Ghat Tourism

Ghats (river fronts) in Assam beckon visitors with sacred sites, scenic beauty and historicity. Big or small, each is a charming kaleidoscope of colour and form. Along the 891 km-long stretch of the Brahmaputra in Assam—fed intermittently by tributaries which have their own tributaries—these ghats are where you would like to soak in beauty and culture.

Spending time at the waterfront, whether it is after a sunset cruise or a river dolphin-sighting boat ride or even during an overnight charter cruise, can be once-in-a-lifetime experience. From the larger ghats of Dhubri, Goalpara, Sualkuchi, Pandu (Guwahati), Tezpur, Silghat, Biswanath, Kamalabari, Neematighat, Dikhao Mukh and Bogibeel to smaller ones that many smaller boats use, it is from here, depending on the season, that you see sedate blue-green or fast muddy red waters. Swirling in the eddies, moving haphazardly, you also see what the river has brought along from its upper reaches.

While long-distance cruises are a unique way to explore these Ghats, accessibility at all times of the year are a challenge. Visiting them when travelling by road can also be fabulous. Closer to the river, you observe the changes along each stretch—sometimes the road may curve alongside the river, allowing for intermittent views that reveal the Red River’s expanse, sometime you might be awed by the lush vegetation along the banks, sometimes ancient temples that look across into the mighty waters, sometimes fishing boats bobbing about or even white sandy chars that take the breath away.   

Postscript: When in Tezpur add an extra night for an excursion by car to Biswanath Ghat (80 km), from where a short and delightful country boat ride takes you to ‘Gupta Kashi’. Here, you find a unique Shiva Linga that remains submerged in water during the monsoon season and resurfaces in the dry months, a rocky riverine bay whose remnants date back to ancient times.

On the northern bank of the Brahmaputra River, you will also find the splendid Bordol (Bor – big & Dol –Temple), a brilliant example of Ahom style of architecture with bricks in lime mortar and dedicated to Lord Shiva. Incidentally, Gohpur is only about 60 km away; home to 17-year-old freedom fighter Kanaklata and Mukunda Kakoti’s martyrdom, while attempting to hoist the national flag at the local police station on September 20, 1942, it is a place rich with stories of patriotic courage.

The same day in 1942, the Union Jack was lowered in Chatia (Sootea) Police Station and Tricolour was unfurled for the first time in the country by the freedom fighters of Assam. Taking a brief stop at the heritage Chatia (Sootea) police station on the way back from Biswanath Ghat to Tezpur can be a wonderful way to show respect to brave hearts.

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