Situated along the north bank of the Brahmaputra River about 109 miles northeast of Guwahati is the town of Tezpur. Though it may be relatively small with just over 100,000 residents, there are many things to see and eat in Tezpur that should strike the fancy of anyone who visits.
Tezpur’s roots date back hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. Its name translates to “town of blood,” which comes from an ancient myth in which the town is referenced. During a conflict between Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva, and their devoted followers, the town is said to have been completely covered in the blood of those who perished. The city has been called the town of blood ever since.
Tezpur is also known as the least-polluted city in Assam and is also referred to as the City of Eternal Romance. While visiting it in March of 2019, I fell in love with its incredible cultural sites, historical wonders, and amazing eateries. I’m so excited to share these relatively unknown gems with you. These are the top 10 things to see and eat in Tezpur, India.
Chai at Radheshyam Hotel
My top drink of choice when I’m traveling through India is chai. While you’ve probably heard of chai, and may have even had drinks called chai, keep in mind that the Indian version is very different from the kind you get from your local coffee shop. In India, chai is a creamy, tea-based drink that contains milk and is infused with various spices. In Tezpur, one of the best places to try some is the Radheshyam Hotel.
The chai at the Radheshyam Hotel contained lots of tasty and fragrant ginger and cardamom. Like most of the chai I’d had during my time in the country, it was very milky, frothy, and smooth. The best thing about it is that, unlike coffee, chai contains virtually no caffeine. Because of that, you can drink it throughout the day, and it won’t keep you up at night. This is one chai you cannot miss!
Have some along with a pyaaj kachori and a sweet, condensed milk dish called rabri. Together, they make for a delicious snack that will only cost you roughly 50 rupees, or a little over $0.70 U.S. Visiting Radheshyam Hotel and having their phenomenal chai are among the best things to see and eat in Tezpur!
Visit Chitralekha Udyan Park
Located near the heart of Tezpur is Chitralekha Udyan Park, formerly known as Cole Park. This beautiful recreation spot can be found among the lush, green hillocks near the city center. The park was first constructed in 1906 by a commissioner named Mr. Cole and was reconstructed 90 years later. Chitraekha Udyan Park also contains a large pond and activities including bumper cars, paddle boats, and water slides, but the park’s most fascinating elements are its archaeological ruins.
As you walk through the park, you’ll come across magnificent, ancient stones that have been carved with the images of various deities and mythological figures. There is a set of stunning stone pillars and lots of other gorgeous and intricate ruins scattered around that visitors can walk amongst. One of the most notable is a large, stone structure that has a carved pillar resting at an angle inside it. It almost looks like a tomb!
The stones in the park are beautiful! I was told by my guide Kamal that an impressive house once stood on this land and that the stones are the remains of it. As a huge history buff, Chitralekha Udyan Park is the coolest park I’ve ever been to! It’s part recreational park, part amusement park, and part archaeological park. It’s easily one of the top things to see and do in Tezpur.
See the Shri Shri Ganesh Mandir Gate
Another of the top things to see and eat in Tezpur is the Shri Shri Ganesh Mandir Gate. This tall, colorful, and intricately sculpted gate contains ornate carvings and statues of elephants and various Hindu gods, including Ganesh. The most prominent deity featured is Lord Hanuman, the god of strength, knowledge, and Bhakti and the supreme destroyer of evil.
The statue of Lord Hanuman, also known as Lord Bajrang Bali, is an image taken from an ancient Sanskrit epic, known as the Ramayana. In the mythical tale, Hanuman is sent to Mount Dronagiri find sanjeevani, a magical herb with powerful healing properties, after the deity Lakshmana is nearly killed in a battle. Lord Hanuman couldn’t identify the sanjeevani upon arriving, so he lifted the entire mountain and took it back to the battlefield.
The statue of Lord Hanuman at the Shri Shri Ganesh Mandir Gate is the tallest statue of the god lifting the mountain, also known as Dronagiri Parvat. The gate serves as the entryway to both Ganesha Ghat and the Ganesha Ghat Temple. I had less than 24 hours to explore Tezpur, so I didn’t get to visit the temple, but if you have the time, check it out! I hear it’s also among the best things to see and eat in Tezpur!
Visit Ganesha Ghat
After you visit Shri Shri Ganesh Mandir Gate, pass through it to get to Ganesha Ghat. A ghat is a series of steps that lead down to a body of water in India. Ganesha Ghat is considered one of the most sacred spots in Tezpur and is a must-visit. The stairs of the ghat lead down to the shores of the mighty Brahmaputra River, the widest river in India.
