Established as the new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the decaying and declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat as the name signifies, was just a couple(Jor) of marts (Hut). From these two parallel marts namely Chowkihut and Macharhut, which lay on the eastern and the western banks of the river Bhogdoi. Jorhat today has grown into a thriving cosmopolitan town with a strong sense of character and identity. It is the best laid out town in Upper Assam with broad roads, cutting each other at right angles. The variety of heterogeneity of the town population, specially its business community – comprising of Punjabis, Biharis, Marwaries, Bengalis and even odd South Indian is something commendable. Yet each person, irrespective of his place of origin, who has made Jorhat his home is staunchly loyal to his adopted home and fully identifies with it. Urban, polite and polished behaviour is the distinguishing features of an average Jorhat man.
Jorhat is located between the Brahmaputra on the north and Nagaland on the south at 26 degree 46 minute’s north latitude and 96 degree 16 minute’s longitude in the central part of Brahmaputra Valley. “JORHAT” or “JOREHAUT” means two hats or mandis-“Macharhat” and “Chowkihat” which existed on the two different banks of the river Bhogdoi during the 18th Century, Jorhat was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom. In the year 1794 the Ahom king Gaurinath shifted the capital from Sibsagar (erst-while ”Rangpur”) to Jorhat. This town was a flourishing and commercial metropolis but completely destroyed after a series of the Burmese invasions since 1817 till the arrival of the British force in the year 1824 under the Stewardship of David Scott and Captain Richard.
The British Rule, though, was not free from rebellions and revolutions, contributed to reemergence of this historical town. From the very first decade of the British rule, the great revolutionists who emerged were Gomdhar Konwar, Jeuram and Piyali, British system of administration, came into vouge in the year 1839 with an established Police Thana. During the great “Sepoy Mutiny” and Piyali Barua was sabotaged and these leader were hanged in public at this very place in 1858.
In 1885,a narrow gauge train services (Jorhat Provincial Railway)had come into operation and ultimately became instrumental in rapid growth of tea industry.
Though, the Civil Sub-division under Sibsagar district at Jorhat was formed in 1869,this great place was declared as administration head quarter of the undivided Sibsagar district in 1911 which comprised of the present Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat and parts of Karbi-Anglong district with Major A. Playfare as the first Deputy Commissioner.
On the North of the district, the river Brahmaputra forms the largest riverine island of the world, MAJULI, spreading over 924.6 sq. Km. with a population of about 1.50 lakh being threatened by the constant erosion by this mighty, unstable river Majuli had been the principal place of pilgrimage of Vaishnavites since the ages of the Ahom rules. There are several Satras resembling medieval monastries headed by Satradhikars preaching and teaching the Vaishnavism which was initiated by Sankardeva (1449-1568). Each Satra has unknown wealth of Vaishnav Scriptures and exensive revenue free lands being cualativated by the “Bhakats” of the Satras.
Today Jorhat with its favourable geographical location is a must visit place which can offer you both gimps to the history and heritage of Assam with immense scope to visit some famous tourist destinations like Kaziranga National Park, Majuli, Sivasagar and hill town Mokokchung in Nagaland making Jorhat a base camp!!
The town can be reached using road, rail and flights. The road connectivity to Jorhat from nearby towns and cities is also good.
Jorhat has an airport that is located nearby and it is called the Rowraih Airport. The place is connected to some of the main cities in the country such as Bangalore, Guwahati and Kolkata. It has flights to places such as Shillong and Dibrugarh as well. Taxis are available and if you are landing at the airport, these can be used to reach the town.
The town of Jorhat has a railway station that receives two trains from Guwahati. The nearest major railhead is the Mariani Junction that is located around 17 km from the town itself. The frequency of trains passing through this place is higher. Tickets rates for a second class sleeper berth are around Rs 170 from Guwahati to Jorhat. Taxis are available at both Jorhat Junction and Mariani Junction to the town center.
