Guwahati - A Tete a Tete with the City :
Originally Known As : Pragijyotishpura
Location : Northeastern India, Assam
Best Time to Visit : All through the year
Souvenirs : Assam handicrafts, handlooms, silk shawls, jackets, woolen garments
Guwahati - The Tale of the City :
Earlier known as the Light of the East or “Pragiyothishpura, Guwahati is a place amidst the hills and terrains of Assam. The locals also call this place Gauhati. The River Brahmaputra is the main feature of Guwahati and the sandy water is so large that the shores of the Brahmaputra are most often not visible. The history of Guwahati goes back to many years back where it is mentioned in the Indian epics and the mythological tales. Considered amongst the most ancient of Indian cities, Guwahati was the main city of the mythological rulers Bhagadatta and Narakasura. The Kamakhya Goddess is the main presiding deity here since then. Besides there are many archaeological proofs which endorse that Guwahati existed since then. The Kamakhya temple belongs to the 6th century. Guwahati was also known as Durjoya for some time. Under the rule of Bhaskaravarma, the city increased in area and was the main place for the navy. The eleventh and the twelfth centuries saw Assam as the capital with the Palas as the main rulers. Many excavations carried out at Ambari show that the city was a great economic centre from the 9th to the 11th century AD. Between the 12th century till the 15th century, Assam saw the Kamata kingdom being destroyed and the Koch Kingdom attacked by the Mughals. Guwahati was a main centre during this time. The Ahom kings appointed the city as the military headquarters of the entire lower region of the state of Assam. In 1671, the Saraighat Battle saw Assam defeating the Mughals.
Guwahati - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Guwahati, the ancient Assam capital city, saw a lot of changes and developments which led to the city being a very progressive and successful one. In the year 1979, the Assam agitation began by the year 1985, the Assam Accor was signed and this agitation ended. With tea as its mainstay, Guwahati today is the auction centre for Assam Tea. Guwahati is the centre of growth with oil refineries and with a very flourishing market place. Guwahati, the prosperous city is a beautiful place today with lovely hills and coconut trees surrounding the region. The entire place is like a paradise of contrasts with its busy market on one hand and a lovely rural area on the other.
Guwahati - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with the city of Guwahati is interesting when we see the River Brahmaputra dividing the city into two parts. The Saraighat Bridge connects the two and ferries carry you from one side to the other. Guwahati has a north town and a south town. The main city of Guwahati lies in the south town while a separate Guwahati has its existence in the north. There is a huge trunk road which connects Guwahati to Shillong and Meghalaya.
Guwahati - Travel Kitty :
Guwahati, the commercial hub of North east India has the best kind of marketplace called “bazaars” and these give a variety of Assamese handicrafts and memoirs. When one comes to this place, the travel kitty includes not only this, but also the idyllic ambience around. Assam Government has its own department stores to sell these handlooms and handicraft to the tourists. Besides Guwahati is also famous for its gift articles like mugs, cane handicraft, shawls made of wool and the famous jackets worn by the people in Manipur and Nagaland. Thus the traveler goes back happy and with a treasure chest of travel kitty.
Guwahati - Joie de Vivre in the City :
The joie de vivre in Guwahati is the surrounding, the ambience and the vibration that one feels when one enters this place. With its historical past and magnificent environment, Guwahati certainly provides the tourist with the best that could be expected. One who comes to this place gets to see the following:
The Assam Museum :
This museum belongs to the Government of Assam and has a good collection of archaeology and a variety of ethnographic artifacts. There are inscriptions made of stone and copper and these belong to the 5th century. A sculpture from the 12th century which exhibits the Surya pieces of terracotta is an eye catcher for the tourist.
The Temple of Umananda :
This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on a small island in the centre of the River Brahmaputra. The beautiful surrounding with water on all sides and the steps leading from the beach to the temple is all a sight to remember. The Umananda Ghat has ferry services which cater to the tourists. There are motor launches too which transport the people to this temple.
Kamakya Temple :
Dating centuries back, this temple atop the hill of Nilachal, is right in front of the River Brahmaputra and lies around 8 km from the city of Guwahati. The presiding deity here is Goddess Kali. The unique kind of Assamese construction here is evident when you can see the Shikhara in the shape of beehive. Added to this, this temple is revered as the Shaktipith. It is here that Goddess Parvati or Sati’s yoni or vulva fell when Lord Shiva was carrying her dead body all over. This is a temple of tantric faith. One gets a good panoramic view of the entire city of Guwahati and the graceful and elegant Brahmaputra.
Navagraha Temple :
The ambience here in the temple of the nine planets lies to the east of Guwahati. This temple is popular because of the presence of monkeys here. The dome of this temple is also bee hive shaped and the unique feature is the lingam which has nine more lingas surrounding this. These nine lingas represent the nine planets of the universe.
