Decoding the history of the fortress of fire – Agnigarh 
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The Agnigarh is an archaeological and geographical site which lies in the heart of Tezpur along the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra in Assam. The name itself quotes it’s meaning. Agni means fire and garh means wall or fortress.  According to Hindu mythology, the Agnigarh was built by ‘Banasura’ to keep his daughter in isolation. 

Banasura tying Aniruddha with serpents

Statue of lord Shiva and Banasura

Usha was the daughter of Banasura who fell in love with Aniruddha in her dreams not knowing who he was in real life. Being mad in love, Usha asked her companion (sakhi) Chitralekha to draw a portrait of him through her description and imagination. Chitralekha was not only an expert artist but also had mystical powers in her hands. She identified him through the portrait and told Usha that he was the grandson of lord Krishna but Usha was the daughter of an asura, therefore there was no way to consent their love. Chitralekha used her powers and brought Aniruddha to her place while he was asleep and both of them saw each other with their own eyes. Aniruddha fell in love with Usha and decided to marry her. Even though Krishna agreed their relationship, Banasura was strongly against it and refused to agree their marriage. He was so furious that he even tied him with snakes and sent him for prisonment. Lord Krishna went to Banasura to consent him for the same but Banasura disagreed and used his boon he got from lord Shiva to guard his family and the entire area. Legend says that the fortress was surrounded with fire so that no one could enter in. Banasura’s boon turns into a massive battle between lord Shiva and lord Krishna which was later known as the ‘Harihara Yudh’ between the followers of the two gods. Floods of blood flowed down the rivers and millions of people died in the war and thus, the city was named Tezpur (the city of blood).

The stone pillar of the Ashok Stambha

A sculptor that depicts the marriage of Usha and Aniruddha

Both the sides were nearly wiped out after the battle. Lord Brahma requested them to stop by coming in between. Finally Banasura agreed the marriage fearing for his life.

The view of the city from the top of Agnigarh

The sculptures and inscriptions portray the story of the great war between two powerful gods and projects the story of Aniruddha and Usha including the power of love.

Written By

Krishangi Das

Student of Rongghor-The School of Happiness