Thursday , September 23 2021
Guwahati: A Gateway to the North-east
Guwahati: A Gateway to the North-east

Guwahati – A Gateway to the North-East

Guwahati which was previously known as Gauhati, is situated along the river banks of the Brahmaputra. It is the largest city in the north-eastern state of Assam and also is the largest metropolis of Northeast India. Guwahati is a major riverine port and is also called as the ‘Gateway to the Northeast’.

Guwahati City

Brief History

  • The city, Guwahati has existed for more than 1500 years now as recorded in the human history.
  • The Nilachal rock inscription which dates back to the 5th century is a proof of the city being home to various settlements in the past.
  • According to the Puranas and many other traditional Indian texts, Guwahati is assumed by many historians to be one of the oldest cities of Asia.
  • The location of the ancient Shakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya inside the city of Guwahati traces that the city was established within 2nd century BC to 1st century AD during the Shunga – Kushana rule in India.

State/District/Capital

Brahmaputra River, Guwahati
Brahmaputra River, Guwahati

Guwahati the largest city in the state of Assam spreads over 216 sq. km. Guwahati as the gateway to the north-eastern Indian attracts many tourists from all around the country. In 1973 the capital of Assam moved from Shillong to Dispur, a neighbourhood of the city Guwahati.

Connectivity

By Air

Guwahati International Airport
Guwahati International Airport

Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, also called as the Guwahati International Airport id the main airport for all the North-Eastern region. This airport is well connected with all other major airports located in various cities of India as well as some selected International airports such as Bangkok and Paro. Services like taxis, cabs and buses are available from this airport to go inside the city.

By Helicopter

A helicopter service provider, Pawan Hans, provides helicopter services from Guwahati to Shillong (30mins), Tura (50mins), Naharlagun (Itanagar). Tawang (75mins) and vice versa.

By Bus

Bus services are available and are very connected from the city of Guwahati to all the adjoining cities and states. The three nodal points of Adabari, Paltan Bazar and ISBT Guwahati provides bus service to towns and cities in Assam.

By Train

The major railway station is the Guwahati Junction in Guwahati and Kamakhya Junction is the second largest railway station in the city. The city is well connected through railway to all other major cities of India. Bus, cab and taxi services are always available from the railway station to the inside of the city.

By Road

Guwahati is connected to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal through National Highway 31 (NH-31) while National Highway 37 connects Guwahati with almost all the major cities of Assam.

By Water

Guwahati is connected to National Waterways No. 2. There are a few luxury ferries that connect Guwahati to neighbouring cities like Dibrugarh, passing through Kaziranga & Tezpur.

When to visit

Life in Guwahati

October to March – This is the best time to visit Assam with the weather being thoroughly pleasant and the temperature is minimum. Festivals like The Magh or Bohali Bihu is celebrated in January while The Kati or Kangali Bihu is celebrated during September- October, attending these festivals are an experience one should not miss.

April to May – Guwahati experiences a moderate temperature during this time period with the average temperature being 29 degree Celsius. The festival of Bahag Bihu is celebrated during this time.

June to October – It is the rainy season in Assam which prevents tourists from going to the major sightseeing activities during this time. Though the flight and the hotel rates are cheaper during these months in Guwahati.

Official Language

Assamese is the official language of the city Guwahati. The locals are well versed in the Assamese language.

Weather

  • The climate of Guwahati is “tropical monsoon rainfall” type, with moderate temperature throughout the year. There is high levels of humidity and heavy rainfall.
  • The summers are warm and the winters are mild.
  • In the summers the temperature does not exceed 32 degree Celsius while in the winter the temperature does not go below 8 degree Celsius.
  • There are distinctively summer, Monsoon, winter and autumn seasons in Guwahati.
  • Summer season – March to June, winter season – November to February.

Fairs & Festivals

Bihu Festival
Me-Dum-Me-Phi
Majuli Festival
Kaziranga Elephant Festival
Junbeel Mela
Doul Utsav

Bihu Festival

Bihu Dance of Assam
Bihu Dance of Assam

Bihu festival – Bihu is the essence of Assam and is celebrated with immense zeal and passion throughout the state. Being a part of the Bihu celebrations are considered to be an unforgettable experience for any tourist.

Me-Dum-Me-Phi

Me Dum Me Phi, Assam
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Me-Dum-Me-Phi – Literally the meaning of the festival is, Me ‘worship’, Dam ‘Dead’, Phi ‘God’. On this day the dead ancestors are worshipped by the family members in order to give the decease the stature of God.

