A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East India

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East India

Guwahati is the largest city in Assam and North-Eastern India. It is one of the fast-growing cities situated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and considered to be the gateway to North-East India. You can cover the city in just a day and is one of the popular weekend getaways for the population in neighboring states.  Here is a detailed itinerary of how you can spend a day in Guwahati.  

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaBells in the Kamakhya Temple

A Day in Guwahati: An Introduction

Best time to Visit

 October – March, one can visit in April as well but the temperatures are on the higher side.

Climate

 Subtropical humid climate with an average temperature ranging between 19° C and 28° C

Getting there (By Road)

National Highway 31 connects Guwahati to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. National Highway 37 connects Guwahati with almost all the major cities of Assam.

Getting there (By Flight)

Direct Flights from Kolkata, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bagdogra, Agartala, and Imphal

Getting there (By Train)

Well connected to all the major cities in India by train

Places to Visit

 Kamakhya Temple, Assam State Museum, Umananda Devaloi, Brahmaputra Sunset River Cruise

Just as you leave the airport and move towards the city, you will see a statue of the famous singer and Padmabhushan awardee Bhupen Hazarika. A basic characteristic of the ethnic music of Assam is its descending scale which distinguishes it from the raga-based or folk music from the rest of India.  

A Day in Guwahati: Places to Visit

Kamakhya Temple

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaThe exterior of the Kamakhya Temple

Kamakhya Temple, located at a distance of 18 km from the Guwahati airport, is the ancient Shakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya in Nilachal hill Made by Ahoms (an important seat of Tantric and Vajrayana Buddhism). The temple consists of four chambers: garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called calanta, pancharatna, and natamandira aligned from east to west. Symbolic to this temple is a very special form of Sindoor, available here, made from rock and called Kamakhya Sindoor, which is believed to be a blessing bestowed by Kamakhya Devi herself, to the wearer.

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaA carved statue of the Goddess Kamakhya in the temple premises
A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaA day in Guwahati – Intricate carvings on the outer walls of the temple

Note: You can visit this temple early in the morning to avoid long queues. Also, the sun sets around 5-5:30 pm in the evening, so better to start early. You will have to climb a fleet of steps to reach the Kamakhya temple which is flanked by small shops that sell Pooja items and Prasad.

Assam State Museum

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaAssam State Museum
A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaSculptures in Assam State Museum Image Source: www.trawell.in/assam/guwahati/assam-state-museum

After taking the blessings of Goddess Kamakhya, you can visit the Assam State Museum which is at a 9 km distance. It was established by the Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti (Assam Research Society) in 1940. You can witness a wide range of exhibits displayed viz., Epigraphy, Sculptures, Miscellaneous, Natural History, Crafts, Anthropology & Folk Art & Arms section. The sculptures from the Assam region fall into four principal categories – stone, wood, metal, and terracotta. The collections which are on display here, are very rare.

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaAssam State Museum – Traditional Assamese Musical Instruments
A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaEarthen Mask – Assam State Museum Image Source: www.abhijna-emuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/DSCN3974.jpg
 
Timings: Summers: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Winters: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
(Closed on Mondays, 2nd, and 4th Saturday and Government Holidays)
Entry Fee: Rs. 20/- for Adults, Rs. 10/- for Students, Children below 10 years – free, Rs. 100/- for Foreigners

Umananda Devaloi

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaPeacock Island – Guwahati
A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaUmananda Temple – Guwahati Image Source: www.holidify.com/images/cmsuploads/compressed/Umananda-Temple_20171116223627.png

Next, you can visit the Umananda Devaloi, a Shiva temple located at the Peacock Island in the middle of the river Brahmaputra just opposite the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup or the Kachari Ghat in Guwahati. It is about 1.3 km from the Assam State Museum. This is the smallest inhabited river island in the world. Country boats or ferries are available at the banks of the Brahmaputra river that will take you to the island. The round trip takes about 2.5 – 3 hours from the river bank. You need to climb up a few steps to reach the main temple.

Timings: 5:30 AM – 6:00 PM Government Ferry charges: Rs. 20/- per head to and from

Brahmaputra Sunset River Cruise

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaBeautiful Sunset from the River Cruise

Once you return back from the Umananda Temple, enjoy a peaceful Brahmaputra Sunset River Cruise. Grab a ticket and head to the upper deck which will give you a breathtaking view of the sunset. The cruise gives you a mesmerizing and relaxing experience when it takes you around in the Brahmaputra. The live music on the deck coupled with the cool breeze blowing across gives you a great time with your family and friends.

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaNamami Brahmaputra River Festival 2017
A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaView of the riverfront from the deck

When I visited Guwahati in April 2017, it was hosting the Namami Brahmaputra festival which celebrated the beauty of the Brahmaputra river. The five-day program hosted activities to showcase Assam’s art, heritage, and culture.

Timings: 5 PM and 7 PM

Ticket Cost: Alfresco Grand runs the cruise service and charges about Rs. 350 /- per head. Extra charges for food on the deck.

Duration: 1 hour

Purva Tirupati Balaji Temple

A Day in Guwahati – Gateway to North-East IndiaPurva Balaji Temple – Guwahati

In the end, if time permits, do visit the Balaji Temple which is a replica of the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple in Southern India. It is also known as the Purva Tirupati Balaji Temple as it is located in Eastern India. It is located at a distance of 10 km from the city center and on your way to Guwahati Airport.

Guwahati is also known as the “city of temples” due to the existence of many ancient temples here, a few of which we already saw. Shopaholics will also find this city a hub for shopping both contemporary and traditional items especially the “pat silk” and “muga silk”, traditional Assamese jewelry, etc.

Everything about this city makes it a most sought-after place and is becoming a must-visit for tourists in India and abroad.

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