Formerly known as ‘Rangpur’, the historic town of Sivasagar attracts a lot of tourists for leisure and sightseeing purposes. The town was the capital of the mighty Ahoms who ruled Assam for more than 600 years before the arrival of the British and hence it has been associated with royalty since then. This historical city of Assam, covers an area of 2668 square kilometres and constitutes of three sub-divisions –Sivasagar, Charaideo and Nazira. Situated 363kms east of Guwahati and 55kms east of Jorhat, Sivasagar is home to several appealing monuments and temples. In the present times, Sivasagar stands as an important centre for tea and oil industries.
The following are the major tourist attraction spots in this region:
An hour’s drive from Sivasagar town, is Charaideo which has 42 burial tombs of the Ahom kings and queens. These maidams have some resemblance with the pyramids of Egypt. The exemplary architectural skills and craftsmanship of the masons and architects of medieval Assam are revealed in the numerous pillars and burial sites of this historical place. Visitors tend to remain awestruck and spellbound by its architectural majesty and brilliance. Charaideo allures a large number of tourists all-round the year.
Situated at a distance of about 12kms from the heart of the Sivasagar town, Gausisagar Tank is one of the major tourist destination in Assam. Established around 200years ago, the tank is enclosed with three temples – Durga Temple, Vishnu Temple and Shiva Temple. The tanks along with the three temples built on its bank are dedicated to the Goddess of power – Goddess Durga and her many forms. Constructed by the former queen of the Ahom Kingdom, Rani Phuleshwari Devi, an ardent worshipper of Sakta Hinduism,thousands of devotees come to the temples to offer their prayers. Apart from the devotion, the tank also provides scope for picnics where natives and tourists can have a day of fun.
Known as the biggest man-made lake in the country, Joysagar Tank was built by the Ahom king, SwargadeoRudraSingha, in memory of his mother, Joymoti. A set of three temples had been constructed on the northern bank of the Joysagar Tank. Most well-known amongst the three is the Joy Dol or KesavanarayanVishnudole. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and His many incarnations. There are two small temples situated behind the main shrine, devoted to Lord Surya and Lord Ganesha. The beautiful architectural designs and patterns of the temple are a treat to the eyes. People come from different places to appreciate and admire these ancient exquisite creations of the Ahom Dynasty.
Built by the Ahom King Lakshmi Singha in 1773, Rudrasagar Tank was constructed in memory of his father King RudraSingha. A Shiva temple (worship of Lord Shiva) is located on its bank, at a distance of 8kms from the Sivasagar town.
KARENG GHAR AND TALATAL GHAR
Situated about 4kms south to Sivasagar town, is the the seven-storeyed KarengGhar and TalatalGhar. The upper four storeys are known as KarengGhar, and the three underground floors are known as TalatalGhar. This palace was originally established for the purpose of serving as an army base for the Ahom kings. There are two underground tunnels connecting TalatalGhar and Gargaon Palace with the Dikhow river which was used as an emergency exit during war times. Visitors can only have a tour on the ground floor and certain sections of the upper floors. The underground storeys have been completely shut off. Even in the present times, the seven storeyed palace stands proud and tall in the Sivasagar district of Assam, serving as a major attraction among tourists and researchers from across the globe. A must-visit place for tourists who are interested in the rich cultural heritage of Assam.
Well known as the oldest amphitheatre in the whole of Asia, the two-storeyed Rang Ghar is located to the northeast of the TalatalGhar in the Joysagararea of Sivasagar district. This ancient amphitheatre was built by Ahom ruler SwargadeoPramuttaSingha. Often referred to as the ‘Colosseum of the East’, Rang Ghar was the royal sports ground of the Ahom kings and nobles who enjoyed watching a number of games like buffalo fight, bull fight and other traditional games organised for the entertainment of the royalty. The Rang Ghar was mainly constructed for the purpose of amusement and fun. There is a design of an Ahom royal long boat on the roof of the two-storeyed Ghar. It serves as a major tourist spot and one will not regret visiting this place.
A major tourist attraction in Sivasagar is the Shiva Dol, one of the most divine and esteemed pilgrimage centres in India. Situated on the banks of the 200-year-old Sivasagar Tank, it stands out as the tallest Shiva temple in North-East India and the highest Hindu temple in India, with its height of 104 feet and a perimeter of 195 feet at the base. This majestic temple is enclosed by two small temples namely Vishnu Dol and Devi Dol, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Durga. The numerous walls and pillars within the temple are engraved with figures and images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Tourists and devotees from all across the world visit this massive and sacred temple. The most important festival celebrated here is Mahashivaratri.
Located just besides the Shiva Dol is the Vishnu Dol, which is devoted to the worship of Lord Vishnu. The architecture of the temple has great significance attached to it. Daily prayers and kirtans are held within the temple premises throughout the Bhada month (a month in the Hindu calendar). Visitors and devotees are welcome to visit the temple to get a glimpse of the Lord, throughout the year.
Situated adjacent to the Shiva Dol and Vishnu Dol is the Devi Dol, which is devoted to the worship of the Hindu Goddess of Power, Durga. The most important festival celebrated in this temple is Durga Puja, observed twice a year, one in the month of Chaitra (April-May) and other one in the month of Ashwin (September-October). Devotees from different parts visit this temple to offer their prayers to the Goddess.
On the southern banks of Devi Dol is the Tai Ahom Museum, which stocks artefacts from the Ahom kingdoms and their rulers, including vestments, swords, manuscripts, goblets and household utensils.
CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH
The Central Baptist Church is situated in the heart of the Sivasagar town, by the Sivasagar tank. It was originally constructed in 1845 by Rev Nathan Brown who played a significant role in reclamation of Assamese language as official language after the British had replaced it with Bengali.
AJAN PIR DARGAH
Built in the memory of the great Muslim reformer and Saint Hazrat Shah Milan also known as AjanPir, AjanPirDargah is situated about 22kms from Sivasagar, at SaraiguriChapori region on the banks of the river Dikhow. It is a popular pilgrimage destination in Assam. Every year, on the occasion of URS, thousands of devotees gather to pay homage to the great reformer.
Situated around 12kms from Sivasagar town over the vast Namdang river, the famous Namdang Bridge was constructed in 1703 by King RudraSingha of the Ahom Dynasty. What is remarkable is that this bridge was built from a single solid rock. In present times, NH – 37 passes through this bridge.
CHALOPOTHAR SHYAM GAON
The oldest Buddhist temple in Assam is located at Moniting area of Chalopothar in Sivasagar district.
PANIDIHING WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
A divine abode to 165 species of birds including both migratory and resident birds, Panidihing Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the southern bank of the river Brahmaputra in the Sivasagar district, and 22kms away from the Sivasagar town. Some common birds to be found in this wetland eco-system are bar-headed goose, grey leg goose, spot billed duck, red-crested pochard, adjutant stork, open-bill stork, white necked stork etc. Several varieties of fish along with different species of snakes, frogs and other amphibian and reptiles have been identified here.
The nearest airport is the Jorhat airport which is 75kms away from Sivasagar. Dibrugarh airport is 95kms away. Taxis are available from the airports. The Dibrugarh-Banglaore Express connects through Sivasagar Town railway station. The nearest railway station is at Simalguri, 16kms from Sivasagar. Sivasagar is well connected by road with the rest of the state. State-run buses, private buses and taxis are available for hire.