Majuli Festival

Majuli festival – Majuli is the largest river island and the Majuli festival is a four-day-long festival in the month of November. Majuli festival is a major tourist attraction for the state of Assam where the various cultures and traditions of the land are showcased.

Kaziranga Elephant Festival

The Kaziranga Elephant Festival – It is a yearly festival held in the Kaziranga National park of Assam in the month of February in order to promote awareness regarding conservation of elephants. It is organised jointly by the Tourism Department and the Forest Department of Assam.

Junbeel Mela

Junbeel Mela, Assam
Junbeel Mela, Assam

Junbeel Mela – Junbeel Mela is the harvest festival in Assam held around mid-January. Junbeel Mela means the ‘fair of the moon lake’. It is the only festival in India where people barter their good and socialize for a few days.

Doul Utsav

Doul Utsav – ‘Doul’ or the ‘Deul’ is the festival of colours and happiness in Assam. It the ‘Holi’ or ‘Rang’ festival which is celebrated with much aura and zeal in the state.

Transportation/Stay to prefer

Local Transportation

By Bus

There are both private and governmental organisations that run bus services. They are well connected across cities and provide services in both AC and Non-AC.

By Cab

Ola and Uber across the states has been quite popular across the states and it continues the same here in Guwahati. With the convenience of booking cabs through apps, locals and tourists continue to use cab as a transport.

By Auto

Auto rickshaws are available around the city, however the prices seem to fluctuate so much so, people now-a-days prefer Ola or Uber. Still, autos across the city continue to be available.

By Rent

Motorbikes and cars are available for rent at some places for the tourists who would like to self-drive and explore on own around the city. It’s one of the convenient, fun ways to travel around the city without any rush.

By Ferry

Ferry rides are available for the locals. For tourists, it will be an experience to take a ride from one place to another or even take a round trip. It is one of the affordable rides one can take and is said to be the simplest way to enjoy the beauty of the Brahmaputra River.

Accommodation

There are plenty of homestays, hostels, hotels (both luxury and budget-friendly) that are available in this city. With a plethora of options available in this city, it makes it harder to choose a particular place to accommodate.

Paltan Bazaar

Paltan Bazaar is one such area where there are numerous hotels to accommodate. This area is the central hub with bus station, railway station, markets, malls etc, that it makes it easy to find a place to accommodate as well as explore the central hub of the city.

Ganeshguri

Ganeshguri is one of the major commercial areas in the city. This is one of the more urban areas with various markets, fast food chains that are developed and continue to function well in this area. Plenty of hotels and homestays are available that cater to those wishing for greater comfort or wish to be economical in accommodation.

There are hotels, although premiums are available near Airport. Tourists have plenty of choices to prefer to stay, all they need is to explore and choose a particular hotel they would like to accommodate.

Top places to visit in Guwahati

Kamakhya Temple

Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya Temple, Assam

One of the major tourist site in Guwahati, Kamkhya temple is one of the Shakti peethas in India. It is one of the oldest temples in Guwahati and the legend associated with the place of Lord Shiva and Daksha Yagna, Kamakhya temple attracts thousands of devotees each year rendering it to be the most visited tourist place in Guwahati.

Timings – 5:30 am to 10 pm

Umananda Temple

Umananda Temple, Assam
Umananda Temple, Assam

Situated atop the hill Bhasmakuta, surrounded by the waters of the Brahmaputra, the Umananda temple was built by King Gadadhar Singh in 1694 AD. Lord Shiva is the main deity of the Umananda temple. The temple also provides a great idyllic escape into the nature’s laps for any tourist.

Timings – 5:30 am to 6 pm

Assam State Zoo & Botanical Garden

Assam Zoo
Assam Zoo

It is a natural habitat for flora and fauna, for which the Assam Sate Zoo is called “green lung” of Guwahati. Home to many birds and animals it is the largest zoo in the north eastern region and is a paradise for any wildlife lover.  Royal Bengal tiger, white tiger, white rhino, black panther, Asiatic lion, deer, Sambhar deer etc. are some of the popular species to be found.

Timings – 7 am to 4:30 pm

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park

In 1985, Kaziranga National Park was declared as World Heritage site by UNESCO. Kaziranga National Park is mostly famous due to the existence of one-horned rhinos in this place. The park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Over time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that is why in 2006 why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve. Also, the park is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of migratory birds like lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Baer’s pochard duck and lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, and Asian Openbill stork.

