5 city places not many Guwahatians know about
Guwahati city is ever growing. With time, the city has spread its wings and people have thronged here to make a home out of this busy city. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city lie pristine locations, historical monuments and places of religious interests that not many Guwahatians know about. Here are five age-old locations/places of interest that are eye-openers.
Maharana Athletic Club
Virtually unknown to most people today, the once glorious club is now a sinking ship. The Maharana Athletic Club was established in April 1907 with strong endeavors of young sports enthusiasts namely Jogesh Sen, Limns Chandra Das, Kartabya Gupta and Shyam Gupta who zealously explored the sports scenario in an organized manner. Initially founded as Orient Club, its basic objective was to promote hockey among the youths. But with time, the focus shifted to motivating soccer talents of the region. The name Maharana was brought in as a tribute to the warrior king of Rajasthan, Maharana Pratap Singh.
In 1937, the Club became the first ever team to play outside Assam. In 1953 and 1954, the club became champions in the Bordoloi Trophy and defeated East Bengal in an exhibition match. The club also topped the Guwahati Football League 19 times during the period of 1946 to 1975 winning every major football tournament of the northeastern region. Since 2007, the club began sliding as cricket took over the zest in football. The club's record in Guwahati's football scenario will always remain among the sporting glories of the city.
Government BDS Deaf and Dumb School
Started with an objective of understanding the hearing impaired and develop their functional language and communication skills, the Government Bhauri Devi Sarawgi Deaf and Dumb School, Kahilipara has been functioning since 1949. It has been catering to the educational requirements of the differently abled students of not just the state in particular, but also of the entire northeastern region.
Established in March 1949, the institution spreads over 58,000 sq mts and is the only premier special school that renders education to the children with hearing impairment in the state of Assam. Since 1st January 1967, the institution has been functioning under the management and control of the Social Welfare Department, Government of Assam. The school that has been holding 100 percent pass percentage for the past six years, provides free education in a barrier-free environment until one attains the age of 18 years.
Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir
Constructed in 1912, the Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir in Uzanbazar has completed 104 years. The 'golden age' of Assamese theatre towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century saw the Kamrup Natya Samity, a temporary stage for theatrical activities, being upgraded to the Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir in 1923 in Guwahati. The hall was initially named as Guwahati Public Hall, which was later changed to Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir.
A creation of the golden age of theatre movement in Assam, Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir got a new lease of life with the inauguration of its renovated auditorium after Indian Oil Corporation Limited took it up as a corporate social responsibility project. The total cost of the project was Rs 47,39,000. The renovated Natya Mandir has a capacity of 290 seats, with state of the art interiors, electrical and sound system and comfortable chairs.
The Temple Ghat at Guwahati is dotted with shrines, temples, and ashram of the historic era, and located just on the hill above lies R'Jwathri Ashram which is the tranquil ashram of Om Baba. Established in 1923, with an idea of setting up an ashram on a 300 feet high hillock, the land just above Pandunath Temple provides an excellent site for spiritual rejuvenation.
There is an inexplicable feeling of calmness in this ashram. A small hut where Om Baba used to live is nestled amidst dense trees and rocks overseeing the Brahmaputra River as it flows on the northern foothills of the ashram. The ashram, now a unit of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, offers a spiritual retreat with meditation, Yoga Therapy Centre, Vedic learning Centre including spiritual and cultural activities and a hostel for poor children.
The Gateway of Assam, popularly known as the "The Northbrook Gate" is located on the banks of the Brahmaputra since Assam is the gateway of Northeast which has rivers like Brahmaputra and Barak. A large part of the state is situated in the narrow valley created by the rivers over the period of time. Lord Northbrook was the first British Viceroy to visit Assam in 1874. He came up by steamer from Kolkata, the then capital of India, and disembarked at this site on 27th August 1874.
This gate was constructed to commemorate his visit. The Gate had undergone restoration in April by Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. However, studies have revealed that years of neglect, natural factors such as earthquake, unplanned development around the structure and rainwater blockage have all contributed to the structure's current sad state.