Situated beside the immpressively wide and muddy Brahamputra River, Guwahati
is Assam's sleepy capital. Once known as Pragjyotishpura (the Eastern City of Light) and mentioned in Mahabharta, it has long
been the most important town in the region. It's now the service centre for the oil industry and tea plantations; the world's
largest tea auctions are held here. Guwahati is pleasant, relaxed place. There are numerous anacient Hindu temples in and around the
town, but its main importance is as the gateway to the whole of the north-eastern region. The name (Guwahati) is a combination of two words: "Guwa" meaning areca nut and "Hat" meaning market. Guwahati is the commercial nerve centre of the North-East. The places to shop for handicrafts and handloom items include the State Government's department store, Pragjyotika at Ambari as well as several private shops in Pan Bazar and Fancy Bazar, two of the main commercial markets
Altitude : 55 meters.
Temperature (deg C ) : Summer- Max.
35, Min. 22; Winter- Max. 26, Min. 10.
Rainfall : 180 cms (from May to Sept.)
Best Season : October to May.
Transport and Communication : Well connected by air, rail, road.
PLACES OF INTEREST :-
Kamakhya Temple, Assam State Museum, Nabagraha Temple, Umananda Temple, Assam State Zoo & Botnical Gardens.
Guwahati's best known temple is Kamakhya Temple on Nilachal Hill, eight km west of the city. These temples honour the Mother Goddess Kamakhya, the essence of female energy . Kamakhya is one of the 51 Hindu 'Pithas' where as per the mythology the genital organ of the Sati (Parvati) - the eternal wife of Lord Shiva - had fallen down after death in one of her incarnations. It is considered as one of the most important centres of Shakti worship and Tantric Hinduism. The Temple was rebuilt in 1665 after being destroyed by
Muslim invaders, but its origins are much older than that. It was probably an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, sacrifices are still very much part of worshipping here. Group of devotees arrive each morning with goats to offer to Shakti. It attracts pilgrims from all over India , especially during the Ambuchi Festivals which usually falls around July. This is a celebration of the end of the earth's menstrual cycle.
Assam State Museum
This archaeological, ethnographic and natural history museum has recently been enlarged and is well worth a visit. There are also good displays of weavings, musical instruments and large
sculpture gallery. The museum is open daily except Monday, from 10 am to 4.15 pm (5 pm in summer). It's also closed on Sunday afternoon and on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
Situated on Chtitrachal Hill to the east of the town, the Temple of the Nine Planets has long been known as a centre of astrology and
astronomy. The nine planets are represented by nine linga inside the main temple.
The most interesting thing about this Siva temple is its location, on Peacock Island in the middle of the river.
Assam State ZOO & Botnical Gardens
The zoo & botnical gardens are about five km east of the railway station. The zoo is reasonably well manged and has tigers, leopords and , of course, Assam famous rhinosplus the African two-horned variety for comparison. They are open daily except Friday.
AROUND GUWAHATI :-
Hajo, Sualkuchi,Chandubi, Baisisthashram, Darranga, Pabitora, Madan Kamdev, Manas Wldlife Sanctuary.
This place, 25 km west of Guwahati, is the site of the Pua-Mecca Mosque, established by an Iraqi prince-turned-preacher, who travelled all the way to Assam in the 12th century to spread the Prophet's teachings. Hajo is a sacred place for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. The town also boasts the Hayagriba Madhava Temple, accessible via a long stone stairway. At the foot of the stairway is a large pond inhabited by one of Hajo's eminent residents: a giant turtle. Hajo is also renowned for its bell metal work.
Also across the river from Guwahati, 32km away, Sualkuchi is a famous silk-weaving centre best known for its muga silk which is naturally golden-coloured, not dyed. Endi and pat silks are also woven here, and
pat silks are lower than in Guwahati.
A natural lagoon and a fine picnic spot, 64 kms from Guwahati. The lake is a perfect holiday resort, with ample fishing and rowing opportunities.
A popular picnic spot with small temples and a waterfall, Basistha is where the rishi or sage, Basistha, once lived. It's 12km from Guwahati.
80km away on the Bhutan border, is great winter trading area for the Bhutia mountain folk.
A small wildlife sanctuary, 60 kms from Guwahati. Rhino and various species of deer abound here.
About 35 km from Guwahati, this place is famous for its impressive archaeological ruins.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated on the banks of river Manas, and 176 km from Guwahati, this sanctuary is the only 'Tiger Project' of its kind in Assam. The park straddles two rivers, the Manas and its tributary the Hakua, along the Assam-Bhutan border. The protected area extends into the Bhutan foothills. Manas houses 19 of India's most endangered animal populations, home to the rare golden langur and a sizeable tiger population. Its wetlands are essential for the survival of the fast-vanishing hispid hare and pygmy hog. The fauna to be found here include the rhino, wild buffalos, elephants, gaur, swamp deer, capped langur and clouded leopard. The park, the eastern range of the chital and habitat of the sambar deer, also boasts a rich and diverse avian population. The main highlight is the giant hornbill, two subspecies of which, the pied and grey varieties, are to be found here.
Other Cities in Assam