Offbeat Alert: 5 Lesser-Known Spiritual Sites In Guwahati, Assam

The land of holy sites, Guwahati, is also home to a number of offbeat spiritual places that most people overlook
The Ambubachi Mela in Guwahati see devotees and sages from far and wide
The Ambubachi Mela in Guwahati see devotees and sages from far and wideShutterstock

Guwahati, the largest city in Assam, is not just a bustling metropolis but a city deeply rooted in history and culture. Its significance in the cultural narrative of Assam and India is undeniable. This ancient city has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, the spread of religions, and the passage of time. There are many ancient temples and sites in the city that still remain largely unexplored. Besides the very famous Kamakhya Temple, there are many other hidden gems waiting to be discovered by spiritual travellers as well as history enthusiasts. 

Ashwakranta Devalaya: A Divine Halt

On the northern banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River stands the Ashwakranta Devalaya, a temple built by Ahom King Swargadeo Siva Singha in 1720. Legend has it that this temple marks the spot where Lord Shri Krishna's horse rested during his journey to defeat Narakasura. In the Assamese language, "ashwa" means horse, and "klanta" means tired, giving the temple its unique name.

The temple's serene location along the Brahmaputra's banks provides a tranquil setting for visitors. While the sacrificial area near the temple, known as the "kunda," has eroded over time, the temple remains a place of devotion and celebration. Festivals like Janmashtami and Ashok-astami are observed with fervour, drawing devotees from far and wide.

Address: 5PPF+P4P, Amingaon, Doul Govinda Rd, North Guwahati

Janmashtami and Ashok-astami are observed with fervour in the Doul Govinda Temple. 
Picture for representative purpose only.
Janmashtami and Ashok-astami are observed with fervour in the Doul Govinda Temple. Picture for representative purpose only. Shutterstock

Doul Govinda Temple: A Tribute to Lord Krishna

The Doul Govinda Temple, is nestled at the foothills of the Chandrabharti hills in Rajaduar, North Guwahati. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple boasts a prayer hall within its premises, where devotees assemble for spiritual gatherings. The temple, over 150 years old, stands as a testament to the vibrant culture of North Guwahati.

The temple complex also houses a "Baha," a row of houses at the periphery, along with the main temple. Copper plates, rock inscriptions, and shrines scattered throughout the vicinity hint at the rich historical legacy of the region. The festival of colours, Holi, is a grand affair with celebrations spanning a week with various events taking place, showcasing the deep-rooted cultural traditions of the locals.

Address: 6P4R+JJH, Baruah Souk, North Guwahati

Manikarneshwar Devalaya: Ancient Roots

North Guwahati, often referred to as "East Kashi" in ancient texts, is steeped in history and mythology. It holds an intriguing blend of spirituality and historical significance. One of its prominent landmarks is the Manikarneshwar Devalaya, a temple steeped in myth and legend. According to local folklore, Lord Shiva rested under a Bel (stone apple) tree here after the self-immolation of Sati, his consort, and the subsequent dismemberment of her body by Lord Vishnu. This sacred site holds profound spiritual significance for devotees.

The temple's unique architectural features, with its star-shaped plinth, reflect its early mediaeval origins. The legends intertwined with this temple add to its mystical allure. Visitors are drawn to its spiritual ambience and the historical narratives embedded in its ancient stones.

Address: 6P4X+V66, Durgeshwari Rd, Rajadwar Gate, Rangmahal, Baruah Souk, North Guwahati

Devotees perform devotional songs at Sri Sri Auniati Satra, North Guwahati
Devotees perform devotional songs at Sri Sri Auniati Satra, North Guwahati Shutterstock

Auniati Satra: Preserving Cultural Legacy

The Auniati Satra, founded in 1663 on the idyllic island of Majuli, is a living testament to Assam's cultural heritage. Established by Ahom king Swargadeo Jayadhwaj Singha, this satra embodies the spiritual and artistic traditions of the region. Over 250 years ago, the fifth satradhikar, Shri Shri Hari Deva Goswami, sought refuge in Andharoo Bali, a sandbar on the Brahmaputra at Bharalumukh, Guwahati. Here, he established the first branch of Majuli's Auniati Satra in Guwahati.

The Guwahati satra, established in 1917 by the then satradhikar Kamal Chandra Deb, follows the circular structure typical of satras. It includes a naamghar (prayer hall) and a manikut (sanctum sanctorum). The satra's peaceful environment and spiritual activities make it a place of solace for many.

Address: Majuli 785 106, Jorhat

Ambari Archaeological Site: A Portal to Ancient Kamarupa

The Ambari Archaeological Site, discovered in 1968, offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient Kamarupa's cultural development. The site, divided into early and later cultural phases, showcases a history dating back to BCE 200. It was an urban centre with brick-paved pathways, floors, and drainage systems.

The site functioned as an artists' guild and a production centre for sculptures, known as the Kamarupa School of Art. Numerous stone sculptures, shiva lingas, terracotta artefacts, and antiquities have been unearthed, shedding light on the artistic prowess of the region. The Nataraja sculpture found here is a unique representation of this iconic deity.

Address: 5QP3+29H, Behind Gauhati Press Club, Digholi Pukhuri East, Ambari, Guwahati

Kamakhya Temple: A Spiritual Oasis

The Kamakhya Temple, perched atop Nilachal Hill, is an architectural marvel and a spiritual oasis that draws devotees and travellers alike. Even though this is not a lesser-known site for travellers, a list of attractions in Assam would be incomplete without mentioning this sacred temple.

Kamakhya Temple
Kamakhya TempleShutterstock

Dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya, it stands as a testament to the deep-rooted spiritual beliefs of Assam. With a history dating back centuries, this shrine has witnessed countless rituals, prayers, and pilgrimages. Its unique architecture, characterised by its dome-shaped roof and sculpted walls, reflects a blend of indigenous and Mughal styles.

The temple complex comprises several smaller shrines, each dedicated to different deities. Among them, the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is the most revered, housing the yoni-shaped stone, symbolising the goddess's creative power. The Ambubachi Mela, an annual festival, attracts thousands of pilgrims who come to seek blessings during the menstruation of the goddess.

Address: Kamakhya, Guwahati

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