Jorhat is the 2nd largest city in the state of Assam in India. Jorhat was established as a new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat, as the name signifies, was just a couple (Jor) of markets (Hat). Two parallel markets namely, Chowkihat and Macharhat, lay on the eastern and the western banks of the river Bhogdoi. Jorhat as "The last Capital of the Ahom Kingdom", has several archeological sites including the Raja maidam — the last burial mounds of the Ahom kings. Jorhat today has grown into a thriving city with a strong sense of character and identity. It is the best laid out city in Upper Assam with broad roads, cutting each other at right angles. People of Jorhat have traditionally displayed a high interest towards arts and culture. Jorhat is also known as "The Cultural Capital of Assam". Jorhat, a rapidly developing city of Assam, has the distinction of having the largest number of educated residents in Assam, among all other districts of Assam and is one of the major business hubs of the state. The noted oriental scholar Prof. Krishna Kanta Handique (1898–1982) was from Jorhat, and his life's work was all done in this city. The Assam Agricultural University is located here. Nestled in the tea gardens dotted around sprawling in and around the city, is the Tocklai Research Association (TRA), the oldest and the largest tea research station of its kind in the world. The Indian Air Force has a station at Rowriah, on the outskirts of the city which also serves as the commercial air hub for the city. The Gymkhana Club in Jorhat is a historic institution dating back to the British raj and boasts of the third oldest golf course in the world.
History of Jorhat
Jorhat was a planned town under royal patronage. It was often spelt as "Jorehaut" during the British reign. In the year 1794, the Ahom King Gaurinath Singha shifted the capital from Sibsagar, erstwhile Rangpur to Jorhat. Many tanks were built around the capital city by the Ahom royalty such as Rajmao Pukhuri or Borpukhuri, Buragohain Pukhuri, Bolia Gohain Pukhuri, Kotoki Pukhuri and Mitha Pukhuri.This town was a flourishing and commercial metropolis but completely destroyed after a series of Burmese invasions of Assam since 1817 till the arrival of the British force in the year 1824 under the stewardship of David Scott and Captain Richard.
The British Rule, though not free from rebellions and revolutions, contributed to reemergence of this historical town. From the very first decade of the British rule, revolutionaries like Gomdahar Konwar, Jeuram Medhi, and PiyaliPhukan emerged. The British system of administration came into vogue in the year 1839 with an established Police Thana. During the great Sepoy Mutiny, Maniram Dewan and Piyali Barua were hanged in public at this very place in 1858.
In 1885, a narrow gauge train services Jorhat Provincial Railway had come into operation and ultimately became instrumental in rapid growth of the tea industry.
Though, the Civil Sub-division under Sibsagar district at Jorhat was formed in 1869, this great place was declared as administration headquarters of the undivided Sibsagar district in 1911 which comprised the present Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat districts and parts of Karbi-Anglong district with Major A. Playfare as the first Deputy Commissioner. Presently, Jorhat is on its road to utopian modernization with many commercial and non commercial establishments setting foot on its soil. The old families of this ever prosperous city have played a pivotal role in moulding the city into what it is today, transforming the once sleepy city into a bustling and a well organised city. Jorhat is located at 26°45'N 94°13'E 26.75°N 94.22°E. It has an average elevation of 116 metres (381 ft).
In the north of the district, the Brahmaputra River forms the largest riverine island of the world, Majuli, which spreads over 924.6 square kilometres with a population of about 150,000. The island, threatened by constant erosion by the mighty and unstable Brahmaputra River, had been the principal place of pilgrimage of Vaishnavites since the age of the Ahom rulers. Several Satras (monasteries) resembling those of medieval times are headed by Satradhikars teaching Vaishnavism which was initiated by Sankardeva (1449–1568). Each Satra has an unknown wealth of Vaishnavite Scriptures and extensive revenue-free lands cultivated by the Bhakats (celebated monks) of the Satras.
