SIVASAGAR: Sivasagar has huge potential for tourism as it has its own highlights. Many tourists visit this historic place to see the ancient relics of the days of the Ahom kings. It has been observed that the number of tourists visiting Sivasagar is increasing every year. While there has been an improvement in tourism infrastructure over the years, a lot more is required to make the historic district a proper tourism hub, said Bitupan Neog, District Development Commissioner, Sivasagar.
The Karmashree Award winner ACS officer Neog, who was transferred to Dhemaji district as Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Dhemaji. While speaking to The Sentinel, said, “A total of 7,11,243 tourists visited Sivasagar in the last 2023-24 with 7,09,857 Indian and 1,386 foreign tourists. But despite having the resources, the tourism in Sivasagar has not grown as much as it should have. In order to give a special dimension to the tourism sector in Sivasagar by utilizing the available resources, proper infrastructure has to be created and tourism centric mindset has to be developed among the people.”
Apart from the historical resources, Sivasagar has many more tourism elements which also need to be tried to be used in a planned manner towards tourism. For example, the old customs of worship of the Ahoms before they converted to Hinduism or the rituals which were prevalent still exist in some parts of Sivasagar. One guide can narrate the glorious history of Sivasagar to the tourists and make them eager to visit those places. Bokota is one such region and in a word the Bokota area can be used as an ‘Open Kalakshetra’ for tourists. Old resources in every house of Bokota or practices like damphi, furalung etc. by the Moulungs can be displayed in front of tourists.
Secondly, Sivasagar is full of natural resources. It has three places each at the confluence of three famous tributaries with the Brahmaputra, these places are Dihingmukh, Disangmukh and Dikhowmukh. All the three places filled with colourful ethnic culture, are very beautiful. Many tourists can come to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere of nature and the people’s culture and traditions. Moreover, many migratory birds come to the historical ponds, Pahugarh and Panidihing bird sanctuary during the winter. Ornithologists have witnessed the arrival of more than 50 birds of different species in Gaurisagar pond in the last year. Many tourists come to see or study birds during this time. We can encourage tourists to come to Sivasagar through proper promotion of these places.
At present, river tourism in Assam has also attained a special dimension. Several youths from Assam have been able to establish themselves through this business. The tributaries flowing through Sivasagar are very beautiful and we see a lot of potential to build boat rides or restaurants in the rivers.
Sivasagar is far ahead in the handicrafts sector compared to other districts of Assam. The bamboo industry of Bokota is unique in this regard. This bamboo industry has managed to get recognition in the State. Various bamboo products made in Bokota have been appreciated by tourists. The pottery and Xattriya mask art of Sivasagar have also been able to contribute a lot to the field of art. In the meantime, many youths of the district have been trained in these arts and are now making beautiful products. It is certain that these young people of ours will be able to hand over a favourite product to the tourists when the tourists return from Sivasagar in the coming days.
One more resource needs to be mentioned here. On the way to Amguri via Sologuri, one can see rows of Agarwood (Sanchi) trees especially on both sides of Dhodar Ali. Tourists may be curious to see the natural environment created by these Agarwood trees and the way aromatic products are made from them. We had sent some foreign tourists to this area on a trial basis last year. We were happy to know that they were amazed.
Another green resource is the tea industry. At present the tea tourism sector has grown up a lot. There are several beautiful tea gardens in Sivasagar. There have already been several rounds of discussions with the garden authorities at the district administration level so that tourists can see tea plantations or factories etc. or travel amidst gardens. Hopefully the number of tourists coming to see the tea industry will gradually increase.
It is observed that tourists come to Sivasagar to see Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, Shiv Dol and after watching it during the day, they leave Sivasagar in the evening. This trend has to be changed. If we can attract tourists to the resources Sivasagar has, it will take 2/3 days to visit those places. The longer tourists stay in Sivasagar, the more business will grow. But to do that, good accommodation for the tourists should be made. But so far this facility is very limited in Sivasagar. However, now slowly we are seeing that many people are coming forward in this field, some people are working hard for developing homestays at different parts of Sivasagar. Some youngsters have been able to serve tourists as guides. In conclusion, it needs to be mentioned that the entire Sivasagar district is full of all the resources and potential needed to take the tourism industry forward. A lot can be done if we move ahead with proper vision and planning and through this many problems like unemployment will be eliminated and the pace of socio-economic development will be accelerated.
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