Guwahati

Travel Guide Asia India Seven Sister States Assam Guwahati

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Introduction

Guwahati is the largest city in the northeast of India and is located in the state of Assam. Although it does not function as the official capital (Dispur, a small place actually within the boundaries of Guwahati, is the capital), it's the main gateway to the northeast and has about 2.5 million inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

  • Assam State Museum (southern end of Dighalipukhuri tank.). The museum is closed on Mondays.
  • Assam State Zoo And Botanical Gardens (on RGB Road also known as Zoo Road.).
  • 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.
  • Bhubaneswari Temple (Bhubaneswari Mandir).
  • 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 almost one kilometre 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.
  • Guwahati Planetarium.
  • Indian Institute of Technology. It is around 20 kilometres from the heart of the city and around 35 minutes 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. edit
  • Navagraha Temple (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.
  • Regional Science Center, Khanapara.
  • Shankardev Kalashetra (Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra), Panjabari Rd.
  • 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.
  • Nehru Park, Cotton College Road, Pan Bazar Road, Pan Bazaar, ☎ +91 96133 86546. F–W: 10:00am–8:00pm. This is an outdoor park located just opposite Guwahati Cotton College. It is located in the area of Pan Bazaar. This beautiful park is great to visit with your spouse or partner. Sitting arrangements are nice and organised. There is a child park inside the main area where children can have a lot of fun and activity. Adult: ₹10, child: ₹5.

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Weather

Guwahati has a (sub)tropical climate with generally hot and humid conditions through the year, except from mid-November until February when temperatures and humidity are lower and it's almost completely dry. Temperatures are around 25 °C during this time of the year, with lows in the 10-12 °C range. This is by far the best time for a visit. From March onwards, temperatures start to rise and average around 30-32 °C until October, with nights around 23-25 °C for most of the time. March until early June is the hottest time with temperatures possible up to 40 °C. Much of the annual 1,700mm of rain falls from May to early September, with peaks in June and July, each receiving around 350mm of rain.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) offers flights to/from Aizawl, Delhi, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal, Jorhat, Kolkata, Lilabari, Silchar, Tezpur, Bangkok, Paro, Bagdogra, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agartala, Bangalore, Itanagar, Naharlagun, Shillong, Tawang, Tura, Ahmedabad and Pune.

By Train

Guwahati is connected by train with major cities like Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram,Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Mumbai. Reservation office is 30 metres north of the station, and at #3 window you can book a foreign tourist quota on trains originating from Northeast Frontier railways network.

By Car

By road - NH-31, NH-37 and NH-40 pass through Guwahati. It is a three hour drive to the Bhutanese border town of Samdrup Jongkhar.

By Bus

It is connected to all major cities of North East India by bus. There are overnight bus services for Dibrugarh, Kohima, Imphal, Itanagar, Siliguri.

By Boat

Luxurious vessels with A/C upper deck connect Guwahati to Dibrugarh, passing through Kaziranga & Tezpur.

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Getting Around

By Car

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.

By Public Transport

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.

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.

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Eat

There are many good dhabas on the main roads, highways and at the outskirts of the city.

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Drink

Guwahati is said to have the highest number of wine shops.

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Sleep

There are many budget hotels around the station but only a few are licensed to accommodate foreigners.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 9:55 on Jan 12, 18 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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