Sivasagar is a famous heritage place in Assam that has many remnants from Ahom dynasty, which used to rule the state closely for six centuries. Sivasagar is the headquarter of Shibsagar district and is a meeting point of history with modernity ( with a pretty higher literacy rate among both- men and women than the national average literacy rate- Shibsagar has a prominent place in the educational map of Assam).
So if you are a connoisseur of history and eager to explore the little-known Ahom dynasty that maintained their independence from invaders time and again, (just like Rajputs or Marathas but not so much widely celebrated) Sivasagar is the place to be.
The closest airport to Sivasagar is Jorhat that is 75 Km from the former. Jorhat is well connected with metros like -Guwahati, Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore via recurring flights.Next to Jorhat- there is Dibrugarh that is 80 KM from Sivasagar and also has operating flights with rest of the country.Outside of both the airports- you will get taxis towards Sivasagar.This town is also joined with Shillong and Guwahati.
Sivasagar has a railway station that is connected via Dibrugarh-Yesvantpur Express. The nearest railway station of Sivasagar is Simaluguri which is located on the Tinsukia-Guwahati sector and falls under North-East frontier railways.From Simulguri station, you will get bus services towards Sivasagar and it will take around half-an-hour.
Sivasagar is connected via road with cities like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and pretty much with the rest of Assam. You will have regular buses, taxis or shared cabs from these places to Sivasagar.In terms of fares, it’s advisable to bargain well, and try knowing the actual rates from the locales, beforehand.
What to see
The main attractions of Sivasagar are the remnants of Ahom dynasty and the massive water bodies in and around the town, including Sivasagar Bor pukhuri – from which the name of the town was derived.
Supposedly, the biggest man-made lake of India, Joysagar – was built in honor of Joymoti Kuwari- the mother of one of the greatest Ahom rulers Rudra Singha. So celebrated her life in Assam is, that even the first assamesse film ever made was ‘Joymoti’- based on the life of the queen.The lake is a quiet, lovely place with green surroundings. The view becomes lovelier during winter when the lake abodes many migratory birds.There is a boating facility and a heritage hotel adjacent to the lake, offering good food.The unique feature of Joysagar is that – the water level remains the same throughout the year.
Assam’s very own amphitheatre that is probably the oldest in Asia, Rang Ghar is the sport-cum-entertainment pavilions for Ahom rulers, especially during Rangali Bihu Festival.Rang Ghar is famous for its remaining carvings and adornments that are scattered here and there. The boat-shaped roof of the amphitheatre is one of its key attractions.
A former army base during the heydays of Ahom Kingdom, the name of Talatal Ghar is derived from the under-ground floors it has. Except that, the secret tunnel of Talatal Ghar also gives away the expertise of Ahom rulers in war-strategy.Talatal Ghar is a part of Rangpur palace. While the below-the-ground floors consist of Talatal Ghar, there are four storeys above the ground and they are called Kareng Ghar (the palace).
Except its unique structure, the place is prominent for its beautiful surroundings.Besides the above-mentioned places, Sivasagr Museum, Sivasagar Sivadol (the temple of lord Shiva), Gaurisagar tank and temples are other attractions in this town.
What to eat
You will get normal Indian, Chinese cuisine with traditional Assamese thali and Tibetan delicacies like momo, thukpa etc.Sivasagar is an important centre of tea industries so don’t forget to sip the amazing Assam tea, whenever you get a chance.
What to shop for
The town has some shops selling traditional Assamese ‘mekhla chador’ and handicrafts. Don’t forget to pick up some packets of authentic Assamese tea-leaves to take back home.
Being a growing place, the hospitality sector of this town is not up to the mark, still. Though there are few hotels in Sivasagar, don’t expect anything above-the-average, in terms of rooms and services.
Among them, Hotel Brahmaputra and Hotel Shiva Palace are quite decent and provide value-for-money services.
- Take a tour of Panidihing Bird Sanctuary for its exotic inhabitants
- Walk around the town by foot to feel it’s ancientness
- Take a drive to ancient capital of Ahom dynasty i.e. Gargaon, and in order to reach out to the place, you have to cross Namdang Stone Bridge- a unique bridge which was constructed from a singular stone boulder.
- First of all, don’t expect anything fascinating about this place beforehand. The lakes, the remainders- though beautiful, are shabbily maintained.
- Don’t visit this place during monsoon or summer as it’s a humid town.
Some more info for travelers
- Visit the Sivasagr Sivadol (the Shiv Temple) during Shiv ratri to witness the festive mood and the huge throng of devotees.
- Here most of the shops get shut down during the evening.
- Also you may face frequent power-cuts throughout the day.
If its history that attracts you, if you don’t judge a place by its pompousness, but want to take a retreat from the hustle-and-bustle of the metro life- then Sivasagar is the space to be.