SRimanta Sankaradeva Kalashetra :
This lies on the Shillong road. This is a tourist place which started in the year 1998, to commemorate the Assamese Culture. This is a centre promoting music, art, drama and dance. Sankaradeva a famous scholar was also a poet and reformed many social situations. He preached good values and was famous in the 15th century to start the renaissance of Assam. There is an art gallery here and also a museum, a temple for the Vaishnavas and an open air theatre.
Janardan Temple :
As the name suggests this temple is dedicated to Lord Janardana. It has the best kind of Buddhist and Hindu constructions. Top the Shukaleshwar hill this lies near the Ghat of Shukaleshwar. It lies in the centre of Guwahati and is a place worth visiting. In the 17th century, the temple was reconstructed and improved.
Madan Kamdev Temple :
This lies around 40km from the city of Guwahati. It is said to be a temple for tantric beliefs. The presiding deity here is Goddess Durga. The temple goes back to the 12th century when the Pallavas ruled the place. The scriptures here are known by the name of Yogini Tanta. They are all nonexistent now and the cause for their destruction is still not known. The area has not been vastly excavated, but there is a museum which has the best idols and figures in various erotic positions. Archaeological findings link this sculpture to the sculptures at Khajuraho.
The Mumai Kota Gor is an embankment, which has been built commemorating the killing of Lachit’s uncle. It lies in the outer boundaries of Guwahati. This is an endorsement of the way the Ahoms were hardworking, and the attitude they had towards war.
Dighali Pukhuri Lake :
This is a rectangular water body and is linked to the River Brahmaputra. This was a yard for boats of ancient age. It is believed that the Ahoms ruled here in the medieval era. There is a site of excavation here near to this lake. This is the Ambari site.
Zoos, Parks :
Assam Zoo :
Guwahati has the best variety of flora and fauna. The one horned rhino, the beauty of Assam is found here and it has been adopted as the symbol of the state of Assam. Besides here there are leopards and tigers too.
Botanical Gardens :
This is found around 5km from the city of Guwahati. It is a lovely area with the best variety of plants.
Named after Pandu, the king in the mythological Indian epic Mahabharata, this town has the Pandunath temple on a hill. It is believed that while in exile, the Pandavas lived here disguised as GAnesha. Therefore one can see the idols of the Pandavas and Ganesha here. The incarnation of the Indian God Vishnu, Narsimha is also depicted in idol form here. The main feature in this town is the sunset view on the banks of the River Brahmaputra.
this town has a beautiful waterfall. Lying around 11km from Guwahati, this town has two lovely temples constructed in Assamese construction style. The beehived dome is a regular feature in most of the Assamese temples. It has been built in memory of Sage Vasistha who wrote the Indian epic Ramayana. The verdant beauty here is the lovely grove expanse here and the ambience is electric. Added to this, this town has the best kind of carvings of rock and these are found in the scene. All this makes this place very exciting, and intriguing.
This lies in the northwest of the city of Guwahati and is 32km drive. Assamese regard this town with great reverence as they believe this is a very sacred place. This existed even before the Ahom came to this place. The Ahoms who were originally Buddhists converted to Hinduism but this place is revered by all faiths alike – Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. With a beautiful vibration and a harmonious ambience, there is a staircase that leads to a Hindu temple. This staircase enthralls the tourist due to its beautiful border of palm trees along the stairs. The Hindu temple Hayagriba Madhab is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha got Nirvana. The Pao Mecca mosque is believed to give a quarter or pao of the spirituality existent in Mecca.
This is a small lovely village near Hajo. The golden silk Muga so famous in Assam is produced here. Most of the households here have the silk production as their main occupation here.
A rendezvous with Tezpur, the historical city, reveals a lot of greenery, embankments, military areas and the River Brahmaputra beautifying the city further. It lies around 181 km away from the city of Guwahati. Very pleasant and very idyllic, the surroundings in Tezpur keep a tourist enthralled till he sees the lovely valleys around. The lakes dotting the area with the hills from Arunachal Pradesh forming the background, the city of Tezpur exudes the ultimate kind of ambience for a tourist. The majestic Himalayas which occupy the background too add beauty to the vast expanse of tea estates which are so common in the State of Assam. Archaeologists have found Tezpur a haven due to the ruins of so many tales of ancient Tezpur. A tourist certainly goes back happy and satisfied and longs for more.
Thus Guwahati, the one horned rhino wonder city has all the features for enthralling a tourist. With its magnificent surroundings and serene ambience, the city offers the best to a nature lover, adventure lover and a tourist looking for a different experience
As a person leaves this city, one thinks “Silken is this wonder, lovely is this place.“