GUWAHATI, Jan 21 - Dighalipukhuri is a part of the glorious heritage of Guwahati and Assam as well, even though the exact history of this century-old water tank is yet to be unearthed, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika.
Hazarika, who was speaking to this correspondent, said it is commonly believed for the past two centuries that Dighalipukhuri was earlier connected with the Brahmaputra as a part of the river and wetland network on the southern bank of the mighty river.
It also served as a base for the naval forces of the Assamese armies for centuries, because of its links with the Brahmaputra, Solabeel, Bharalu and the Deepor Beel. Deepor Beel was connected with the Brahmaputra through the Khandajan (Khanajan) near Dharapur by the Mughals when Guwahati was under their occupation, prior to the Second Battle of Itakhuli.
Eminent historian KL Borooah believed that Dighalipukhuri was originally a natural wetland and it was used by King Bhagadatta as the venue for the swayambara (choosing a groom by the bride from the list of suitors) of his daughter Bhanumati. Bhanumati was won by Karna, the first son of Kunti, who was the mother of the Pandavas, in a competition of arrow shooting. But later on, Karna handed over Bhanumati to his friend, Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas.
Because of this matrimonial relation, Bhagadatta took part in the battle of Kurukshetra to support the Kauravas.
During the days of the Barphukans, Dighalipukhuri was used as a base for the naval vessels for its advantageous location.
Many leading writers, like late Sahityacharya Atul Chandra Hazarika, archaeologist Murari Charan Das and sculptor Jugal Das, among others, believe that in the days of yore, Dighalipukhuri was a part of an international river route.
However, all historians and writers are of the view that the Dighalipukhuri acquired its present shape after the advent of the British rulers, when they started shaping Guwahati as a modern town. They gave it the name � Long Tank, which later became Dighalipukhuri for the local residents in their own language.
Whatever may be the case, it is a fact that Dighalipukhuri is not an ordinary water body. It is a part of the glorious heritage of Guwahati, as well as Assam, said Hazarika.