Maguri Beel- Beel is the Local name for a Lake. Maguri Beel is famous for Birds. Maguri Beel is a place where you have a very close view of thousands of Migratory birds. Maguri Beel located just outside the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Maguri Beel is located in the south bank of the Dibru River, which is a channel of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is located in the northern bank of the Dibru River. The Beel is connected to the Dibru River by a system of channels and is very rich in aquatic life. Since the area is not protected, it is heavily used for fishing and grass collecting. However, it is still very rich in biodiversity and is important for conservation of waterfowl and grassland birds. The boat ride on the mighty Brahmaputra gives one an opportunity to have a glimpse of many migratory birds. The sunset view is not to be missed. For more birds one can visit the Maguri Beel in small boat where one can enjoy the bird’s of one’s lifetime. Winter season is best for visiting here and Brahmaputra river view is awsome in the evening.
List of birds Maguri Beel
Striated Grassbird, Little Cormorant, Little Grebe, Asian Openbill Stork, Purple Swamphen, Little Ringed Plover, Bar-headed Goose, White wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Widgeon, Garganey, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Lapwing, Grey-headed Lapwing, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Bronze-winged Jacana, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Pied Harrier, Barn Swallow, Wood Sandpiper, Indian Roller, White-breasted Kingfisher and many more.
Best time to visit: November to March
Guwahati has many tourist places to visit, there are very nice sightseeing, attractions in Guwahati which are must see in Guwahati. Umananda Temple one of them.
Umananda Devaloi is a Shiva temple located at the middle of river Brahmaputra. It was built by the Ahom King Gadadhar Singha (1681–1696), who was a devout Shaivaite. It is known as smallest river island in the world. The British named the island Peacock Island for its shape. The temple of Umananda was built in 1694 A.D. by the Bar Phukan Garhganya Handique by the order of King Gadadhar Singh (1681–1696), one of the ablest and strongest rulers of the Ahom dynasty. The original temple was however immensely damaged by a devastating earthquake of 1897. Later, it was reconstructed by local merchant .To reach the Umananda temple you require to take a short ferry ride from Kachari Ghat, near the D.C Office. Ferries frequently to and fro between Kachari Ghat and Umananda Temple.
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Shillong has long been a favored popular tourist destination given its natural beauty and pleasant weather and there are many places of interest here. Popular tourist attractions in Shillong are Umiam Lake, Wards Lake, Cathedral Church, Don Bosco Museum, Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Seven Sister, Mawsmai Cave, Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village, Living Root Bridge, Sacred Forest, Jakrem (Hotwater Spring) etc.
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Tourist Places in Shillong
Umaim Lake- Umiam Lake was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. The dam started construction in 1965. The dam has the distinction of being the first Hydel power project in the North-east region of India. The principal catchment area of the lake and dam is spread over 220 square km. The lake serves as a major tourist attraction for the state of Meghalaya. It is also a popular destination for water sport and adventure facilities.
Elephant Falls- Elephant Falls is among most popular tourist sites of Shillong. Elephant Falls Just 12 Km from Shillong. The original Khasi name for the falls was ‘Ka kshaid lai pateng khohsiew’ (three steps water falls), because of the fact that the water falls in three steps. Of course it was the British who named it ‘Elephant Falls’ because of a stone that resembles an elephant near the falls. But the stone was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897. But the name hasn’t changed.
Cathedral Church- Cathedral Church is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Shillong which covers the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is one of the most beautiful churches and is perched on a hill. It is located in the Laitumkhrah, Shillong. It was the first Catholic Cathedral Church in what was then the Mission of Assam. Construction of the new church of Mary Help of Christians was begun on the same site on 25 October 1936. The earlier 1913 building – the Church of the Divine Saviour – was a wooden structure. It was destroyed by theGood Friday fire of April 10, 1936.
