Guwahati, in Assam, is a bustling city divided into half by the temperamental Brahmaputra River. The nerve centre of northeastern India, this city is well connected by air, road and rail. It is home to the intellectual elite of Assam and has seen days of strife and bloodshed in the early 1990s when the educated and vocal took to militancy to protect interests of the indigenous Assamese people. Guwahati also has a thriving business class, comprising of people from all over India. The skyline of the city is similar to that of any Indian metropolis – a riot of buildings of all shapes and sizes arching upwards in a desperate attempt to get a piece of the sky.
SHOPPING: The traditional handloom and handicrafts of Assam are among the best buys of Guwahati. Bamboo is extensively used in making most handicrafts. Sarees made of pat and muga are also very popular. Guwahati is one of the best places to buy unique decorative items.
The main shopping places of the city are FancyBazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Pan Bazaar, Ganeshguri and Maligaon.
During the festival time coolest period will run, when average temperature is 10 0 to 15 0 c . In this season different cultural activities encourage Majulian to engage themselves in creative activities. So that the ideal time for festival of this nature.
In other hand, Majuli has its environment still protected from pollution in all climatic conditions.
Your main points of interest in this busy, yet easygoing city would be the historic temples. The most famous of the lot, and visited in large numbers, is the Kamakhya Temple. It sits atop Nilachal Hill, 8 km west of the city, and is dedicated to Shakti, Lord Shiva’s consort. You get superb views of the city from the hill.
On Chitrachal Hill, east of the city, is the Navagrah Temple or the Temple of the Nine Planets, an ancient centre of astronomy and astrology. And an interesting ferry ride on the Brahmaputra will take you to the Umananda Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which lies on an island in the middle of the impressively wide river.
Guwahati is a convenient base for several small excursions. You could visit Basistha, 11 km southeast of the city, where two temples lying beside a lovely waterfall commemorate Vashishtha Muni who wrote the Ramayana (Indian equivalent of the Odyssey). Another interesting excursion could be to Hajo, 32 km southeast, an ancient town sacred to Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists alike.
Finally, you must look out to the Brahmaputra River from the Saraighat Bridge, especially at twilight, dawn or dusk. It is an awe-inspiring sight and spotting a river dolphin could be an added bonus. Those lucky enough to coincide a visit to Guwahati with the festival of Bihu will be able to see traditional dance performances that are integral to the celebrations.
Kaziranga National park - Guwahati
Kamakhya Temple - Guwahati
Attractions and Places to Visit in Guwahati
Believed to be the Hermitage of sage Basistha (Vasistha), this Ashram is situated on Sadhya Chal Hill, 12km from Guwahati. The Ashram is an important place of pilgrimage and a place of natural beauty with three mountain streams Sandhya, Lalita, and Kanta flowing nearby. Its picturesque charm makes it an ideal picnic spot.
This place located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 28km from Guwahati. Hajo is a sacred place for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Hajo is also renowned for its bell metal work
Powa - Mecca
Side by side with the Madhav temple there is a celebrated Muslim shrine at Hajo, called Powa- Mecca i.e. 1/4th Mecca. According to the inscription on the wall of the mosque situated there, it was built by Mir Lutufullah-i- Shiraji, in 1657 during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shajahan. In front of the mosque lies the tomb of Gyasuddin Aulia who made the first attempts to propagate Islam in this part of the world. It is said that the foundation of the mosque partly consists of some earth brought from Mecca.
Hayagriba Madhava Temple
The Hayagriba Madhava Temple at Hajo is an important place of pilgrimage both for Hindus and the Buddhists. The image of Vishnu installed at the shrine resembles that of Jagannath at Puri in Orissa. A curious feature of this temple is that it is regarded as a Buddhist shrine by Buddhist Lamas and Butiyas, who profess Buddhism. They believe that the Buddha attained Nirvana at this place. This temple had been destroyed by Kalapahar and was rebuilt in 1543 by the Koch king Raghudev. A smaller temple nearby was built by Ahom king Pramatta Singh where 'Doul' is celebrated on a grand scale every year. There is a large pond here inhabited by a giant turtle.
Loated 32km away across the river from Guwahati, Sualkuchi is a famous silk-weaving centre best known for its 'muga' silk which is naturally golden coloured, not dyed. 'Endi' or 'tassar' and pat silks are also woven here and prices are lower than in Guwahati. There are also brass workers here. There is a regular ferry service across the river daily.
About 35 km from Guwahati, Madan Kamdev is famous for its impressive archaeological ruins and stone sculptures. It is more of a mystery in the sense that very little is known about the origin of this magnificent archaeological ruins.
Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga
National Park is located 215 Km away from Guwahati, at Kohora. This park on the banks of the Brahmaputra, occupying around 430 sq km is a World Heritage Site. The Indian one-horned rhino is the main attraction of this park. It was declared a game reserve in 1926 to save the one-horned rhino. A single horn of the rhino was worth of US $ 40,000 in 1995. It has swamp deer, hog deer, wild pig, hoolock, wild buffalos, sambar gibbon, pythons, tiger and elephants. There is a rich variety of shallow water fowls, the egrets, pond herons, river terns, fishing eagles, adjutant storks, black necked storks etc It is also the breeding place of pelicans. The river here, has the gharial (fish eating crocodile) and dolphins.
The Park has a vast expanse of deciduous forests that are so dense that minimal light passes through it. Its wet grasslands are the home of the rhino, water buffalo, elephant and tiger. Manas is a fascinating tiger reserve. It is also noted for its population of rare golden langur - found only in this part of the country. They can be often spotted on the tall trees. Other primates in the Park include the capped langur, Assamese macaque, the slow loris and the hoolock gibbon. The hoolock gibbon though rarely seen, its call can be heard resounding through the dense forest cover. Other inhabitants of the Reserve include the attractive red panda, occasionally seen in the higher elevations. The lush forest canopy shelters colourful birds - the giant hornbills, both pied and gray varieties, pheasants, jungle fowl and scarlet minivet, etc. The water-birds along the rivers include brahminy ducks, mergansers and a range of egrets, herons and pelicans. For more details click here
How to Reach Guwahati
By Air : There are daily flights to Borjhar Airport, Guwahati, from Delhi and Calcutta. Flights from Agartala, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal and Silchar arrive in Guwahati on a tri-weekly basis. Taxis and coaches take you in to the city, which is 25 km away.
By Road : Guwahati is the nodal point for road transport in northeast India. Four national highways meet in this city. You can drive into Guwahati from Agartala (Tripura), Aizawl (Mizoram), Bomdila (Arunachal Pradesh), Cooch Behar (West Bengal),Dimapur (Nagaland), Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Imphal (Manipur), Kohima (Nagaland), Shillong andTura (Meghalaya)and Dibrugarh, Digboi, Sibsagar, Silchar, Tinsukhia and Tezpur (Assam).
By Train : There are several trains connecting various Indian cities to Guwahati. The Rajdhani Express from New Delhi takes 28 hours; Kamrup Express from Calcutta takes 22 hours; Northeast Express from Delhi takes 37 hours; Brahmaputra Mail from Delhi takes 41 hours; Dadar Express from Bombay takes 54 hours; Bangalore Express from Bangalore takes 61 hours; Trivandrum Express from Trivandrum takes 72 hours; Saraighat Express from Howrah takes 18 hours – and all these trains run at least twice a week to Guwahati. Within northeast India, the Brahmaputra Mail gets you to Guwahati from Dimapur in 10 hours, Tinsukhia in 17 hours and Dibrugarh in 19 hours.