Guwahati, also Gauhati, is the largest city in the state of Assam, Northeast India. Dispur, the state's capital, is in the circuit city region. Today, Guwahati is one of the fastest growing cities of India and is the second-largest metropolis in eastern India after Kolkata.
Excavations trace the origins of the city to around the 4th century and it was the capital of Assam until the 10th century. Currently, the rapidly-growing metropolis has a population of more than 1.8 million and encompasses an area of over 360 km2, making it the largest city in the state and the region. It is the main center for shopping, retail and business; attracting people from all over the north east as well as from Eastern Bhutan. The slow, meandering Brahmaputra River is a focal point of the downtown while the lush hills of the Shillong Plateau provide a verdant backdrop for the suburbs. The pleasant environment, however, is somewhat tempered by the inadequate investment in the region, which is apparent from the low quality of roads. Still, despite the average infrastructure, private investors have been drawn to the city in recent years and there has been something of a boom in the construction of shopping malls and high quality condominiums, which has helped raise the economic profile of the city. The end of decades-long insurgency in Assam has also helped in the economic boom of Guwahati.
Guwahati's climate is subtropical. Summers last here from April to May, monsoons from June to September and winters from October to March. Temperatures here approximately range between 19°C and 26°C. 161.3 cm is the average yearly precipitation level here. Humidity is more than 80/90% often.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (IATA: GAU) is also known as (Guwāhāti International Airport) and was formerly known as (Borjhar Airport).
Guwahati airport is a major hub for flights to North-East India and limited international destinations.
The hill resort cities of Shillong and Tura are connected by regular scheduled helicopter services run by Pawan Hans. Shillong (30 min), Tura (50 min), Naharlagun (Itanagar), Tawang (75 min).
|Air India||Bagdogra, Delhi, Imphal, Kolkata|
|Air India Regional||Agartala, Aizawl, Delhi, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal, Jorhat, Kolkata, Lilabari, Silchar, Tezpur|
|Druk Air||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Paro|
|GoAir||Bagdogra, Bangalore, Delhi|
|IndiGo||Chennai, Delhi, Imphal, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai|
|JetLite||Agartala, Bangalore, Delhi, Dibrugarh, Goa, Imphal, Jorhat, Kolkata, Mumbai|
|Pawan Hans||Itanagar, Naharlagun, Shillong, Tawang, Tura|
|SpiceJet||Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai|
Guwahati is connected by train with major cities like Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram,Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Mumbai. Reservation office is 30m north of the station, and at #3 window you can book a foreign tourist quota on trains originating from Northeast Frontier railways network.
Luxurious vessels with A/C upper deck connect Guwahati to Dibrugarh, passing through Kaziranga & Tezpur.
Bus is the cheapest way of travelling around the city. Guwahati is well connected to most of its city area with local service buses, with air conditioned bus service having recently begun between the airport and the city.
Compared to other cities in India, autos charge a hefty price for the ride. There is no meter system used by the autos, the auto driver will simply refuse to drive you if you insist on the meter - the best you can do is negotiate in advance ( check with a local on what it should cost you). Small distance charges are high.
If you can not go on the river cruise, at least cross the river on the ferry. Ferries provide transport to the local people - they leave the jetty at Fancy bazar every half an hour and the round trip will take around 45 minutes. Tickets are ₹10, 1 way. It is a simple way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Brahmaputra river.
- Basistha Ashram (Pancha Kanya Ashram). A place of pilgrimage and a picnic spot near the Sandhychal hills south of Dispur, the seat of the State government lies at the confluence of the three streams Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta, names of the wives of legendary sage Vasistha who had set up this Ashram. It is near the Balaji temple which is near the ISBT-inter state bus terminus.
- Digholi Pukhuri. Dighalipukhuri derived its name from the word 'dighal' which means long. The lake is believed to be dug by Bhagadutta, the king of Pragjyotishpura. It is also mentioned in the Mahabharata,the great Indian epic. Dighalipukhuri is a prominent tourist attraction in the heart of Guwahati with boating facilities and recreational activities. It is an old rectangular lake of half a mile long originally engraved out from the Brahmaputra. Later, it was separated from the river when a portion was filled up. There are some nearby restaurants where one can have lunch or dinner.
- Indian Institute of Technology. It is around 20 km from the heart of the city and around 35 min. drive from the airport.
- Janardana Temple.
- Kamakhya Temple. Atop the Neelachal hill, the highest spot in the city draws pilgrims from all over India especially during the Ambubachi festival. A high seat of the shakti sect, one of the 54 Shakti Peethas of the Tantric cult, it is associated with the legend of the mother goddess who slayed the legendary demon king Narakasur who ruled ancient Assam. The Goddess Kamakhya is made of eight metal alloys, and seated on a throne with five jewels. To reach her statue pilgrims have to go down a dimly lit flight of steps. Further within the cave shrine is the well and yoni mandala clearly indicating worship began with the spring and cave long before the temple was built. Goddess is also worshiped in the aspects of Durga, Kali, Tara, Kamala, Uma, Chamunda, and Shakti. The temple dates to the 17th century and follows the Assamese style in its design.