Wards Lake- Wards Lake is an artificial lake with garden and boating facilities.Wards Lake known locally as Nan-Polok. Ward’s Lake is a refreshing pool surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of Shillong. The serene lake and the cool shades of trees around it, makes it a nice spot for sightseeing and boating. A stylish white wooden bridge suspended in the middle of the lake is the most recognizable feature of Ward’s Lake. The lake was named after a British officer, Sir William Ward, who was then the Chief Commissioner of Assam (Meghalaya was under the same administration). Though he was the one with the initial plan, it was Colonel Hopkins who oversaw the Lake completed in 1894. Since then, it has become a favorite with both locals and tourists
Majuli The Largest river island in the world. Majuli main Tourist Attractions are Satras. Majuli is the cultural capital and the cradle of Assamese civilization for over five hundred years.
Majuli or Majoli is a large river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam, India. Majuli island is accessible by ferries from the City of Jorhat. The island is about 200 kilometres east from Guwahati. Majuli, the largest pollution free fresh water river island in the world, a treasure island of culture, snuggles in the bosom of the mighty Brahmaputra. The landmass of this region extends for a length of about 90 km along east-west direction and about 850 sq km. along the north south.
The island has been the hub of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture, initiated around 15th century by the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva. Many Satras or monasteries constructed by the saint still survive and represent the colourful Assamese culture. The saint took refuge in Mājuli and spent a couple of months at Beloguri in West Mājuli, which was a place of grandeur for the historic and auspicious, ‘Manikanchan Sanjog’ between Shankardeva and Madhavdeva, this was the first satra in Mājuli. After the “Manikanchan Sanjog”, sixty five satras were set up. However, today only twenty-two of the original sixty-five are operational. Sixty-five out of the six hundred and sixty-five original satras in Assam were situated in Majuli.
The main surviving Satras (Satra) are:
• Dakhinpat Satra: Founded by Banamalidev, a supporter of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the National Festivals of Assam.
• Garamurh Satra: This “Satra” was founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During the end of autumn, the traditional the Raasleela is enacted with pomp and celebrations. Ancient weapons called “Bartop” or cannonss are preserved here.
• Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the satra is famous for the “Paalnaam” and Apsara Dances and also its extensive assortment of ancient Assamese artefacts, utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. It also has a hundred and twenty five disciples and over seven hundred thousand followers worldwide.
• Kamalabari Satra: The Kamalabari Satra, founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a centre of art, cultural, literature and classical studies on the island. Its branch the Uttar Kamalabari Satra has performed cultural programmes of the Satria Art all around the country and abroad.
• Benegenaati Satra: It is a reliquary of antiques of cultural importance and an advance centre of performing art. Muraridev, the grandson of Sankaradeva’s stepmother was the founder of the Satra. The royal raiment belongs to the Ahom king Swargadeo Godadhar Singha, is made of gold. Also preserved is the royal umbrella made in gold.
• Shamaguri Satra: The satra is famous for the mask making in India.
Majuli is an island,it is always a wet place.The southern part of the island is a bird lovers paradise. Between November and March is the best time to visit this place. There are 3 locals for bird watching:
1.The southeast of majuli Island
2.The southwest of majuli Island
3.The northern part of majuli Island
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As Arunachal Pradesh falls under restricted area, official permission is required to enter the state. There are two kinds of official permits prescribed by Government for entering into any area within Arunachal Pradesh. They are,
(i) Inner Line Permit (ILP)
(ii) Protected Area Permit (PAP)
Inner Line Permit (ILP):-The Inner Line Permits are required by Indians other than natives of Arunachal Pradesh for entering into any place in Arunachal Pradesh. The ILPs are issued by the Issuing authorities of Government of Arunachal Pradesh with offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Tezpur, Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Jorhat.
Protected Area Permit (PAP):- All the foreigners are required have the Protection Area Permit or PAP for entering into Arunachal Pradesh. They can obtain the Protected Area Permit from, All Indian Missions abroad, All Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, Home Ministry, Govt. of India and Home Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar.
