10 Things to Do in Guwahati

Famously regarded as the gateway to North-East India, Guwahati is the largest city in the state of Assam. It is also the largest metropolis in the entire North-Eastern region of India, making it the most preferred staging point to other destinations in the region. Sandwiched by the river Brahmaputra on one side and the Shillong Plateau on the other, this city was formerly known as Pragjyotishpura. The name Guwahati is derived from the union of two Assamese words – ‘Guwa’ meaning Areca Nut and ‘Haat’ meaning market. The capital of the state of Assam, Dispur, is located within Guwahati. Serviced by Lokpriya Gopinath International Airport towards the west and India’s first fully solar-powered railway station at its heart, the city is well connected to other regions of the state and India. Millions of people each year traverse through the city for their livelihood, travels or for religious purposes. Kamakhya Temple, located at the top of the Nilachal Hill and dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya, plays host to thousands of devotees each day. Lakhs of pilgrims and tourists throng to this holy site during the Ambubachi Mela each year. Apart from the Temple of Kamakhya, other sacred temples such as Umananda and Navagraha are also present in the city. Guwahati has been one of the frontrunners in terms of Education in the North-Eastern Region of India. It houses some of the best-rated institutions in the country, namely Indian Institute of Guwahati (IITG) and Guwahati Medical College (GMC) in the fields of engineering and medicine respectively. Subsequently, the recent influx of more students and scholars has led to the betterment of infrastructure and modern-day amenities in the city. The two major roads – G.S Road and R.G Baruah Road, houses many malls, restaurants and theatres, thus forming the major entertainment and shopping hub in this rising cosmopolitan.

Places to Visit

Umananda Temple

Umananda Temple is located on Peacock Island that lies on the mighty Brahmaputra River. This serene place of worship is named after and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name ‘Umananda’ comes from the two Hindi words, namely ‘Uma’, which was another name for Lord Shiva’s wife and ‘Ananda’ which means happiness. In fact, Peacock Island is one of the smallest inhabited island and possibly one of the most beautiful too. The surroundings of the temple and the divine but understated beauty of the island make it a haven for nature lovers. The temple is situated on the top of a hill called Bhasmakala or Bhasmakuta. The island was originally built in 1694 A.D. by King Gadadhar Singha. However, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897 and later rebuilt by a wealthy local merchant. The Umananda temple was crafted beautifully by the skilled Assamese workmen. Aside from Lord Shiva, there are 10 other Hindu Gods whose idols reside in the shrines. Aside from being a place of worship, The Umananda temple is also a pleasurable exception to the typical places of worship. Devoid of the cacophony of forceful religion, this place has a serene environment which makes you want to sit down for a while and absorb the beauty of the place.

Kamakhya Temple

Located on the Nilanchal Hill in the western part of Guwahati in Assam,  Kamakhya Temple is one of the most revered shrines of Goddess Shakti in India. According to the Hindu scriptures, there are four important Shakti Peethas (Temples with highest powers of divinity) in the country and Kamakhya Temple is one of them. Kamakhya Temple celebrates the power of the woman to give birth and is regarded as extremely auspicious among the followers of the Tantrik sect of Hinduism. It was built and reconstructed multiple times between the 8th and 17th Centuries and is a spectacle in itself. The main entrance of the Kamakhya temple is beautifully designed with simple yet elegant carvings that are decorated with colourful flowers. The temple has a massive dome which overlooks the quaint Nilanchal Hills in the background. It is especially decked up during the Ambubachi Festival and fare that is held for 3-4 Days in the month of June.

Assam State Museum

Assam State Museum, also known as Assam Rajyik State Museum, is located in the heart of Guwahati city in Dighali Pukhuri tank. It is one of the most famous museums of the North- East India that gives insights into the rich culture of ancient history and as well as the modern history of North-East India. Its prominent location in the center of the city attracts a large number of history buffs and tourists visiting Guwahati.The museum was established during the colonization of British in India in the year 1940. It was set up by the Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti, Assam research society to showcase the history, sculptures, and handicrafts of North East India. The museum was developed under the presidency of Kanklal Baruah, and it was taken by the state soon after his death in the year 1953. The Museum offers an extensive collection of artifacts and sculptures dating back to the 5th-12th century to the new artifacts from the World War II. This museum is a great place to visit if you want a sneak-peak of the history of the North-east India.

Umananda Island

The smallest river island in the world, Umananda Island is a place with legends aplenty, a place where man and the wilderness co-habit in peace and serenity. Umananda Island lies at the heart of the Mighty Brahmaputra River which flows through the middle of the city of Guwahati. An island with many legends associated with it, it’s pristine and calm environment has not been destroyed by the presence of human beings as yet. It was known as Peacock Island among the British Colonists who named it so based on its shape. The legend goes that it is the very same place where Lord Kamdev (Lord of Love) was burnt into ashes by the third eye of Lord Shiva when the former tried to disrupt his meditation thereby giving it its alternative name Bhasmchal. The major attraction of the island is the Umananda Devi Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiv and sees a large influx of devotees during religious festivals.

