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10 Enchanting Things That Make Tezpur the Heartbeat of Assam

Tinam Borah
Contributor, Bordoisila

10th February, 2016

Tezpur is one of those towns in Assam, which is small yet a fast growing commercial hub and has all the makings of a ‘small city’. Also known as the ‘Cultural capital of Assam’, Tezpur is the 5th largest town of Assam. But apart from being a fast growing major town within the state, Tezpur also has to its credit a number of reasons to take pride in that the whole of India should know of. The following is a list of ten such reasons for Tezpur to be famous across the country.

1.Tezpur University

It is a lesser known fact for people outside of Assam or the North East about the existence of a world class Central University in the outskirts of this tiny town of Assam. Tezpur University, which was established in 1994, as an outcome of the Assam Accord is today one of the top ten central universities of India, with high end infrastructural facilities and quality education. Apart from the 20 departments within the four schools of Science, Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences and Management Sciences and 3 special cells and centres, Tezpur University is also home to one of the four centres of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI)- being its only centre in the North East India.  Not only has the university been posing as the backbone of higher education in the North East, but also attracting students from all over the country as well as from beyond.

2.Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health

The one and only medical institute for mental health in the entire North East region is located in Tezpur. The Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH) is one of the oldest mental health care institutes in India established in the year 1876. Spread over 81 acres of land and a lush green campus, this institute has been playing a major role in offering mental health treatment and counselling for the people of the Northeast region of India. It also offers post graduate teaching courses in Psychiatry, Psychiatric Nursing and Psychiatric Social work, and functions as a research centre as well.

3.The melt-in-the-mouth Litchis

You haven’t tasted litchis if you haven’t tasted the ones of Tezpur. With its unique shape, size, bright red colour and melt-in-the-mouth flavour, Tezpur litchis are popular not only across the country but in countries overseas as well. Tezpur litchi is a special type of litchi grown in “Lichu Pukhuri” situated in the heart of the Tezpur town and the Village Porowa, just 3 kms away from the town. The “Lichu Pukhuri” formerly known as “Paltan Pukhuri” covers a total area of about 5 bigha including the water area. Its special micro agro- climatic condition ensures that the litchi bears its special quality. The best part is that the Tezpur litchi is grown completely under organic condition without using any chemicals.

4.Home of the cultural stalwarts

The three cultural icons of Assam, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Dr. Bhupen Hazarika have all lived in Tezpur during their childhood years and most of their life later on as well. While both Bishnu Rabha, the pioneer of Assamese music and art in the 20th century, and Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, the bard of the East, had done their schooling and spent their childhood in Tezpur, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, another cultural stalwart of Assam laid the foundations of Assamese music, culture and literature while basing himself in Tezpur. He made the first Assamese film Joymoti in 1935.

5.Jonaki- the first cinema hall of North East India

On completion of the first Assamese film ‘Joymoti’ in 1935, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala found that he had no place to screen his film in Assam as there was no cinema hall. He had to screen the film in makeshift auditoriums, schools, godowns and theatre halls. Thus, he established the first cinema hall in the North East- ‘Jonaki’, which premiered with the screening of ‘Joymoti’ and continued (still continues) to screen films regularly since 1937. Jonaki is also now one of the oldest existing cinema halls in the country.

6.The legend of Usha and Aniruddha- a tale of love

Tezpur is known as the eternal city of love because of its famous mythological legend of the love story of Princess Usha and Prince Aniruddha. This story also leads to how Tezpur (literally the city of blood) got its name. It goes back to the time when Tezpur (then known as Sonitpur) was ruled by Banasura, the king of Asuras. King Bana was blessed by Lord Shiva to remain invincible always. Shiva also promised to come and protect Bana whenever needed. When his daughter Princess Usha and Prince Aniruddha of Dwaraka, grandson of Krishna (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) fell in love, he fought Aniruddha and captured him, while his father and grandfather from Dwaraka ran to his rescue. This led to the famous battle of Hari-Hara (between Hari i.e Lord Vishnu and Hara i.e. Lord Shiva) which caused a lot of bloodshed, thus giving Tezpur its name. The legend also goes that King Bana had built a fortress atop a hillock that was guarded by fire to imprison his daughter Usha so that she could not meet Aniruddha, when he first came to know about their love. This hillock is known as Agnigarh (Agni means fire and Garh means wall/fortress). It is now a famous tourist spot in Tezpur.

7.The largest Shiv Linga in the world- Mahabhairab temple

It is believed that the Shiv Linga in the famous Mahavairab temple of Tezpur is one of the oldest and the largest Shiv Lingas in the whole world. The Shiv Linga was established in this temple by King Banasura, who was an ardent worshipper of Lord Shiva. The Maha Shivratri festival celebrated in the Mahabhairab temple every year attracts worshippers from all over the country. This magnificent landmark adds a magnetic charm and beauty to this enchantingly beautiful town.

8.Kolia Bhomora Setu

Named after the Ahom General Kolia Bhomora Phukan, the Kolia Bhomora Setu is one of the longest river bridges in India. The bridge connects the Sonitpur District on the north bank of River Brahmaputra and the Nagaon District on the south bank of River Brahmaputra. This 3-kilometre long beautiful bridge, built in 1987 is a concrete road-bridge which gives magnificent views of River Brahmaputra and the hills on the shore of the river. 

9.Defence Research Laboratory (DRL)

Out of the 52 laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) across the country, the Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) of Tezpur stands out as one of the most efficient and unusual, because of its dedicated research on problems like malaria, the pestilent dim-dam fly, water-purification in remote areas and power generation from bio-resources, that are of most concern for not only the army personnel posted in the North East but also for each and every citizen of the North East. DRL’s Molecular Biology Facility became the first Indian institution to file, with the World Gene Bank, the detailed structure of the gene that provides mosquitoes with resistance to insecticides. This gene sequence is now available internationally for research against the malaria mosquito.

10.Historical ruins and temples as Tourist attraction

Tezpur might be a small town, but is extremely rich in heritage and culture. Tezpur hosts a number of sites of tourist interest, the origins of which go back a long way in history. For instance, Da-Parbatia, having one of the finest and oldest collections of sculptural art in Assam, depicting Gupta dynasty style of culture is one of the sites protected by Archaeological Survey of India. Again, the ruins of Bamuni Hill are famous for its artistic beauty. The structural remains present here date back to the 9th and 10th century and attract historians and art lovers from all over the world. Agnigarh is another such historical site. There are also ancient shrines and temples like Ketakeshwar Dewal, Bhairavi temple, Mai Than and Nag Sankar temple that go back to the 4th century AD.

A visit to Assam, without visiting Tezpur would remain incomplete. So, if you haven’t visited Tezpur yet, plan a trip soon and witness the awesomeness of this beautiful little town by experiencing it yourself. The ‘Cultural Capital’ of Assam awaits you.   

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