ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10 Things You Must Try When You Travel To Assam

Updated on October 16, 2015
Source

An Incredible Journey

I traveled to North East India the first time in the year 1997, when I was in my 9th Grade. That was the first time I was ever stepping out of my house without any help of my parents. It was an exciting feeling. This period was also the peak of insurgency in the State. When I told my parents I want to travel to North East India, the answer was a plain NO. But, eventually, I convinced them.

Since then, I have traveled to Assam several times, and I have seen the State very closely as it went through the change, trying to struggle between embracing the modernity and retaining the traditional values.

No matter what changes the modern India might have brought in, Assam still has a uniqueness which keeps the people of the State firmly connected to their roots. And that clearly reflects in their lifestyle. This is what makes me coming back here.

Last year, I spent more than 6 months in various parts of the State. Sharing with you, the 10 things you must try when you visit Assam.

Source

1. Be A Part Of The Bihu Festival

The most important festival of the state is the Bihu Festival, which is celebrated thrice in a year. The Bhogali Bihu or Maagh Bihu in January, Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu in April and Kongali Bihu or Kaati in October.

The most important of the three is the Rongali or Bohag Bihu, also known as Baisakhi in the rest of the country. Come April and the entire state immerses itself in the flamboyance of happiness, joy and merriment.

The women wear the traditional Assamese Silk Sarees, essentially with a red bordered pattern and red tatoos on the hands, that adds to their charm and beauty. The men wear a silk woven turban also called the Gamochas again woven in red and white colours.

A live Bihu performance is a delightful experience. The men usually sporting the huge drums and singing the harvest songs produce foot-tapping tunes and the women dance to these tunes gently swaying their arms in the air.

Be a Native

Be a Native
Be a Native | Source

2. Try Wearing the Traditional Assamese Costume

The best way to learn about a place is to be a part of the tradition itself. Be a native, and you will come to know more than you have ever thought of. The traditional Assamese Costume is essentially a hand-loom woven silk or cotton wear.

The men wear a long shirt called the Kurtas with a wrap around lowers called the Dhuti. Women wear the authentic Assamese Silk Sarees with usually a red border, a color which signifies happiness, wealth and prosperity.


The Traditional Tai Ahom Scriptures
The Traditional Tai Ahom Scriptures | Source
The Modern Thai Script
The Modern Thai Script | Source

3. Spend Time Learning The Assamese Language

One of the biggest surprises that I encountered in this visit to Assam was their Ancient Script called the Tai Ahom. I had never heard of this before, until I dropped into a friends place for dinner, when I noticed volumes of books written in traditional Tai Language.

Being interested in book reading and languages myself, I picked up one of these books and flipped through several pages only to realize that the script looked similar to the Thai Language.


The modern Assamese Language is essentially a derivative of the Bengali Language, with minor differences in the script, but major difference in speaking. Being a Bengali myself, I had little difficulty to pick up the etymology, but, eventually, with a careful listening, it came easy.

Connecting with the people in their native language is an instant ice-breaker. It immediately helps people to connect with you, know and gather information about a place, culture, life-style habits and many subtle aspects which a person can only know after staying at a place for a long time.

So, this time when you visit Assam, do try out speaking Assamese. You will not regret the conversation, I promise.

The traditional Bihu Serving
The traditional Bihu Serving | Source
Fish curry cooked in Poppy seeds and Mustard Oil
Fish curry cooked in Poppy seeds and Mustard Oil | Source

4. Try The Assamese Delicacies

The Assamese cuisine consists mainly of rice and its substitutes and fish in their staple diet. The fish is cooked in a unique way, however. Marinated in mustard oil and poppy seeds, to create a tangy taste, the fish is then wrapped in Banana leaves. This wrap is then put inside a hollow bamboo channel and cooked in warm water.

The gradual cooking eventually causes the taste of the banana leaves and bamboo soaked in the wraps and creates an awesome dish. Try it with some mustard sauce and I promise you will eat up your fingers.

In Bihu Festival, the majority of the dishes are cooked in rice, for example the Til Pitha, Ghila Pitha, a sweet wrap made of rice powder, coconut and jaggery filling. .