Any Domestic tourist coming to Arunachal Pradesh has to obtain an Inner Line Permit. The Permit is granted as a routine for the tourists and so it should not deter any tourist from coming to Arunachal Pradesh. The Inner Line Permit can be obtained from any of the places given below.
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Meghalaya has many places of interest and best tourist attractions for visitors. Take City tours to travel famous destinations and sports to see and visit in Meghalaya
Umiam Lake :- Umiam Lake is a reservoir located in the hills 15 km to the North of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya, India. It was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. The principal catchment area of the lake and dam is spread over 220 square km. The lake was formed as part of building a Dam. The dam started construction in 1965. The dam has the distinction of being the first Hydel power project in the North-east region of India.
Shillong Catholic Cathedral:-Built on the same spot, which witnessed the first church in Shillong, this historical monument of peace and divinity is almost 50 years old. The beautiful church is constructed in the Gothic architectural style and is a spectacular sight in the midst of sprawling green lawns. This church is also known as the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians. The most unique feature of this church is the fact that it is built on sand and not on rock. As the region is prone to earthquakes, this ensures that any earthquake-related shock is absorbed by the sand, thereby securing the church from any major damage. Situated on top of an emerald-coloured hill, the tall arches of the church and its stained glass installations will mesmerise any tourist visiting Shillong. Near the altar of this church is the grave of the First Archbishop of the city. Apart from all these, the church also has several pieces of artwork depicting various scenes and chapters from holy scriptures.
Shillong Peak:- A picnic spot, 10 km from the city, 1965 m above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside and is the highest point in the state. Obeisance is paid to U Shulong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak’s summit every springtime, by the religious priest of Mylliem State.
Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures:- The Don Bosco Museum is part of DBCIC (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures). DBCIC comprises research on cultures, publications, training, animation programmes and the museum, which is a place of knowledge-sharing on the cultures of the northeast in particular, and of culture in general. DBCIC with its Don Bosco Museum is situated at Mawlai, Shillong.
Lady Hydari Park:- The park stretches over a kilometre and has an adjacent mini zoo. Forest Museum in Lady Hydari Park
Wards Lake:- Known locally as Nan-Polok. Its an artificial lake with garden and boating facilities.
Shillong Golf Course:- Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the world’s wettest) in Asia: Gleneagles of the East. It enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. Not only is the Shillong Golf Course scenic and enjoyable, it is also challenging. A group of British civil service officers introduced golf to Shillong in 1898 by constructing a nine-hole course. The present 18-hole course was inaugurated in 1924. The course is set in a valley covered with pine and rhododendron trees. The tight fairways, carpeted with a local grass which hardens the soil, are difficult to negotiate. The number of out-of-bounds streams that criss-cross every fairway makes it all the more trying. Obstructions come in the form of bunkers, trees and rain. The longest hole is the 6th, which is a gruelling 594 yards. Shillong Golf Course is considered to be the “Glen Eagle of the East” at the United States Golf Association Museum. It was set in a valley at an altitude of 5200 ft in 1898 as a nine-hole course and later converted into an 18-hole course in 1924 by Captain Jackson and C. K. Rhodes.Eco Park :- A large “Eco Park” established by the Meghalaya government in the plateau, which hosts several hybrid and indigenous orchids in the Green House donated by Shillong Agri-Horticultural Society. Also the Eco Park offers breathtaking view of distant Sylhet Plains of neighbouring Bangladesh.
Entomological Museum (Butterfly Museum):- A privately owned museum of M/s Wankhar, Riatsamthiah, Shillong about 2 km from Police Bazar is the only known museum in India devoted to moths and butterflies. The Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures at DBCIC (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures) is Asia’s largest Museum of Indigenous Cultures of its kind. In it the visitor can have an overview of the whole of North East India. Rising into Shillong’s skyline the Museum is a seven storey building with 17 well laid out Galleries of international standard containing artefacts, paintings, fibreglass figures – all a feast to the eyes and a source of knowledge. The topmost Gallery is where the visitors can relax and enjoy some of the rare dances of the North East. The Museum is indeed a surprise to visitors both from India and from abroad. Its best publicity are the visitors themselves who come to see it.
Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge:- Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge , which is almost like a bridge between two worlds. Before us is the deep Mawkdok Valley , bounded by two rows of never-ending hills that seem to stretch on forever. The view is breathtaking and my daughter thinks it’s an ideal shooting location for those “James Bond type movies”. Even as we stand there sipping tea from one of the many stalls here, the mist comes rolling in, and visibility is reduced to a few metres
Mawkdok Dympep Valley View :- A few kms from Umtyngar, as one takes the right turn from the road junction, one comes across a beautiful bridge known to the locals as the Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge, that is the entrance to the Sohra tourist circuit. From here the landscape abruptly changes into picturesque deep gorges. The Forest Department has constructed a view-point where visitors can stop a while and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.
Mawsmai cave:- Of all the caves in Meghalaya, including the longest cave system of India are situated in the Jaintia Hills. Mawsmai cave is by far the most accessible cave for many travelers as it is one of the few caves one can explore without a guide. It is just a small introduction to the world of caves and underground adventure, which in itself is another big world that requires a specialty.
Noh-Sngithiang Falls:- Noh-Sngithiang Falls also known as Mawsmai falls, is 1 km south of Mawsmai village and derives its name due to the fact that the waterfalls are situated in a south westerly position and get illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold.
Thangkharang Park :- Thangkharang Park is a beautiful park and a more popular viewpoint. There are various species of plants and trees that can be seen in the park and in the greenhouse within the area of the park. This particular park has also been designed keeping in mind the needs of children who care lesser about nature and more about having the time of their lives on a swing or a see-saw or even a slide. There are stunted trees and benches around the park to provide resting spots to visitors. There is also a beautiful little fountain built inside the premises of the park. View of Kynrem falls from Thangkarang Park
Nohkalikai Falls:- Nohkalikai Falls is one of the most beautiful and photogenic falls I had ever seen. At 335 meters it is the highest plunge waterfall in India and the 4th highest in the World. Just a 10 minutes drive from main town of Cherapunji, the fall is located at another blunt end of the plateau. The gorge here is green and trees grow like a mini rainforest. From the edge of the cliff the waterfall looked like a white rope in a sea of green forests. The water plunges 335 meters downwards and has carved out a waterhole. Strangely, the waterhole is as blue as the sky in winter and green in summer. In winter the water recedes to just a minimal amount, but in summer the falls are lavish. The name Nohkalikai is derived from a tragic Khasi legend. Almost every beautiful or interesting place in North-East seems to have originated from a sad story. This is no different. A woman named Ka Likai remarried a man but her second husband became jealous for treating her daughter with so much love; perhaps more than him. One day while she was away at work her husband cooked the girl and served it to her. After she had eaten it, she was to go looking for her baby girl. Much to her dismay she found her daughter’s finger in a betel nut basket. Greatly saddened by this, she leaped off the fall and the fall came to be known as ‘Nohkalikai’ which is literally translated as, ‘jump of Ka Likai.’
Khoh Ramhah :- Khoh Ramhah or the Pillar Rock also known as Motrop. A massive rock formation in the shape of a giant cone presenting an incredible spectacle along with the views of the Sylhet plains of Bangladesh.Legend has it that it is the fossilized cone shaped basket of an evil giant.
Kynrem Falls :- The highest waterfall in Meghalaya, it cascades down in three stages from the top of the hill and overlooks the Thangkharang Park.
