The Ancient Town Of Hajo In Assam Hides Many Discoveries

From mosques to temples, it is here at Hajo, that India's diversity finds a shining expression
What To See In Assams Ancient Town Of Hajo
What To See In Assams Ancient Town Of HajoShutterstock

The hilly town of Hajo conserves the very essence of India as a nation home to many cultures and religions. It may be known famously as "Assam's temple town", but it is also home to sacred shrines among many Buddhist and Muslim pilgrims. Here, every road running along the dense green forest leads to a world of the gods built centuries ago, and every wall bears marks of intertwined cultural histories that reflect the ideals of secularism. The best way to discover this would be to explore Hajo's many antiquated gems over a day trip.

Places To Visit In Hajo

Hayagriva Madhava Temple

Walls of Hayagriva Madhava temple in Hajo
Walls of Hayagriva Madhava temple in HajoWikimedia Commons

This temple's uniqueness lies in its prominence among Buddhists and Vaishnavites alike. Built during the reign of the Pala dynasty in the 10th century atop the Monikut hill, the temple is devoted to Vishnu's avatar, which is a part-man-part-horse. Although interestingly, the Tibetan Lamas believe that Vishnu's image also represents "Mahamuni" or Buddha as 'Om Mani Padme Hum' is inscribed beside it. The temple's significance among the Buddhists also stems from the fact that this is where Buddha breathed his last. 

Kedareswara Temple

Kedareswara Temple in Hajo
Kedareswara Temple in HajoHistorical Assam/Facebook

On a hike up the Madanachal hill lies a temple devoted to lord Shiva. Its rich and complex history has been a subject of ASI's extensive study for the longest time. It was discovered then that the complex dates back to the rule of Ahom king Sargadeu Rajeswar Singha as inscriptions within the temple also record land grants made during that period. Despite its embellished past, the temple features a simple facade in sync with its tranquil surroundings. It is considered auspicious and a must-visit among many pilgrims visiting Hajo as it houses the holy Svyambhu (self-originating) Shiva Linga in Ardhnareswar (male and female) form. 

Fakuwa Dol

Fakuwa dol is a dome shaped shrine
Fakuwa dol is a dome shaped shrineNayan Jyoti Das/Wikimedia Commons

This unique octagonal structure with a domical top is located near the Hayagriva Madhava Temple and features the Nagara architectural style. The base of the otherwise simple walls exhibit intricately designed elephants that demonstrate the fine craftsmanship of Assamese art. Within its limited space, the complex holds a mandapa (hall or a pavilion), antarala (foyer) and a garbhagriha (shrine) and features artwork belonging to Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism. 

Poa Mecca

Poa Mecca of Makkah
Poa Mecca of MakkahAwesome Assam

Up on the Garurachal hill is where Muslim pilgrims find a part of their heritage. This complex doesn't just house a mosque but also Pir Giyasuddin Aulia's tomb. Although the exterior, as it can be seen currently, has been a result of recent renovations, the interiors are steeped in an era far gone. The Persian inscriptions on the walls date back to the 17th century and bear mention of the Mughal prince Muhammad Shujauddin. Not just that, the inscriptions reveal about its maker, an Iranian named Lutfullah Shirazi, and Hajo's Mughal-era name, Shuja'abad. 

Getting There: Located in Lower Assam's Kamrup district, just 36 km from Guwahati, this ancient town can be reached easily via road. It is well connected to significant locations across Assam, but most notably to Guwahati - from the railway station and airport, it takes approximately an hour to 45 mins, respectively. 

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