitpur
Main Attractions: Da-Parbatia Temple, Agnigarh & Bamuni Hills
Best Time To Visit:October To May
The City Of Eternal Romance
Amid tea gardens and military cantonments on the north bank of the
Brahmaputra, 181-km northeast of Guwahati, the pleasant little
town of Tezpur, built around several lakes, stands on the site of
Sonitpur. Undulated green valleys surrounded by hills of Arunachal
Pradesh, with snow capped peaks of Himalayas as the northern
backdrop, lush green tea gardens and magnificent archaeological
ruins have all contributed to make Tezpur a tourist's delight.
The Legend Of Sonitpur
Sonitpur, as ancient Tezpur was known in the olden days is a city
steeped in mythology, legend and folklore. The City of Blood ('Sonit'
of 'Tez' - Blood, 'Pur' - city) conjures up images of the romantic
legend of Usha and Aniruddha and of the fierce battle between "Hari"
and "Hara". Old Darang became today's Sonitpur - Tezpur being the
district Headquarters of Sonitpur.
According to the legend, Darang was the capital of demon King
Banasura, an ardent follower of 'Bhairavnath', incarnation of Lord
Shiva. Usha, the beautiful daughter of King Bana happened to see
her love in her dream. Following the description of Usha, her
confidante Chitralekha portrayed it in painting. The lover was
none other than Aniruddha, Grandson of Sri Krishna, King of Dwarka,
who was finally found out and the wedding of Usha and Aniruddha
took place according to 'Gandharva' tradition.
When it came to the knowledge of Bana he sent Aniruddha to prison.
To rescue his grandson Sri Krishna came from Dwarka. In response
to the call of his devout Bana, Shiva also came there. When the
appeal for rescue failed sword fight ensured between Hari (Lord
Krishna) and Hara (Lord Shiva in the form of Banasura), resulted
in bloodshed in the entire town.
Since then the town has been named as Sonit or Tezpur meaning "A
blood stained town". Bana was vanquished and Usha and Aniruddha
were united forever. Usha and Aniruddha settled on the Bamuni
hill, 5-km away from the city. The ruins and remains of "Agnigarh"
where the immortal romance blossomed, still bear mute testimony of
A Treasure House Of Assam's Cultural Heritage
Tezpur's contribution to art, culture, literature particularly to
the freedom struggle has earned for her a unique niche in the
history of Assam. Chandra Kumar Agarwalla, Ananda Agarwalla, Dandi
Kalita and a score of others enriched Assasmese literature.
"Rup Konwar" Jyoti Prasad the doyen of Assasmese art and culture
was an artist, poet, literature, dramatist, lyricist, filmmaker
and a fearless freedom fighter. In 1942, for the first time in
entire British India, the Tricolour was hoisted in the police
station at Gahpur, a quite town under Sonitpur district.
Fourteen-year-old Kanaklata braved British bullets and died
holding the national flag aloft over here.
Nehru Maidan Nehru Maidan, the triangular green park behind the
tourist lodge, features a pretty little church and the small
District Museum, with old manuscripts and sculptures from both
ancient and modern times, labeled in Assamese and English.
Opposite the Tourist lodge, Chitralekha Udyan, with its central
lake, was established by a British deputy commissioner in the
1800's to house remnants of Asura's palace. The park is at its
best in the early evening when the fairy lights and pathways are
The Mahabhairav Temple
The main market, Chowk Bazaar, is on MC Road roughly 1-km north of
the tourist lodge, with the ancient Mahabhairav temple, dedicated
to an incarnation of Shiva, still further north.
1-km east along the river Brahmaputra, the hill of Agnigarh
commands great views over the town and river, and is said to be
the place where Asura imprisoned his daughter, Usha. Preserving
the sweet memory of young lovers, Agnigarh or the rampart,
surrounded by fire, is perhaps the most beautiful tourist sport of
Tezpur. According to legend princess Usha the only daughter of
King Banasura was kept inside the palace, which was surrounded by
rampart of fire.
There is little left of Da-Parbatia temple, 6-km west of town,
except its finely carved doorframe depicting Ganga and Yamuna,
said to be the oldest specimen of religious art is Assam. The
ruins of the doorframe of Da-Parbatia Temple are perhaps the
finest and oldest specimens of sculptural of iconoclastic art in
Assam. Its carving has the characteristic of the style of early
Gupta School of sculpture. The doorjambs having two Goddesses
Ganga and Yamuna standing below with garlands in hands in artistic
pose and elegance are decorated with beautiful ornamental foliage.
The ruins of Bamuni hills are famous for its artistic beauty. The
sculpture remains, which had been dated back to the 9th and 10th
century AD, now lie in the Cole Park and Missionary compound.
The Hazara Pukhuri
This large tank preserves the name of Harzara Varman in Tezpur and
was excavated in the early part of the 19th century. This is the
third largest tank covering an area of 70 acres.
It is one of the most beautiful places in the town. The park,
which was first established by a British Deputy Commissioner, Mr.
Cole, is the place for peace loving people. One can see here the
two massive ornamented stone pillars and the sculptural remains of
the famous Bamuni hills.
Bhalukpong, a beautiful picnic and angling spot was the capital of
'Bhaluka', the grandson of King Banasura. It is 64-kms from Tezpur
under the foot of Aka Hills (Arunachal Pradesh ). Remains of old
fortifications are still visible. This picturesque place lies on
the way to Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh . Other attractions of
Bhalukpong are a hot spring, a big orchid garden at Tipi and the
unspoilt beauty of nature.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is Saloni about 10-km from Tezpur.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Rangapara 60-kms from
Bhalukpong and 65-km from Orang Wildlife Sanctuary.
Road: The state bus stand has ASTC buses to Guwahati via Kaziranga
continuing to either Tinsukia or Dibrugarh. Other services run to
Sibsagar, Shillong and Siliguri. APSTS buses run to Itanagar and
Bomdila via Bhalukpong. Private bus companies also operate from
opposite side of the state bus stand and run luxury buses to the
same destinations once or twice daily.
WHERE TO STAY
Assam Tourism Department has well furnished tourist lodge with
modern amenities for accommodation purpose. Circuit House, Dak
Bungalow and a number of hotels also offer comfortable
accommodation with reasonable tariff