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Discover Guwahati: Top Things to Do in Assam’s Gateway City

Guwahati, the largest city in Assam and the gateway to Northeast India, is a vibrant metropolis that perfectly blends rich cultural heritage with modern urban charm. Located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River, Guwahati offers a plethora of experiences for travelers. From ancient temples and bustling markets to serene river cruises and wildlife excursions, here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do in Guwahati.

1. Explore the Majestic Kamakhya Temple

Kamakhya Temple, one of the most revered Shakti Peethas in India, is a must-visit attraction in Guwahati. Perched on the Nilachal Hill, this ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya and attracts pilgrims from across the country. The temple complex offers stunning views of the city and the Brahmaputra River, making it a perfect spot for photography and spiritual reflection.

2. Enjoy a Scenic River Cruise on the Brahmaputra

A river cruise on the Brahmaputra is one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Guwahati. Several operators offer cruises that range from short sunset trips to full-day excursions. As you sail along the mighty river, you can enjoy breathtaking views, spot river dolphins, and savor local Assamese cuisine on board. The Umananda Island, home to the Umananda Temple, is a popular stop on these cruises.

3. Visit the Assam State Museum

For history enthusiasts, the Assam State Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage. Established in 1940, the museum houses an extensive collection of sculptures, manuscripts, textiles, and weapons. The ethnographic section provides insights into the diverse communities and tribes of Assam, making it a fascinating visit for those interested in the state’s history and culture.

4. Stroll Through the Lush Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden, located in the heart of Guwahati, is a great place to spend a leisurely day with family and friends. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including the one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, and exotic birds. The botanical garden features a vast array of plant species, providing a serene environment for nature lovers and photographers.

5. Experience the Bustle of Fancy Bazaar

Fancy Bazaar is Guwahati’s most vibrant shopping district, offering a wide range of goods from traditional Assamese silk sarees and handicrafts to trendy clothes and accessories. This bustling market is also a great place to sample local street food, including delicious momos, pithas, and jalebis. Bargaining is a common practice here, so be prepared to haggle for the best deals.

6. Explore the Sacred Navagraha Temple

The Navagraha Temple, situated on the Chitrachal Hill, is dedicated to the nine celestial bodies (navagrahas) and is an important site for astrological studies in Assam. The temple complex offers panoramic views of Guwahati and the surrounding hills, making it a serene spot for meditation and photography. The temple’s unique architecture and spiritual significance attract both devotees and tourists alike.

7. Discover the Tranquil Basistha Ashram

Basistha Ashram, located on the outskirts of Guwahati, is a peaceful retreat surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. The ashram is believed to have been founded by the sage Vasistha and is associated with various mythological tales. Visitors can explore the ancient temple, take a dip in the sacred Basistha stream, and enjoy the serene ambiance of the surrounding forest.

8. Indulge in Authentic Assamese Cuisine

No visit to Guwahati is complete without indulging in authentic Assamese cuisine. The city boasts a plethora of restaurants and eateries that serve traditional dishes such as fish tenga (sour fish curry), duck meat curry, and khar (alkaline curry). Don’t miss the opportunity to savor pithas (rice cakes) and other traditional sweets. Restaurants like Paradise, Khorika, and Gam’s Delicacy are popular choices for a delightful culinary experience.

9. Witness the Rich Culture at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra

Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra is a cultural complex dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Assamese culture. The complex features an open-air theatre, a museum, an art gallery, and a heritage park. Visitors can enjoy cultural performances, exhibitions, and workshops that showcase the region’s art, dance, and music. It’s a great place to learn about Assam’s cultural heritage and traditions.

10. Take a Day Trip to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Located about 50 kilometers from Guwahati, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Known for its high density of one-horned rhinoceroses, the sanctuary offers jeep and elephant safaris that provide excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting. Apart from rhinos, Pobitora is home to various bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatching.

Guwahati is a city that offers a diverse range of experiences, from spiritual and cultural explorations to wildlife adventures and culinary delights. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or foodie, Guwahati has something for everyone. Plan your trip to this vibrant city and discover the many facets of Assam’s gateway.

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

The best time to visit Guwahati is from October to April when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Guwahati is well-connected by air, rail, and road. The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport serves major domestic and international flights. The city is also a major railway hub with regular trains from various parts of India.

Guwahati offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels and resorts to budget guesthouses and homestays. Some popular hotels include Radisson Blu, Novotel, and Vivanta Guwahati.

Guwahati is generally safe for travelers. However, it’s advisable to take standard precautions, such as avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings in crowded places.

Local transport options in Guwahati include taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and city buses. App-based cab services like Ola and Uber are also widely available.