Guwahati (Assamese: গুৱাহাটী Guvahaṭī), previously Gauhati, is the capital and the largest city in the Indin state of Assam. Guwahati is one of the fastest growing cities of India.
Excavations trace the origins of the city to around the 4th century and it was the capital of Assam until the 10th century.
The rapidly-growing metropolis has a population of 2.4 million in 2020, and encompasses an area of over 360 km2, making it the largest city in the state and the region. It is the main centre for shopping, retail and business; attracting people from all over the north east as well as from Eastern Bhutan. The slow, meandering Brahmaputra River is a focal point of the city while the lush hills of the Shillong Plateau provide a verdant backdrop for the suburbs.
The pleasant environment, however, is somewhat tempered by the inadequate investment in the region, which is apparent from the low quality of roads. Still, despite the average infrastructure, private investors have been drawn to the city, and there has been something of a boom in the construction of shopping malls and high quality condominiums, which has helped raise the economic profile of the city. The end of decades-long insurgency in Assam has also helped in the economic boom of Guwahati.
This article also covers Dispur, Assam's seat of government. In 1973, Assam was reorganized to form the smaller states of Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram. Assam lost its capital, Shillong, to Meghalaya. A search for a new capital ensued and the choice settled on Dispur, then a suburb of Guwahati.
Guwahati's climate is subtropical. Summers last here from April to May, monsoons from June to September and winters from October to March. Temperatures here approximately range between 19°C and 26°C. 161.3 cm is the average yearly precipitation level here. Humidity is more than 80/90% often.
- 1 Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU IATA; Guwahati International Airport, Borjhar Airport). A major hub for flights to North-East India and limited international destinations. The hill resort cities of Shillong and Tura are connected by regular scheduled helicopter services run by Pawan Hans. Shillong (30 min), Tura (50 min), Naharlagun (Itanagar), Tawang (75 min).
Guwahati is well connected by train with all of India's major cities. The Guwahati Junction serves as the headquarters for the Northeast Frontier Railways. The reservation office is 30 m north of the station, and at the third window you can book a foreign tourist quota on trains originating from the Northeast Frontier Railways Network. Tickets can also be booked on the Indian Railways website.
By road - NH-31, NH-37 and NH-40 pass through Guwahati. It is a 2- to 2½-hour drive via Rangia to the Bhutanese border town of Samdrup Jongkhar.
It is connected to all major cities of North East India by bus. There are overnight bus services for Dibrugarh, Kohima, Imphal, Itanagar, Siliguri.
Luxurious vessels with AC upper deck connect Guwahati to Dibrugarh, passing through Kaziranga & Tezpur.
Bus is the cheapest way of travelling around the city. Guwahati is well connected to most of its city area with local service buses, and there is air-conditioned bus service between the airport and the city.
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.
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.
- 1 Assam State Zoo And Botanical Gardens, Zoo Road, Japorigog (on RGB Road also known as Zoo Road.), ☏ +91 8721857919, +91 7002716702, email@example.com. Sa-Th 8AM-4:30PM. Adults ₹30 for Indians, ₹100 for foreigners; children 5-12: ₹10 for Indians, ₹30 for foreigners; all children under 5 free; ₹50 for car parking. There are also fees for photography; see tariffs page for more details.
- 2 Basistha Ashram (Pancha Kanya Ashram), Dispur. 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.
- 3 Dighali 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 half a mile 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.
- 4 Nehru Park, Cotton College Road, Pan Bazar Road, Pan Bazaar, ☏ +91 96133 86546. F–W: 10AM–8PM. This is an outdoor park opposite Guwahati Cotton College 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.
- 5 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.
- 6 Shilpagram, Dispur, ☏ +91 361 213 0483. Crafts center next to Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalaksetra
- 7 Sualkuchi. Area renowned for its silk production.
- 8 Assam State Museum, GNB Rd (southern end of Dighalipukhuri tank.), ☏ +91 361 254 0651. Closed on Mondays, the second and fourth Saturdays of the month and government holidays. Adult ₹5, child ₹2.50.
- 9 Guwahati Planetarium, Uzan Bazar. A great place to visit for science geeks and also for lover of entertainments.
- 10 Regional Science Centre and Museum, Jawahar Nagar, Khanapara, ☏ +91 361 2363218. Daily 10AM-5:30PM, closed on Holi and Diwali. Adults/Children ₹10, Students ₹5.
- 11 Shankardev Kalashetra Museum (Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra), Panjabari Rd, Batahguli, ☏ +91 361 233 2665. The museum is named after Srimanta Sankardeva, a famous social reformer who promoted the cultural heritage of Assam. It has exhibits of books, sculptures, paintings, costumers and other belongings associated with the Assamese tribal communities.
