Nestled in the heart of Assam, the beautiful city of Tezpur is often referred to as the “City of Eternal Love,” Tezpur is a hidden gem that mesmerizes visitors with its historical significance, cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty. The city lies on the northern banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River, approximately 175 kilometers (109 miles) northeast of Guwahati. The city is situated in the Sonitpur district of Assam.
Tezpur occupies a significant and strategically influential position as a base for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. It holds vital importance for the nation’s operations, given its proximity to neighboring countries such as China, Tibet, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
This historic city is blessed with an abundance of serene blue hills, flourishing green valleys, cascading tea gardens, and several hillocks encompassing it from all sides. Its numerous archaeological sites, profound mythological connections, and mesmerizing natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for every traveler.
History and Culture
Tezpur carries a profound historical legacy that traces its roots back to ancient times. According to legend, it was the fabled kingdom of Sonitpur, mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. Nestled in the lap of Assam’s natural splendor, Tezpur becomes the backdrop for the mythical love story between Princess Usha, the daughter of King Baana, and Prince Anirudha, the grandson of Lord Krishna. It was within the realm of the city that this tale of love unfolded, ultimately culminating in one of the most renowned celestial battles.
The battle of Sonitpur raged with such intensity that both sides suffered heavy casualties, and the entire city was drenched in blood. As a result, the region earned the name ‘Tezpur’ (City of Blood), derived from the Assamese word ‘Tez,’ meaning ‘blood.’ While the legend of Tezpur finds its origins in folklore, it still evokes the indescribable romance and the tragic tale that bestowed the city with its evocative name.
Festivals and Celebrations
Tezpur lits up with vibrant festivities during its yearly festivals. The Tezpur Mahotsav stands as a magnificent occasion, displaying the cultural legacy of Assam through musical performances, captivating dances, art exhibitions, and showcasing handicrafts. In Tezpur, the Bihu festival, which holds utmost significance in Assam, is joyously celebrated with fervent enthusiasm.
Best Places to Visit in Tezpur
Agnigarh in Tezpur is a popular tourist destination and picnic spot. with a fascinating history. It was built by King Baana, who imprisoned his daughter Princess Usha there to separate her from her lover, Prince Anirudha. An epic battle took place, resulting in Tezpur’s name, meaning “blood.” Today, Agnigarh offers stunning views, a circular staircase, and unforgettable sunsets. Today, Agnigarh stands as a prominent tourist attraction in Tezpur, featuring a circular staircase that leads to the hill’s summit. From there, visitors can behold breathtaking views of the city and the river, while experiencing one of the most captivating sunsets of their lives.
Standing atop a hillock in the northern part of Tezpur, the Mahabhairab Temple is a timeless wonder steeped in history. With origins dating back to pre-historic times, this ancient shrine, founded by King Bana, adds to the allure and enchantment of Tezpur. Devoted to Lord Shiva, the temple proudly houses one of the largest Shiva Lingams globally. While the original construction was crafted from stone, the temple underwent a renovation, showcasing intricate concrete work in its current form.
Chitralekha Udyan (Cole Park)
Chitralekha Udyan is a mesmerizing place in Tezpur. Surrounded by misty hills, lush landscapes, and serene lakes, it offers breathtaking scenic beauty. Visitors can enjoy boating in the peaceful lake and explore open spaces, an open-air stage, and restaurants. The park also houses ancient relics, including the notable Bhomoraguri inscription depicting plans for a bridge over the Brahmaputra River. Chitralekha Udyan is a unique haven of tranquility and cultural treasures.
Among the many lakes in the city, Padum Pukhuri stands out as a prominent gem. Known as the “lake of lotuses,” it captivates visitors with its serene beauty. The lake has been transformed into a delightful park, featuring a small island connected to the mainland by an enchanting iron bridge. Enjoying a ride on the toy train amidst a joyous evening with loved ones adds to the charm of this place. Furthermore, the park offers opportunities for water sports such as rowing and paddling. It is a favorite destination for locals to take leisurely strolls in the evening, creating a lively atmosphere.
