Assam - In the North Eastern part of India, is a mixing urn where culture, heritage, tradition, lifestyle, faith and belief of her Aryan & Non-Aryan, numerous tribes & sub-tribes, Mongoloids & Australoids, drawn from various hives at different points of time have gone into form the Assamese culture - a fascinating and exotic recipe of delightful flavor.

Assam is a home to several wildlife sanctuaries which are a home to endangered and rare species and orchids.North East is a hub of wide variety of flora and fauna.

Orchids are abundantly found in Assam; a variety - Khopo phul(Fox tailed orchid), Bhatou Phul or Vanda coerulea etc. Assam has several attractive destinations; majority of these are National Parks, Wildlife and Bird Sanctuaries.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shillong: Adobe of clouds

Adobe of clouds
State : Meghalaya, in the north east of India.
Best time to travel : October to March
Weather Conditions : Pleasant, pollution-free; Summers: The temperature varies from 23 degree Celsius; Winters: The temperature varies from 4 degree Celsius.
Location : Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is just 56 km Cherrapunji, the world's wettest place.

Shillong in Meghalaya
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is a hill town, situated in the north eastern part of India. Shillong in Meghalaya is situated at an altitude of 1496 m above sea level. Shillong remained the capital of Assam, before the formation of Meghalaya in the 1974. The place, the people and the climate all combined together to create an amiable atmosphere, to make Shillong Meghalaya an ideal holiday destination throughout the year. Cherrapunjee, the wettest place on earth is only 56 kms away from Shillong. Shillong has beautiful lakes and waterfalls, and is set in pine forests and green mountains. It is a popular hill-station which the British used to call the Scotland of the East.

Journey to Shillong, the Capital City of Meghalaya
Airport : Guwahati is the nearest airport from where Shillong can be reached by bus or car. Daily buses also connect Shillong with Guwahati airport. Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, under the aegis of the Government of Meghalaya, has commenced regular helicopter flights connecting Shillong and Tura to Guwahati.

Railhead : Guwahati is the nearest railhead and is well-connected to the rest of the country.

Road Transport : Both Deluxe and ordinary bus services are available. Meghalaya Road Transport also run regular bus services in Meghalaya.

Staying at Shillong in Meghalaya
Shillong being the capital city of Meghalaya has a good line of accommodation facility in and around itself. You may not too luxurious category of accommodation in Shillong. But, the accommodations available are good enough to provide you a perfect comfort.

Sightseeing in Shillong (Meghalaya)
Shillong Peak
An ideal picnic spot, 10 km. from the city, 1965 m above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the scenic country side, and is also the highest point in the State. Obeisance is paid to U Shulong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak's summit every springtime, by the religious priest of Mylliem State. In the evening the city lights below appear like a star-studded abyss.

Cherrapunjee (Sohra)
56 km from Shillong, situated in one of the rainiest rain-belt in the world, 1,300 m above sea level. A pleasant drive to see roaring water falls leaping into deep gorges, including the famed Nohsngithiang falls. The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. Centre of Khasi culture and literature, it also has the oldest Presbyterian Church and also an establishment of the Ramkrishna Mission.

Sohpetbneng Peak
1,343 m, 20 km from Shillong, regarded as sacred by the Hynniewtrep people, is set amidst a beautiful scenic view against the backdrop of a sacred forest. This 'Navel of Heaven' as per Khasi mythology is a heavenly peak which offers to fill the spiritual void and emptiness, to those who seek and desire solace and peace of mind.

Ward's Lake
Located in the heart of the city, popular for short garden walks and boating, celebrated its centenary recently.

Umiam Lake
Umiam Khwan (Barapani), 17 km from Shillong, offers water sports facilities including sailing, water skiing, water scooter The Orchid Lake Resort and the adjacent Lum Nehru Park is an ideal quiet holiday resort.

Botanical Garden
A secluded but captivating spot with plethora of indigenous and exotic plants and is located just below the Ward's Lake.

Lady Hydari Park
A popular charming tourist draw, the adjacent mini zoo is an added attraction.

Golf Course
The third oldest golf course in India. Developed in 1889 as a nine hole course, was later converted to 18 holes in 1924 by Captain Jackson and C. R. Rhodes. It is termed as the 'Gleneagle of the East' at the United States Golf Association Library and Museum.

State Museum
Located at the State Central Library complex, visitors can get a glimpse of the lifestyle and heritage of the people.

Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian
At Laitumkhrah, it attracts devotees and visitors alike.

Bishop and Beadon Falls
Both cascade down the same escarpment into a deep valley, the mass of water dissolving into misty sparks.

Elephant Falls
12 km on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern covered rocks.

Spread Eagle Falls
A soothing setting amidst the calmness of nature-a treat to the eyes.

Sweet Falls
Situated near Happy Valley, most suitable for a day's outing and picnic. Explore it!

Crinoline Falls
Near Lady Hydari Park, a cool spot within the city limits. This is a must visit place in Meghalaya.

Some Important Destination from Shillong
Shillong is 3719 km from Thiruvanathapuram, 3025 km from Srinagar, 2502 km from Shimla, 487 km from Agartala, 2698 km from Ahmedabad, 3120 km from Bangalore, 2148 km from Bhopal, 1731 km from Bhubaneshwar, 2947 km from Mumbai, 1251 km from Calcutta, 2383 km from Chandigarh, 727 km from Darjeeling, 2134 km from Delhi, 725 km from Gangtok, 100 km from Guwahati, 2554 km from Hyderabad, 520 km from Imphal, 514 km from Itanagar, 2164 km from Jaipur, 410 km from Kohima, 1610 km from Lucknow, 2929 km from Chennai, and 3266 km from Panaji.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rich Tribes of Assam

Assam Magical Land with Rich Tribes
Assam became the settling ground for many civilizations who came here through different routes as it was connected by land to many states and country. Negritos, Dravidians, Alpines, Tibeto Burmese and Aryans were the major races that made a settlement in Assam. They made Assam there home and came to be known as Asamese. The largest population in Assam is of the Tibeto Burmese origin like the Bodo tribe and Mishing tribe. Major tribes of Assam earn their livelihood through agriculture and by selling their handicrafts. Different types of tribes are famous for variety of handicrafts. Some are famous for handloom and some have mastered in metal of pottery works. Their languages too differ according to their place of origin.

Bodo Tribe
Bodo People were one of the earliest tribes to move to Assam. Today they constitute a large part of Assam population accounting to around 5.3%. They are not restricted to any specific area and are found in almost all parts of Assam. The speak Bodo language that is derived Tibeto Burmese family of language. Most of them are engaged in rice cultivation, tea plantation and poultry farming. Bodo Women engage themselves in weaving which has become a known culture of Bodo Tribe. Bodos were earlier known to worship their forefathers, however in recent times they have started practicing Hinduism and Bathouism.

Karbi People
Karbi tribe generally reside in hilly areas of Assam and form the major portion of population of Karbi Anglong district. They also inhabit places in North Cachar Hills, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts of Assam. They are mentioned as Mikir in the constitution of India.

Mishing Tribe

The Mishing Tribe belonging to Tibeto Burmese group have agriculture as their occupation. They inhabit districts of Tinsukia, Sibsagar, Sonitpur, Jorhat and Golaghat. Mishing people found the most fertile land on the banks of River Brahmaputra and settled on sides of the river. Though their production was great, frequent floods prevented them from climbing the economic ladder. The main festival of Mishing tribe is Ali-Lye-Ligangin the month of February which is the harvest festival. They speak language known as Mishing language.

Phake Tribe
Residing in Dirugarh and Tinsukia district of Assam, along Dihing river. They are said to have come here from Thailand in the late 18th century. They speak Assamese language as well as Phake language. These group is also known as Phakial and are a follower of Theravada Buddhism.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Festival of Assam: Bihu

The Important festival of Assam is Bihu, which is celebrated in three forms, viz.Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu in the month of January, Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu in the month of April and Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu in the month of October/ November.

Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu (which means eating or enjoyment,derived from the word 'Bhoga') is celebrated when the harvesting is over and is also called harvest festival. On the eve of Bihu day, called "Uruka", women prepare cakes made of rice and other refreshments. The most significant part of this day is the building of 'Meji' and feasting at night. The whole night is spent in feasting, merry - making dancing and singing.

The folk songs associated with the Bohaag Bihu are called Bihugeets or Bihu songs. The Bohaag Bihu lasts for several days during which "the young people in the vilalge may be seen moving about in groups gaily dressed or forming circles in the midst of which the prettiest girls dance" (The History of Human Marriage by Edward Western-March) singing songs of love and romance. Such gatherings are called Mukoli Bihus (Open Bihus). The songs are very popular among all sections of the people.