Jorhat By Road
The city of Jorhat is about 308 km from Guwahati, a distance that is covered in about 6 hours by regular buses connecting both the cities. There are state as well as private bus services that are used for transportation to and from the place. Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) runs buses to Guwahati, Tezpur, Sibsagar, Tinsukia, Dimapur, Itanagar and to Kaziranga.
Lachit Barphukan Maidam: Lachit Borphukan's Maidam was constructed in memory of Lachit Borphukan, an Ahom general. The General is remembered for his bravery and for commanding the army against the Mughals at Saraighat in 1672. The vault was constructed in order to honour this warrior of the 16th century, who helped the Ahom rulers in defeating the Mughals.
Dhekiakhowa Bor Namghar: If you visit Assam as a pilgrim's place or you want to see top religious places in Assam than Dhekiahkowa Bor Namghar is a must see in Jorhat District in Assam. Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar actually needs no description for those who belive in the spiritual gurus of Assam Shankardev and Madhavdev. This legendary Namghar was established in 1461 A.D. by Sri Sri Madhabdev, the disciple of Sri Sri Sankardev (the preacher & propounder of Vaishnavism in Assam & the father figure of Assamese culture). Sri Madhabdev came by a boat through the river that flows beside the Namghar (Assamese place of worship) and alighted in this place. A very poor family used to live in this place. They offered Sri Madhabdev Dhekia Sak (an edible green leafy plant) to eat which he thoroughly liked. So this Namghar came to be known as Dhekia (the plant) khowa (eaten) Namghar.
Kokilamukh & Shanti Ashrama: Situated only few kilometres away from Jorhat town on the banks of mighty Brahmaputra, Kokilamukh also has a historical background. It was here that Chandra Kanta Singha, one of the last of the Ahom kings was defeated by the Burmese. Another Ahom king Pratap Singha constructed a road along the Brahmaputra known as Bar-Ali from Dergaon to Garhgaon and Kokilamukh was an important place which touched this route. Later,the British first started their ferry service from Kokilamukh Ghat, and it was in 1912, that Nigamanda Param Shankha established the Shanti Ashram here. Purchasing an 80 bighas plot at Kumarveti Chapri village of Kokilamukh , the Math was instituted by Shri Shri Thakura Nigamananda with the asan of Gurubrhama in the propitious occasion of Akshay Tritiya on 7th Baisakh 1319 B.S. and named "Shanti Ashram". Many species of migratory birds come to the water bodies lies across Kokilamukh and nearing Janjimukh from all over the world every winter. Around 200 species of birds throng the water bodies, and occupy about 2,108 hectares of land along the Brahamaputra from Kokilamukh to Janjimukh every winter. Among these there are many species of pelicans, swans and several species of ducks including greater adjutant storks, swamp partridge and Siberian cranes. Every winter, thousands of migratory birds of different species, including grey and white pelicans, flock to this area.
Nimati Ghat & Mou Chapori River Resort: Situated near Nimatighat on a small island of mighty Brahmaputra, Mou Chapori River Resort is a nice place at Jorhat. Its a small river island (on mighty Brahmaputra) and an ideal place for family outings. Cottages are pretty decent and available at affordable prices. The sunrise and sunset view over the river Brahmaputra is amazing. It has a wonderful children's park.
Majuli: Majuli is the world’s biggest riverine island and a principal place of pilgrimage for the Vaishnavites of Assam since the Ahom days. There are several Satras of Vaishnava religious creed. Of these holy seats, Auniati, Daksinpath, Garamur and Kamlabari are the four most prominent. What is of special importance is its satra establishment, consisting of separate structures, built for different purposes.
Mariani: Mariani is a neighbourhood railway town of Jorhat City. .It is about 17.5 km for Jorhat. Mariani is in the border of Nagaland. Mariani is famous for the diamonds Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located on the road side on the way to Nakachari from Mariani at a distance of 5 km, and also for its foreign goods market and that tasty Dhosa prepared by a railway vendor inside railway platform. This small town is surrounded by some of the largest tea gardens in India. It is also well connected with the rest of the country for it is an important railway junctions.