- (Navagraha Mandir), Chitrasal Hill.. An 18th century temple dedicated to nine Celestial bodies is atop the second highest hill in Guwahati.
- Pandu Port. A river port on the south bank of Brahmaputra in West Guwahati was the entrepot to Guwaahati before construction of the Saraighat bridge in the early 1960s.
- Ugro Tara Temple, Lotaxil. A temple dedicated to the deity Tara. The goddess in the sanctum sanctorum is not an idol but a pit of water.
- Uma Nanda Temple. A 17th century temple on a river island of the same name is dedicated to Shiva. It was built by Ahom king Gadapani on this picturesque Brahmaputra isle, also called Peacock island. You can hop into a shared ferry/motorboat for ₹10 and return on the same or another boat free of charge, or reserve the entire boat for yourself. All shuttle boats leave from the KachariGhat between the Deputy Commisioner's office and the lower courts. The island is also a sanctuary for an endangered population of Golden Langurs which you can see from very close quarters. They have thrived successfully on this uninhabited island chosen for their translocation from their last refuge in the Manas National Park. The island also has a Ganesh temple and is small enough to be explored on foot.
- Accoland. Airport Rd. Amusement park.
- Ethnic handicrafts, of the north east and Assam are available in many shops in the city.
- Handlooms & Handicrafts, The Assam Silk & Golden SIlk "Muga" is world famous. You will be fascinated to see the designs and colours of the etnic dress called "Mekhela - Chadar".
- Hidesign, Digholi Pukhuri East (Near High Court), ☎ +91 92 0704 7683. One of the largest stand alone leather goods stores in India with a wide range bags and accessories for men, women and travel.
- Malls. The city boasts several shopping malls. These are the major ones: The Hub Mall, Bhangagarh; Dona Planet, G.S. Rd; Vishal MegaMart; The Cube Mall and Sohum Shoppe; Big Bazaar, Bazaar Kolkata, Pantaloons and others in Fort Mall at Kachari Basti, G.S.Rd
- Tea Bags, of the north east and Assam are available in many shops in the city. Assams Green tea is world famous.
If you have just exited the airport or have to wait sometime before boarding your flight, then you can head to the Airport Restaurant right opposite to the domestic terminal for some reasonably priced food.
There are many good dhabas on the main roads, highways and at the outskirts of the city.
- City Dhaba, Bora Service, Ulubari.
- Dispur Dhaba, Ganeshguri.
- Get Tagged, Zoo Road, ☎ +91 9401057578.
- Hotel Shyama, AK Azad Road, Rehabari.
- JBs, G S Rd, Christian Basti. Good bakery with sweets.
- JBs, M G Rd, Riverside.
- Momo Ghar, Bharalumukh, ☎ +91 9435019810. Chinese
- Shaikh Brothers, Shaikh Building, 195 Hem Baruah Road,Panbazar (opp. United Bank), ☎ +91 36 1273 6615. Century old bakery. Well known throughout entire North East India for its delicious pastries, cakes, bread and cookies. Established by Golam Ibrahim in 1885, Shaikh Brothers is the oldest and largest bakery shop in North East India. Presently managed by its fourth generation partners namely Shaikh Sakhawat Hossain, Shaikh Azizul Hossain, Shaikh Khoda Nawaz and others. It is renowned for its tasty Birthday and Christmas cakes. In the year 2015 it has completed it's 130 years of service. It is locally known as "The Heritage Bakery Of Assam".
- Bon Jaluk, Ganeshguri, ☎ +91 8254063369. Famous Assamese thalis
- Gam's Delicacy Restaurant, Ganeshguri, ☎ +91 361 2233402. Famous for ethnic Assamese cuisine
- Gopal Maharaj, Kamrup Chamber Rd, Fancy Bazar, ☎ +91 9864351111.
- Heritage Khorikaa, Silpukhuri, Chandmari, ☎ +91 9706034838. Famous for delicious ethnic Assamese cuisine
- Khorikaa, Bora Service, Ulubari, ☎ +91 9864982948. Assamese restaurant with delicious thalis
- Maach, Christian Basti., ☎ +91 9854061725. Famous for various fishes.
- Makhan Bhog, Ulubari.
- Mast Biryani, Zoo Road. Biryani restaurant
- Nashraj Restaurant, S.S. Rd, Fancy Bazaar (inside Hotel Nova), ☎ +91 361-251-9465. This restaurant is popular with locals and foreigners, and serves tasty Indian, Chinese and selected Continental cuisine.
- Barbeque Nation, Ulubari, ☎ +91 9864109282.
- Mocha, Christian basti (near the fly over), ☎ +91 8486000401. Italian restaurant
- Tandoor @ Hotel Dynasty, SS Road, Fancy Bazar, ☎ +91 361 7120055.
