Assam is a state rich in history, mainly due to its multi-ethnic nature. While the Hindu Assamese are a major part of the state, there are several tribes and communities that live along the plains of Brahmaputra and also the hills of the state. One such community, the Ahoms, ruled Assam for 600 years and were influential towards the culture of the state. In fact, the name ‘Assam’ comes from the word ‘Asam’, which is a Sanskritisation of the word, ‘Aham’ or ‘Ahom’. We will explore the Ahom history through their capital city Sibsagar.
The many facets of Shiva
Shiva is a deity with many legends and folk tales. From the form of a dancer, Lord Nataraja, symbolizing the cosmic dance, to the Linga, representing the atomic structure and also the structure most suited for storage of energy with little wastage. However the unique form of Shiva in Unakoti, is that of a tribal lord. Such a representation is seen nowhere else. For a moment, Amish Tripathi’s description of Shiva as a competent tribal warrior in his Shiva trilogy books suddenly rings true. The Bas relief of Shiva, his family and other deities are carved on the natural contours of the rocks in the area.
The Cauvery river flows to the north of Mysuru. Across the river on the northern bank is Mandya district with its famous Ranganathittu bird sanctuary and Brindavan gardens. Between Mysuru and Mandya, inside the river itself, is the island town of Srirangapatana. The town itself is named after Sri Ranganatha Swamy, the chief deity of the town and a revered place for south India’s Vishnu-worshipping Iyengar sect among Brahmins. However, the rest of the town has relics and stories from another topic belonging to another religion. The majority of tourists visit Srirangapatana to relive the story of one of India’s fiercest warriors against British colonisation: The Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan. While there are equally impressive stories about the valour of Sultan Hyder Ali, it’s his son Tipu who takes centre stage in the island town. Continue reading