At the ghat, you can view the tranquil waters of the river and see bridges in the distance. The ghat is a popular place where locals gather to watch the sunset. The view from the ghat is quite stunning. The ghat is clean and peaceful, and taking a few moments to appreciate the beauty of the river is among the more relaxing things to do in Tezpur. It’s definitely something you should do when you visit the city!
Visit Agnigarh Park
Another park that is well worth a visit during your time in Tezpur is Agnigarh Park. Agnigarh is a hillock that rises along the bank of the Brahmaputra River. In Hindu mythology, the hillock was the site of a fortress that was built by the mythological figure, Bana, or Banasura. Bana built the fortress to keep his daughter, the goddess of dawn Usha, in isolation. According to legend, the fortress was surrounded by fire at all times.
Agnigarh’s name is derived from words that translate to “fire” and “fortress.” The present-day hillock is home to a beautiful entrance gate and statues depicting the war between Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna, as well as Usha’s abduction of Krishna’s grandson, Aniruddha.
Follow the staircase that spirals around the hillock to reach the top. As you traverse it, you can really understand why Tezpur is known as Assam’s least-polluted city. The air quality is really high and it smells super fresh and clean. The abundance of trees in the area certainly helps with the air quality and they’re quite beautiful as well.
Making your way up to the top of Agnigarh is a bit of a hike, so I would suggest taking your time and drinking some water along the way. I’m in pretty good shape, but even I was out of breath by the time I got up there!
Once you reach the top, you’ll find a wooden, open-air platform that offers an amazing view of the river, the nearby bridge, and the entire town. From your vantage point, you’ll get to see just how green Tezpur is. There are trees as far as the eye can see! Definitely take the time to visit Agnigarh Park and climb up to the lookout platform. It’s one of the best things to see and eat in Tezpur!
Have an Assamese Thali at Khorika – The Ethnic Restaurant
Speaking of things to see and eat in Tezpur, one of the best things you can do in the city is dive into a delicious Assamese thali. I suggest heading over to Khorika – The Ethnic Restaurant, which offers both veg and non-veg Assamese thalis. I’ve heard both are incredible, but I went with the non-veg because I had a hankering for some fish and mutton!
This thali comes with a whopping 20 items, so I suggest trying a little bit of each one instead of filling up on just a couple of them. The light and flavorful dal with rice is always a great place to start. This thali comes with brinjal, or eggplant. I love eggplant, and this one was really nice and a little spicy. I always like to have a little spice in my food!
There’s also a dish called rajma, which consists of beans in a thick but light gravy. It was like a light curry and was great with the rice. I also suggest trying the fresh, spinach-like vegetable dish called haak, which I’d had before and liked a lot. Don’t miss the aloo dish with carrots and onion! It’s super tasty and is another light curry I highly recommend.
Another delicious dish is the aloo pitika, a mashed potato dish that contains chilies, onions, and coriander. It’s considered an Assamese comfort food, but beware: the chilies make it hot!
One of my favorite dishes in the Assamese thali was the super tender and buttery mutton. This mutton was awe-inspiring. It came in a magnificent curry that I could not get enough of! And although the curry contained lots of spices and masalas, it wasn’t too spicy, heat-wise. I also liked the duck, which was delicious and fatty. I loved how tender and juicy it was, but it also contained a lot of bones, so be careful when eating it.
The chicken came in a dark curry and contained a masala that was very different from others I’d had. I couldn’t help but clean the bones. It was that good! Another dish that I really liked was the fish, which was a little salty and was served in a light curry. Thankfully, it didn’t have any bones despite it being a river fish.
Other amazing dishes in this non-veg thali include the crispy papad, some delicious and super fatty pork with vegetables, a lentil chutney, a light and mild green dal, and a fantastic fried pumpkin dish that tasted a lot like a fried sweet potato.
Finish off your Assamese thali with some dessert, which includes a sweet and milky rice pudding, followed by a khar that was made of papaya but didn’t have a lot of sweetness to it. It was actually more bitter than sweet. Even though I’m not really a sweets type of guy, I preferred the rice pudding!
If you ever find yourself in Tezpur, have an Assamese thali at Khorika – The Ethnic Restaurant. It’s one of the top things to see and eat in Tezpur! The food there is out of this world and the restaurant itself is really clean and has a friendly and helpful staff. In other words, it’s perfect for traveling foodies!
Visit Mahabhairav Temple
A fantastic place to visit to get a sense of the cultural and religious scene in Tezpur is the Mahabhairav Temple, which is dedicated to Shiva and is thought to have been built between the 8th and 10th centuries by the kings of the Salasthamba Dynasty. The temple contained a lot of empty space. There is a small prayer hall on the grounds, as well as Lord Shiva’s linga. There’s also a statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s messenger.
