Totally oblivious as to what to expect we started on a road trip to Habung which is located in Dhemaji on the north bank of river Brahmaputra. The only bookish information we had was that Swargadeo Chaolung Sukapha settled there briefly before finally establishing his capital at Charaideo. Of late the State Government has taken measures to develop Habung as an upcoming tourist attraction and to establish a Tai-Ahom Museum and an ethnic village in Habung alongside the Chao Chen Ren. The 2022 centrally organized Me-Dam-Me-Phi here at Habung was attended by the CM of Assam which created all the more buzz about this place.
At around 12 noon on a pleasant Tuesday morning we started our road trip from Dibrugarh. This was going to be my first ever trip to the north bank of Brahmaputra. The Mighty Brahmaputra during this time of the year almost dries up and the white sands of the water bed lies bare, but nonetheless the beauty and the glory never fades. After crossing Bogibeel Bridge the broad roads, the open fields, the sparse villages and the fresh air left us wondering how mundane and chaotic city life is! Yes, we did miss the greenery of the paddy fields that welcomes you along both sides for most part of the road. After 1 hour drive at an average speed we reached Dhemaji town from where it was another 30 mins drive to reach Habung through meandering village roads, much narrower than the highway roads we covered till then. So by the time we reached Habung it was 1.30 pm.
Chaolung Sukapha after entering the Brahmaputra valley first reached Namrup. He bridged the Sessa river and was looking to establish a colony for wet rice cultivation but the region was not conducive to cultivation, so he went upstream along the Burhi-Dihing River. He then settled in places like Tipam, Abhayapuri, Habung, Dikhowmukh, Ligirigaon, and Simaluguri. In Habung Chaolung Sukapha is claimed to have stayed for three years where he settled for agriculture along with his 9000 army of soldiers and ministers. But the recurring floods in the region compelled him to shift his base from Habung too.
Habung is an important Ahom seat with great tourism potential. It is probably the second temporary capital of the Ahom kingdom, as claimed by many, before Charaideo was established as the permanent capital. The current infrastructure of this Ahom seat consists of the Holung Ho Phie, which basically is the main part of the temple where offerings are made. The temple in Tai language is called Chao Chen Ren. There is another structure where tourists and devotees can light earthen lamps and incense.
Towards the right of the Chao Chen Ren is a pond called hoh dhua pukhuri where dead bodies were washed before cremation. According to sources this pond was dug under the instructions of Chaolung Sukapha when one of his ministers died there during those times. According to rituals the Ahoms bury the dead and the mound in which they are buried is called maidam. The maidam of this minister can still be found near the pond. Towards the left is another pond which was dug during the same time for taking baths.
In 1990 the then ADC of Dhemaji, Sri Nagen Hazarika took the initiative to establish the lai khuta of the Chao Chen Ren in Habung and thereby make it official as a Tai-Ahom seat. Until then what existed was remnants of an area used for prayers during the time of Sukapha and a garh (wall) surrounding the four sides of this huge area. Actually there were supposed to be two boundaries, one inner and another outer along with 5 ponds inside this boundary. The turon or the main entrance was also built later and development works are still in progress in this huge area spread across 285 acres of land to establish a Tai-Ahom Museum and an ethnic village.
It is widely believed that if you have a wish you can offer your prayers and other offerings in the Chen Ren and your wish is rewarded. Devotees visit this place throughout the year to offer prayers but since we didn’t have the slightest idea we decided to simply explore the place this time.
Outside the temple premises a few shops have opened up for refreshments and we took a break there. It was a pleasant experience exploring this offbeat destination which is easy to reach from Dibrugarh. It was 3 pm by the time we left Habung for our return journey.
HOW TO GET THERE:
You can choose to book a cab directly from Dibrugarh to Habung because bus services are available till Dhemaji only. So you can travel by bus till Dhemaji and then book a cab till Habung.
Hotels at Dibrugarh town are available across all ranges at prime locations.