Tezpur, ‘The cultural capital of Assam’, is located on the banks of river Brahmaputra. It is also known as the cleanest city of Assam because of its cleanliness and greenery. With its beautiful parks, hillocks, and scenic beauty, tourism in Tezpur is on the rise. Also famous for being Assam’s oldest inhabited city, ruins dating back to the 4th century can be explored here- a delight for history buffs and archaeology enthusiasts. \nThe picturesque landscape with its snow-clad Himalayan ranges and expansive tea gardens is sure to leave you with pleasant memories for a long time after you’ve left the city. While in Tezpur, you must also visit the Nameri National Park, Agnigarh- The impressive fire-fort, Bura-Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary, Chitralekha Udyan, District Museum, Ouguri Hill, Padum Pukhuri, Kalia Bhomora Setu, Nag-Sankar temple and Ketakeshwar Dewal temple.
Places to Visit
A visit to Tezpur is incomplete without visiting Agnigarh. The site illustrates the romance between Prince Aniruddha and Princess Usha and the fierce battle that was fought later by Lord Krishna and Banasura. Interestingly, this entire story has been retold by using life-like statues. These statues are spread across the vast fort-like area of Agnigarh. The place is a towering mass of land – a hillock – that can be climbed by a circular stairway that goes round Agnigarh.
Mahabhairav Temple is one of the most visited temples in Tezpur. Situated on the northern fringes of the city, the Mahabhairav Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Legend has it that originally Banasura, the demon king, had built the temple. Earlier it was a stone temple which was destroyed in the 1897 earthquake. The temple that stands today is made of concrete. The current structure was constructed by a famous monk popularly called Naga Baba. The Shiva Lingam in the temple is very huge. Standing on top of a small hillock, the Mahabhairav Temple has the idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman on both sides of the entrance. The gateway is elaborate with intricately carved out embellishments. Shivaratri, the popular Hindu festival held during February-March is celebrated with gusto in the Mahabhairav Temple. There is a large space all around the temple where devotees often sit and spend their time.
One cannot miss out the Padum Pukhuri while at Tezpur. Centrally located, it is a large lake with an island in the middle of it. The island is accessible only through a small iron bridge. The Padum Pukhuri is a common attraction for children. On a hot summer evening, strolling around the lake and standing on the island offers a pleasant experience. The main attractions of Padum Pukhuri are boating and the toy train ride for the children. There is also a musical fountain on the island that is played every evening. The ambience created by the music all around and the cool winds is awesome. Padum Pukhuri literally means the Lotus Lake, as “padum” in Assamese means a “lotus” and “pukhuri” means “lake”. Reaching Padum Pukhuri is not difficult. It is very close to the state transport bus station. Tourists cannot miss out on the lake while entering the city.
Cole Park is also known as the Chitralekha Park (it was recently rechristened with the later name). The park is named after the mythological character Chitralekha, the companion of Princess Usha who was also an excellent painter. There is a large, horseshoe-shaped lake in the middle of the park. The large grounds spreading across the lake is picturesque to say the least. Greenery is abundant all over, and it is quite a relaxing experience to spend time sitting on the cool grass during the evening. Cole Park is also famous for having the popular Bhomoraguri inscriptions, the ancient plans of the bridge to be built across the river Brahmaputra. Alongside the old Bhomoraguri plan, the complete information about the current Kolia Bhomora Bridge is also displayed for the public. Cole Park also has two stone ornamental pillars brought from the ruins of the Bamuni Hills.
Bhairabi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Situated on the outskirts of Tezpur, the temple overlooks the majestic Kolia Bhomora Bridge running across the river Brahmaputra. Bhairabi Temple is located close to the ruins of the Bamuni Hills. It is believed that Princess Usha, the daughter of Banasura used to regularly come here to pray to Goddess Durga. This signifies that the temple is very old. Animal sacrifice is still practiced in the temple. To reach the Bhairabi Temple, devotees and tourists have a long path of stairs. The temple is situated on top of a small hillock. Currently, the temple is managed by the office of the District Deputy Commissioner. Travelling to Bhairabi Temple is not difficult. Tourists can either book a vehicle or ride on one of the buses travelling on the route. Bhairabi Temple lies in the south of the city.
Ketakeshwar Dewal is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. A popular religious destination of the city, the Ketakeshwar Dewal has one of the largest Shiva Lingams in the world. It is unusual that the shrine actually consists of two parts. One part consists of the Linga and the other part where the base of the Linga is found. Owing to a massive earthquake, the Linga got separated from its base and stands where it is currently found. This is how the Ketakeshwar Dewal became popular in its present day form. When it shifted to its current location, there were only bamboo groves all round and the Lingam was out in the open. Later a complete shelter in the form of a temple was built around it. Visitors can freely visit the temple as it is open all year round. Currently the temple is managed by a local committee.
