ASSAM

 

Known as the land of the red river and the blue hills, Assam is a popular tourist destination. It is situated in the north-east of India, just south of the eastern Himalayan Mountains. In fact, it is India’s eastern-most projection of the Indian tectonic plate. It is surrounded by Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya as well the countries of Bangladesh and Bhutan. Its unique positioning - connected to the rest of India by the Siliguri Corridor and sharing international borders - means that Assam has some connections with South-East Asian cultures. This is very important in terms of some of India’s policies. It was only in 1826 that Assam became a part of India under British rule.

The Brahmaputra River Valley and the Barak River Valley both form important parts of Assam’s geography. These rivers are essential to the survival of the rich variety of fauna and flora, making this one of the most fascinating destinations for nature enthusiasts. In fact, Assam is home to the one-horned rhinoceros, which was on the very brink of extinction, as well as the tiger and Asian Elephant (for which it provides one of the last natural habitats in the world). This area also benefits from a particularly high rainfall, which makes for lush, dense vegetation. This not only creates a stunning visual spectacle, but is also responsible for feeding the many animals that live in these environments. Assam benefits from its wealth of Limestone, gas and coal, along with other important minor minerals.

Summer highs can reach up to about 35 degrees Celsius while winter days may rise to only eight degrees. Assam is particularly wet and humid with frequent thunderstorms in some places.

This area is not only home to the endangered one-horned rhino, but several other threatened species, including the
Image of the Assam Valley from space
Assam Valley from high altitude
Golden Langur, Bengal Florican, Hoolock Gibbon and Pygmy Hog, amongst others.

Approximately 65% of the Assam residents subscribe to the Hindu faith, while a relatively high number of people are Islam (over 30%). The remaining minorities belong to different faiths, including Jainism and Christianity.

Assam experienced rulership under a number of very strong and influential dynasties over the course of several hundred years. This resulted in a mixture of ideals and beliefs communicated in a diversity of styles in terms of art, literature, religion, cuisine, theatre and so on. In fact, even the Assamese languages were influenced by the introduction of other cultures and nationalities. These outside stimuli also created a response in the Assamese to focus on their own culture in an effort to maintain their own individuality. Such opposite reactions occurring at once has created a multifaceted and somewhat complicated society of people in this state. This assimilation can especially be seen in the theatre and literature of the time in which Britain was ruling over India, where a distinctly Westernised flavour permeated all of their traditional Indian styles. Therefore, to define Assamese culture is very difficult. However, there are some outstanding identifying features. These include being extraordinarily hospitable, wearing and revering traditional and symbolic clothing, and respecting both the elderly and the forefathers.

Tourists will enjoy watching some of the annual festivals celebrated by the people of Assam. These include Me-dam-me-phi, Hapsa Hatarnai, Rongker and Sokk-erroi. Other tourist attractions are the Kaziranga National Park, Jatinga (home of the suicidal birds), Hajo and the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

For more information, please view: http://assamgovt.nic.in/


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