Guwahati: Situated on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Kamrup District of Assam, Guwahati is a fast growing premier city. It is the gate way to the North Eastern States of India and a principal center of socio cultural, political, industrial and trade and commerce of the entire region. Dispur, the capital of Assam is a part of Guwahati. Earlier, this city was full of areca nut trees rappled by pan creepers. Hence this city subsequently got the name Guwahati. The word ‘Guwa’ in Assamese means areca nut and Hat means market.
Situated atop the Nilachal Hills, the foremost shrine of Assam, Kamakhya Temple dominates the life of Guwahati, as much as the great Brahmaputra River. Kamakhya is an ancient seat of tantric and shakti cults of Hinduism. A rush of devotees throng the Temple during the Ambubachi Puja (June).
The Shiva temple of Umananda stands on an island in the middle of the River Brahmaputra. Its location, at the top of a steep flight of steps up from the beach on the Bhasmachala hill, is, however, more dramatic than the temple itself. This hill is associated with the legend of Shiva burning Kaama, or the God of lust to ashes.
Srimanta Shankerdeva Kalashetra - a multi-art complex portrays the rich cultural diversity and life of Assam as well as that of the North-east. This art complex has been named after the greatest Vaishnava saint and the integrator of the Assamese society, which is why it is chosen as the venue for many cultural activities. Enjoy the sound and light programme on the history of the region here.
One of the largest Tea Auction Centres of the world is located at Guwahati. For a better marketing of the tea produced in Assam and the entire North Eastern States, a Tea Auction Centre - Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - was established in 1970. This is the world's largest CTC tea auction centre and the world's second largest, in terms of the total tea auctioned.
Situated in the heart of the city, the Assam State Museum is a well laid out complex displaying various aspects of Assam’s culture, history and crafts.
The temple complex of the Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji sprawling on two acres of land is located in Betkuchi, Guwahati. At the entrance of the complex there is a Ganesha Temple. The main temple dedicated to Lord Balaji contain a idol of the deity carved out of a single stone weighing 4 tonnes. Adjacent to the main temple, there are temples dedicated to Goddess Padmavathi (Avatar of Mahalakshmi) and Garuda, the Vahana of Lord Balaji. The Temple of Lord Balaji has a rajagopuram, a maha mandapam, an ardha mandapam, and the sanctum. The gopurams are constructed in South Indian architectural style, its height ranges from 8 feet in the Ganesh Temple to 70 feet in the Rajagopuram.
Ugratara Temple, a prominent centre of Shakti cult stands on the northern bank of Jor l'ukhuri. legend has it that after Vishnu dismembered Satis body her navel fell on the spot where the temple now stands. Ugratara Temple, a prominent centre of Shakti cult stands on the northern bank of Jor l'ukhuri. legend has it that after Vishnu dismembered Satis body her navel fell on the spot where the temple now stands.
The temple was built in 1725 AD by the Ahom king, Swargadeo Siva Singha (1714-1744), who was also instrumental in excavating Jor Pukhuri to facilitate the needs of the devotees at the temple. Like Dighali Pukhuri, it was connected to the Brahmaputra and formed the naval and ship-building base of the Ahom kings.
Navagraha Temple. Located on Chitranchal Hill, northeast of the city centre, the temple, according to scholars, was in the heart of Pragjyotishpura. The temple has a red beehive-shaped dome and enshrines nine lingas representing the nine planets in its inner sanctum.
About a 45-minute drive east from Pan Bazaar, some of it through picturesque country roads, takes one to Basishtha Ashram. Located on the outskirts of the Garbhanga Reserve Forest, this serene temple complex is believed to have been the hermitage of the legendary sage Basishtha. Basishtha was one of the saptarishis or seven great sages of Hindu mythology. In the Ramayana he is said to have tutored Lord Rama and his brothers.
The ashram is nestled like a well-hidden jewel some distance away from the Basishtha Chariali or the main crossing where NH 37 intersects Basishtha Road.
Gauhati War Cemetery was started during the Second World War for burials from the several military hospitals posted in the area. Later, other graves were brought in by the Army Graves Service from Amari Bari Military Cemetery, Sylhet Military Cemetery, Mohachara Cemetery, Nowgong Civil Cemetery and Gauhati Civil Cemetery, where permanent maintenance could not be assured. For the same reason, further graves were brought to the cemetery from isolated sites in the Lushai Hills and from civil cemeteries in Badarpur, Cooch Bahar, Darjeeling, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Dinjan, Katapahar, Lebong, Lumding, Shillong and Silchar, in 1952. There are now 486 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 25 of the burials are unidentified. The cemetery also contains 35 Chinese and Japanese war graves, and two non-war graves.
Located on the banks of the Brahmaputra, 35 kms north of Guwahati, Sualkuchi is a weaving village that produces some of the best silk in the state. This sleepy little village exudes a charm like no other. Almost every house has an adjacent shed (karkhana) that houses the traditional bamboo looms, the gentle click-clacking of which can be heard from the streets. You can walk into any of the numerous karkhanas and observe the talented weavers giving birth to intricate patterns on the golden Muga silk.
In the early years of the 20th century, Sualkuchi was developed as a “crafts village”. Most of the funds for this development work came from eminent Gandhians across the country who responded to the “back to the villages” slogan of Gandhiji’s swadeshi drive. Although the weaving industry of Sualkuchi remained almost confined within the tanti community till the 1930’s with encouragement from the government, people from other communities have taken up silk weaving. There are about 17000 silk looms presently working in Sualkuchi producing an eclectic range of silk products. Most of Sualkuchi’s silk is woven into mekhela-chadar and gamosas. Owing to the increasing demand from other parts of the country, the weavers of Sualkuchi have diversified to saris, shawls and dress material. The silk weaving of Sualkuchi provides direct and indirect employment to more than 25,000 people throughout the year.
Hajo - the meeting point of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu faiths on the northern bank of river Brahmaputra, has a number of temples The chief among them being the Hayagrib Madhab Temple - a place of pilgrimage both for the Hindus and the Buddhists. Hajo’s bell-metal work is renowned for the interesting artifacts made by the local craftsmen.
Situated 35 km from Guwahati, Madan Kamdev is an archaeological site where erotic sculpture are found. It is often referred to as the miniature Khajuroho of Assam. A museum nearby is worth visiting.
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra in the district of morigaon. The Sanctuary harbours the world’s highest density of One horned Rhinoceros, The habitat comprises of Assam alluvial grassland with hilly forests for an area of 38.81 sq. kms.