Posted 27 September 2022

Five stupendous reasons to plan a Guwahati tour this season

Guwahati is the largest city of Assam. Its capital, Dispur, is located in the circuit city region of Guwahati itself. Guwahati is the major centre of administration, finance and tourism in all of Assam. Also known as ‘Gateway to Northeast India’, Guwahati is a major riverine port city of Assam and is one of the fastest-growing cities of India in terms of tourism, trade and finance. It is situated on the south banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra.

Guwahati is a city that welcomes and acknowledges art and culture. Not only tourists, but a major part of travellers coming to Guwahati are devotees. Guwahati is the home to the famous Kamakhya Temple, which is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year. Besides that, Umananda and Navagraha also draw tourists from all over the country.

Assam is known for its tea gardens and flavourful Assam tea, hence Guwahati has a lot to offer when it comes to Assam tea. One can plan a visit to the tea gardens and the freshly brewed black or milk tea made from the tea leaves offer relaxation to tourists who take them back during their travels to Guwahati as a souvenir for family and friends.

Hence, the five best reasons to plan a Guwahati tour in the vacations have been listed below -

1. Assam Zoo Cum Botanical Garden

Located inside the Hengerbari Reserved Forest, the Assam Zoo Cum Botanical Garden is a rather unique specimen of its kind in all of northeast India. The zoo and botanical garden is also one of the oldest, made in the year 1957, and was open to the public in the year 1958. As of today, there are over 100 species of wildlife, including birds, animals and mammals to be found here in this one-of-a-kind zoo.

Although the zoo is open all year round, the best time to visit would be the winter and spring seasons, to cut out the harsh summers and terrible rainy seasons. The zoo houses over 900 animals belonging to 113 different species, making it a perfect visiting spot for kids, tourists and people who take a keen interest in wildlife. This zoo is also the abode of the one-horned rhinoceros and the clouded leopard. There are migratory birds that visit this botanical garden every year and tourists who are lucky or plan their holidays accordingly will be able to get a glimpse of these birds perched high up on the trees or soaring among them.

2. Umananda Island

Named Peacock Island by the British, the Umananda Island is the smallest in the world, well-connected by the mighty Brahmaputra to the mainland of Guwahati. According to Hindu mythology, this small river islet was created and made by Lord Shiva for his wife Parvati. Lord Shiva himself resides here in the form of ‘Bhayananda’. It was named ‘Peacock island’ because of its untouched, and wonderfully green and blue flora and fauna. Golden langurs are extremely common and thrive well here. This island is located at the heart of Brahmaputra and is connected to Guwahati with boats and ferries that frequently carry travellers to and fro.

Travellers are also attracted to the place because of the Umananda Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple was built by King Gadadhar Singh in 1694 AD. The best time to visit this island is between October and March. Tourists can enjoy sightseeing and take wonderful photographs without seeking permission. The landscape along with the serene and calm environment is what makes tourists want to visit this island when they are on a trip to Guwahati during vacations.

3. Kamakhya Temple

Be it travellers or tourists or devotees, people who are in Guwahati always keep Kamakhya Temple on their itinerary. It is one of the important temples of India and is one of the most famous ‘Shakti Peeths’. This temple is associated with the infamous legend of Shiva and Daksha Yagna and is also one of the oldest and most celebrated temples of India, which is visited annually by millions of tourists and pilgrims from all around the globe. Dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya, the Hindu tantric goddess of desire, this temple was built and reconstructed multiple times during the 8th to 17th centuries.

Located inside the Nilachal Hill, Kamakhya Temple has 6 temples and 6 monuments inside, which makes them one. Legend has it that during June, the water of the river Brahmaputra turns blood red because of the Goddess bleeding during her menstruation. ‘Ambubachi’ festival is celebrated here with great pomp and show. It is visited by thousands of tourists literally every hour of the festival days. The temple is open from 5.30 AM to 10 PM every day and there is no entry fee required.

4. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Home to the one-horned rhinoceros, which is native to Assam, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled in between grasslands and greenery, making it a perfect place for the rhinos to grow and thrive. This sanctuary is landlocked with Assamese villages and tribal areas, where the people help in protecting and maintaining the balance of nature and animals against those who wish to ruin it (like hunters and poachers). Travellers and tourists will find it safe here and it is strictly forbidden to hunt or harm any animals here. The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest number of rhinos in the world and the administration takes great care in maintaining the dwindling population of this rare breed.

Besides rhinos, the Pobitora Sanctuary is the home of over 190 species of birds including species that are fastly pacing towards extinction, such as the Spot-Billed Pelican, Swamp Francolin and the White-Bellied Heron. The grasslands and the small streams of Brahmaputra that flow in this area make this sanctuary an ideal habitat for birds like these. Another important mammal, known as the Gangetic or freshwater dolphins, have also made this sanctuary their home for decades. Tourists are attracted to Pobitora to catch a glimpse of these freshwater beauties that are thriving in the still unpolluted water of Brahmaputra.

