Soothing beauty, offbeat tourists attractions, spiritual ambiance, the sacred river, humble people, and zealous culture, Assam boasts plenty of fascinating secrets. Being one of the Northeast India’s iconic seven sisters, a holiday in Assam is about witnessing a heady mix of history, culture, and nature at the same time. The state happens to be the land of many wildlife reserves, which are further home to the one-horned rhino, one of Assam's tourism best-known mascots.
The ideal time to visit Assam is between the months of November and March.
Currency: Indian Rupees
Official languages: Assamese
The Assamese history has been derived from multiple sources. The Ahom kingdom of medieval Assam maintained chronicles, called Buranjis, written in the Ahom and the Assamese languages. History of ancient Assam comes from a corpus of Kamarupa inscriptions on rock, copper plates, clay; royal grants, etc.
Assam is the meeting ground of diverse cultures. The people of the enchanting state of Assam is an intermixture of various racial stocks such as Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian and Aryan. The Assamese culture is a rich and exotic tapestry of all these races evolved through a long assimilative process. The natives of the state of Assam are known as "Asomiya" (Assamese), which is also the state language of Assam.
The state has a large number of tribes, each unique in its tradition, culture, dress and exotic way of life. Diverse tribes like Bodo, Kachari, Karbi, Miri, Mishimi, Rabha, etc co-exist in Assam, most tribes have their own languages though Assamese is the principal language of the state.
A majority of the Assamese is the Vaishnavas (a sect of Hinduism). The Vaishnavas do not believe in idol worshiping and perform Namkirtana where the glory of Lord Vishnu is recited. The two important cultural and religious institutions that influence the cultural fabric of Assam: the Satras, the site of religious and cultural practice which have been in existence for over 400 years and the Naamghar, the house of prayers. Villagers generally associate on the basis of membership of a local center of devotional worship called "Naamghar". Villages are usually made up of families from a number of distinct castes. In Assam, the caste system, although it exists, is not as prominent as in other parts of India. Other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam etc. are also practiced in Assam. The national festival of Assam is the Bihu which is celebrated in three parts during a year with great pomp and grandeur by all Assamese, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims represent the largest minorities, followed by Nepalis and populations from neighboring regions of India. The most important social and cultural celebrations are the three Bihu festivals observed with great enthusiasm irrespective of caste, creed and religious affinity. From time immemorial, the people of Assam have traditionally been craftsmen. Artists, sculptors, masons, weavers, spinners, potters, goldsmiths, artisans of ivory, wood, bamboo, cane and hide have flourished in Assam from ancient times.
Weaving is one traditional craft that every Assamese woman takes pride in. The Assamese women produce silk and cotton clothes of exquisite designs in their looms. Assam is renowned for its exquisite silks namely Eri, Pat and the world famous Muga silk. Gandhiji complimented the Assamese weavers as artists who could weave dreams in their looms.
Climatic variations can be seen regionally. While the plains of Assam have a tropical climate with high humidity, the hills have a sub-alpine type of climate. The climate of Assam is characterised by alternate cool and warm periods with a highly humidity, especially from May to November.
Citizens of most countries, including the United States, need a visa to visit India which should be arranged in advance. Full details can be found at The Government of India website (http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/). Citizens of Nepal and Bhutan do not need a visa, while some nationalities may get them upon arrival.
Roadways are easily accessible with buses running to and fro from every Bengal and Northeast destinations. Hence, for the convenience of the visitors and locals, all the stations are well-maintained by the Assam Tourism. Assam is excellent when it comes to roadways; it has good highways and byways that are well maintained. Assam has a bus service Assam State Transport Corporation or ASTC, this company is a state-owned road transport corporation of Assam and they provide bus services within Assam and adjoining state like Siliguri, West Bengal via national highway 27,317, 31, 10. However, if you plan to travel during monsoons via road, it is advisable to avoid because Assam is no new to floods and landslide which will hamper your journey.
The railways are a common means of transport and it is linked with all major states and cities in India. However earlier, since Assam was the first place that came under the influence of the British, the railway tracks were chiefly created for tea and coal transportation for its lush tea estates. Today, Assam has 259 railway stations that are well-connected within the states and other leading destinations in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Cochin, and Chennai. The major railway hubs in Assam are Guwahati, Jorhat, Goalpara, Dibrugarh, Nagaon, Silchar, Tezpur, and Golaghat.
Before you leave on your holiday, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:
Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)
We recommend avoiding packing any plastic bags in your luggage before flying to Kenya. You should also remove any items purchased at departure airports from their bags before boarding. Double check your luggage before disembarking in Kenya and leave any plastic bags on the plane.
If you happen to visit Assam during summers make sure to carry an umbrella, sunscreen lotion, a sipper, and sunglasses.
For foreigners - Make sure to have enough Indian currency so you won't have trouble if your cash runs out.
When in a new city, make sure to keep your money bag safe, perhaps in your front pocket or in a large bag.
While you travel in a local transport, it is advisable to keep only lose money with you for easy access to buy tickets.
If an area seems unfamiliar to you, feel free to approach the nearest police station for guidance (You will find Policeman available at the road crossings).
Keep away from the unauthorized tourist agents; always get a valid tour guide your hotel. If not you can roam by yourself, people in Assam are very humble, they will be happy to guide you.
For Foreigners: Always carry your passports with you and keep it safe in your inner pocket or in your fanny bag, it will be your identity throughout your journey in Assam, India.
Assam has lip-smacking cuisines and you can try out some mouth watering dishes. Make sure to only visit well-maintained restaurants unless you are in for an adventure to try street food.
Not everyone in Assam knows English so you can try learning the basic Assamese language before you visit beautiful Assam.
Some people tend to be camera shy; it is always nice to take permission before you take their photograph.
Avoid littering waste from your car window or in the streets. It creates a bad impression towards locals and other fellow travellers.
While shopping, be cautious of touts and agents who are only out there to coat you with fake items.
Be properly covered while entering a religious place. Be it a church or a temple or a monastery.
Females travellers should not venture alone at night, but if you do so, consider taking a friend along with you.
Respect and be polite to the native people of Assam, their habits and lifestyle.
For a responsible traveller, always preserve energy by minimizing the use of fans, lights and geysers in the hotel or anywhere else.
It is advisable to avoid buying crafts or merchandises made from protected or endangered animals.
To avoid last minute glitches, always double check your reservations for accommodation and transportation.
Do not enter a restricted or prohibited area, however, if you want to visit then always seek guidance and reason your visit in the police station.
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