Monday 13 July 2020

The Assam Buddha Vihar - Guwahati, India

The Assam Buddha Vihar is situated at Amingaon, in the city of Guwahati, in Assam (in the North-Eastern region of India). The Vihar, which means an abbey, is situated on a hill just near the NH 27 and can be easily recognised by the huge statue of Buddha on the hill top. The lush green forest surrounding the hill adds to the beauty of the place. Although almost everyone from the near by places have seen and admired the place while passing by the highway, or at least know about the existence of the place, many people have not visited the place and even do not really know much about it.

Statue of Buddha on the hill top. Entrance gate to Assam Buddha Vihar
Forest surrounding the Assam Buddha Vihar. The Vihar or the Abbey.

I have been a resident of Guwahati all my life and probably have passed this place thousands of times, it was only in 2017, that I visited the place for the first time. There are no signage regarding the history of the place. So, after coming back home from a recent revisit to Assam Buddha Vihar, I searched the internet to gather some information about it. The facts amazed me even more than the beauty of it. It was founded about 26 years ago by a Buddhist woman named C.S. Lama, with the help of Government of Assam. She passed away in the year 2016 and a Parinirvana Stupa (marks the Buddha's passing into Nirvana, a state of true peace which is beyond death) was constructed in her loving memory.

The Parinirvana Stupa

C.S. Lama who hailed from Bhutan, received her education at Darjeeling. She and her husband, who was a Buddhist fellow moved into Assam to run their business. Their main businesses were Lama Automobiles and Lama Transport. But after the sudden demise of her husband, the only aim she had was to help people. C.S. Lama was also known as 'Guru mai' by the local Assamese people. She had found the place with the sole intention of providing free education to the under privileged children who belong to different religious beliefs and caste. She also provided teachings on music and art.

The door to the main temple.

A place with such high values for humanity should be well protected and preserved. But it was really painful to witness signs of vandalism by the people on the infrastructure especially the scribbling on the walls. I would like to request everyone not to vandalize any monument or any other infrastructure. These places are meant to be preserved not only because of their beauty but also because of the irreplaceable history associated with them.

The view from the top of the hill.


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