Situated on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river, the Rudrapada Temple holds a significant place in Tezpur. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is believed to bear the imprint of his left foot, symbolizing his fierce form known as Rudra. According to legends, it is the sacred spot where Lord Shiva revealed his true self to King Bana. The temple, built around 1730 by Siva Singh, preserves a stone slate with a divine footprint. Maha Shivratri, a major festival, is celebrated with devotion at the Rudrapada Temple. From this small temple, located on the eastern side of the city, one can witness the magnificent view of the Brahmaputra River.
Spanning a length of 3 kilometers, the magnificent Kalia Bhomoraguri Setu extends over the majestic Brahmaputra River. This bridge pays tribute to the esteemed Kalia Bhomora Phukan, who spearheaded its construction during the rule of the Ahom dynasty. Serving as a vital link between Sonitpur and Nagaon districts, this concrete marvel took six years to complete. Recognized for its exceptional construction and concrete structure, the bridge has been honored by the esteemed American Concrete Institute. As night falls, the bridge transforms into a spectacle, its illuminated lights adorning the Brahmaputra like a splendid necklace. This vantage point offers breathtaking views of the sunrise, a captivating scene that demands to be captured through the lens.
The renowned Bamuni Hills display exquisite artistic finesse in their ancient ruins. These remains, dating back to the 9th and 10th century A.D., feature captivating stone carvings and statues. The site is believed to have served as a prison for Aniruddha, Lord Krishna’s nephew, due to his forbidden love. The art style indicates the Gupta period, and although the temple’s builder is unknown, it is thought to be dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the Nagara style. The area’s prime attractions are the intricate stone figurines and rock sculptures, showcasing the talent of ancient artists. The picturesque setting overlooking the Brahmaputra River further enhances the site’s allure.
Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary
Spanning 44.06 square kilometers on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Sonitpur district, this wildlife sanctuary offers a unique experience. Located approximately 30 kilometers from Tezpur City, it showcases a diverse range of flora and fauna. Bura Chapori sanctuary is particularly renowned for its impressive bird population, including rare species like the endangered Bengal Florican, Black-necked Stork, Mallard, Open-billed Stork, Teal, and Whistling Duck. The grasslands are adorned with various medicinal herbs and plants, adding to the sanctuary’s natural splendor.
Nameri National Park
Situated just 35 kilometers away, nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, lies the sprawling Nameri National Park spanning over 200 square kilometers. This biodiverse haven offers a captivating wildlife experience, granting sightings of elephants, tigers, leopards, Bengal foxes, sambar deer, jungle cats, and more. The park is not only a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures but also boasts a rich collection of rare Himalayan plant species. In addition to wildlife exploration, visitors can partake in a plethora of exciting activities, including swimming, river rafting, and much more.
Best Time to Visit
Tezpur stands out as a year-round destination, offering an ideal place to visit in every season. The summer season, with its temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius, is particularly recommended. However, exploring Tezpur during the winter and monsoon seasons can also be a rewarding experience. It is crucial to be mindful of the unpredictable rainfall during the monsoons and exercise caution due to the frequent floods caused by the Brahmaputra River.
How to Get There:
The Salonibari Airport is situated just 10 kilometers away from Tezpur. It enjoys excellent connectivity with important cities such as Guwahati, Kolkata, and Jorhat. Passengers have access to convenient bus and cab services from the airport, ensuring a seamless journey to the city.
The closest railway connection to Tezpur is the Rangapara North Railway Station, which is situated along the Misamari-North Lakhimpur railway line. Additionally, there are numerous trains available from Guwahati railway station that provide convenient transportation to Tezpur.
The most popular and convenient mode of transportation to reach Tezpur is by road. Regular bus services, including those operated by the Assam State Transportation Corporation (ASTC) and private bus services, are available to and from Tezpur.
The ASTC buses serve as a connecting link between Tezpur and various important destinations in Assam such as Guwahati, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Sibsagar, and Nagaon. They also provide transportation to neighboring places like Bomdila, Itanagar, Siliguri, and Tawang.