(Last Updated on : 26/03/2013)
Monuments of Assam have a rich cultural heritage of the ancient and the medieval period of the ruling dynasties. The monuments present in this beautiful state are in the form of forts and places as well as in the form of religious buildings also.
The major number of monuments of Assam belongs to the medieval period i.e. from 6th century A.D. to 19th century A.D. The monuments of the state maintained a cultural contact with the present day Bangladesh and Burma. The monuments of Assam can be classified into Pre-Ahom Period, Ahom period, Koch dynasty, Chutia dynasty, Jaintia and Kahari dynasties, Secular architecture and Islamic architecture.
The monuments of the Pre-Ahom Period were the temple constructions. Basically these are stone temples standing on heaps of ruins. The remains of the stylish ground and scattered components of the temple materials represent the glorious period of the Gupta dynasty. Due to the earthquake and damp climatic conditions the monuments of the Pre-Ahom Period fell down making them irreparable. During the Pre-Ahom Period, three dynasties flourished in Assam. These dynasties are Varman dynasty, Salastambha dynasty and Pala dynasty. They developed their separate art works to that state which declined due to their inner conflict. However, the Varman rulers continued the Gupta art style under the Gupta Empire. The Gupta architectural styles feature the figures of Ganga and Yamuna, the river Goddess to the temple dvara, garbagriha and mandapa to the plinth of the temple, dehali, dvarasakhas, sikhara, stambha and sirsa to the other parts of the temple. The monumental style of this period declined due to the end of the Pala rule in the 12th century.
The monuments of the Ahom Period can be divided into two phases. The first phase of the monumental development belongs to the Pratap Singha regime who ruled in that province from the period of 1603 to 1641 A.D. This period was considered as the introduction of Islamic monuments to this regime. Whereas the later phase of this province experienced the Hindu monumental development under the regime of Gadadhar Singha but maintained the link with the Tai religion and faith. In this period the Hindu monuments adopted the "Nilachala" type and the Muslim monuments gained the "do-cala" type. Like the previous period, the Ahom Period also consists of Garbagriha, Shikhara, Vimana and Mandapa to their major monuments.
The development of the monuments reached to its zenith during the Koch dynasties under the regime of King Naranarayana and his brother General Chilarai. King Naranarayana constructed the most famous Kamakhya temple in 1565 A.D. It was constructed on the ruins of the Pre-Ahom temples which eveloped the Nilachala style and further continued to their next generation. During their regime, they also constructed another Hindu monument similar to the Kamakhya temple. It is also a renovated work and consists of the features like mandapa, antarrala, garbagriha and vimana.
Monuments of Assam experienced a massive growth of religious monuments in that province during the Chutia dynasty. The traces of the major religious monuments of this dynasty are present in Dibrugarh, hills of the Likabali, Jonai and several other places. These were constructed in the Indo-Aryan architectural styles.
The monuments developed in Assam during the Jantia and Kachari dynasties can be found in the places like Dimapur, Maibong, Khaspur. These monuments include several secular and religious monuments. These monuments represent a typical monolithic hut or rock-cut temple structure. Later in the Secular and Muslim architectural period the monuments developed in small number. Some worth mentioning monuments of this periods are Rang Ghar and Tolatalghar at Sibsagar, Kareng Ghar at Gargaon, Rangmati Mosque at Gauripur, Pach Piran Durgah, Mirijumlar Masjid, Poa Mocca, and Dargah of Arjan Pir. The Muslim monuments were constructed during the regime of Mughal period.