5. The local cuisine of Guwahati

Being the hub of tourism, Guwahati offers numerous dishes and food choices that tourists can choose from. It runs majorly on local Assamese food, which has meat, fish and vegetables. Beef and pork are eaten here as a part of Assamese traditional cuisine. Assamese cuisine is all about uniqueness and using traditional spices, which may be uncommon for many, but it delivers a plate full of comfort and homely taste. Assamese food inculcates the complexity of flavours with an intriguing mix of dishes. Fermentation is common here and so is fresh meat. Food choices may seem bizarre, but it all tastes extremely delicious and different.

Nga-Thongba, which is essentially a fish gravy made with ginger predominating over other spices and Erongba, a chutney which is based on jackfruit and kernel, are some of the common local foods available. Another unique dish is ‘Khar’, which happens to be both a dish and an ingredient in itself. ‘Khar’ is made by filtering out the liquid made from water and char-dried banana peel. It can be added to meat, fish or vegetables.

Some of the other Assamese comfort food that most tourists love to try is ‘Pitika’, which is essentially mashed vegetable, aubergine or potato with lots of green chillies, coriander and mustard oil. The list also includes – Paro Mangxo or pigeon meat, a speciality in Assam; Pani Hamuk, snail meat; Duck meat curry; Baanhgajor Lagot Kukura, chicken with Bamboo shoots; and Doi Chira, a staple breakfast meal.

Travel Tips for Guwahati

  • It is best to book your travel tickets, hotels or lodges in advance and have an itinerary prepared to avoid any confusion later.
  • You must be careful if you are carrying any valuable articles or important documents.
  • If you are planning to visit a national park, zoo or sanctuary in Assam, always inquire if it is open for tourists during your time of travel.

How to reach Guwahati?

  • By road: Guwahati as a city is adequately well-connected to all the major surrounding cities and states by National Highways. ISBT, Adabari and Paltan Bazar are the three bus termini located in Guwahati from where you can get on a bus and reach major cities like Kolkata, Siliguri and Agartala. Guwahati is located at a distance of 1080 km from Kolkata, 475 km from Siliguri and 552 km from Agartala. If you hop on a state bus from Kolkata, it will take approximately 22 hours, from Siliguri it will take 12 hours and 8 hours from Agartala to reach Guwahati.
  • By rail: There are numerous train stations located in Guwahati, namely Azara Railway Station, Pandu Railways Station and Kamakhya Railway Station. But the chief station is Guwahati Railway Station that connects Guwahati to the major cities of India, with regular trains from Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Indore. Taxis are easily available outside the station that will take you to the city’s centre or your respective hotels or place of halt.
  • By air: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati has regular flights that connect the state to all major cities in the world. IndiGo operates daily non-stop and connecting flights to Guwahati. Book your air tickets well before planning the vacation, as tickets are subject to flight availability, which reaches its peak price during rush hours. Getting your tickets booked beforehand, especially if you are planning to travel during winter vacations, which also happens to be the rush season, you can save some major bucks as compared to last-minute ticket bookings. Guwahati houses some of the best tourist sites that one can explore during their visit. It offers delicacies that are worth trying during the visit.

Weather/Climate of Guwahati

Assam has a typical ‘tropical monsoon rainfall’ type climate. Assam experiences moderate weather throughout the year, with warm summers and mild winters.

Best time to visit Guwahati

Based on the weather in Guwahati, which is so unique, it can be visited at all times of the year. However, the best time to visit the state, in general, would be the winter and spring seasons from October to April when the temperature is pleasant and permits outdoor activities for travellers. Tourists are advised to avoid visiting Guwahati in the monsoon season as the region receives plenty of rainfall, making the terrain wet, slippery and uncomfortable for activities and sightseeing. It may also cause accidents like landslides and Assam is also prone to getting flash floods being located on the banks of Brahmaputra.

Stay in Guwahati

There are plenty of hotels in Guwahati depending on your budget. There are hotels near the airport, bus or railway station that travellers can choose from based on their availability and comfortability. Some comfortable hotels in Guwahati are:

  • Greenwood Resort
  • Hotel Tibet
  • Guwahati Address by Central Point
  • Novotel Guwahati
  • Hotel Gateway Grandeur
  • Hotel Lilawati Grand
  • The Ornate

Conclusion

There are many reasons to plan a Guwahati tour for vacation, especially for families with kids. Guwahati as a city has an interesting front for tourists with wildlife interests, for kids because of water parks and wildlife sanctuaries, devotees and pilgrims for temples and places of worship, and for nature lovers who seek peace in the hills of Guwahati that can be overwhelming to all. Everyone should include a trip to Guwahati once in their lifetime as a bucket list, as it offers umpteen chances to see places and enjoy nature like nowhere else.

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