Guwahati is said to have the highest number of wine shops.
- Cafe Copa, GS Rd.
- Club Ozone, GS Rd.
- Ivory, Ulubari flyover (below Hotel Amrit Regency). Bar/pub.
- The Lounge Bar, Christian Basti.
- Mazbaan, Ganeshguri. Bar, disco, DJ Ronnie
- Q'Ba, Ulubari. Disco
- Silver Streak, Hotel Bramhaputra Ashok.
- Terra Mayaa, Anil Plaza-2.
- Topaz, Ulubari.
- Urban Mantra, Sixmile.
- XS, GS Rd.
There are many budget hotels around the station but only a few are licensed to accommodate foreigners.
- Brahmputra, Panjbari, Sixmile (Near Kalakshetra). Small family hotel. Clean rooms, simple food, nothing fancy but economical.
- Hotel Biswanath, M.E. Road, Paltan Bazar (south of the station), ☎ +91 361 2633597. Not a great value, but one of a few budget hotels licensed to take foreigners. ₹500 single.
- Hotel Brindavan, Paltan Bazar, M E Rd (3 min walking distance from Rly Station), ☎ +91 361 291 2222. Check-out: 12 noon. ₹400/- to ₹3,500/-.
- Hotel Suradevi, M.L.N Rd (Pan Bazaar), ☎ +91 361 254 5050. Slightly out of the action, but a decent budget choice with a restaurant. ₹400 single w/private bath.
- Hotel Nova, S.S. Rd (Fancy Bazaar), ☎ +91 361 251 9465. A decent mid-range choice, it is centrally located, reasonably clean and friendly, and has a good restaurant on site. Hot running water, TV with satellite connection, same-day laundry available. ₹750-₹1,500, A/C rooms ₹1,350-₹1,850.
- Hotel Rialto (nearby Pan Bazer). ₹1,000-₹1,800.
- Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, M.G.Road, ☎ +91 361 2602281, fax: +91 361 2602289, e-mail: email@example.com. It is a luxury hotel situated near the bank of mighty Brahmaputra river having all the modern facilities. Rooms ₹4499-₹6999, Suites ₹12,000-₹15,000.
- Hotel Dynasty, S.S. Rd (Lakhtokia), ☎ +91 361 251 6021, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Centrally located, warm and comfortable, and the staff are friendly. Tandoor is one of the two in-house restaurants, and a good place to splurge on food in the city, with live music in the evenings. Rooms ₹3400-₹5000, Suites ₹8000-₹15,000.
- Hotel Nakshatra, Beltola, ☎ +91 361 2222666, fax: +91 361 2229720, e-mail: email@example.com. Luxurious hotel with comfort and modern facilities. Rooms ₹3000-₹4600, Suites ₹7000-₹12,000.
- Radisson Blu Hotel, National Highway 37, Gotanagar, ☎ +91 361 7100100, fax: +91 361 7100101, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Situated in an excellent location on NH37 just 12 kilometers from the railway station and 15 kilometers from Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
Shillong is an old hill station established by British and stepping point to Cherrapunji and further south. Meghalaya state transport provides several buses departing in the morning and also regular shared 7 passenger jeep service for ₹170 (more comfortable than usual 10 pax Sumo) from the bus terminal south of the train station.
- Balaji Temple - Balaji temple is on the National Highway By-pass easily reached by taking the National Highway from the city head towards Maligaon/Adabari and beyond till you reach the Jalukbari junction. It takes about 20 min from the junction to the temple. It is supposed to be a replica of the temple in Tirupati - the temple provides a nice place for solitary meditation, being in a peaceful setting.
- Deepor Beel - A wetland and a very picturesque picnic spot. A bird-watchers paradise, especially in winter when the migratory birds come down. Access is from the National Highway, Gorchuk Ali.
- Hajo - Hajo is an interesting place to visit near Guwahati. The place has religious significance for Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. It takes about an hour and half from the city center to reach Hajo by own transport (buses are there from Adabari bus stand). Interesting places to visit are the Hayagrib Madhab temple and Pua Mecca. While at the temple, make sure to go down to the temple pond to see the resident turtle.
- Kamakhya Temple - A world famous Hindu Temple and Pilgrimage. Attracts visitors and devotees from all across the world and Country. A 25-30 minutes drive from the heart of the City.
- Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - Wildlife reserve about 50 km from Guwahati. Sort of a miniature Kaziranga, home to one-horned rhinos, buffalo, and other animals, which you can see from a jeep. Elephant rides are also available at certain times of day.
- Resorts on Sonapur Road - The Sonapur Road (Guwahati-Nagaon Road, NH 37) has many dhabas that are within 10-15 km of the city outskirts (Khanapara). These resorts provide a good weekend break. Brahmaputra resort,Disang Dhaba in Tepesia are good for family outings.