Assam, the most accessible of all Northeastern states is known for its rich and diverse wildlife, amazing traditional cuisine, vibrant dance forms, and its hospitality. Although known generally to the outside world as the home of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty Brahmaputra, the lofty plains, and diverse culture, the beautiful state of Assam has much more to offer than just these.
Here are some fascinating facts about Assam that you probably didn’t know:
1. Asia’s oldest refinery and the birthplace of crude oil “Digboi”
Digboi in Assam is an oil town where oil was first discovered in the early 18th century. Digboi prides itself to have two unique features: a 100-year-old oil field and the world’s oldest operating oil refinery.
2. Assam has its own state anthem
“O Mur Apunar Dekh” is the song of the state. It was written by Lakshminath Bezbarua and edited by Kamala Prasad Agarwala. It was officially adopted as the anthem of the state of Assam
3. Guwahati – the gateway to northeast India
Guwahati, the largest city in the sate and the Northeast, has the best road, rail and air connectivity to travel to any part of the world. Hence, it is known as the ‘Gateway to Northeast India’.The city is located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River.
4. Bird’s Suicidal Point at Jatinga
Jatinga, a beautiful village in the Borail mountain range, is a well-known bird suicide site. Every year from September to November, Jatinga makes headlines due to mass suicides of birds. Not only local birds but even migratory birds fly here to commit suicide.
5. Asia’s Largest Dry Fish Market
The largest dry fish market in Asia is located at Jagiroad in the Marigaon district. There are various freshwater and saltwater fish, which are mostly brought to the area from places such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Bangladesh.
6. World’s largest tea-growing region “across the state”
Assam has the largest tea-growing area in the world, accounting for one-seventh of the global tea production. That is why it is popularly called the ‘Tea Capital of the World’.
7. Assam silk is famous all over the world
Assam is known for producing all four types of silk. Sericulture has been practiced in the state since ancient times and is proud of the traditional production of Muga and Eri silk. Muga culture is endemic to Assam and is the largest producer of the famous golden silk Muga in the world.
8. Ahom Kings – The longest continuously ruling dynasty
The longest ruling dynasty in India, which ruled for almost 600 years, the Ahom dynasty was founded by Sukaphaa, a Shan prince from present-day Myanmar and China. The dynasty’s rule ended in 1826 with the Burmese invasion of Assam, which forced the Ahom King to seek British help. Eventually, this led to the British conquest of Assam.
9. World’s Biggest And Smallest River Island
Assam is famous for “Majuli”, the world’s largest river island, and the lesser-known “Umananda”, the smallest inhabited river island in the world. Both of these islands are located on the Brahmaputra River.
10. Highest diversity of birds in India
Assam is one of the “endemic bird areas” in the world. With 950 species of birds, the state is home to 53.5% of the bird species found on the Indian subcontinent and 17 bird species are endemic to Assam.
11. Mayong- The Witchcraft Village
The village of Mayong in Assam is a land filled with tales of spells and magic. Located on the banks of the Brahmaputra in the beautiful Morigaon district, this pristine village has been the centre of black magic for centuries.
12. Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The state boasts of two World Heritage UNESCO – Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary and Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. Both of which are famous for their one-horned rhinos.
13. Assam State Zoo – Largest in Northeast India
It is located in the heart of Guwahati city and is home to various mammals, reptiles and also rare species of other animals. It is surrounded by hills, gardens and natural water.
14. The Ever-Burning Lamp at a Vaishnavite monastery in Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar
The earthen lamp at Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar (Namghar is a place of worship in Assam), built by Saint-Reformator Madhavdeva and located in Jorhat, Assam, has been burning continuously for 484 years since its first lit in 1461 by the saint himself.
15. Ranghar – The oldest amphitheater in Asia is located in Sibsagar, Assam
Rang Ghar is the oldest amphitheater in Asia. This is a royal sports pavilion of the Ahom kings and is often been referred to as the ‘Colosseum of the East’.
16. World Famous Spicy Chili- Bhut Jolokia
One of the hottest chillis in the world, Bhoot Jolokia, which literally means Ghost Chilli, is also known as red Naga Chilli. It is primarily cultivated in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. In 2007, the Guinness Book of Records certified it as the hottest pepper in the world.
17. Bihu is the center point of Assam’s culture
Bihu marks the season of change and is celebrated as the state festival of Assam. Bihu is celebrated three times a year and has three different names, Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu (in January), Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu in April and Konglai Bihu or Kati Bihu in December.
18. India’s largest Shaktipeeth “Maa Kamakhya Temple”
The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas associated with the sect that follows Sati and remains one of the most important temples in Shakta. Kamakhya Temple is the most powerful and oldest of all 51 Shaktipeeths.
19. India’s longest bridge “Bhupen Hazarika Bridge”
Bhupen Hazarika Setu, also known the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge, is a beam bridge in India, connecting the northeast states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It is the longest bridge of spanning 9150 meters constructed over Lohit river in Tinsukia (Assam).
20. Bogibeel Bridge- Asia’s Second Longest Rail-Cum-Road Bridge
The Bogibeel Bridge, known as the second-longest Rail-cum-Road bridge, spans over the Brahmaputra River. The bridge is said to have a serviceable lifespan of about 120 years.
21. Dhola Sadiya Bridge – the longest river bridge in India
Home to Dhola–Sadiya Bridge, also referred to as the Bhupen Hazarika Setu, is the longest river Bridge in India. It connects Assam with neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge spans over 9 km in length and reduces the travel time between the two states from 6 hours to just an hour.