Sri Sri Rukmini Krishna - ISKCON Guwahati, Assam

Assam is in North-East India. Situated amidst the mighty Brahmaputra river, Guwahati is a major city and is called "Gateway to North East" especially to Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya & Nagaland. Many parts of Assam practice Vaishnava traditions since hundreds of years, especially the eastern parts: Majuli, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. There are several Vaishnava ashrams where devotees practice Krishna bhakti. The great saint Srimanta Sankardev inspired the Vaishnava movement in Assam during the 15th century.

There are a few temples in and around Guwahati related to the pastimes of Lord Krishna and His devotees. About 14 km from Guwahati is the ancient Basistha Muni Ashram where Basistha Muni sat in penance. Tributary of Ganges flows here. The beautiful temple of Sri Sri Rukmini Krishna ISKCON Guwahati is on Hare Krishna Hill in the heart of city. The popular Kamakhya Temple is related to Sati, Daksha & Lord Siva pastime as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4. This temple is also connected to Naraka’s pastime with Lord Krishna. The Sri Umananda Temple is on an island in the middle of Brahmaputra river which forms a rivulet. The lotus footprints of Lord Krishna when He came here are nearby on another rock in the middle of Brahmaputra river at a place called Asvakranta. Asvakranta literally means ‘ascended by horses’. It is here that Sri Krishna camped with his army before he defeated and killed Naraka.

Agnigarh, connected to Lord Krishna, Banasura and Lord Siva’s pastime, is in the city of Tezpur, which lies north of Brahmaputra river, at a distance of 198 km (via Nagaon) and 181 km (via Mangaldoi) from Guwahati. This is the place where Lord Krishna and Lord Siva had a great fight, and Lord Krishna cut off Banasura’s thousand arms. The name ‘Tezpur’ is derived from the Sanskrit words 'teza' (meaning blood) and 'pura' (meaning town or city). The original name of this place was 'Sonitapura' ("sonit" in Sanskrit also means blood). There was so much bloodshed that the place was stained red. This led to the name of the place becoming Tezpur.

Temples in and around Guwahati:

1. Basistha Ashram

2. Asvakranta – where there are Lotus Footprints of Lord Krishna when He came here

3. Sri Kamakhya Temple

4. Sri Umananda Temple

5. Agnigarh in Tezpur – connected to Lord Krishna, Banasura and Lord Siva’s pastime

1. Basistha Ashram

Basistha Ashram is the home of famous sage Basistha, also known as "Vasishtha". The ashram is located 14 km from Guwahati on the south-eastern side, 5km from NH 37 Basistha crossing, on the outskirts of Garbhanga reserve forest which has an ample population of elephants. This temple was constructed by Ahom King Rajeswar Singha in year 1764 along with 835 Bighas gift of land for the ashram. The temple in the ashram stands on the bank of the mountain streams originating from the hills of Meghalaya, which becomes the rivers Basistha and Bahini/Bharalu flowing through the city. The cave where sage Basistha performed his tapasya is 5 km inside the ashram.

The Kalika Purana has described the Basistha Ashram as one of the seven Shakti pithas. The ashram was founded by sage Basistha. As per legend, once sage Basistha went to Kamarupa to worship goddess Kamakhya. When king Naraka stopped him from doing so, Basistha cursed him. Basistha built a hermitage at Sandhyachal and led his life meditating on Siva. About 200 km from here is the temple of Arundhati mata, wife of sage Basistha.

assam-yatraBasistha Ashram

Basishta-AshramEntrance of Basistha Ashram

Basishta-Ashram1Basistha Ashram

Assam Yatra3Tributary of Ganges river at Basistha Ashram

trTributary of Ganges river at Basistha Ashram

caveCave where Basistha performed tapasya

Basishta-Ashram22. Asvakranta

Where there are Lotus Footprints of Lord Krishna when He came here

The lotus footprints of Lord Krishna when He came here are on a rock in the middle of Brahmaputra river at a place called Asvakranta. Asvakranta literally means ‘ascended by horses’. It is here that Sri Krishna camped with his army before he defeated and killed Naraka. Asvakranta can be reached by motor boats that are available at Suklesvar Ghat in Guwahati.

kamakhya3. Sri Kamakhya Temple

Sri Kamakhya Temple is the temple of goddess Kamakhya, an incarnation of Sati. It is the most venerated of the 51 shakti-pithas in India. The temple is related to Sati, Daksha & Lord Siva pastime as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4. This temple is also connected to Naraka’s pastime with Lord Krishna.

