Vasistha Ashrama or the hermitage of Vasistha is situated
about ten miles to the east of the town of Guwahati.
It is situated in beautiful natural surroundings. Here are three streams
called 'Sandhya', 'Lalita' and 'Kanta'. A bath here is said to increase
longevity. A temple of Shiva is attached to the hermitage of Vasistha.
There many legends about sage Vasistha which make him stand 'at the cross-roads of political and social changes' in Assam. There is also a legend that connects Vasistha with the origin of the Ahom kings.
The story goes that Vasistha used to do his 'sandhya' in a stream near his hermitage. One day, God Indra with his queen Shachi and other heavenly women came down from heaven and began playing in the same stream. As a result of this amorous sport the water of the stream became impure. At this the sage grew wroth and cursed Indra saying that he would have sexual intercourse with a Daitya woman.
Indra was at once transformed into a normal man and had sexual intercourse with a woman. He, however, granted a boon to that woman saying that the son in her womb would become a king. He was the progenitor of the Ahom dynasty. This story has been differently repeated in different chronicles.
According to some legends Vasistha was initiated into the secrets of the Sakta practices and got spiritual success. It is probable that Vasistha came down to Sandhyacala after he was refused entry into the Kamakhya temple and meditated on Shiva.
Many devotees visit Vasistha Ashrama and take bath in the stream nearby to wash off their sins. The present temple in Vasistha Ashrama, which is incidentally the last Ahom monument in the neighbourhood of Guwahati, was built in the second half of the 18th century by King Rajesvar Singh of the Ahom dynasty. In its plan and other architectural features this modest temple closely resembles the other temples in the region.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: Guwahati City buses ply to Vasistha Ashrama from G. N. B. Road and Station Road Junction.