The Town of Tezpur

 

In the midst of tea gardens and the military cantonments, on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 181-km northeast of Guwahati, is the pleasant little town of Tezpur. Built around several lakes, this town stands on the site of the erstwhile and legendary Sonitpur. Undulated green valleys are surrounded by the hills of Arunachal Pradesh; the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas form the northern backdrop, while the lush green tea gardens and the magnificent archaeological ruins have all contributed to make Tezpur a tourist's delight. Literally meaning "full of blood", it is named after a mythical battle between Vishnu and Shiva.

The Legend of Sonitpur
Sonitpur, as Tezpur was known in the olden days, is a city steeped in mythology, legend and folklore. The City of Blood (`Sonit` of `Tez` - Blood as `Pur` - city) conjures up images of the romantic legend of Usha and Aniruddha and of the fierce battle between "Hari" and "Hara". Old Darang became today`s Sonitpur - Tezpur being the District Headquarters of Sonitpur.

According to the legend, Darang was the capital of the demon King Banasura, an ardent follower of `Bhairavnath`, incarnation of Lord Shiva. Usha, the beautiful daughter of King Bana happened to see her beloved in her dream. Based on the description given by Usha, her confidante Chitralekha portrayed it in a painting. The lover was none other than Aniruddha, grandson of Sri Krishna, King of Dwarka, as it was finally discovered, and the wedding of Usha and Aniruddha took place according to `Gandharva` tradition.

When it came to the knowledge of Bana he sent Aniruddha to prison. To rescue his grandson Sri Krishna came from Dwarka. In response to the call of his devout Bana, Shiva also came there. When the appeal for rescue failed a sword fight ensued between Hari (Lord Krishna) and Hara (Lord Shiva in the form of Banasura), resulting in a lot of bloodshed in the entire town.

Since then the town has been named as Sonit or Tezpur meaning "A blood stained town". Bana was vanquished and Usha and Aniruddha were united forever. Usha and Aniruddha are believed to have settled on the Bamuni hill, 5-km away from the city. The ruins and remains of "Agnigarh", where the immortal romance blossomed, still bears mute testimony to this legend.