Sivasagar, the heartland of Ahom kingdom is a tourist hotspot of Assam and it is home to not just legendary cultural structures but the place is also full of picturesque locations.
Formerly known as Rongpur, Sivasagar was the capital of Ahom kingdom and even today the fragrance of the Ahom’s lingers in the environment.
Being the only place to have the largest number of Ahom monuments, travellers from all over the country and across the globe visit this to experience the royalness of the bygone era.
Sivasagar can be defined as the land where Sati Jaymati breathed her last, where Dikhow crave its path towards the Brahmaputra, where the gold dome of Shiva Dol touches the sky, where the memory of Ajan Fakir lingers at Ajan Pir Dargah, where the largest man-made tank of Asia exists, where Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Talatal Ghar seems to be the pride, where Pani Dihing gives shelter to the migratory birds.
Sivasagar, also known as Sibasagar, is about 360 kilometres from Guwahati.
The district is bounded by the river Brahmaputra to the north, Nagaland to the south, the Charaideo district to the east and the Jhanji River to the west.
Sivasagar town is well-connected with the rest of the places. In terms of transportation, the nearest airport is the Rowriah Airport in the Jorhat district and the nearest railway station is the Sivasagar Railway Station.
The grand trunk road which passes through the outskirt of the town area connects the town with the rest of the places.
If anyone intends to visit this place, which is rich in history and heritage, they won’t find the slightest problem and it should be an easy entry.
The main tourist attractions of the district are the historic monuments- Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, Kareng Ghar, the Dols and Borpukhuri.
The Dols and the Borpukhuri are located at the heart of the town while the others are located at its outskirts.
Recognised as one of the top pilgrimage sites of Sivasagar, the dols- the Shiv Dol, the Devi Dol and the Vishnu Dol- were built in the year 1734 by Bar Raja Ambika, queen of Ahom king Swargadeo Siba Singha.
Shiva Dol is the tallest temple in the northeast, which is built in the Shikhara architecture. The central tower of Shiva Dol is said to be the tallest Shiva temple tower in India.
The kalasha of this temple is made out of gold and its outer walls comprise various sculptures of goddess Durga which are seen carved with 2 arms, 4 arms, 6 arms, 10 arms and 16 arms.
Shiva Dol is surrounded by two subsidiary temples- Vishnu Dol which is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu and Devi Dol is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
The Sibsagar Borpukhuri (Sivasagar tank) beside which these temples are located was constructed two centuries ago by Bar Raja Ambika in the 18th century.
According to historian Mills, this tank was constructed in one night. One of the major attractions of this tank is that the water level of this tank never changes which highlights the advanced hydrology of the Ahom period.
This tank, which is one of the oldest structures of Assam, is also a habitat for migratory birds during winter and also the abode for various water flowering plants. Beside the tank is the residence of almost every civil servant of the District and the Tai Ahom Museum and this adds a different aura to the entire area.
The road that surrounds the tank is covered with various trees which gives a magnificent view during the spring and autumn. An evening stroll through that road around the tank will remain a lifelong memory for any visitors.
Almost at a distance of 3 kilometres from the heart of Sivasagar town is the Rang Ghar (the house of entertainment).
This two-story building was built during the reign of Swargadeo Rudra Singha with bamboo and wood which was later rebuilt with bricks by Swargadeo Pramatta Singha in 1744-1750 AD.
Rang Ghar once served as the royal sports pavilion where Ahom kings and nobles were the spectators to games like buffalo fights and other sports that were mainly played during Rongali Bihu.
Today the entrance of this monument is covered with various flowers and during Bohag Bihu, hundreds of Bihu dancers gather on the premise to perform Bihu for thousands of spectators who throng the place from near and far.
Another tourist attraction of this princely district is the Kareng Ghar- which is located at a distance of 15 kilometres from the heart of the town.
This Ahom palace is made of wood and stone which was rebuilt by Sunenphaa, son of Sukhrungpha in the year 1752 with bricks. This ruin of the Ahom Palace is one of the major tourist attractions of the district.
Talatal Ghar is located at a distance of 4 kilometres from the heart of the present Sivasagar town and this is one of the grandest structures of the Tai -Ahom architecture.
This house as built as a military base has two underground secrets tunnels and three underground floors which were used as exit routes during wars. Now the tunnels have been sealed for tourists.
Adjacent to the Talatal Ghar is the Uttaran Museum- the outcome of the solo effort and dedication of Dr Durlov Bora. This museum is widely popular among historians, researchers and masses.
This museum, over the years, has emerged as a popular tourist destination as the museum showcases objects of various tribes of the northeast apart from various other artefacts and natural objects.
Within a radius of 1.5 kilometres from the Talatal Ghar is the Joysagar Borpukhuri which is the largest man-made tank of Assam.
The tank is surrounded by various important landmarks like the Sibsagar College, the three dols and the Rudrasingha Udyan.
Along with witnessing the greatest landmarks of the Ahom’s the surrounding of Joysagar tank gives a person the opportunity to connect with nature away from all the hustle and bustle of the town.
Another place where visitors can go and watch migratory birds along with connecting with nature is Pohugarh.
Located at a distance of 3 kilometres from Joysagar, Pohugarh is a place where people go to watch migratory birds. Along with birds, this place is a favourite spot for fish lovers.
If you are in Sivasagar and you are a fish lover then do make a point to visit the place in the early morning hours and grad hold the best among the best local fish of the area. And yes, the fishes are tasty and you won't be disappointed with your buy.
Situate 13 kilometres from Sivasagar is Gaurisagar, which is popular for the Devi Dol- the oldest of all the dols constructed by the Ahoms.
The Devi Dol is the place where Boroja Phuleshwari Knowari once offered puja to Goddess Durga. This is the biggest among the three dols. These three dols and the Gaurisagar Borpukhuri is the pride of the people who reside here. Situated in a straight line at the northern part of the Gaurisagar tank, these dols rarely attract tourists in spite of having a glorious past.
Another major attraction of the district is the Namdang Stone Bridge, which is located on NH-37. We cross the bridge while travelling from Sivsagar to Gaurisagar and the bridge is regarded as one of the greatest Ahom structures. The bridge was carved out of one single stone.
Sivasagar also has a lot to offer for those who love the river banks and are enthusiasts to witness the sunrise casting a spell of unmatching beauty on the rivers. For them, Dishangmukh is the place to be in. The place, apart from its picturesque view, is also popular for the local brews and the traditional food of the ethnic communities who live in nearby villages. The most popular among all is the brew and the traditional food of the Mishing community. The place is just 10 kilometres from Sivasagar town and your trip to the district would remain incomplete if you do not visit Disangmukh.
Situated at around a distance of 22 kilometres from Sivasagar town is the famous Saraguri Chapori where the Ajan Pir Dargah is located. This sacred mausoleum was built in the memory of a well known Muslim reformer and saint named Ajan Fakir. This is a popular tourist destination for the people visiting the district.
One of the prized possessions of Sivasagar District is the Bakhar Bengena or the Divine Jasmine which is a 580-year-old tree which is located in the Bokota area of the district and this tree bears testimony of the grandeur of the Ahom kingdom.
The Pani Dihing Wildlife Sanctuary, which homes over 267 species of birds and 70 species of migratory birds, is another popular tourist destination. Hundreds of nature lovers visit this sanctuary.
There are proper places of accommodation with quality food for tourists and anyone who has visited Sivasagar for once, has returned for a second time as well. Well, that's the beauty of this place.