Rudreswar Temple, Guwahati

The Rudreswar Temple was built by Ahom King Pramatta Singha (reign 1744 to 1751) in honour of his father Rudra Singha who died in August, 1714. It is located in North Guwahati in Mani Karneswar area on the northern bank of River Brahmaputra. The temple is located at the site where Rudra Singha was cremated as per Hindu last rites. The temple is a fine example of a mixed style of Ahom-Mughal architecture.

In the latter part of his reign, Swargadeo Rudra Singha announced his desire to expand Assam westward as far as the river Karatoya, in present day West Bengal and Bangladesh. It was considered the frontier of the ancient Kamarupa kingdom. Some sources also indicate that his ambition was to include a portion of the sacred Ganga River within his domain. Since Bengal was under the rule of the Mughals, he began to prepare for a massive military expedition against the Mughal Empire. An army of approximately 400,000 soldiers gathered in Guwahati, in which various tribes from the hills and plains came together, including the king of Cachar and the king of Jaintia from present day Meghalaya.

His efforts were in vain. Before his preparations were completed he was seized with a mortal illness and died in August 1714 in his camp at Guwahati. His body was taken to Charaideo, in present day Sivasagar District, for burial as per ancient Tai-Ahom custom. According to some sources, Rudra Singha was cremated according to Hindu customs in North Guwahati, while some denote only one of his small fingers was burnt in this way. His second son, Pramatta Singha, after ascending to the throne, decided to construct in Guwahati a temple to Lord Shiva in memory of his father. The site of his father’s death was selected for the construction of the temple.

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