The City Peppered with Ancient Temples and National Parks
The largest city of the state, Guwahati is comfortably squeezed between the banks of Brahmaputra River and the foothills of the Shillong plateau. The city, which was once known as Pragiyotishpura in ancient Assam is now one of the fastest growing cities of the country. Covered with green hills, wet lands and rich biota; the topography of the place gives rise to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Guwahati is a cosmopolitan city and an important educational & commercial hub of northeast with many top class educational institutions. Due to its well connectivity with all the major cities of the country, it is also a gateway to the other parts of the northeast region.
The presence of many age-old temples and national parks in Guwahati invites both nature lovers as well as pilgrims from all across the country.
Famed as the city of temples, Guwahati is one of the famous religious destinations in India. As a major tourist centre in northeast India, the city takes pride for its centuries-old Kamakhya Temple and ancient Umananda Temple. There are many heritage sites, historical monuments, archaeological sites and lakes & ponds spread in the city attracting large number of tourists to the place. The region is also home to some well-known national parks including Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park.
Kamakhya temple is one of the ancient Shakti Peeths in India, situated atop Nilachal Hill in the western part of Guwahati. This highly significant and deeply revered temple is not only the most important pilgrimage sites in Guwahati but also in the whole country. The central temple of the complex is dedicated to ten Mahavidyas. Beside this, the temple is the highest seat of tantric Shaktism in the country. During Ambubashi (this festival is related to the Tantric cult where annual menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated) and Manasha Puja, the temple is thronged by the pilgrims from all parts of India.
Address – Kamakhya, Nilachal Hill, Guwahati
Timings – All days of the week
6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Entry Fee – No entry fee
Umananda Temple is a great Shiva Temple situated on a hillock in the centre of the Brahmaputra, at Peacock Island (the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world). It is where Shiva is believed to have turned Kamdev (God of love), to ashes for troubling his meditation. The revered place attracts a number of devotees during Shiva Ratri.
Address – Peacock Island, Guwahati Temple
Timings – 5:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Entry Fee – No Entry Fee
Kaziranga National Park
Giving shelter to around 70% of world’s population of one horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park is one of the most hunted destinations among wildlife lovers. Spread over 858 square kilometres, the national park is covered with thick vegetation including deciduous forests intermingled with tall elephant grass. Taking pride for being one of the five natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, the national park is a flourishing habitat for many exotic and endangered wildlife species. The place is also an important bird area, including many exotic species of birds like Horn Bills, Grey Headed Fish Eagle, Pelicans and many more. The best way to explore the Kaziranga National Park is by elephant safari and the best time to visit is mid-November to early April.
Address – National Highway 37, Golaghat
Timings – All days of the week except Sunday
7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Entry Fee – Rs 50 per person for Indians
Rs 500 per person for foreign tourists
Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden
Sheltering a diverse species of around 113 animals, birds, reptiles, rare herbs, palm and coniferous, Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden is located within the Hengrabari Reserved Forest. Established in 1982, the zoo is sprawled over 85 hectares of area. It also has Orchid House, which is known for more than forty varieties of rare orchids collected from the entire northeast region of the country.
Address – R. G. Baruah Road, Guwahati
Timings – All days of the week except Friday
7:00 AM – 4:30 PM (summer)
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (winters)
Entry Fee – Rs 20 per person
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Morigaon district of Assam, Pobitora boasts of the highest density of Rhinos. Along with Kaziranga National Park and Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Pobitora is playing a great role in conserving the wonderful Indian Rhinos. Spread over 38 km area, it has swampy marshland giving rise to flourishing habitat for rhinos. The other animals of this park includes wild buffalos, wild boars, wild cat, Chinese Pangolin, Fishing Cat, Leopard and many more such wild beasts. Around 27 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibians and 375 species of local as well as migratory bird intensify the richness of the region.
Address – Mayong, Morigaon District, Guwahati
Timings – All days of the week
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Brahmaputra River Side
If you are visiting Assam, then to have spectacular views of mighty Brahmaputra river, (which is also called the lifeline of the state) is a must do thing there. Paradise for nature lovers, the riverside is perfect place to take some really nice shots from the camera. You may also catch glimpses of river dolphins. And if you happen to be here in winters, then there will be a variety of birds for your visual pleasure.
