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Charaideo is one of the least mentioned tourist destinations of India . It is situated in the Sivavsagar district of the state of Assam .The Ahoms, (one of the branches of the TAI people) first set up their kingdom at the hillocks of Charaideo. The Ahoms or the Tai- Ahoms were one sub branch of the great Tai race, which migrated from the southern provinces of China to Myanmar,Thailand Vietnam and North East India (Assam). Charaideo is a branch of the Patkai range of hills.The term Charaideo in Ahom terminology translates as- Che-town, Rai-rejoice and Doi means hill, meaning the hill town of great rejoicing
Charaideo, the first capital of the Ahoms became the center for rituals related with the dead and in later periods all the dead members of the AHOM royalty were cremated here later.
Ahoms ruled a vast part of Assam from 1228 to 1826 . They are credited with the creation of of a powerful state who could prevent the Mughal onslaught and still survive .During the six hundred years of their reign, Assam became a distinguished political identity in North East India. The name Assam is derived from the word called Ha Sham, the name called by the aboriginal BODO Kachari inhabitants to the new immigrants from South East Asia. During the advent of SIU Ka Fa, the Upper Assam tract was ruled by various chieftains. The Chieftain of the BARAHI tribe was 'Thakumtha' and the head of the Maran tribe was 'Badausa'.
It is known by the local chronicles called 'Buranji's that Siu-ka-fa(the founder of Ahom Kingdom in Assam) sacrificed white horse here to please the local gods. It was also considered a holy place by the 'Barahi' tribe who later migrated to the north of River Disang. Some terminology also translates the word 'CHARAIDEO' as infact the name of the chief god of the 'BARAHI' tribe called Charaideo' which literaly means BIRD -GOD
It is still considered holy by the present Ahom community. The dead kings, queens and the other members were cremated in a 'Stupa' like structure called the 'Maidam'. Today Charaideo is famous for the Maidams .
The 'Maidam's are structures like the Buddhist 'Stupa', an earthen mound raised over the remains of the dead king. At first, the 'Maidams' were mostly earthen, but later during 16th and 17th century, the 'Maidam's were brick built.
The terrain of Charaideo is hilly.It is 30 km away from Sivasagar town and about 390 km from the State capital of Assam Guwahati. The coordinates of Charaideo are 26.93 N and 94.78 E.
The Charaideo is one of the wonders in North East India, with STUPA like burial mounds not found often in other parts of North East India . Even the Ahoms regarded Charaideo as holy places and at first worshipped their gods here.
. Siu- ka- fa established ahom dynasty in Charaideo, later during the reign of 'SIU-DANG- FA' , or BAMUNI KONWAR' the capital was shifted to Saragua, a place where the remains of Ahom establishment still exists . SIU HUNG MUNG shifted the capital to BOKOTA, which is mentioned in the Chinese sources. Siu hung Mung was the most powerful king of Assam during the Fifteenth Century. He expanded the Ahom Kingdom by annexing the kingdoms of the Chutiya and Kacharis and annexed a vast part of Middle Assam. he de\feated the Turkish forces sent by Bakhtiyar Khilji of Bengal under the genral 'Turbock'
Like the 'city of the dead' of Egypt, the Charaideo can also become a tourist hub for its beauty and grandeur of the 'Maidam's. But due to the slow developments infrustructure like tourist facilities and roads in Assam, it is yet to become a center of attraction for the travellers all over the world.
The Government of India has sent proposals to 'UNESCO' for enlist Charaideo as one of the World Hetitage Sites in the World. The district administration of Sivasagr district has also taken ample steps to focus on the tourism industry..
Charaideo can be reached within half an hour from Sivasagar district both by bus and private cars. Tourists can stay at Sivasagar where there are lots of hotels and lodges. Flights are available at regular intervals between Guwahati and Dibrugarh district which is 100km away from Sivasagar and Jorhat district which is about 65 km away from Sivasagar district.
Due to lack of awareness among the local people, the 'Maidam's were unprotected throughout the 19th century. The last of the Ahom kings were troubled with civil wars and the invasion of the Burmese.The British entered the Assam to repel the Burmese and subdued the Ahom kingdom. Thus Assam became a province under British colonial India and throughout their rule the British did not take any steps to protect the 'Maidam's and hence the 'Maidam's laid unprotected through the centuries.
It was only after India gained independence and both the Government and the local bodies took the initiative to protect 'Charaideo' as a heritage site.
There has been proposal for upliftment of Charaideo as a 'World Heritage site' by both the Government of India and the 'Archaeological Survey of India'. Presently, it has been protected by the ASI and the State Archaeological Department. The ASI has unearthed a total of 150 Maidams. Most of the Maidams were in deplorable condition because of the encroacher's activity. The Assam government also Organise Siu ka fa Festival on 2 december officially to commerate the advent of Siu ka fa in this land called Assam
Still, Charaideo is yet to recognized by the world as a major tourist destinations as there is not enough facilities for tourists in Assam, specially in Sivasagar. Belonging to the same clan of Ahoms and the same town Sivasagar, I take it as a privilege to describe about this beautiful place of Charaideo.