Kolia Bhomara Setu
If there is one thing that is very impressive in Tezpur, then it is the Kolia Bhomora Setu. This is the bridge that connects the Nagaon district with the Sonitpur district. Measuring 3.015 km, the bridge is an architectural brilliance too. The construction of this bridge marked the beginning of the development in the northeastern states. Built in six years (from 1981-1987), the bridge was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Before this bridge was constructed, this part of the country was literally cut off from other parts due to the mighty Brahmaputra. The bridge is named after the famous Ahom General Kolia Bhomora Phukan. Not only has the Kolia Bhomora Setu served as a lifeline to the Sonitpur district, but it is a very beautiful bridge. Standing on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and seeing the bridge connect one bank to the other is magnificent. The view is specially spectacular during sunrise and sunset.
The Hazara Pukhuri is the third largest water reservoir or tank in the city of Tezpur. Covering an area of 70 acres, the Hazara Pukhuri is an imposing attraction of the city. The Hazara Pukhuri is named after Hazara Varman and was probably excavated in the early 19th Century. While the River Brahmaputra brings respite from the summers by carrying the cool winds, the pukhuris or ponds within the city add to the cool ambience. The Hazara Pukhuri is no different. Its huge size only makes things more beautiful and charming for the residents of this city. Since Hazara Pukhuri is located within the city, tourists can easily take an evening stroll here on their way to the market or their hotel. Walking around the lake and sitting on the cool grasses is invigorating. Pukhuris are found all over Assam, and most of the cities have them in large numbers.
Bamuni Pahar or the Bamuni Hills is located a few kilometres away from Tezpur. The place is famous for the sculptural ruins that date back to the 9th and 10 century A.D. These sculptural ruins are found all over the hill. A close inspection of the sculptures show their strong resemblance to the Gupta period architecture. The Bamuni Pahar is also known as the Usha Pahar (named after Princess Usha). The most popular and famous ruined sculpture found on the Bamuni Hills is the Da Parbatia which probably belonged to the 4th Century A.D. There are a few ruined walls around the hill which have been carved out with stone. These stone carvings are known for their creative refinement. One of the interesting carvings found on one of the walls is the cross-shaped bracket lintel that is decorated with Kirtimukha panels and has the drawings of 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Rudrapada Temple is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is believed that Lord Shiva’s left foot’s impression is imprinted on the premises of the temple. Lord Shiva’s ‘rudra’ form is worshipped in the temple. ‘Rudra’ is the fierce form of Lord Shiva and ‘pada’ means footprints – thus the name Rudrapada. It is believed according to a legend that Lord Shiva has shown his real form here to Banasura, the demon king in this spot. However, according to archaeological evidence, the temple was built around 1730 by Siva Singh. The footprint is printed on a stone slate and preserved in this temple. The Maha Shivratri is one of the main festivals celebrated in the Rudrapada Temple. Since it is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra, the view from this small temple is magnificent. Tezpur has one of the best views of this mighty river.
Must Try Food in Tezpur
1. Saffron Restaurant Bar & Banquet
2. Hotel Mousumi
3. Naga Kitchen
4. Radheshyam Hotel
5. Chandni Chowk Food Court
6. Flames N Fumes
7. The Silver Spoon
8. Singpho Shat Gawk
9. Maaihang by KRC
How To Get Here.
Tezpur domestic airport, the Salonibari Airport, operates flights from Kolkata and Silchar via Air India. The nearest International Airport from Tezpur is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati. The airport is a hub for domestic flights to North-East India. It is well connected to all major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Imphal, Lilabari, and Jaipur via several airlines like Air India, Pawan Hans, and Indigo. Druk Air operates international flights to Bangkok and Bhutan. Helicopter services are operated from Guwahati to Shillong, Tura, Naharlagun (Itanagar), and Tawang by Pawan Hans.
Travelling via road is perhaps the most convenient way to travel to Tezpur. Regular buses are available at frequent intervals to and from the city. There are a number of options to choose from like Government buses and private buses, which include luxury buses too. The ASTC (Assam State Transport Corporation), operating in the state, connects all the major areas of Assam such as Tezpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Nagaon and Guwahati and also the neighbouring areas of Itanagar, Bamdila, Tawang and Siliguri. Frequent buses are available from Paltan Bazar bus stand in Guwahati to Tezpur. The fare varies between 75/- and 115/- depending on the type of buses.
Journey Suggestion: Travelling to Tezpur via car is another common option for tourists in Tezpur. Connected by the NH37 Highway, it takes around three and a half hours to cover the 185 km distance from Guwahati to Tezpur. The well-maintained roads ensure a comfortable and quick journey.
The Dekargaon Railway Station, located 10 km away from Tezpur, is accessible from all the major cities of Assam via various local trains. However, Rangapara North Railway Station, which lies on the Misamari-North Lakhimpur Railway line, is the nearest major railway station. Trains are available at this station to connect Rangpara to Tezpur.