Assam State Museum
Established in 1940 by Assam Research Society, Assam State Museum is one of the largest multipurpose museums in India. Dedicated to the cultural heritage of Assam, the museum is a large stock of entities which are displayed under different sections like Epigraphy, Sculptures, Natural History, Crafts, Miscellaneous and many more. The complex also encloses some prehistoric ivory paintings, sculptures, woodwork etc. The structure also houses a library, established in 1985 which contains various periodicals, large stenographic collections, journals, encyclopaedic works and books relating to art, culture, mythology and biography.
Address – Near Dighali Pukhuri Tank, Kamrup District, close to Railway Station, Guwahati
Timings – All days of the week except Monday
Close on 2nd and 4th Saturdays
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Entry Fee – Rs 10 per person for adults
The freshwater lake Deepor Beel is one of the largest lakes in Brahmaputra Valley. Located away from din and bustle of the city, this wetland is one of the major tourist spots for the exotic varieties of birds found here. Surrounded by Rani and Garbhanga hills, the lake is fed by Basistha and Kalmani rivers. One can spot huge varieties of birds like White Billed Eagle, Spot Billed Pelicans, Open Billed Heron, Lesser Whistling Teal, Gadwall, Pond Heron and many more beautiful winged creatures.
Address – Guwahati Forest Division, A. T. Road, Santipur, Guwahati
Guwahati Planetarium is one of the important centres for astronomical studies and research. This advanced and well equipped planetarium was inaugurated in 1994. From time to time it organises seminars, workshops and conferences for students and children. This centre is one of its kinds in the whole northeast and is visited by around five hundred curious souls every day.
Address – Mahatma Gandhi Road, Latasil, Uzan Bazaar, Guwahati
Timings – All days of the week except Sunday
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Entry Fee – Rs 30 per person
A visit to Assam is incomplete without having its authentic Assamese cuisine. Different from the typical Indian Food, Assamese cooking style comprises lot of fermentation, drying and use of herbs. Availability of fresh fruits & vegetables and fish impart good use of these in large quantities in cooking. Rice is the staple food here. The culinary style of Assam contains very little use of spice and lacks the gentle frying of spices, which is very important part in Indian cooking. Fish is broadly eaten in the region and birds like duck is also relished. Khar is indispensable dish of an authentic meal in Assam.
There are several places in Guwahati which serves traditional Assamese meal. Kodil Bhaji (curry made of banana flower), Til Pitha (type of pancake using rice batter as the main ingredients) and Hukuti (tasty fish curry) are some traditional dishes of Guwahati, which you must try if, get a chance. You can also taste good quality Momos and noodles available at many eateries across the city.
Specialised in Chinese and authentic north eastern cuisine, The Morung is visited by a number of locals as well as travellers. The popular restaurant is well-known for serving Naga food. With good service and nice ambience, the place serves good quality food in reasonable price.
Address – Rajgarh Plaza, Ground Floor, Rajgarh, Main Road, Guwahati
Timings – 12 PM – 10 PM
Price – Rs 500 (for two people)
Considered as one of the best restaurants in Guwahati, Maihang is perfect place to savour not only cuisine of Assam but entire north east India. Here, you can mark the use of herbs in the traditional food served. Non vegetarians should not miss freshwater fish, duck meat and pigeon meat.
Address –Shanti House, GS Road, Guwahati
Timings – 7:30 AM – 10 PM
Price – Rs 800 for two (for two people)
Named after the Assamese Khorika (barbecued), the fine restaurant Khorika serves some of the best authentic north eastern dishes.
Address – Near Bora Service, GS Road, Guwahati
Timings – 10:30 AM – 4 PM
6:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Price – Rs 500 for two (for two people)
One of the earliest restaurants of Guwahati, Parampara Paradise is best known for its tasty Assamese Thali (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) which contains most of the major Assamese dishes. It is the best way to taste Assamese cuisine. Good service and nice atmosphere are other features of the place.
Address – M. R. D.Road, Silpukhuri, Guwahati
Timings – 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Price – Rs 800 for two (for two people)
Café Hendrix is perfect place to hang out, in a relaxing atmosphere listening to some good quality music, accompanied with good food and drinks. The place holds live band performances on weekends, welcoming music lovers.