History of Batadrava Than Bordowa Nagaon
Than’ means a sacred place in Assamese society. Traditionally this word has been used to indicate a sacred place. It was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Sthan’ meaning place. Srimanta Sankaradeva used this indigenous Assamese word ‘Than’ to indicate the residential religious institution created by him. At that time the word ‘Satra’ was not used. Srimanta Sankaradeva himself used the word ‘Than’. It was only later that the word ‘Sattra’ started to be used.
Batadrava Than in Bordowa in the present Nagaon district of Assam is one of the best known Thans founded by Srimanta Sankaradeva. It is named as SRI SRI BATADRAVA THAN. Srimanta Sankaradeva set up the first ever Kirtanghar here in 1468. The importance of this place is also derived from the fact that the saint was born at Alipukhuri – Bordowa in 1449. After returning from his 12 year long pilgrimage in 1493, he started preaching his Vaishnavite religious ideas here regularly and systematically. His ideas were based on Bhagavata Purana.
Batadrava Than is the first Than or the first institution set up by Srimanta Sankaradeva for propagation of EKA SARANA NAMA DHARMA founded by him. He also built the ‘Monikut’ together with Kirtanghar or Namghar and the ‘Cari-Hati’ (four clusters of quarters) for accommodation of his disciples. This full-fledged Than complex came up in 1509. Simhasana or Guru Asana (altar of God) was placed in the Monikut with the holy scripture ‘Bhagavata’ on it without any idol.
Srimanta Sankaradeva used to practise Nama Prasanga regularly in the Kirtanghar along with his follower devotees. His religion EKA SARANA NAMA DHARMA is very simple. There is no unnecessary ritual in his order. Srimanta Sankaradeva advocated ‘EKA DEVA, EKA SEVA, EKA BINEY NAHI KEWA’, which means one should worship none but one God, who is Lord Krishna. Batadrava or Bordowa became the centre of his religious activities. As such, Batadrava has been regarded as the Dvitiya Vaikuntha (second heaven).
The Thans founded by Srimanta Sankaradeva are Gangmou, Belaguri,Patbausi, Kumarkuchi, Sunpora, and Madhupur. Later many Sattras were set up by his followers all over the Brahmaputra valley. All these were designed like Batadrava Than. But of all these Thans and Sattras,Batadrava Than is the unique one. Devotees visiting different Thans/Satras as well as the prominent sacred places and temples in Jaganath Puri, Brindavan, Badarikasram, Gaya, Kashi etc. consider Batadrava as one of the principal places of worship. Visit to this Than makes one’s holy journey complete.
Srimanta Sankaradeva used to write scriptures sitting below one Shilikha (Myrobalan) tree near the Kirtanghar. That tree is still alive even after five and half centuries, which is a wonder. Devotees from all over the world come here to see this sacred tree also.
Srimanta Sankaradeva left Bordowa in 1516 alongwith his followers consequent upon incessant conflicts between his kinsmen and some other people. He spent the remaining half of his life in Rowta, Gangmow,Dhuwahata, Patbausi, Kochbehar etc. Later his grandson Chaturbhuj’s wife Kanaklata rediscovered Batadrava Than with the help of Ahom and Tiwa people. She restored the Than to the previous glory. Over time,the management of the Than was divided between two families of the descendants, each setting up a Sattra. They are Narowa Sattra and Salaguri Sattra. They have been managing the affairs of the Bordowa Than with the help of devotees. A management committee is democratically elected by the devotees.
Bordowa Than Images
The salient points found in Srimanta Sankaradeva’s extensive writings, which have philosophical bearings, are the following :
(1) Brahma is the supreme truth.
(2) Brahma and Iswara (God) are the same.
(3) Brahma or Iswara is there in every being.
(4) Iswara and His creations are not different.
(5) Jiva (creature) is a component of God. The former constitutes the body of the latter.
(6) The creation is temporary, but not exactly unreal as it is a projection of God. So it cannot be ignored.
(7) Maya (illusion) is an act of God and its influence can be avoided by the grace of God.
(8) One becomes God as one realizes the identity of God and the five elements.
Note prepared by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti