Bongaigaon is the name of a city and a district in Assam. The city offers a rich heritage of historical buildings, old temples, and forests for tourists. Bongaigaon is also well known for its petrochemical industry.
Bongaigaon is connected with the rest of the state through National Highway 37. There is no airport and the nearest airport is Guwahati, 156 km away. There are two railway stations in the town name, Bongaigaon station & New Bongaigaon Jn.
Bongaigaon district comes in the lower Assam area. The district was created in 1989 taking parts of the Goalpara and Kokrajhar Districts. The name is said to have derived from Bon (wild) Gai (Cows) and Gao (village). The nearby forests had a large population of wild cows which would come to the village and destroy the crops. Thus this area came to have its name of Bon-Gai-Gaon.
The area was ruled since the 15th century by local feudal lords hailing from the Koch-Rajbonshies belonging to Indo-Mongoloid ethnic group. The kings of this area had their lineage back to the "Kiratees" of the pre-Vedic age. Ravas, Garos, Yogis, Kalitas, Kayasthas, and Muslims are also indigenous to the area.
During the British era, a new term Bodo / Boro was coined by European historians. Bodo / Boro refers to the tribes such as the Kocharies, Koches, Rabhas, Garos, Lalungs, Hajongs and Chutiyas. Assamese, Bengali, and Hindi are the common languages spoken by the local population.
What to see
Kachugaon Game Reserve – Kachugaon Game Reserve is located at Kachugaon 48 km from Bongaigaon. Kachugaon covers an area of around 214 sq km and has rare and endangered species such as gaur, golden langur, spotted deer and elephant.
KakoiJana Wildlife Sanctuary – An ideal spot for eco-tourism, Kakaijana was declared a reserve forest in April 1966. Located 15 km from Bongaigaon town, now it has been upgraded to be a wildlife sanctuary. The total area of the sanctuary is 20 sq km, it is home to rare and endangered species such as binturong, jungle fowl, pangolin, hornbill, leopard, porcupine, python, lesser adjutant, stork, flying squirrel, monitor lizard, barking deer, mongoose, and civets. Kalikapat, a hill spring, flows through this forest. There is an ancient Shiva temple on one of the hills.
Rock Cut Caves – Rock Cut Caves at Jogighopa in Bongaigaon District is a testimony to the architectural excellence of the people of Assam during the ancient period. There are five caves on the banks of the Brahmaputra River dating back to the Salasthambha period. The best-preserved cave measures 2.60 m in breadth, 1.90 m in height and 1.8 m in depth. Flights of steps have been built on either side and a platform of mud masonry is found inside.
Pancharatna - Pancharatna is a historical site situated on the Northern Bank of the river Brahmaputra, 30 km from the historical town of Abhayapuri, the Royal Kingdom of the Koch-Rajbongshi dynasty. Every year thousands of visitors pay a visit to this important historical site, particularly on the day of Ashok-Ashtami. Pancharatna boasts some ruins of a post-Gupta temple and also some rock-cut ruins including a monolithic Buddhist Stupa.
Tamranga Lake – Tamranga is a natural lake located in Bongaigaon. It lies near Bishnupur in North Salmara. It is also known as Tamranga Beel. The lake is considered an ornithologist’s paradise as a large number of migratory birds visit here during winter.
Bagheswari Temple (Bagheswari Hill, Bongaigaon Town) – Bageswari Hill is located within Bongaigaon town and is surrounded by the Birjhora Tea Estate. The hill presents a natural watchtower to view the entire town and its surroundings. Bageswari Temple, one of the oldest in Assam, is situated on the top of a hill. The hill also houses an ancient Shiva temple inside a stone cave and Baba Taraknath Temple.
Lalmati Duramari Ganesh Temple – Lalmati Duramari Ganesh Temple is located 25 km away from Bongaigaon Town and is one of the oldest temples in Assam. The temple lies on Khagrapar Hill near Abhayapuri.