Past and Present – Historical Inscriptions and Transit Tourism in Assam  

Guwahati is more than a visit to the Kamakhya Temple. Or even the gateway city to the Northeast. Boasting of an airport that is the 10th busiest in the country, an A-1 category railway station and all manner of accommodation, including homestays, it is also filled with a plethora of attractions, experiences and gastronomic joys. So, choose to not simply pass by the city. Sample some of its exceptional delights, including the Garbhanga Reserve Forest—a heaven for birdwatchers, many archaeological sites, ancient rock inscriptions and more.

For ones who like to dive deep, have a strong passion for history, culture, and the arts—and especially those fascinated by epigraphy—find on the north bank across the Brahmaputra River, the Kanai Boroxi Boa Xil or“the rock where Krishna went fishing”. Located at Rajaduar close to the northern terminal of the Guwahati Ropeway, the site takes pride in rock-cut inscriptions that date back to 1206 CE. and represent the earliest specimen of an Assamese inscription.

In the ancient and medieval periods, Guwahati was primarily spread along the north bank of the river and featured many temples that are archaeological marvels today. Kanai Boroxi Boa Xil hosts three rock inscriptions, one dating to Saka 1127 (1206 CE.) and roughly translating to “On the Thirteenth day of Chaitra in the Saka era 1127. the Turks coming to Kamrup were destroyed”. The inscription reads in Sanskrit, “Sake Turagayugmese Madhumase Trayodase Kamrupam Samagatya Turaskah Khayamayayuh”. Two other inscriptions, dating to the Ahom period, are carved on a rock a short distance away and details comparable achievements.

Visitors, especially epigraphy enthusiasts, will be charmed by Duargarila, located before the  Kamakhya junction. Its stone inscription from Saka 1654 (CE 1732) is about the construction of a rampart and the western gateway of Guwahati for Pragjjyotishpura. Another medieval era Persian rock inscription stands a short distance away, towards Mekhela Ujuwa Path, the historic staircase to the Kamakhya Temple. Then, along Kalipur Road, approximately 600 steps to Umacal (Umachal) hill, the importance of the inscription lies in the fact that this rock inscription is considered the earliest so far discovered in Assam, as documented in Kamrupa Sasanavali. In terms of palaeography and style, the inscription resembles to the Barganga inscription of Bhūtivarma (circa 518-42 CE) of Varman dynasty.

Last, but not the least, at Burha-Mayong rock inscription on State Highway 3 (via Chandrapur Road) towards Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, stands the yet-undeciphered, an epigraphical analysis seems to fix the origin of rock inscription datable to medieval period, reputed to be Asia’s longest! 

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