With its quaint charm and historical importance, Biswanath Temple is a compelling tourist attraction in Assam. Joydeep Hazarika’s nuanced description of this heritage site in the article establishes its beauty and richness convincingly.
Photgraphs by Joydeep Hazarika
Assam has many tourist destination gems which are often overlooked or remain simply unknown to the rest of the world. One such delight is the Biswanath Ghat which is located near Biswanath Chariali town in Biswanath district.
Located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, the place is named after the ancient Biswanath temple. It is called Gupta Kashi, in comparison with Kashi from the golden rule of the Guptas. As per legends, Kashi in the ancient times was home to temples housing about 330 million gods and goddesses. The ghat has a cluster of more than 100 temples in the vicinity. A Shiva temple, which was the erstwhile Biswanath temple, was located at the confluence of Bridhaganga (Burigonga) river with Brahmaputra. But now what remain are just the stone posts, beams and other ruins. During the summer the temple remains under water. Only in winter, worship is done by constructing temporary shed which draws lots of people.
Biswanath Ghat, though a religious place, makes for a perfect tourist destination during the winters. The water level of the Brahmaputra recedes with the coming of the winter and gives way to lush golden riverine sand beaches for tourists to explore. The lowered water level also brings most of the rocks in the small riverine bay out from below the water and they make a magnificent view.
There is also a small riverine island near Biswanath Ghat known as Umatumuni. This island is a tourist spot as it houses a tourist lodge and also some remnants of an old temple. Just on the opposite bank of the Brahmaputra lies the majestic Kaziranga National Park, and in the far distance, you can see the misty hills of Karbi Anglong.
People are also highly recommended to visit the place during the festival of Rongali Bihu. The third day of the festival, known as Goxai Bihu, becomes a big affair here as devotees gather in large numbers to join in the festivities and take out a religious procession in the area.
The ghat has several temples and many of them are worthy of attention. A new Biswanath temple was built in the village in the area and it is worth paying a visit to. There are several smaller temples in the area and it is said that there are many more yet to be discovered which lie hidden underground or remain submerged under the river. Perhaps the most magnificent temple to be seen here is the Bordol Temple built by the Ahom king Rajeswar Singha. This temple has the same architectural design of the famous Shiva Dol temple of Sivasagar and is a brilliant example of the Ahom style of architecture.
Reaching Biswanath Ghat is not a problem. Once you reach Biswanath Chariali town, you can either take a taxi or an autorickshaw to the place which is about 30 minutes away from the town. There are also several options of hotels and lodges in the town.
Biswanath Ghat is a great place to visit along with family and friends if you are in the mood for some exploration and adventure. The place’s picturesque beauty will leave you spellbound and will continue to haunt you to make another visit sooner than you think.
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Joydeep is a Guwahati based journalist. He has done his graduation from Hans Raj College and his masters in journalism from MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia. Also an illustrator and a musician, Joydeep takes keen interest in the politics and culture of Northeast India and the surrounding region. He is currently working on his first novel.