Address – Opposite Down Town Hospital, Down Town, GS Road, Guwahati
Timings – 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Price – Rs 500 for two (for two people)
The true colour of culture and tradition of a place can be witnessed in its festivals and celebrations. And when it comes to festivals in Assam, without any delay ‘Bihu’ pops in our mind. The local people dancing in traditional dresses on the rhythm of folk songs, is what describes this festival the best. Although, it is the most awaited and celebrated festival of Guwahati, the place has other events too, which are nonetheless vibrant. Let’s know something more about these festivals.
Bihu is the main Assamese festival, which is celebrated all over the state with great joy and fervour. This festival has three parts – Magh or Bhogali Bihu celebrated in mid-January marking the harvest season. Bohag or Rongali Bihu, denotes the advent of the New Year as per the Assamese calendar. Kai or Kongali, is celebrated in mid-October. The festival is the best time to hog on the numberless variety of Assamese cuisine. Eatable like pithas (rice cake), larus (coconut sweets) and various eatables are prepared.
Ambubachi Mela is a highly revered and very popular religious ceremony, celebrated in famous Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati. Held in around June every year, it is believed, that during this time the deity Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle. During this festival, the doors of the temple are kept closed for three days and no worship is performed. The festival celebrated with extreme spiritual faith, not just invites devotees from Assam, but also other parts of India.
Durga Puja, another religious festival, which is celebrated with much zeal and reverence. The presence of many age old temples greatly intensifies the religious fervour of the festivity. This festival, which falls in the month of September - October holds large gatherings of devotees. To attend the ceremony in the Kamakhya Temple is believed to be a matter of great fortune. The deity is also offered buffaloes and goats in certain temples of Guwahati.
Brahmaputra Beach Festival
Held every year, Brahmaputra Beach Festival is celebrated on the sandy beaches of the mighty river Brahmaputra. It is organised by the Assam Tourism Development Authorities to promote the tourism in the state. During the festival, various water sports like surfing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing is arranged. Sand artists are also invited to the place to show their skills from various parts of the country.
For shopaholics, Guwahati is stock of a number of items to grab. Assasmese tea, bamboo products, traditional clothes, silk, bamboo items, cane decorative items and many more things will leave you spoilt for choice. The city is laden with many large malls, fancy bazars, traditional haats and supermarkets to satisfy numerous shopping choices.
Some famous places to shop in Guwahati are:
A tour in Assam is incomplete without buying its famous tea. Paltan Bazar is perfect place for this as you will get all varieties of tea here. The market is also popular for furniture and home decoration items. Bamboo products and tribal garments are other unique items to pick form this market. Stuffs made of wood, clay, a mixture of cloth and mud are interesting items to buy as souvenirs. If you want to have some bites of Assamese dishes, then there are a number of restaurants to fulfil you wish.
Shop for – Tea and traditional items
If you have a great temptation for street shopping, Fancy Bazaar is the perfect place for endless budget shopping. The market teems with tribal jewellery, wooden items, gift shops, traditional stuffs. You can also pick Assamese sari and bamboo pickles, which you will get nowhere in the world. There are many sundry items like wind chimes, clay artefact and sundry items to load your bags. Many eateries are also situated in the place where you can have Assamese delicacies.
Shop for – Local Assamese Items
With a number of book shops and publications, Paan Bazaar is the ultimate place for book worms. Whether you are searching for your favourite novel, academic books or any rare book, come to the market and get all you want. It is also perfect to buy Mekhla Chadar (Assamese Sari), which is made out of Muga and Pat silk.
Shop for – Assamese Sari
With many shopping malls and branded show rooms, GS or Guwahati Shillong Road is suitable for affluent shoppers.
Shop for – Fancy clothes
Footwear, crockeries, hardware, household items, clothes and many more such items can be shopped from the shopping paradise of Ganesh Gudi. Located near GMC Road, the market is lined with cinema halls, clubs, pubs, restaurants and eateries to spend some quality time.