UT4. Sri Umananda Temple

Umananda is a Lord Siva temple located at the Peacock Island in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra river. It was built by the Ahom King Gadadhar Singha (1681–1696). The mountain on which the temple has been built is known as Bhasmachala. Lord Siva resided here in the form of Bhayananda. According to the Kalika Purana, in the beginning of creation, Siva sprinkled ashes (bhasma) at this place and imparted knowledge to Parvati (his consort). When Siva was in meditation on this hillock, Kamadeva interrupted his yoga and was therefore burnt to ashes by the fire of Siva’s anger and hence the hillock got the name Bhasmachala. This mountain is also called Bhasmakuta. The Kalika Purana states that Urvasikunda is situated here and here resides goddess Urvasi who brings Amrit (nectar) for the enjoyment of Kamakhya and hence the island got the name Urvasi.

The presiding deity of the temple is Umananda. Nearby is Hanuman temple. Peacock island is known as the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world. It can be accessed from Guwahati and North Guwahati by ferries and steamers. One can hire a ferry from Sukleshwar ghat or Fancy Bazar Ghat. 

umanandaFerries going to Sri Umananda Temple at Peacock Island in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra river

brahmaputraMighty Brahmaputra river on the way to Sri Umananda Temple

peacockPeacock island in the middle of Brahmaputra river. This is the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world.

devotees at UTDevotees at Sri Umananda Temple

GoldenRare species of Golden Langur found on this island

5. Tezpur

Agnigarh, in the city of Tezpur, which lies north of Brahmaputra river, at a distance of 198 km (via Nagaon) and 181 km (via Mangaldoi) from Guwahati, is connected to Lord Krishna, Banasura and Lord Siva’s pastime. This is the place where Lord Krishna and Lord Siva had a great fight, and Lord Krishna cut off Banasura’s thousand arms. The name ‘Tezpur’ is derived from the Sanskrit words 'teza' (meaning blood) and 'pura' (meaning town or city). The original name of this place was 'Sonitapura' ("sonit" in Sanskrit also means blood). There was so much bloodshed that the place was stained red. This led to the name of the place becoming Tezpur. Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 10 chapters 62 & 63 mentions this pastime. 

Present day Agnigarh is a hill on the banks of the Brahmaputra which is one of the big tourist attractions in Tezpur. There is a circular stairway leading up to the crest of the hill where there are now sculptures depicting Usha's abduction of Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna and the ensuing battle by Krishna to free them. There is a tall viewing platform from where the entire Tezpur town can be seen. We can also see the Kalia-Bhumura bridge which shines like a beautiful necklace over the vast Brahmaputra river. 

Banasura Satisfies Lord Siva
Banasura Satisfies Lord Siva

Long ago, when Lord Siva was dancing in his celebrated fashion, called tandava-nrtya, for which he is known as Nataraja, Banasura helped Lord Siva in his dancing by rhythmically beating drums with his one thousand hands.

Banasura Finds Aniruddha with Usa
Banasura Finds Aniruddha with Usha

Banasura's Army Fights Lord Krishna's ArmyBanasura's Army Fights Lord Krishna's Army

Agnigarh in TezpurAgnigarh in Tezpur

Entrance to Agnigarh in TezpurEntrance to Agnigarh in Tezpur

Chitralekha making portrait for UsaChitrali making portrait for Usha

carryingChitrali carrying sleeping Aniruddha on His bed from Dwarka to Tezpur

Marriage of Aniruddha and UsaMarriage of Aniruddha and Usha

Fight between Banasura and AniruddhaFight between Banasura and Aniruddha

Transcendental fight between Lord Krishna and Lord Siva at TezpurTranscendental fight between Lord Krishna and Lord Siva at Tezpur

Beautiful views of Brahmaputra river from Agnigarh hillockBeautiful views of Brahmaputra river from Agnigarh hillock

Picturesque views of Brahmaputra river from Agnigarh hillockPicturesque views of Brahmaputra river from Agnigarh hillock

Lord Siva Temple in Tezpur where Banasura performed his worshipLord Siva Temple in Tezpur where Banasura performed his worship

directionsDirections to reach Guwahati:

Guwahati is one of the major cities in India, and is well connected by flights and railway from all parts of India. From Guwahati one can easily travel to other parts of North-East India by regular flights or bus services.