Gibbon Wild Life Sanctuary: Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, famed for its hoolock gibbon population, is an isolated wildlife forest surrounded by tea plantations situated near Mariani, around 20 kms from Jorhat town. This sanctuary was established with the aim to protect the hoolock gibbon, an ape species, in the country. Hoolock Gibbons are the only apes found in India (apart from a billion humans of course!). They have long forelimbs and shorter hind limbs which are very conducive for these animals to move around the forest by swinging along the branches on the canopy of the forest. They are almost entirely arboreal and come down to the ground only in exceptional situations. They even quench their thirst from the water content in the leaves on the canopy. Hence a well connected dense rainforest is essential for the survival of this species.
The Hollongapar sanctuary was once contiguous with the forests of Nagaland. Extensive logging and establishment of tea gardens all around the sanctuary have completely fragmented and isolated this patch of forest from the forests of Nagaland. Today, this sanctuary measures about 20 sq kms (20.98 sq km officially but the actual area is around 19 sq km) and is fragmented into 5 segments.
There are about 40 species of mammals that live in the sanctuary. Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary protects capped langur, stump-tailed macaque, pigtail macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque and slow loris. It is also a habitat for elephant, leopard, Chinese pangolin, Malayan giant squirrel, Assamese macaque and capped langurs.
Thengal Mennor & Kaziranga Golf Resort: Now converted into heritage resort and hotel Heritage North East Group the Thengal Manor is a 72 year old mansion in Jorhat. Its name is written in the annals of history because on 12th August 1935, the first daily newspaper in the Assamese language, ‘Dainik Batori’ was launched from here. Thengal House was constructed in the year 1929 by Rai Bahadur Siva Prasad Barooah. Thengal offers you the unique pleasure of gracious living in the lap of nature. Plush suites of single and double bedrooms with baths and dressing rooms attached.
Located at Sangsua and Gatoonga Tea Estates in Jorhat the KAZIRANGA GOLF RESORT is conceived as premium, futuristic abode for spending a holiday in a colonial tea environment, learning the game of golf at one of the largest Golf Academy and 18 hole championship Golf Course and enjoying life in a natural setting. The Heritage North East will take you back in time when you visit Kaziranga Golf Resort and ‘Burra Sahib’s Bungalow’ built during 1900-1905. Starting with the British colonial exterior, soak in the sprawling interiors of carpeted floors, four bedrooms, high ceilings, verandahs with sloping roofs and a panoramic view of acres of flower-bedecked garden. Named after the 150 year old giant Banyan tree this Bungalow (previously known as Mistry Sahib’s Bungalow) is a part of the Resort and located 15 minutes drive away from the Club House.
Ayur Sanjeeva Ayurvedic Resort: Situated at around seven kelometers away from main town amidst the greenery of the tea garden and having the vast open land Malow Pathar behind it and with the perpetual cool breeze coming from the nearby Brahamaputra, this resort is going to be the dreamland for nature lovers. The outsiders who have the curiosity for Assamese tea gardens can easily access the beauty and knowledge about it. Another centre of attraction in Ayur Sanjeeva is the Santhigiri Ayurveda Village. It is a division of Santhigiri Healthcare and Research Organisation. In this healthcare centre some chronic diseases are treated with Kerala’s age-old Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments and specialised Ayurveda and Siddha medicines. Among these diseases paralysis, arthritis, spondylities, rheumatism, muscular pains, sprains, dislocation, hypertension, sinusitis, migraine, diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, piles, fistula, obesity, jaundice, kidney disorders are remarkable.
Shyam Gaon, Titabor: Titabor Shyam Gaon, located around 20 km away from Jorhat town, is the picturesque village has an enticing old-world charm. It is very much similar to Naam Phakial Gaon in Tinsukia which trace their ancestry to the great Tai race. The village folk here speak a dialect similar to the language in Thailand and still follow the traditional customs and dress code of the great Tai race, which is found across South Asia, Southeast Asia and China. They are Buddhist in religion. They have their own separate scripts and has also preserved in a few manuscripts, which are mainly religious scriptures. These manuscripts are written in Tai-scripts, which are preserved in their village Vihars.