Shop for – Anything which pleases your heart and wallet
Being one of the major tourist destinations in northeast and also major gateway to other tourist spots of the region, Guwahati has huge variety of accommodation. From budget to mid-range to deluxe hotels, the city has staying place suiting to all types of budgets. On G. S. Road, near railway station, there are plenty of budget hotels. The city has also many resorts offering fine stay. It is advisable to book your room in advance if you’re planning to visit the place during tourist seasons.
Being just 1.5 Km away from the railway station and 20 Km from the airport Hotel Dynasty is situated at a prime location of the city giving a quick access to a number of tourist spots and markets. This four-star luxury hotel has well-furnished and pleasingly decorated rooms and suites. Beside this, there are five well-spaced conference halls and a banquet hall for large assemblies. Apart from basic amenities, it also offers health and fitness centre, spa treatments, a beauty parlour, barber shop, and multiple dining spaces. The Palms, a multi-cuisine in-built restaurant of Hotel Dynasty serves Indian, continental and Chinese cuisine to its guests. One can also enjoy delicious food in The Tandoor – expert in Indian cuisine. In addition to these features, it has also a restobar – The Family Lounge and a rooftop restaurant – Dinetasty.
Address – S. S. Road, Lakhtokia, Kamrup, Guwahati
Considered an excellent choice for business travellers, Kiranshree Portico is located at an ideal place in the city, close from the Railway Station, Airport and major tourist attractions. The hotel is furnished with luxurious rooms and provides a comfortable stay with top class services and hospitality. It is also known for serving delectable food.
Address – East Manipuri Road, Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati
Brahmaputra Jungle Resort
If you want to enjoy the idyllic beauty of Assam, then Brahmaputra Jungle Resort is an ideal place, located in twenty acres of lush green ground. Situated in village Tapesia, Dispur, the resort is 32 Km away from the airport and 7 Km from the railway station. The accommodation here is provided in eco-friendly cottages or modern air-conditioned rooms or camp tents. These all are well furnished with all the basic modern facilities. The resort also offers a gateway to indulge in plethora of activities like river rafting, mountaineering, para-sailing, golf, trekking etc.
Address – NH – 37, Sonapur Circle, Near Tapesia National Games Stadium, Tapesia, Guwahati
One of the good options among budget hotels, Vishwaratna Hotel is located within the close proximity of bus stand, railway station, shopping centres and restaurants. It contains comfortable rooms provided with all the necessary facilities. The hotel also features a mini-bar, a lounge/bar, fitness centre, sauna and spa centre.
Address – A. T. Road, Tokobari Satra, Guwahati
Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Rialto is a great accommodating place, just few minutes away from Guwahati railway station. With elegant interiors and excellent service, the hotel pleases its guests. It also has an on-site multi-cuisine restaurant that serves delectable buffet breakfast and dinner.
Address – G. N. B. Road, Near Pan Bazar Flyover, Pan Bazar, Lakhtokia, Guwahati
Guwahati is a fast growing metropolitan city and also one of the largest cities of northeast India. It is well linked to the rest part of the country by air, road and train. To move within the city is very convenient with the availability of autos, buses, cab/taxi and cycle rickshaws. The cheapest way to travel in Guwahati is by city bus which connects all the major points of the city. You can also explore the place on a motorbike by renting one from many rental agencies in the city. Ferries are also a great alternative to travel around the city. It leaves at regular intervals from Fancy Bazaar.
Reaching Guwahati by Air – Lokpriya Gopinath Bordol International Airport, also known as Guwahati International Airport is the main airport of the northeast India. This airport is situated 20 Km away from Guwahati and is very well connected to other chief cities of the country and also with some certain international cities. From the airport, the main city can be easily reached by taxi/cab/bus/auto.
Reaching Guwahati by Train – The main railway station in Guwahati is Guwahati Junction, situated in the centre of the city. The other large station of the city is Kamakhya Junction, which is 10 Km away from the city and ideal for visiting Kamakhya Temple. The city is well linked to all the other main cities of the country through rail lines.
Reaching Guwahati by Road – Guwahati is well connected with the nearby cities and states through regular bus service. Assam State Transport Corporation Bus Station is situated just behind the Guwahati Railway Station, in the Paltan Bazaar. Most of the private bus companies operate from this bus stand. The other points in the city with bus service are Adabari and ISBT Guwahati.