Golaghat: An Application of Tourist Attractiveness
Dr. Manisha Chaliha
Department of Education
Debraj Roy College, Golaghat
Tourism is a word which attracts the modern society from all sides, beginning in West Europe in the 17th century. “The growing influence of the tourism sector as an economic powerhouse and its potential as a tool for development are irrefutable. It also improves the quality of people’s lives with its capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind. It supports environmental protection, champions diverse cultural heritage and strengthens peace in the world.”1
Tourism is a multi-dimensional approach which implies many things to many people. There are three components which together make tourism. These are: (1) Transport (2) Locale and (3) Accommodation ( Mishra, Konar,2008)2.
Golaghat: An Attraction of Tourism
Golaghat is a major tourist hub of the country situated in Upper Assam on the bank of the river Dhansiri. Originally, the name Golaghat comes from two words- ‘Gola’ and ‘Ghat’- ‘Gola’ means market and ‘Ghat’ means the port of river transport. It obtained district status in 15th August, 1987 occupying 3,502 km2. A brief discussion on existing tourism products of Golaghat has been made in the following manner.
Kaziranga National Park:
Kaziranga National Park represents one of the most natural areas as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 429.93Sq.Km. situated in Golaghat and Nagaon district. It is not only the homeland of the great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and but also provides shelter to a variety of other wild lives. The Bird Life International recognised Kaziranga National Park as an Important Bird Area. Kaziranga National Park occupies a special attention by obtaining honour as one of the finest wildlife refuges in the world. There are several threats come to this park mainly rhino poaching, seasonal flooding and climate change impacts, unplanned tourism infrastructure, highway traffic etc. But, it is hope for us that gradually Kaziranga National Park can attract the domestic tourist as well as International tourist.
There are several tourist attraction near Kaziranga National Park also. Among them Kakochang Waterfalls is the best destination which is located about 13 K.M. from Bokakhat town in Golaghat district. Few of the famous attraction nearby Kakochang Waterfalls are ruins of Numaligarh, ruins of Deopahar with a beautiful landscape of tea, rubber and coffee garden. This nature’s gift is attracted by tourist in all times.
Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park:
We know orchids are the greatest pride of North East India which is also the natural heritage of Assam. The orchid ‘Kapou (Rhynchostylisretusa)’ is the state flower of Assam. Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park is organized by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) led by Mr. Akhil Gogoi. This park includes Green House, Photo Gallery, Medicinal Herbal Plant Garden, Product Outlet Corner, Fruit Garden, Flower Garden, Rock Garden, Rice Museum, Fish Pond etc. The park is spanning a wide range of 18 bighas of land at Durgapur Village.
The park is an example of team-work and women empowerment trend. This park is naturally very beautiful where boating facility for leisure and entertainment is also provided. The tourist can walk in natural pathways and beautifully crafted rock garden. Another source of enjoyment for the tourist that the park is a centre of native cultures in Assam. Apart from these, the park has got North East India’s ethnic food stall, a flower garden with beautiful species, a traditional cloth (hand) weaving centre by the local people, some traditional items like DHEKI etc.
Panbari Reserve Forest:
Panbari Reserve Forest is another tourist attraction falls under the Golaghat district. It is famous for many exotic birds like the Crested Goshawk, the Great Indian Hornbill etc. There are several uncharted areas within the forest and tourists can take the help of forest guards and guides to reach these areas. The tourist can expect to enjoy the Speckled Piculet, Pied Falconet and the Crow Billed Drongo. Tourists can also enjoy a panoramic view of the Numaligarh Tea Estate also.
Negheriting Shiva Mandir:
Another tourist destination of Golaghat is Negheriting Shiv Mandir which was built during 8th to 9th centuries by Kacharies. The temple is enriches with Lord Mahadeva Linga which was reconstructed by Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha.The temple situated on the hillock which attracts the tourist also. On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, the temple is decorated and prayers are offered to Lord Shiva throughout day and night.