Jorhat is and has been a vibrant place and is a perfect mixture of tradition and modernity. It was the hub of anti-British struggle of Assam. Before that it was the last capital of the Ahoms, the dynasty which ruled over Assam for six centuries. The cultural environment which prevails in Jorhat is the result of untiring effort of people trying to preserve its culture.
In the year 1915, Jorhat Sahitya Shabha was established in Jorhat followed by Asam Sahitya Sabha (or "Assam Literary Society") which was established on 27 December 1917 in Sibasagar.
The Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan, donated by late Radhakanta Handique is the Headquarters of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in Jorhat.
Jorhat has been able to produce many creative writers, historians and journalists. Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, the first Assamese to win India's highest literature award, the Jnanpith Award, was from Jorhat. Jorhat is the home of internationally reputed ideologists and educationalists like Krishna Kanta Handique, founder Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University. In the building of Modern Assam Jorhat played a vital role so far as a sizable section of Assamese intelligentsia has always been from Jorhat.
The healthy education and cultural life of Jorhat can be best judged from the fact that District has as many as five daily Newspapers published from here. Some of the important newspapers include: The North East Times and The Telegraph in English, The Saptahik Janambhumi, Dainik Janambhumi, Amar Asom, Dainik Agradoot and Asomiya Khobor in Assamese and The Purbanchal Prohori in Hindi. City Guide of Jorhat was the first yellow pages published by the July,1987.
The Jorhat Town Hall is administrative building of the town administration located in the centre of the City. The Elyee Talkies presently known as Elyee Cinema was the first moving cinema theatre hall in Garali, the heart of the city.
Jorhat can be accessed by air, rail and road. The Jorhat Airport, commonly known as the Rowriah Airport, is one of the busiest Airports in Assam. The airport is located within the city itself and makes traveling to the place by air all the more easier. Jorhat is serviced with direct flights to Kolkata and Guwahati.
Jorhat also falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway zone of the Indian Railways. Jorhat Town Railway Station and Mariani Junction Railway Station are major stations of Jorhat City. The Guwahati-Jorhat Jan Shatabdi Express and Guwahati-Jorhat Mariani Inter-City Express are the main train connections. Computerized reservation facility is provided. Rajdhani Link Express, Kamrup Express, Brahmaputra Mail are also Important trains run from Jorhat.
The city railway station is located about 84 km from Kaziranga National Park.and the Jorhat Mariani Junction Railway Station is to the south-east of Jorhat City.
Jorhat is also well connected with all the major cities of North East India. The Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) located at Tarajan Katokipukhuri, on the outskirts of Jorhat, provides connectivity with other regions of the North East with regular buses for major cities and tourist destinations of the neighbouring states. National Highway 37 (India) connects Jorhat with all major Cities of Assam.
Places of interest
Majuli - Majuli the largest river island in the world, is a civil sub-division of Jorhat District. It is Located 20 km. of Jorhat City. It is a pollution free fresh water island. Total area of the island is 1250 km2. Majuli is a Natural & cultural heritage site. With water bodies covering most of the areas, Majuli attracts plenty of birds both local & migratory. About 25-26 Satras are in Majuli of which the Satras of Kamalabari, Auniati & Garmur are worth mentioning. These Satras are propagating the religious ideology of great Assamese medieval Vaisnavite saint Sankardav and Madhavdav, Preaching Satria Culture.
Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar - It is one of the famous Bor namghar (place of worship) in Assam, established by saint-reformer Madhabdev in 1461. It is located at Dhekiakhowa village of Jorhat, 3.5 km away from National Highway 37. From the time of saint-reformer Sri Srimanta Sankardev and Madhavdev, this namghar has been continuing as an important centre for Baisnav Religion.