Within Jorhat Town Area:
Kushal Konwar & Kamala Miri Cemetery: The participation of Assam in India’s struggle for freedom was at par with any other part of the country. Many eminent persons from the State joined hands with the leaders of the Indian National Congress and participated in important movements that were carried on from time to time. Many young men and women fell victim to the bullets of the police and the army. Kushal Kunwar , a valiant hero of 42's rebellion went to the gallows with a smiling face on 15th June 1943 being falsely implicated in a train derailment case that took place at Sarupathar. Konwar was the secretary of the congress party at that time. Although the derailment was caused by a group of revolutionaries, Konwar, a votary of non-violence who had gone to the sight to stop the revolutionaries from taking a violent step was caught and sentenced to death. He is the only martyr who went to gallows in 1942 in India. Kamala Miri, an Assamese Mishing hero of 42's rebellion sacrificed his life for the cause of the country in Jorhat Jail on 22nd April 1943. Miri refused to come out of the prison by giving into the demand of the British who wanted a written assurance from him that he would not participate in the struggle movement henceforth. Cemetery of both these great son of Assam situated near Jorhat Central Jail. This is worth place to visit in Jorhat.
Burigosani Than or Devalay: The Burigosain and the priest were brought from Jayantiya after defeating that king and were established first at Rangpur. When the capital was shifted to Jorhat, the image of Burigosain was also shifted and placed in a temple which lies in the middle of the town. It is a sakta Shrine and centre of Hindu religious practices in Jorhat.
Chandrakanta Handique Bhaban: The Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan, donated by late Radhakanta Handique, is the headquarters of Asom Sahitya Sabha. It was built in 1926. Personalities like late Chandradhar Baruah, late Dimbeswar Neog, late Mitradev Mahanta and others form Jorhat adorned the presidentship of Asom Sahitya Sabha.
River Bhogdoi: Bhogdoi is the main source of water for people in Jorhat. The Bhogdoi River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra in India. From its origin in the Naga hills it flows through the City of Jorhat and then it merges with another river and its name becomes Gelabill. As per history said, Bhogdoi is the artificially made by Ahoms to meet the water requirements of Jorhat. Today Bhogdoi has become an integral part of every Jorhatian's life.
Gar-Ali: Visitors to Garali are enchanted by the richness of its culture, touched by the warmth of its people, amazed by the grandeur of its monuments and delighted by the excellent standards of hotels. An evening at Gar-Ali includes visits to Burigohani Than, Bahadur Gaobura's cemetery, Jyotiprasad Memorial, walk through Gar-Ali, taste the snacks at Belly Amy's bakery, taste the “Doi” (Curd) of Suresh Bhandar or Enjoy some testy pizzas at Crazy Hut or Even You can enjoy a latest bollywood film in Smritigopal Cinema Hall or Elley Cinema. Gar-Ali is the main shopping centre in Jorhat where you can find sales outlets of many top brands. Also this Gar-Ali hosts all the festivity of Jorhat including Mahalaya, Bijaya Dashami, Idd, Bihu and many more. You can say that is place is the backbone of Jorhat town and the place of joy.
Rajmao Pukhuri or Borpukhuri: This is a historic Rajmao pukhuri was built by Swargadeo Chandra Kanta Singha in 1816, has become a become a favoured spot for ‘morning walkers.’. The park attached to it is also a attraction of Jorhat along with the adjacent Idd Gah and 100 years old Jorhat Tennis Club.
Gymkhana Club & Annual Horse Race: Jorhat is regarded as the nerve center of the tea industry of India. During the 1860s and 1870s, the entire city was gradually dotted with a number of tea gardens. Due to the dull and lonely life at the plantation sites, the planters decided to set up a club in the area. In 1876, the planters, led by the Superintendent of the Jorhat Tea Co. - J. Huttman, constructed a club and racecourse in the state. The original Gymkhana Club was only a quaint little woodhouse, situated in the middle of the racecourse, about 2 km to the east of the present building. The present clubhouse was constructed in the year 1885, offering a wide range of socio cultural activities, sports and recreation, including includes tennis, billiards, bridge, races, flower balls, seasonal balls, and bars. With time, the Gymkhana Club of Jorhat came to be renowned all across India and became a major tourist attraction of Assam.