According to myth, the temple was built and established by King Bana, or Banasura, during prehistoric times. The current temple, which sits on a hillock in the northern part of Tezpur, is not the original. The original temple was built of stone, but the temple that currently stands on the site was renovated and is built with concrete.
Always remember to take your shoes off before you enter a Hindu temple. Don’t miss the painted concrete idols of Ganesha and Hanuman in front of the temple! Be sure to ring the bells just outside, which alerts the Lord that you’re entering.
Inside, you’ll see Shiva’s linga, where people pray and offer donations. It’s huge – almost four feet tall and two feet wide. According to a legend about this temple, the Shiva linga is made of a “living stone,” which slowly grows over the years.
Eat Street Food at Arunima’s Takeaway
One of my favorite things to do when I’m in India is to try the country’s legendary street food, which is on another level. The best place I ate street food in Tezpur is an eatery called Arunima’s Takeaway, which specializes in Lebanese and ethnic cuisines from around northeast India. They also sell two of my favorite Indian chicken dishes of all-time!
The first of the two chicken dishes I tried there was the bamboo chicken, a unique dish I initially tried in Hyderabad during my second trip to India. To make this chicken curry dish, raw chicken is cooked inside a bamboo shoot along with onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, and more.
The smoky, bamboo flavor permeates the minced chicken and gives it a unique flavor that made my mouth water! It’s also pretty cheap at just 140 rupees or roughly $2 U.S.
The other dish you must try at Arunima’s Takeaway is the banana leaf chicken. This dish is very similar to a chicken cutlet and, as the name suggests, is cooked inside a banana leaf. Unwrap the leaf to reveal the tender, pancake-like chicken cutlet with chilies. It is unbelievably tasty and is not spicy at all. Cooking the chicken in the banana leaf gives it a whole different flavor that I was not expecting. I couldn’t stop eating it!
You can enjoy the banana leaf chicken for just 60 rupees, or about $0.85 U.S. These phenomenal chicken dishes have to be tasted to be believed! Trying them is definitely one of the top things to see and eat in Tezpur!
Stay at KRC Palace Homestay
When you visit Tezpur, you’ll need a place to recharge your batteries and lay your head at night. The best place to do that is the KRC Palace Homestay, which is part of the KRC Palace Hotel. The first thing you’ll notice when you walk inside is how beautiful, fancy, and clean the homestay is. The KRC Palace Homestay contains 17 rooms and has a helpful, friendly, and attentive staff.
The rooms are extremely comfortable. They’re modern and sleek, with a large bed, a TV, a small table with bottled water, and some really cool lamps that hang from the ceiling! There’s also a massive, spacious bathroom. It’s a standard Indian bathroom in the sense that the shower is not separate from the rest of the room, but on a larger scale than usual.
The value you get for such a comfortable living space is unreal at just $20 per night! When you visit Tezpur, this is the place to stay! It’s fantastic and has everything you could possibly need. It’s definitely one of the top things to see and eat in Tezpur!
Visit Bamuni Hills
As someone who loves to visit historical sites and archaeological ruins when I travel, I have to recommend making a trip to Bamuni Hills during a stay in Tezpur. The site is located just outside of Tezpur, in the Sonitpur District along the banks of the Brahmaputra River, and it is breathtaking.
Bamuni Hills consists of jaw-dropping ancient ruins that, are thought to date back to sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries. The ruins on the site are believed to be those of a large temple complex that included a temple to Vishnu at its center and four temples dedicated to Shiva around it.
Some of the ruins that have been found at Bamuni Hills include stunning stone figures and rock-hewn sculptures. Sculptures of tortoises and crocodiles have been found among the ruins, as well as carvings of various avatars of Vishnu. Intricate carvings and floral and geometric designs can also be found on the walls of the temple remains.
This place is heaven for any history or archaeology buff. Even if history isn’t your thing, just being among the ruins of this once-great complex is a stirring experience you won’t forget. It’s one of the top things to see and eat in Tezpur for a reason! Check it out the next time you find yourself in the city!
Tezpur may be a small town that’s only a fraction of the size of the Indian travel hotspots of Mumbai and Delhi, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find a wealth of fun things to do there. Whether you prefer visiting temples, recreational areas, or historical sites, there’s something for you. And the food is so varied and so tasty that even the pickiest of eaters will find something to enjoy. This town is a relatively unknown gem and is just begging to be explored. Book a trip to northeast India to check it out for yourself!
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