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Shib Sagar : the ancient capital of the Ahom kings in Assam
Shib sagar in upper Assam was the capital of the Ahom kings who ruled Assam for 600 years before the British dethroned them in the nineteenth century. As the capital city of a powerful kingdom, Shib Sagar was the centre of power of the North-east India for a long time, & the ruling kings always tried to beautify the town with beautiful palaces , temples & gardens. In addition, they dug large lakes in & around the capital. Actually, Jai Sagar, with an expanse of 318 acres, is considered as the largest man-made lake in the world.
There are many places of interest in Shib Sagar, the most important ones are :
1. Shib Dol temple complex on the bank of the lake Shib Sagar (the town took the name from this huge lake or may be the other way round!) consisting of three huge temples, viz. Shib Dol, arguably the tallest Shiva temple in India (180 feet), dedicated to Lord Shiva; Devi Dol, dedicated to Mother Goddess Durga & Vishnu Dol, dedicated to Lord Vishnu.This temple complex was built in 1734 by Madambika, the queen of King Shiv Singh.
2. Rang Ghar : this double storied building with a roof built like an inverted boat was a sort of auditorium, from which the kings watched animal-fights. Wrestling & dances. This was built by King Pramatta Singh in 1774.
3. Talatal Ghar : the 7-storied royal palace built by King Rudra Singh (1696-1714). The first 3 floors of this huge palace cum fort are below the ground level.
4. Kareng Ghar : the old royal palace, originally built in 1540 by King Chuklen Mung & later renovated by King Rajeswar Singh in 1752. This atypical 5-storied building was built in a pyramidal shape.
5. Charai Deo : it was the capital of the first Ahom king Sui-Ka-Pho who came from erstwhile Burma. Charai Deo was the royal burial ground where the deceased royals were buried under a small hillock, like the burial of the Egyptian Pharaos at the Valley of the Dead in Egypt.
Shib Sagar’s nearest airport is at Jorhat, about 60 km away. Shib Sagar is well connected with the state capital Guwahati by road (NH 37 & NH 52).