A travel Guide to Guwahati
Guwahati, also known as the Gateway of Northeastern India, is the largest city of Assam. It is a cosmopolitan city located along the southern banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau. As such, Guwahati India is alluring to visitors throughout the year, thanks to its scenic beauty. Erstwhile called Pragjyotishpura, or the ‘Light of the East’, the name Guwahati can be traced back to the Assamese words ‘Guva’ and ‘Hati’ meaning areca nut and market respectively. Dispur, the capital of Assam and the seat of Assam legislature is located inside Guwahati. A major riverine port city, Guwahati is surrounded by verdant hills and its adjacent areas are also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna like one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, tigers, gaurs, etc.
Every year, Guwahati tourism attracts a large number of Hindu pilgrims as the Kamakhya temple, the most sacred of the shrines of Maa Shakti is located here. Apart from Kamakhya, Guwahati tourist attractions include Navagraha Temple, Umananda Temple, Basistha Ashram, etc. These are important places of spirituality and give it the title of ‘City of Temples’. People include them in their Guwahati tours itinerary. Also, there are numerous hotels in Guwahati to suit the budget of all types of travellers where they can enjoy a comfortable stay.
Places to Visit in Guwahati
1. Kamakhya Temple
2. Assam State Zoo
3. Assam Rajyik State Museum
4. Umananda Temple
5. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Things To Do in Guwahati
Any visitor to Guwahati has a multitude of exciting options in which he can indulge. In this Guwahati travel guide let’s explore a few things to do in Guwahati.
Alfresco Cruise on Brahmaputra
One of the most notable Guwahati attractions is the spectacular Alfresco Cruise through the Brahmaputra river. It is a memorable experience indeed as the cool breeze and stunning views of the grand Brahmaputra enthral you when you stand on the multi-level decks. One can choose from the party cruise, dinner cruise, lunch cruise or the most romantic sunset cruise depending upon the suitability of time. The multicuisine restaurants on the yachts serve mouthwatering food and drinks. In the evenings, the twinkling lights of Guwahati city bewitch you from a distance as one sways away to the live music and folk dance that is performed on board.
Stargazing at Guwahati Planetarium
Guwahati tourism boasts of an international level planetarium located at M G Road. Guwahati Planetarium is a desirable destination for astronomy lovers and stargazers who wish to spend some time gazing at the celestial bodies far above our infinite horizon. Here tourists can enhance their knowledge of the universe by attending special sky watching shows which are projected on a dome-shaped overhead screen. These shows are held at regular intervals in Hindi, English and Assamese languages. Children can enjoy the thrill of watching an eclipse or a meteor shower. The planetarium also organises workshops, seminars, conferences and quizzes from time to time and aims to spread awareness among the youth regarding space and astronomy.
Shopping at Fancy Bazar
For those who love to splurge on shopping when on a vacation, Fancy Bazar is the place to be in. Flea market goods to top fashion brands are all available here. It is always a great idea to bargain for that piece of antique or handicraft item or the silk saree which stole your heart. After indulging in shopping one can satiate the hunger pangs by enjoying chilled beverages and gorge on some authentic Assamese or northeastern food at any of the roadside street food stalls.
Bike Ride over Saraighat Bridge
The first rail-cum-road bridge in Assam, the Saraighat Bridge is an engineering miracle with two decks, a highway on top and a railway line below. Built over the vast Brahmaputra river at Saraighat, the bridge is an important link between the northeast and the rest of India. One can enjoy a pleasant bike ride going through the bridge at night and take some captivating photos of the Guwahati cityscape. A notable fact to remember is that the historical battle of Saraighat took place here in 1671 between the Mughal Empire and Ahom rulers in which the Ahoms defeated the Mughals.
Best Time to Visit Guwahati
Situated at an altitude of 55 metres above sea level, Guwahati has a humid subtropical climate with summer temperatures hovering between 22 to 38 degree and mild winters ranging between 10- to 25-degree centigrades. As such, the best time to visit Guwahati is between October to April. Assam experiences heavy monsoon rainfall so it is advisable to avoid visiting during the peak rainy season.
One may like to plan their visit in April to witness the Bihu festivals which are native festivals of Assam and northeastern states and provide a taste of the Assamese culture and tradition. For the religious-minded, the best season to visit Guwahati can be during the Ambubachi Mela observed every year in June.
How to Reach Guwahati
Being the most important city in northeastern India, Guwahati is well connected with the rest of India through a large network of airways, railways and roadways. Every year a lot of travellers reach Guwahati from all across India.
You can easily take a flight to reach Guwahati. Guwahati Airport, also called Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, is located at a distance of 25 kms from the city centre. All the leading carriers operate regular flights to Guwahati from other Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Imphal, Agartala, Bangalore, Mumbai among others. Passengers can avail local buses or prepaid taxis to reach their hotels from the airport.
Guwahati Railway Station is a major railhead of Assam and is located just 5 kms away from the city centre. It is quite well connected to other Indian cities through a broad network of railways. Rajdhani Express, the exclusive train, takes around 34 hours to reach the national capital New Delhi from here. Visitors opt for buses or hire cabs to move around the city from the station.
Guwahati is linked with other nearby cities and towns through Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and other private buses. Travellers can also choose from Volvo, air-conditioned and luxury buses. There are a number of national highways passing through Guwahati so one can easily drive from places like Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and West Bengal.