#13 Top Places to Visit in Guwahati
India’s northeastern region is still unexplored and is full of mystery, myths, and legends. The northeastern states are still less traveled and are often overlooked by the tourists. However, this region is blessed with abundant natural beauty, unique culture and tradition, and a glorious history to be proud of. Among all the seven sisters, Assam’s capital Guwahati is the largest and a major metropolis. There are umpteen number of places to visit in Guwahati, which make it a must-visit northeastern city.
Furthermore, this sprawling city by the bank of Mahabahu Brahmaputra is blessed with scenic views of the green hills and blue river. It is also an educational and commercial hub and a gateway to the northeast. From rich flora and fauna, including the world-famous one-horn rhino to the world’s smallest river island Umananda, Guwahati has it all. However, before you book a flight to Guwahati, here are a few things to remember.
When to Visit
Guwahati has a subtropical climate. It remains pleasantly warm in summers and dry winters. It experiences sudden rains throughout the year and hence always keep an umbrella in your bag. The summer is hot, oppressive, humid, and remains cloudy. Avoid visiting Guwahati during monsoon, as heavy downpour can affect your itinerary. The best time for Guwahati sightseeing is between October to April, when the weather is pleasant.
Being the largest city and a commercial hub of the northeast, Guwahati is well-connected by road, air, and train. Here is how you can reach the city.
By Bus: Guwahati is well-connected with the adjoining states and other cities of Assam through bus service. It has three nodal points- Adabari, Paltanbazar, and ISBT.
By Train: Guwahati is connected with the rest of the country through train service. Indian Railway has offered several trains to Guwahati from other major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, etc. A train journey in India is cost-effective and offers the best views of real India.
By Air: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airports is the major international airport that serves Guwahati. It connects the city with major Indian and international cities.
Top Tourist Attractions in Guwahati
Guwahati is surrounded by the hills and the mighty Brahmaputra flows through the city. When in the city, make a point to visit one of the ghats to admire the ethereal sunrise and sunset views over the Brahmaputra. The city is also home to some of the country’s ancient temples and Ashrams, where devotees come to offer prayers and seek blessings. Here are a few best places to visit in Guwahati.
It is one of the ancient and the most revered Shakti Peethas in India, dedicated to Maa Kamakhya. The temple is visited by millions of devotees during the annual Ambubachi Mela, that celebrates the menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya. The temple also celebrates the power of women giving birth to new life. The best time to visit the temple is during Ambubachi Mela, which is believed to be a very auspicious occasion. During the Mela, the temple remains closed for 3-4 days.
However, visiting the temple premises during these days is regarded sacred among the Hindu followers. The temple has been reconstructed several times between the 8th and 17th century and is one of the oldest temples. The temple is located in Nilachal hill and offers scenic landscapes of the city, the hills, and the river.
Umananda Island Temple
Umananda Island or the Peacock Island is the world’s smallest inhabited river island, located in the middle of Brahmaputra. Ferries and boats are available during the day that take visitors to the island from various ghats. There is a temple in the island, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is regarded as one of the most revered Hindu temples. It was built by Phukan Gharganya Handique in 1694 AD under the direction of Ahom Swargadeo (Ahom King) Gadadhar Singha.
The island is also inhabited by golden langurs and peacocks. Visitors can also see various rock-cut sculptures of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Surya, which shows the brilliant craftsmanship of the Assamese people. According to Kalika Purana, when Kamdeva interrupted Lord Shiva during meditation, Lord Shiva became angry and turned him into ashes. It is at this place, where Kamdeva was burned to ashes and hence the hill where the temple is located is called Bhasmachaa.
Basistha Temple, located in sage Basitha Muni’s Ashram is one of the sacred places. The temple is surrounded by tranquility and offers scenic landscapes of the surrounding hill and the stream that flows through the ashram. The history of the Ashram dates back to the Vedic age, when it was founded by Hindu sage Vashitha Muni. However, the octagonal brick Shiva temple was built in 1764 by Ahom Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha.
There is a cave in the Ashram, where the sage used to meditate. There is a beautiful waterfall near the Ashram, which originates from the hills of Meghalaya. The Garbhanga Reserve Forest is also located nearby, which is known for its elephant and butterfly population.
Doul Govinda Temple
Nestled on the foothills of Chandrabati hills, Doul Govinda temple is another sacred temple in Guwahati. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, and is visited by devotees for its religious significance and scenic beauty. The temple celebrates all the festivals associated with Lord Krishna and holi being the prominent one, hundreds of devotees come here to celebrate the festival of color annually.
The temple is located on the northern banks of Brahmaputra, and if you are visiting from South Guwahati, then several steamers and ferries are available from Fancy Bazaar ferry Ghat. While you sail through the waters, you may spot some river dolphins too. There is also a Namghar in the temple premises.
Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple
The Tirupati Sri Balaji temple is one of the religious places to visit in Guwahati. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. It is perhaps the only Hindu temple in the city, which is known for its South Indian architecture. It encompasses a large area. There is a temple at the entrance dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Balaji, and the idol of the deity weighs 4 tonnes.
This pure-white structure attracts devotees from all over. The walls are carved with the structure of Hindu deities. It also has temples of Goddess Padmavati and Garuda, the Vahana of Lord Balaji. The temple is considered as the replica of the original Tirupati Balaji temple of Tirumala.
Museums & Planetarium
Assam State Museum
If you are a history buff, Guwahati’s Assam State Museum is the right place to visit. Located just opposite Dighalipukhuri, the museum boasts a massive collection that offers an insight into the state’s rich history, culture, and heritage. The museum was established by Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti in 1940 and is one of the biggest multipurpose museums in the country.
From epigraphy, sculptures, folk arts, crafts, to natural history, everything here on display tells the state’s ancient roots and its religious and cultural evolution. The sculptures found here are generally made of stone, wood, metal, and terracotta. You will also find ancient scripts, and hand written books. The ivory paintings, bamboo items, coins, local musical instruments, and royal garments are other highlights of the museum.
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra
Popularly known as Kalakshetra, Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra is a non-profit cultural institution, which preserves the works of Assam’s renowned poet and playwright Mahapurush Srimanta Shankardev. Apart from the museum, it also has a library, an auditorium, and a children’s playground. A large number of cultural objects of Assam, including masks, folk musical instruments, traditional attires of different tribes, fishing tools, etc. are displayed in the museum.
If you are visiting Kalakshetra, make sure there is a cultural program here on the day of your visit. This c-shaped auditorium is used for cultural programs of the state. There is also a replica of Sivsagar’s historic Rangghar. There is also a pond, where you will find a large number of fish of different species, waiting for you to feed them.
The Regional Science Center in Khanapara was established in 1994. The museum is maintained by the Government of India’s National Council of Science Museum. It houses rare science equipment, instruments, machinery, and demo experiment setups. Apart from the permanent galleries that showcase various exhibits, the museum also has a mock prehistoric park, a 3D Animation center, an aquarium, an auditorium, and a dynamic science park.
If you are interested in space, planets, stars, and astronomy, then a visit to Guwahati Planetarium is a must. It was established in 1994 and is the only planetarium in northeast India. Visitors come here to take part in the sky watching sessions that the planetarium conducts regularly. These sessions take you through the history of the evolution of our universe. On special occasions, when a comet passes through the earth or the partial eclipse is shown here through telescopes.
Dighali Pukhuri in the heart of the city is one of the most romantic tourist places in Guwahati. This artificial pond was created by King Bhagadatta, who led the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war during the Mahabharata period. Later, the pond was used by the Ahom as the naval dockyard. However, today, it is a recreational area, with a small playground for children on one side and a war memorial on the other. Boating or taking a long walk around the pond are popular activities. Come here in the evening to experience the city’s laid-back vibe, take pictures in front of ‘I Love Guwahati’, see children playing around, and couples having a gala time with each other.
Deepor Beel, a freshwater lake in the southwest of Guwahati, is considered the biggest lake in lower Assam. The lake is surrounded by steep highlands and is home to various species of native and migratory birds. The spotted pelican and Siberian crane are a few rare bird species. The main source of kts water are the Kalmani and Basistha rivers. Tourists as well locals visit the bill to admire its rich ecosystem and to enjoy picnics. About 18 genera of phytoplankton are found here. Talking about history, the lake was used as a naval dockyard for the Tai-Ahom, during their conflict with Mughals,
Chandubi Lake was created after a massive earthquake jolted Assam in 1897, when the forest went down and the lake emerged. Located in the foothills of the Garo Hills and is surrounded by tea gardens, thick forests, and ethnic villages. It is one of the must-visit tourist places in Guwahati, where you can spot migratory birds during winter. It is also a breeding ground for the birds and is home to several aquatic plants and wildlife. While visiting the lake, take a trip to the nearby villages to learn about their culture, tradition, and social life.
There are several ghats and parks by the bank of Brahmaputra from where you can see the breathtaking sunset views. However, the sunset is extra beautiful when you see it from Guwahati’s Belly View. The uphill road leading towards Raj Bhawan in Uzanbazar, offers the most scenic landscapes of the Brahmaputra. In the evening the viewpoint gets packed with Guwahatians.
Guwahati, being the largest metropolis in Northeast India, is known for attractions and activities. There are several places to visit in Guwahati, which offer a great insight into the state’s rich history and cultural heritage. From bustling flea markets to big shopping malls, from hundred year old restaurants to vibrant bars and clubs to experience its thumping nightlife, Guwahati’s vibe is something one can only cherish forever.
by Webmaster LFF
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