Sri Sri Athkhelia Namghar:
Sri Sri Athkhelia Namghar is a tourist place of North East India and a centre of pilgrim place from all corners of Assamese people. It is also holly place where the three rivers Ghiladhari, Makrang and Kakodonga meet. It is situated at a distance of 21 Kilometres from Golaghat town. Historically Athkhelia Namghar was constructed by Ahom Swargadeu Godapani, the husband of Sati Joymoti around 1681. The name ‘Athkhelia’ comes from the eight Kuries or eight Pikes(Khel). During the holly month of Bhada (August-September), this Namghar become crowd of 25-27 lakh of devotes in every year. The Nam-Kirton is offered to Lord Brishnu in Namghar everyday.
Uncle Robin’s Children Museum:
Uncle Robin’s Children Museum is situated in Golaghat town. Under the name of prominent international environmentalist and naturalist Dr. Robin Banerjee, Uncle Robin’s Children Museum was established where Dolls, artefacts etc. are kept. Videos and other personal collections from Dr. Banerjees’s lifetime are on display in the museum. There are 587 dolls and 262 additional display items, 194 paintings, 19 award winning pictures,93 artefacts which were created by Dr. Robin Banerjee on the basis of nature and natural surroundings. There are some documentary film compilations dating from 1953 to 1998. Now it becomes a tourist attraction.
Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary:
About 25 km distance from Golaghat, Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest sanctuaries containing hot water spring and waterfalls surrounded by Nambar Sanctuary. There are 51 rare species of orchid , rich biodiversity in the Sanctury. It is a home to hoolock gibbons and golden langurs and lots of rare birds. The climate of this area is tropical and it is full of flora and fauna. It is the habitant of Tiger, Leopard, Cloud leopard, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat. Barkeeng Deer, Samber, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Capped Langur, , Slow Lories, Pig Tailed Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Chinese Pangolin, Indian Fox, Python Cobra, Monitor Lizerds etc.
Jugibari Village Tourism Area:
If one wants to enjoy the charm of natural green environment, Jugibari Bill is the unique place situated at Jugibari Village of Golaghat District. Different Migratory birds also seek attention from the tourists in this bill. Jugibari Beel is one type of lake which creates a beautiful natural beauty with it’s wonderful sunrise and sunset view. The lake becomes the place of enjoyment and encouragement enhancing women empowerment through participation of women Self Help Groups and community members selling their food and handmade products to the visitors and tourists.
Birangana Shadhani Kalakhetra:
Birangana Shadhani Kalakhetra is a beautiful place named after the last great Chutiya queen Sati Sadhani. Now it is a attraction of domestic tourists, scholars etc. It has a life-size statue of Birangana Sati Sadhani designed by eminent sculptor Dr Ranjit Kumar Borua. It includes a auditorium, an open air auditorium, children park, boating lake to spend time for the tourists. In Assam, 21st April is celebrated as Sati Sadhani Divas every year to honour the courage and sacrifices made by the Chutiya Queen who played a prominent role in the fight against the Ahoms. It can be mentioned that Golaghat district is the inhabitant of Chutia Janagushthi (maximum percentage).
Observations and Suggestions:
It is really truth that tourism has huge prospects in Golaghat district. But, tourism in Golaghat is struggling to occupy an important place in international tourism scenario. The development of tourism in Golaghat district neither any specific goals and nor any appropriate plan and policies. Under this unplanned, haphazard tourism scenario, the Golaghat tourism do not have minimum quality and desired standard.
The greatest barriers for developing tourism in Golaghat district are, low standard road ways, lack of well-connected rail-roadway service facilities, inadequate of water and electricity supply, proper sanitation arrangements, lack of entertainment and trained guide etc. For motivating the tourists, the travel agents and tour operators operating in the State are not doing their jobs in effective manner. The growth and development of tourism in Golaghat district has been affected by lack of positive outlook of the State Government for a long time also.
The tourism industry improves the occupational status of local people and organizations as well as it is an important process of women empowerment. This reflected on the economic, social, cultural, political and environmental aspects of the country. This is an important earning source of the people specially women by generating income and employment, earning valuable foreign exchange. Therefore, a determined effort is needed for the improvement of Golaghat tourism sector.
1Department of tourism, Government of India (2021). India tourism, Annual Report.Retrieved from https://tourism.gov.in/sites/default/files/2021.
2Mishra, A.M. & Konar,D.N.,(2008). Tourism in India, Akansha Publishing House: New Delhi.