Guwahati Zoo

Having been established as one of the better zoos in the country, the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden or the Guwahati Zoo as it popularly known is a wildlife paradise that spreads over an extensive area of 430 acres. Located in a densely vegetated forest area in the centre of Guwahati called the Hengrabari Forest Area, the protected area has not lost its vibrant touch with mother nature. Often referred to as the green lung of the city of Guwahati, the Assam Zoo cum Botanical Garden lies just 6 kilometres south of the mighty Brahmaputra river that flows through the state and is the largest of its kind in the North-East region of the country. The zoo exhibits captivating landscape gardens, a great deal of wildlife and a serene environment. It has had an important mark in shaping the ecological outline of the state and also the country. A unique abundance of the wildlife here makes it an admirer’s paradise and is certainly worth the visit! Established in 1958, it has since been a major tourist attraction in the state, with only the Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park rivalling the grandness of flora and fauna. It is home to 113 different species of the animal kingdom, making up the 900 plus animals, birds and reptiles in the zoo. Over the years, the zoo has grown to accommodate more animals and also has founded a charming botanical garden in its vicinity. More than half a million tourists and wildlife enthusiasts visit the place throughout the year for the indigenous and exotic animals at display such as the majestic one-horned rhinoceros which is native to the Indian subcontinent, giraffes and ostriches from Africa and kangaroos from Australia. 

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Home to the densest population of One-horned Rhinos in the world, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Assam, approximately 30 km away from Guwahati in the Morigaon District. The wildlife sanctuary also sees an astounding diversity of bird species. No wonder then that it is also called ‘Bharatpur of the East’. It has gained immense popularity due to its proximity to Guwahati. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is often visited as a stopover en route to Kaziranga National Park. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 38 sq. km. and is a small, heavenly getaway of raw wilderness and greenery. Apart from the wildlife sanctuary itself, there are several excursions that you can take from Pobitora. These include a trip to Sualkuchi – the weavers’ village and Hajo – a pilgrimage centre. Moreover, since Pobitora is a landlocked sanctuary, you can also visit the exciting and peculiar Assamese communities to get a taste of the local culture.

Basistha Ashram

Guru Vashishta (or Basistha) is credited to writing the Hindu epic of Vashishtha Ramayana (behind the scenes Ramayana). It is believed that the sage constructed this aashram and later breathed his last here.The fact that this epic still lives on and is a part of the daily routine of innumerable households of India is a clear indication of how popular this site is. The construction, architecture and beautiful locale all mix in beautifully and have resulted in the serene and picturesque ashram.

Guwahati Planetarium

The Guwahati Planetarium, located on MG Road is an excellent destination for the ‘universe lovers’. The magic of the infinitely expanding universe is explained in such detail and is yet beyond anybody’s understanding. Apart from the regular Sky watching sessions conducted by the experts at the planetarium, special shows projected on a dome shaped overhead screen are the star attraction of the Planetarium. These shows are available in Hindi, English as well as Assamese and the timings are as convenient. The shows are just 2 hours apart and hence easy for tourists to manage.

Cruising in the Brahmaputra

One of the prime things to do in Guwahati is experience a cruise ride in the Brahmaputra. Considered to be one of the most romantic experiences in the city, you can opt for a romantic candle lit dinner or watch a mesmerizing sunset with your significant other. You can also enjoy mouth watering cuisine and live music.

Fancy Bazar

Endearingly called as the ‘Chandni Chowk of Guwahati’, Fancy Bazaar is probably the best flea market in all of Guwahati. Consisting of a bazillion tiny shops, stray stalls, roadside setups, Fancy Bazaar is sure to lure you with its labyrinthian alleys and its throwaway prices. A chaotic yet charming amalgamation of the disarrayed shopkeepers, the hustling shoppers along with the aroma of the local street food, the market is a shopping hub for all the compulsive shoppers out there. This shoppers’ paradise is the go-to place for anything and everything ranging from designer clothes to boots to jewellery, stationery, accessories, artefacts and even furniture, and all of it in the really reasonable wholesale prices. The market is famous for housing some famous Assam Silk shops, garment shops, not to forget, sweets shops and little coops for memorable knick knacks and takeaways. The delicious eateries lined at the side will help you refresh and rejuvenate with lip-smacking local snacks.

Must Try Food in Guwahati

1. Kalita Spectrum
2. Khorikaa
3. Terra Mayya
4. Chennai Kitchen
5. Gam’s Delicacy Restaurant
6. Makhan Bhog Restaurant
7. Mughal Garden
8. Mising Kitchen
9. John’s Kitchen
10. Confucius Chinese Restaurant

How To Get Here

Guwahati has its own airport which is connected to cities like Agartala, Kolkatta, Delhi, etc. The nearest international airport is that of Mumbai. Bus services connect Guwahati with near by cities. Both state run and privated busues ply to Guwahati. The city also has its own railhead.

By Air

The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport or Guwahati International Airport is the main airport in North East India. Thus, the airport is well connected to all major cities of India. The airport is about 20 kilometers from the city center. Pawan Hans provides helicopter services from other North Eastern cities to Guwahati.

Nearest Airport: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) 

By Road

Guwahati is very well connected through a network of National Highways to adjoining cities and states through bus service. The three bus terminals- Adabari, Paltan Bazar, and ISBT Guwahati, provide regular state-run and private buses to towns and cities in Assam and adjoining states.

By Train

The city has two major railway stations- Kamakhya and Guwahati. These stations are connected to all major cities in the country via a number of express and super fast trains. Traveling to Guwahati via train offers a beautiful view of the hilly surroundings and is a rejuvenating experience.

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