Guwahati Information

Guwahati is a major city in eastern India, often considered as the gateway to the North-East Region of India, and is the largest city within the region.  Dispur, the capital of Assam is situated within the city.  Guwahati is one of the most rapidly growing cities in India. It is a major commercial and educational centre of eastern India, and is a home to world class institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.  The city is also a major centre for cultural activities and sports in the Northeastern Region and for the administrative and political activities in Assam.

Location

The city is between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River and the foothills of the Shillong plateau.  It is surrounded by hills, except where the Bharalu discharges into the Brahmaputra.  To its west the Nilachal hill, and is said to be the home of the Goddess Kamakhya.  To the north, on top of Chitrachal Hill, is the Navagraha (nine planets) temple, a unique astrological temple.  To the south of the city lie the Naraksur hills, named after a legendary king of ancient Assam.  It lies between 26°N Latitude and 91°E Longitude.

Climate

The climate of Guwahati is sub-tropical and gets very humid.  Rainfall is very heavy and the temperature remains quite pleasant throughout the year. The average highest temperature during the months of summer is around 30°C and in winters, the temperature drops to about 10°C.  The best time to visit Guwahati is during the months of November to April.

History

The city was identified as 'Pagjyotispura' meaning the 'Light of the East'.  The present name, Guwahati is apparently derived from two Assamese words: Guwa (betel nut) and hat (market place).  The history of Guwahati dates back to the epic times.  The city is mentioned in the epic 'Mahabharata' as the capital of the demon king Narakasura of 'Pragijotispura'.  It is also the ancient land of Kamarupa, the land where the Hindu God of beauty, fertility and source of life was reborn.  It was situated midway between two powerful kingdoms: the Ahom and the Koch kingdoms.  Later, when the Koch regions were overrun by the Mughals, Guwahati became the seat of a forward Mughal commander.  Neither the Mughals nor the Koch could maintain power at Gowahati.  However, it became better known as the seat of the Borphukan, the civil and military authority of the region appointed by the Ahom king.

Guwahati Tourism Information

Basistha (11km)

The beautiful picnic site has water fall and two red domed temples of sage Vashistha.

Hajo (32km)

The pilgrim centre on the north bank of the Brahmaputra is holy for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.  It was also an important centre of Assamese culture and learning.  The temple of Hayagriba Madhab is said to enshrine a relic of Lord Buddha.  The famous Pao Mecca mosque located nearby was built by Pir Giasuddin Aulia.

Sualkuchi (32km)

It is located near Hajo and is known for the production of famous Muga, the golden silk of Assam.  Sualkuchi is perhaps one of the largest weaving villages in the world.

Madan Kamdev (34km)

The relics of tantric temple of Goddess Shakti, built during 11th and 12th centuries are also called as the ‘Khajuraho of Kamrup”.

Manas National Park (176km)

The scenic park on the banks of Manas River, teems with a rich variety of wildlife and is theonly project Tiger Reserve in Assam. It also features on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.  Key fauna – tiger, one-horned rhino, hispid hare, gaurs, pygmy hogs and rare golden langurs.  A large number of migratory birds flock to Manas during the winters.  Best Season  (November to April).

Assam Tea

The tea plant was discovered in the wild in 1821, by Robert Bruce and the first tea plantation was set up in 1834, near Dibrugarh.  Today, Assam is world renowned for tea and has over 850 tea estates, which produce around 55% of India’s tea and 12% of the world’s tea.
Guwahati, the ‘Tea City’ is famous for the world’s largest CTC Tea Auction Centre.  A visit to the State is rendered incomplete without a visit to the tea gardens and enjoying the celebration of Assam/s Tea Festival, from 26th to 28thDecember.

Bihu

Bihu, the harvest festival is the most important event of Assam.  Three Bihu festival mark different agricultural seasons.  The Tangoli Bihu (mid April) or the Bohag is the most important Bihu, which is a farewell to the old year and welcomes the New Year.  The Magh Bihu (January), celebrates the new rice harvest.  The Kaati Bihu is observed to mark the cutting and binding of grains.  The Bihu is also the most popular folk dance form of Assam.  The Bihu songs eulogise the beauty and love for the Mother Nature.

Kamakhya temple

The greatest attraction of Guwahati is the Kamakhya Temple, on the Nilachal Hill, where Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped.  The temple commands a fabulous view of the city and the mighty Bramaputra.  The ponds here are the home of some giant turtles.

Umananda Temple

It is a temple of Lord Shiva, in the midst of river Brahmaputra, on the island of Umananda.  It can be reached by crossing the river via boats plying from Kachari Ghat.  The place resembles a beehive during Shivaratri when pilgrims from all over flock to the island packed in boats.

Janardhan Temple

The temple is situated on the hillock Suklesva in the heart of the city.  The temple consecrated in the 10th century was rebuilt in the 17th century.  Located near Suklesvar Ghat of the Brahmaputra River, the temple has an image of the Lord Buddha, which is a unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Nabagraha Temple

Nambagraha means nine planets.  It is thus a temple of nine planets, and is believed to be the ancient seat of the study of astronomy.  It is one of the most important temples of Guwahati.

Assam Forest Museum

This museum is situated at South Kamrup Division, Gowahati.  It has collections of timber, cane and ivory work, tusks and horns and models of buildings and bridges.

Festivals

Bohag Bihu or Rangali Bihu

The most important and colorful festival of Guwahati is he Spring festival or Bohag Bihu or Rangali Bihu celebrated in the middle or April.  This also initiates the agricultural season.  The merriments include dances accompanied on the beats of Dhol and Pepa.  Songs sung in this Bihu are woven around themes of love.  People adorn traditional attires.  Bihu dances performed by young boys and girls characterized by brisk stepping, flinging and flipping of hands represent youthful passion, and 'Joie-de-vivre'.