Source

5. Savour Your Taste Buds With Tamool Betel Nuts

If you are in Assam, and you do not come across betel nuts served, it is a rare phenomenon to happen. It is customary to offer betel nuts if you visit any house in the Assamese Villages. Usually served with raw betel leaves, the betel nut groves are a part of a typical Assamese garden. With a slender and flexible bark, the betel nuts can be seen grown in bunches, hanging from the trees and also is an essential ingredient for the local business and economy. Also called as Tamool, the Assamese hospitality is incomplete without serving their guests with the nuts before a tea or a meal serving.

Try Purchasing Tea From Direct Factory Outlets and experience the Difference in taste.
Try Purchasing Tea From Direct Factory Outlets and experience the Difference in taste.

See How They Manufacture Tea In Assam

6. Visit A Tea Garden And Try Tea From A Factory Outlet

Visiting a tea garden and learning how tea is made is a fun experience. The tea workers carefully pluck the tender tea leaves and then the leaves are allowed to dry in the sun. The CTC (Cutting, Threshing and Curling) leaf tea is a three step process in which the tea leaves are treated to extract the aroma and taste that helps you to get a refreshing start every morning.

A factory outlet essentially sells the varieties of tea from a small outlet attached with the tea factory. The visitor not only can take a tour of how the tea is made, but also carry a souvenir home by picking up the freshly manufactured tea bags with the most refreshing aroma directly from the place where it is made.

Source

Watch the Silk Saree Weaving on a Handloom

7. Weave An Assam Silk Sari On The Handloom

The hand-loom industry in Assam is one of the oldest, and the state has recently done a lot to revive the otherwise dying culture of handwoven silk. As you take your course through the remote villages of Assam, you will notice that hand-loom is still an essential part of the house inventory, and the people especially the women still prefer to weave their own clothing in-house.

A typical Assamese silk sari sells anywhere between Rs.2500/- to as high as Rs. 10000/- on the higher side and involves a patient and skilled hands working to create a magical weave. Cotton saris are also woven and the rural Assam uses the cotton clothing for a daily use. The silk clothes are used for special occasions and festivals, when the folklore take to the streets to celebrate and enjoy the festive moments.

Witness the land of the Rising Sun
Witness the land of the Rising Sun | Source
Brahmaputra River is home to one of the largest freshwater fishes found across the globe
Brahmaputra River is home to one of the largest freshwater fishes found across the globe | Source
An evening on Brahmaputra River
An evening on Brahmaputra River | Source

9. Try Fishing On A Ferry Trip

The Brahmaputra is the longest river in India. Stretching from the Northern Himalayas, it passes through several parts of North East India and flows in three countries- China, Bangladesh and India. Needless to say, it brings along with its flow, some of the largest fresh water fishes and forms a major resource of food for North East India.

The Assamese people weave the fish nets either in artistic bamboo fiber or use the traditional nets suspended on two bamboo rods tied across each other. The fishermen use the boats and ferries not only to connect from one village to another, but also for fishing.

If you have never tried fishing before, I insist you try here once you visit Assam. Not only will you enjoy cruising over the mighty waters of Brahmaputra river, but also you will also enjoy twirling the fishing nets in the Brahmaputra River.

Source
Modern bamboo furniture implements inner wooden framework for more rigidity and style
Modern bamboo furniture implements inner wooden framework for more rigidity and style | Source

10. Watch The Intricate Bamboo Work In A Local Furniture House

Just as tea is a unique identity of Assam, so is bamboo. Bamboo craftsmanship is practiced across the entire state of Assam and is one of the many sources of economy for the state. Bamboo furniture can elevate the beauty of your drawing room several times more than any other.

Drop in to any local furniture store to find out how these skilled craftsmen put all the efforts together to create masterpieces. The finesse, with which these artisans work is exemplary and their skills could take years of practice and patience to acquire.

The earlier bamboo furniture was designed more on a cane base and pure flexible bamboo was used for making seats, sofa sets and other furniture. Recently, modern methods and technology have helped to create finer pieces with wooden framework as the base.This allows more rigidity, longer life and unique style.

Would Love to hear from you!!

How did you like the post?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)