Now this Bor namghar has 13 bighas of land, an auditorium of its own. The devotees of Assam donate freely to this namghar and due to their helping hand, the managing committee of namghar works a lot of social and cultural welfares. Almost 461 years old, this namghar has been playing an important role in the exercise of Baisnav Religion and unity for the people of Assam. There are many stories associated with this Bor namghar. It is said that the main piller of the namghar is made of a Xaal tree (Shorea robusta). One night one of the bhakat (monk) of the namgahr saw in his dream that the river near the Bor namghar (known as dhekiyakhua jaan) is flowing in opposite direction and is carrying a Haal tree mean to be for the construction of the Bor namghar. Next day when people saw that dream to be true, they made the main pillers of the Bor namghar from the tree.
Lachit Borphukan's Maidam - This is the maidam of great Lachit Borphukan. He was the greatest ever Ahom General who defeated the mighty Mughals at Saraighat in 1672. It is located at Gohain gaon of Meleng-Hulungapar. It is 8 km from the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Raja Maidam - The existing maidam (vault) which lies on the south bank of Tocklai river on the northern side of Jorhat town is of king Purandar Sinha who expired on 1 October 1894. The present maidam was constructed to preserve the ashes of the late king.
Jorhat Gymkhana Club - Established by the British, the club was built in 1876 by D. Slimmon, the then Secretary of the club in Seconidhara village. The club has been a venue for horse races ever since its inauguration. The Governor's Cup is the major trophy awarded here every year.
Jorhat Gymkhana Club, the oldest golf course in Asia and the third oldest in the World has a lush green 9-hole golf course circuit vying for a position in the "World Heritage list". The club offers facilities in lawn tennis grass courts, swimming pool, billiards, polo, gentleman's bar and cinema theatre. The cricket ground here is known as 'Jorhat Gymkhana Ground'. It had the grace of hosting the CK Naidu Under-19 Indian Cricket tournament matches. Khelmati sports club uses this ground for practising cricket.
The Club road was the first asphalt road laid by the Britishers to connect the City Centre with the Jorhat Gymkhana Club.
Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan - The Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan, donated by late Radhakanta Handique, is the headquarters of Asom Sahitya Sabha. It was built in 1926. Personalities like late Chandradhar Baruah, late Dimbeswar Neog, late Mitradev Mahanta and others from Jorhat adorned the presidentship of Asom Sahitya Sabha.
Thengal Bhawan - Thengal Bhawan was built in 1880 by Raibahadur Shiva Prasad Barooah. In 1929, he published a weekly Assamese newspaper. Later, he established his printing press and office at Thengal Bhawan and managed to publish a daily newspaper, Dainik Baatari. Shiv Prasad Barooah was the owner and Bagmibar Nilamani Phukan was the editor of this daily newspaper. This newspaper was published from such a place, Thengal Bhawan, where there was no post office. It was the first daily newspaper in Assamese and also the first daily newspaper in any language, published from a village in entire India.
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary - Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife sanctuary, more popularly known as Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary named after Hoolock Gibbon covers an area of 20.98 square kilometers (including the area under Military Engineering Services of Indian Army) at Jorhat district of Assam. The Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary was earlier known as Hoollongapar Forest during British period in 1881. This sanctuary is approximately 19 km from Jorhat town centre and 5 km from Mariani.
Sukapha Samannay Kshetra - Laid in the fond memory of the first Ahom king of Assam, Sukapha at Mohbandha near Dergaon and Jorhat. The State administration has pledged Rs 20 crore for the mega project in recognition of the six hundred years of Ahom rule in the region.
Ayur Sanjeeva - Ayur Sanjeeva is a health resort situated inside the Tilikiam tea garden. Amidst the greenery of the tea garden and having the vast open land Malow Pathar behind it and with the perpetual cool breeze coming from the nearby Brahamaputra, this resort is to be the dreamland for nature lovers.
Mou Chapori - Mou Chapori is a nice place at Neematighat, Jorhat. It is a small river island on Brahmaputra and an ideal place for family holidays. Cottages are pretty decent and available at affordable price.
Kaziranga Golf Resort - Kaziranga Golf Resort is a very scenic golf resort located near Sangsua tea garden of west Jorhat.