I know not who paints the pictures in my memories. However they may be, the images are road signs of my journey. There are places where I have paused in this journey of travel. Speaking of travel, I was on the myriad roads of Assam for the past 12 days on a trip of self-initiation to the treasure house that North East India is. Travelling day by day, I eventually found myself in the town of Shibsagar.
Ahoms of Kamrupa
While I wandered around seeing the various slices and examples of History in this town, I came across this quaint building that proclaimed itself as Ahom Museum, Shibsagar. Who were the Ahoms ? I had come across this name on vague occasions. I thought to myself, what providence and luck that I find myself at the gates of museums such as these which will, for some moments, give me an insight into the forgotten history or, in my case, into the unknown account of this wondrous land and in the years to come I will fondly remember my visit to this day in this place, so far away from where I initially started.
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Ahom Museum in Shibsagar
The Ahom Museum in Shibsagar was founded post-independence and opened to the public in 1972. The museum situated on the banks of the idyllic Shibsagar lake, surrounded by swaying trees, beckons the visitor to come and take a visit. It has one of the largest collections of Jewellery, artefacts and art related to the Ahom dynasty.
The major attractions include ancient manuscripts, metal works, weapons and traditional attires. The museum showcases the history, art, culture and daily lives of the people during the rule of the Ahom empire. The oldest artefacts date back to King Sukaphaa’s invasion in 1222.
Ahom dynasty. The Tai-AHOM are an ethnic group in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The first Ahom King was called Sukaphaa, and he established the Ahom Kingdom in 1228, centered around modern Assam until 1826, which is almost 598 years. The Ahoms tribes migrated from region around Burma towards present day Brahmaputra Valley. In today’s era, the Ahom people are primarily found in the region around Jorhat, Shibsagar, Tinsukia and Lakhimpur. How was the Administration of the Ahoms organized? They did this by having a supreme council of Five ministers who ensured checks and balances on the King.
The Ahoms did not try to destroy the existing culture when they set up their kingdom, and were expanding it. They added to the current culture and made it more prosperous by being a part of it. The Kings embraced Shaivism and Shakti cult, building many temples in Upper Assam in addition to practicing their own Ahom religion.
Many of the Ahom people used to follow dual religions and practices. It was an eye-opener to learn about these facts as I wandered through the Ahom Museum in Shibsagar.
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What is my blog about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on nature based places and off beat destinations. India has abundance of these kind of places . Read about the forest magic of Odisha out here or in depth story on the trek to Sandakphu to see the Kanchenjunga up-close. A visit to the Haflong would be definitely recommended , which is the only recognized hill station in Assam.
Going westwards, I would recommend the reader to glance at the beaches of Goa. My recommendation from my stay in the state for over 2 years. I am sure a visit to know about the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway while to the North of the country we have the trek to Kashmir Great Lakes or maybe visit the high altitude lakes of Ladakh region.
Ahom Museum in Shibsagar
Lachit Borphukan is regarded as one of the greatest of the Ahom war generals. He was instrumental in defeating the Mughals and recapturing Guwahati from them. He had built a strong Navy as well. The best graduating cadet of the National Defence Academy has been conferred the Lachit Borphukan gold medal, and the 24th of November is celebrated as Lachit Diwas in Assam. Quite interesting to note these facts, which I was not aware of.
Historical monuments of Assam during Ahom period
The most significant contribution of the Ahoms to the culture of Assam was in the form of compiling chronicles written in the Ahom language and later in Assamese. Historical works written by Ahoms are one of the significant treasures that are sadly forgotten by most of the present generation. They were involved in the construction of several significant temples in the Brahmaputra Valley.
Ahom Mughal Conflict
This glorious Kingdom eventually was destroyed by the British on deceit and betrayal and wiped off from the region. However, the few descendants of this great Kingdom, who defeated the Mughals 17 times in 60 years and was in existence for close to 600 years, still look in pride at their glorious part. On my part, I am so glad to have visited this gem of a small museum, where I was introduced to the great history of the Ahom Kingdom and its glorious past.
Conclusion to my visit to Ahom Museum in Shibsagar
This Road trip was my first foray into the vast region, termed the North East of India. It will take a lifetime or maybe more to see the entire area with its many intricacies and offbeat destinations. I am pretty content with this particular road trip, which was a perfect departure from the standardized version that most travelers attempt. Do visit Ahom Museum in Shibsagar if you travelling to this region and soak in some history.