Nameri National Park

Nameri National Park
Nameri National Park

Nameri National Park is located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas with a wild spread of wide grassland, tall evergreen and deciduous trees. It has many lakes and other water bodies where Rhinos, Elephants, Tiger, Leopard, Sambhar, Dhole, Hornbills, ducks and Storks can be easily spotted. Nameri National Park is well connected with the city Guwahati through the swift roads.

Timings – 5 am to 7 pm

Pobitra Wildlife Sanctuary

Pobitora wildlife sanctuary is a delight for all nature lovers and is a major tourist attraction of Guwahati. Pobitora wildlife sanctuary has a great biodiversity and houses many animals such as the one-horned rhinoceros along with Asiatic buffalo, leopard, wild bear, civet cat etc.

Timings – 6:30 am to 5 pm

Assam State Museum

Assam State Museum is the biggest multipurpose museum of India. In order to know more about the north-eastern culture and tradition through a spectacular amount of antiques, the Assam State Museum is a must-visit for tourists. On display are some of the fascinating antiques including prehistoric ivory paintings, sculptures, metal, woodwork and costumes etc.

Timings – 10 am to 5 pm

Cuisines to taste in Guwahati

Chusines to Taste in Guwahati
Chusines to Taste in Guwahati

Cuisine in Assam is unique as it carries within it the taste of their as well as the neighbouring states’ culture and traditions. There is a blend of Tibetian, Burmese and even Bangladeshi style dishes in Assamese food.

Momos

Momos

This north-eastern street food which has its origins in Tibet is now very popular among all generations throughout the country. These dumplings whether steamed or deep fried can be found in each and every street food corner in Guwahati. The locals and the tourists both relish this dish.

Assam Tea

As Assam has some of the largest tea gardens, a cup of the finest Assam tea is a must-have when in Guwahati. It is made with some traditional techniques and can be found in every household, stalls or restaurants in Guwahati.

Thukpa

Thukpa – A traditional Assamese dish it is a full meal in itself. This noodle soup is available both as a vegetarian and non-vegetarian dish in every street side stall and restaurants in Guwahati.

Khaar

Khaar – This is an indigenous recipe of Assam where the dish is made out of meat, vegetables and pulses. Though not all shops or stalls sell this unique Assamese food, it can be found in stalls which sells particularly unique Assamese traditional dishes.

Silk Worms

Popular among the various tribes in Assam it is a snack which is available at certain places in Guwahati. The crispy exterior with a soft and cheesy interior can be enjoyed by the experimental food lovers.

Masor Tenga

Masor Tenga is a fish-based dish made it locally available fishes has become popular among many tourists in Assam. It is generally served as a side dish with rice or as a stew. This dish can be found locally in many stalls and restaurants in Guwahati.

Things to do in Guwahati

Things to do in Guwahati
Things to do in Guwahati
  • Exciting boat ride at the Umananda temple
  • Enjoy the cruises along the Brahmaputra River
  • Worship and visit one of the Shakti peethas, Kamakhya temple
  • Witness the one-horned rhinos and Royal Bengal tigers at the Kaziranga National Park
  • Experience the culture in the weaver’s town, Sualkuchi
  • Shop at the fancy bazaars
  • Have a look at the multipurpose antiques at the Assam State museum
  • Spend a day at the Assam zoo which has more than 900 species of animals and birds!

Souvenir to buy from Guwahati

  • Tea Leaves – Assam tea is well known all over the world for its fragrance and taste. It is a must-buy souvenir when visiting Guwahati.
  • Assam Silk – Assam Silk is one of its kind and various garments and cloth materials are made out of Assam Silk. Assam Silk is a renowned souvenir to take back from Assam.
  • Handicrafts – Guwahati is the hub where all the various kinds of handicrafts from the north-eastern states are sold at its best prices.
  • Phulam Gamusa (towel) – These are easily spotted souvenirs which has a deep-rooted cultural and traditional value to the local people. These towels are unique in their design and colour and can only be found in Assam.
  • Traditional Masks – Masks which are also known as mukhas, are the base of the Assamese culture and tradition. They are mostly worn during various fests and festivals and are made out of various materials like bamboo, terracotta, wood and metals.

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About Somwrita Mondal

I am an avid reader and a travel fanatic aiming to fit my life within the world of travel and tales.

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