Gymkhana Club has a lush green 9-hole golf course. This is regarded as the world’s third oldest golf course and as such, is vying for a place in the list of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Apart from this, the other attractions in the club include swimming pool, polo and a cinema theatre. The club boasts of being a famous venue for holding a number of matches, like the CK Naidu Cricket tournament matches, the Tea Tourism Festival (2002) and annual historic horse races. A major trophy awarded here every year is the “Governor’s Trophy”. Famous as the "Jorhat Races", are among the oldest sporting events in the State of Assam. Since 1877, the races have run annually. To the Mising Tribe of Assam, the 132 year old Jorhat Races are as important as India's premier classic - The Indian Derby. Both events run annually on the 1st Sunday of February.
Tinikunia Pukhuri: One doesn’t have to go far from the madding crowd to enjoy this idyllic spot. Right in the midst of the cacophony lies the serene Tinikunia Pukhuri, a bird’s paradise, but seldom visited because of an overgrowth of grass and bushes. This has now been developed into a walkers’ paradise complete with a quaint pathway along the lakeside, swings for children, a fountain and grill fence by the district administration and Lions Club. The pond was dredged by the Jorhat Municipal Board to generate electricity in 1923. Initially, it had an area of more than 65 bighas but now the area is nearly 18 bighas. In winter, the pond is visited by birds of all kinds, many of them migratory.
Bangalpukhuri: Bangalpukhari is a historical tank located to the south of Jorhat town near Na-ali, in Assam. The history of the tank dates back to 1739 of the Saka era. In the month of Shravan of same year, Badan Barphukan was murdered by Rupsinghh Bangal, when he was going to take bath here. Badan Barphukan, an Ahom Governor who for his personal gains brought soldiers from Burma and tortured the innocent people of Assam with an unimaginable cruelty.Rupsinghh Bangal was rewarded with some money for this act, which he spent in renovating this tank. The water of this tank is not used because it was excavated with the money received for killing a man.
Raja Maidam: An important site in Jorhat, Raja Maidam is the vault of King Purandar Sinha who died on the 1st October, 1894. It is situated on the south bank of Toklai River. This maidam was constructed to preserve the ashes of the late king.
Toklai Tea Experimental Station: The beginning of a new era of tea research in India was marked by the establishment of the Scientific Department of Indian Tea Association (ITA) in the year 1900. This was consolidated with the creation of the Tocklai Experimental Station in 1911. The formation of the Tea Research Association (TRA) in 1964 with Tocklai at the centre of all activities further expanded the horizon of tea research to cover the entire Northeast India. Research on all aspects of tea cultivation and processing is carried out at Tocklai Experimental station, Jorhat the oldest and the largest research station of its kind in the world.
Fair & Festivals of Jorhat:
Jorhat is the cultural capital of Assam and also the most Joyful city in Upper Assam. Here people from different culture and community live together and celebrate their festivals with great joy and collective participation. The main festival of Jorhat is Bihu which is also the state festival of Assam. Apart from this Durga Puja, Ganesh Mahotsav, Shiv Ratri, Idd, Christmas, Guru Purnima, Buddha Purnima, etc. are celebrated in diffetent religious institutions spread across the town. The annual Tea Tourism Festival and Horse Race held at Gymkhana Club, the annual Assam Mohotsav held at Kachari Field providing a window to the state's diversity of culture, the annual Trade Fair, Expo, Book Fair, etc. are also attraction of Jorhat, where one can find the prove of how Jorhatians living together united in immense diversity of culture and religion.
Compiled By: Prithwiraj Purkayastha
Photos: Prithwi's Photography & Some other internet source.
Curtsy: All named and unnamed sources from where materials collected.