Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sivsagar Town - where remnants of Ahom architecture beckons you!

Situated at a distance of about 360 km. northeast of Guwahati, Sivsagar (ocean of "Lord Shiva"), is synonymous for Ahom palaces and monuments. This town was formerly known as Rongpur.

Getting there: -

  • Air: - the closest airport is in Jorhat, which is about an hours drive from this place. Then there is the airport in Dibrugarh, at a distance of about 80 km. There are regular flights to the rest of the country to and from these two airports.
  • Road: - the more adventurous type can opt to drive down from Guwahati, taking in the sights and sounds en route. But in any case, even if one flies down to Jorhat or Dibrugarh to visit this town, the road trip is inevitable. But travelling through lush tea gardens and local populace, is worth the bumps and grinds!
  • Rail: - Not too well connected by rail, the nearest rail-head is located at Simulguri, a thirty minute drive from the town. Here, one can avail long distance trains to Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkatta etc.
Accommodation: - 
There is no dirth of decent places to stay in this monumental town. From hotels to government tourist lodges, one can pick and choose according to one's budget!

Attractions: - 
It is the remnants of bygone Ahom architecture that beckons one to this historic town!

  • Rang-ghar: - the amphitheatre of the Ahom's! This double-storeyd domeshaped structure, said to be the largest of its kind, was where the Ahom kings were regaled by their subjects!

  • Rongpur palace: -this is a beauty of Ahom construction! It is a seven storied structure, where four of those stories are above ground, called the Kareng-ghar and three stories below ground level, known as the Talatal - ghar. The underground structure was built as an army base with two large tunnels as escape routes during invasions and wars, one connecting to a river and the other comming out at another place! The entrance to the Talatal - ghar has since been closed off to visitors for security reasons.
  • Borpukhuri: -
    One of the striking features of this town, this 1.04 water body is situated at a higher elevation than the town, where the water level never goes down.
  • Temples ('Dols' in Assamese): -
    Standing tall at 104 ft. on the banks of the Borpukhuri, the Shivadol is the most prominent of all the temples. Two other temples, namely, Vishnudol and Devidol are also in the same compound. Built in 1734 by Kuwari Ambika, wife of the illustrious Ahom king Swargadeo Siba Singha, the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. 
  • Joysagar: - 
    Situated about 5 km. on the egde of the town, this 1.27 sq. km. water body is said to be the biggest man-made lake in the country!  It bears testimony to the architectural prowess of the Ahoms. The brain child of Swargadeo Rudra Singha, this lake was built to honour his mother Joymoti. 
  • Maidams (Vaults): -
    The last resting lace of the Ahom kings. These vaults or Maidams, where the body of the king would be laid to rest are dome shaped mounds that are sealed from the outside. Mostly found around Charaideo, the first capital of the Ahom kingom set up Siu-Ka-Phaa and Jorhat, these Maidams bear mute testimony to the bygone Ahom era!

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