I love Tezpur. I have always called it the cleanest city in Assam, and recently the WHO gave it the distinction of being the cleanest city in India. Having my paternal roots to the city and its nearby areas, I have loved this city ever since I was a child during our visits there. It is a beautiful city that has so much to offer in terms of sightseeing. Though the options are many here, my favourite among the lot is definitely the Cole Park.
Located in the central portion of the city, Cole Park is a basically a park built around an archaeological site. Recently, after undergoing renovation, it was renamed as the Chitralekha Udyan. But old timers like us still refer to it as the Cole Park.
Once you enter the place, it takes you into a surreal world of bygone era where Assam’s ancient history comes out alive. The archeological remains here affirm that it was originally built during 9th or 10th century A.D. The prime attraction of the park is the two majestic pillar constructions in stone with exceptional carvings that is believed to be the remains of Bamuni hills built during the 9th century.
Some of the most exquisite statues and structures that one can ever think of seeing out in the open and not inside a museum can be found here. There are statues that show dancers in exquisite poses, nymphs in groups on certain stone panels and also rock structures that have been kept in the exact same positions when they were found out. They point out to the majestic structures that once stood on the spot ages ago. Most obviously, the highlight among these stone structures is the main panel of pillars that is the central attraction of the place and houses a rock panel with engravings of several gods on it. This was the main portion of the temple that used to exist on the spot.
Another attraction is the famous Bhomoraguri inscription that explains the ancient strategy of building bridges across the river Brahmaputra. At present, the Kolia Bhomora Setu or the bridge that is built with concrete exists across the river. The ancient Bhomoraguri inscription is kept in the park for public view. This ancient strategic inscription describes the intellectual approach to the construction or engineering strategy of bridges that is relevant even today. The Kolia Bhomora Setu is named after one of the greatest Ahom generals that Assam ever saw in its history.
Another attraction of the park is the horseshoe shaped lake where paddling and rowing are allowed. Several exhibitions are also conducted in the park. It is a great picnic spot for students and school children as the place serves the purpose of recollection of historical importance and recreational activities. Limited yet exciting amusements are the major attractions for children. The display of jet fighter model MIG 21 of Indian Air Force and concrete made map of India never fails to get the attention of children and adults alike. Over the years, the place has added other attractions as well such as bumping cars, restaurants and others. But the main attraction remains the archaeological remains that mesmerise everyone who visits the place.
The Cole Park is also located close to other worthy sightseeing spots of Tezpur such as Agnigarh Hill and Padum Lake. Though one can visit the park at any time of the year, I highly recommend you to go there during the winters. If by luck there is a mild fog in the area, the archaeological remains among the mist gives out a surreal feel of other worldliness. It is a feeling which can only be experienced, but never described properly.