By Purnima Chowdhury
Assam is the land of blue hills, green valleys and mighty river Brahmaputra. Situated south of The Himalayas, Assam is known worldwide for its Tea, On-horned Rhino, Oil refineries and much more.
Assam is so rich in natural beauty, distinct cuisine, and history, yet unexplored and known little about by the rest of the world. Its beauty is still untouched, so it becomes difficult for someone to travel on their own in the cities and towns of Assam.
To me, Assam is full of secrets and surprises which keeps unraveling as you start exploring. Being born and brought up in this part of India and now that I have also seen some of the other parts of the country, I feel Assam is unique and the world should know more about it. At the same time I am aware that a lot of you might be in the situation like me where you would want to budget travel all on your own but not sure how to go about it. So, here I am sharing in depth the details of my trip to Assam which I had taken recently.
I have travelled across the cities of Assam, some known and some unknown cities and villages. This will be a journey log through the experiences of a person native to the state. I hope this first-hand experience helps you to plan your journey to this beautiful and less explored part of the city.
I am based out of Bangalore, so I was travelling to Assam from Karnataka. My first stop in Assam was the Capital city, Guwahati, and because I was travelling during a pandemic I had to be extra cautious about my bookings of train, bus, hotels as Assam has a strict rule about travelers and there are restricted trains available to travel across the city.
I had taken an early morning flight to Guwahati ( Lokapriya Gopinath Bordolai Airport, Guwahati, is the main airport and the only international airport of the state ). I was there in the city just for a day so I had to be real quick to visit all the places I had planned to. My first stop was the Kamakhya devi temple. This is a sakta temple dedicated to goddess Kamakhya and is one of the oldest shakti piths. They say if you wish for something with true devotion to the goddess your wish will surely be fulfilled.
The other famous places in Guwahati are Shankardev Kalashetra Museum, Nehru park, Guwahati Zoo, Umananda (Smallest river Island), Fancy bazaar- heaven for shopping lovers, Bashistha temple, Dipor Bil, Gandhi Mandap, Sukreshwar Ghat.
After this long day I had to take rest to be ready for my journey to the rest of Assam starting the next day. I stayed in a hotel in G.S Road. Hotels here are pretty cheap but cozy and safe.
Flight from Bengaluru to Guwahati – It had cost me 4,800 for a one way ticket to Guwahati.
Communication in the city- The communication in the city is pretty easy. You can either book a cab for the whole day for a city tour or else you can take cabs for single destinations. For a day’s tour in Guwahati it had cost me 2500/- which included pickup from my hotel and a drop back to my hotel. Ola and uber is easily available across the city throughout the day.
Food- You can find some authentic assamese cuisine restaurants here and try dishes like khorika, khar, chicken dry fry, pork fry. My personal recommendation would be to try the authentic dishes of til diya kukura mangso (Chicken cooked in a sesame seed gravy) and dry fry.
Today I was travelling from Guwahati to Lumding (a small town in Assam). Lumding was my base for my travel to the remote locations in the district as this was the nearest known place to me where I could find a hotel and travel options. I took a train from Guwahati to Lumding which had just cost me 150/- for a reserved seat in SL class. Lumding is my home town so I was going to stay at my home but if you are visiting this place you can try out the hotels here which are pretty cheap and their price start from 600/- per night for single occupancy. For travel in the town you can contact your hotel to help you with a vehicle for your transport and you don’t really need a guide to explore the town.
You can try out shopping at the market which is Lumding Bazaar and also try the delicious street food here. Try ‘dry phuchka’ from Gupta Ji’s stall (just ask anyone about him and they will guide you there), vegetable chop, chicken momos, Chop ghugni, Dal Poori are some of the must try dishes.
You can also visit some places for scenic beauty if you are a nature lover. The Hanuman tila for a beautiful sunset, the shastri Gaon for a bike ride through the paddy fields, the harulongphar river for a nice natural pedicure with a picturesque background, visit the Sitala Bari and offer your payers, Visit the Baptist church and witness a mass prayer with the warm Naga Community, the farm lands that fall in the karbi anglong district and you can also interact with the karbi locals. Also you could spend the evening at the Kalibari visiting the temple and nearby places eating rasgullas and Jhal mixture in Sadhu kuttir from Bhaja’s stall. Again my suggestion, ask for this person and try the mixture at this place. You will love it.
Travel- Travel in Lumding is again very cheap as this is not a very touristy place. So you can take an Auto Rickshaw to all the places in the town and the auto drivers will be more than happy to show you the beautiful places.
Hotels I recommend- Hotel Maruti Nandan, Hotel Siddharth
Food- You can find good restaurants for both lunch and dinner here which will cost you between 100 to 150/- per day. Street food is delicious; believe me I could totally survive on that.
The next day I travelled to a hidden waterfall in Dima Hasao district which the locals claim to be the Niagara Falls of Assam. This is one of the best parts of my trip.
I shall tell you my journey forward in the next blog. So stay tuned till the next time.