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Introduction

Assam is the largest of the seven states comprising the northeastern region of India. This is the least explored region of India though it is endowed with tremendous natural beauty. However, of late tourism is picking due to the aggressive promotion done by the authorities.

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Sights and Activities

  • Kaziranga National Park - A Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the finest examples of natural parks in India. It is also one of the oldest national parks in India and it is the largest habitat for Indian single horned rhinos. Apart from rhinos, also tigers, swamp deer, elephants, buffalos and numerous bird species. The best time for visiting the park is from October to March, when temperatures are fine and it is mostly dry and a better time for viewing animals.

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Events and Festivals

Assam is known for its fairs and festivals. Most of the festivals originated due to the diverse faith and tribal characteristics of its inhabitants, but a sense of togetherness marks the celebration of all festivals. These festivals reflect the true spirit, tradition and lifestyle of the people of Assam. Most of the festivals are organized by the tourism authorities to encourage tourists to visit Assam. Some of the popular ones are listed below.

Bihu

Bihu is the most important festival of Assam and is celebrated with joy and abundance by all Assamese people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, faith and belief. In a year there are three Bihu festivals locally known as Bohag, Kaati and Magh. The most important and colourful of the three Bihu festivals is the spring festival "Bohag Bihu" celebrated in the middle of April, which marks the sowing of seeds by the farmers. Kaati Bihu is observed to mark the cutting and binding of grains and Magh Bihu celebrated in the month of January marks the season of harvesting of grains. Young and old alike come out dressed in traditional attire made out of Assamese silk and dance to the lusty and wild beats of Dhol and Pepa(buffalo hornpipe). Bihu dances performed by young boys and girls is characterized by brisk stepping, flinging and flipping of hands and swaying of hips representing youthful passion and songs sung are based on the theme of love and often carry erotic overtones.

Tea Festival

Tea festival is organized by the Tourism Authorities in the month of November every year and is a unique experience which offers holidays combining visits to Tea Gardens, jungle safaris, rafting, golf, river cruises, shopping and cultural programs. The “Guwahati Tea Auction Centre” based in Guwahati is the largest of its kind in India and is well worth a visit.

Dehing Patkai Festival

Dehing Patkai festival is quite popular in the eastern parts of Assam and derives its name from the lofty Patkai mountain range and the swift flowing Dehing River. This festival organized in the month of January every year includes ethnic fairs, adventure sports, wildlife excursions and trips to the World War II cemeteries and the Stilwell road, once used as an entrance to Myanmar.

Majuli Festival

Majuli Festival lasts for 4 days and is celebrated every year in the month of November. The festival showcases the rich cultural and natural heritage of Majuli, which is the largest river island in the world.

Elephant Festival

Elephant festival is organized by the Government authorities in the Kaziranga National Park for conservation and protection of elephants. Various cultural programs are held and shows by domestic elephants are a treat to watch.

National Events and Festivals

  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) near Guwahati offers flights to/from Aizawl, Delhi, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal, Jorhat, Kolkata, Lilabari, Silchar, Tezpur, Bangkok, Paro, Bagdogra, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agartala, Bangalore, Itanagar, Naharlagun, Shillong, Tawang, Tura, Ahmedabad and Pune.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost 50rs to 200rs. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

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This is version 14. Last edited at 19:31 on Jun 7, 17 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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