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Seminar to focus on Ahom era bridge

Sivasagar, Oct. 6: A round table discussion on the historical Namdang stone bridge at Gaurisagar will be held during the international seminar on ethnicity, identity and literature organised by the English department of Sibsagar College at Joysagar in Sivasagar district from October 11 to 14.

Hemanta Kumar Nath, professor of the English department, will convene the discussion along with professor Kandarpa Das, Institute of Distance and Open Learning, Gauhati University.

Nath said members of organisations like the All Assam Students Union, Assam Tai Ahom Students Union, senior citizens and officials of the state and central archaeology departments will be invited.

“A number of stone bridges have been constructed in Sivasagar district. However, none of these are being preserved either by the archaeology department of the state or the Centre. If they are not taking responsibility, we can engage other organisations for the purpose,” Nath said.

He said the 60metre by 7metre bridge, popularly known as Xila Xaku, has never been properly analysed or its preservation taken into consideration though it is considered to be an architectural marvel of the Ahom age, which lasted in Assam for 600 years.

“Actually we are concerned about its destruction over time, as thousands of light and heavy vehicles pass over it daily, as it is situated on NH 37 at Gaurisagar, 15km west of Sivasagar town,” he said.

The bridge, built during the reign of Ahom king Rudra Singha, comprises a single slab of stone that has been carved into an arch and is surrounded by rounded stone structures on either side.

The bridge has survived big earthquakes and natural calamities like floods.