- Anthropological Museum, Department of Anthropology, Guwahati University, ☏ +91 361 2470248. M-Sa 10AM-4PM, closed on university holidays. The museum preserves prehistoric crafts, weapons, basketry, jewellery among other things used by the ancient Assamese.
- 12 Bhubaneswari Temple (Bhubaneswari Mandir).
- 13 Janardana Temple, Sukleshwar Hill.
- 14 Kamakhya Temple (Kamrup-Kamakhya), Nilachal Hill. 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.
- 15 (Navagraha Mandir), Chitrasal Hill. An 18th-century temple dedicated to nine celestial bodies is atop the second highest hill in Guwahati.
- 16 Ugra Tara Temple, Latashil. A temple dedicated to the deity Tara. The goddess in the sanctum sanctorum is not an idol but a pit of water.
- 17 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 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.
- Accoland. Airport Rd. Amusement park.
- North Guwahati- Guwahati Ropeway, M. G. Road, Panbazar.
Fairs and festivals
- Assam Tea Festival. November. The annual festival caters to more than tea lovers. In addition to tea tasting and tours of the tea gardens, visitors can enjoy jungle safaris and river rafting.
- Bihu. A set of three Assamese festivals in April, October and January respectively, all of which celebrate the changing seasons.
- Debaddhani Festival. July–August. A three-day festival where offerings are made to the goddess of snakes, Devi Manassa. An unusual ritual takes place where possessed devotees walk on a sharp sword's edge in a trance-like state.
- 1 Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) (around 20 km from the heart of the city and around 35 min drive from the airport).
- Handicrafts, of the north east and Assam are available in many shops in the city.
- Handlooms & Handicrafts, the Assam Silk & Golden SIlk "Muga" is world famous. You will be fascinated to see the designs and colours of the local dress called "Mekhela - Chadar".
- Hidesign, Dighali Pukhuri East (Near High Court), ☏ +91 92 0704 7683. One of the largest stand alone leather goods stores in India with a wide range bags and accessories for men, women and travel.
- Malls. The city has several shopping malls. These are the major ones: Sohum Emporia, Sohum Shoppe, Guwahati Central, Central Mall, FBB, The Hub Mall, Vishal MegaMart, Big Bazaar, Pantaloons.
- Tea Bags, of the north east and Assam are available in many shops in the city. Assams Green tea is world famous.
- Uzan Bazaar. Every morning, fishers come in to one of the oldest settlements in the city to sell their catch.
- Paltan Bazaar. Literally meaning 'military market', back in the day Paltan Bazaar was the shopping hub for British sepoys. It is one of the busiest and most congested places in Guwahati.
There are many good dhabas on the main roads, highways and at the outskirts of the city.
- City Dhaba, Bora Service, Ulubari.
- Dispur Dhaba, Ganeshguri.
- Get Tagged, Zoo Road, ☏ +91 9401057578.
- Hotel Shyama, AK Azad Road, Rehabari.
- JBs, G S Rd, Christian Basti. Good bakery with sweets.
- JBs, M G Rd, Riverside.
- Momo Ghar, Bharalumukh, ☏ +91 9435019810. Chinese
- Shaikh Brothers, Shaikh Building, 195 Hem Baruah Road,Panbazar (opp. United Bank), ☏ +91 36 1273 6615. Century old bakery. Well known throughout entire North East India for its delicious pastries, cakes, bread and cookies. Established by Golam Ibrahim in 1885, Shaikh Brothers is the oldest and largest bakery shop in North East India. It is managed by its fourth generation partners namely Shaikh Sakhawat Hossain, Shaikh Azizul Hossain, Shaikh Khoda Nawaz and others. It is renowned for its tasty birthday and Christmas cakes. In 2015 it completed its 130th year of service. It is locally known as "the Heritage Bakery Of Assam".
- Bon Jaluk, Ganeshguri, ☏ +91 8254063369. Famous Assamese thalis.
- Gam's Delicacy Restaurant, Ganeshguri, ☏ +91 361 2233402. Famous for ethnic Assamese cuisine.
- Gopal Maharaj, Kamrup Chamber Rd, Fancy Bazar, ☏ +91 9864351111.
- Heritage Khorikaa, Silpukhuri, Chandmari, ☏ +91 9706034838. Famous for delicious ethnic Assamese cuisine.
- Khorikaa, Bora Service, Ulubari, ☏ +91 9864982948. Assamese restaurant with delicious thalis.
- Maach, Christian Basti., ☏ +91 9854061725. Famous for various fishes.
- Makhan Bhog, Ulubari.
- Mast Biryani, Zoo Road. Biryani restaurant.
- Nashraj Restaurant, S.S. Rd, Fancy Bazaar (inside Hotel Nova), ☏ +91 361-251-9465. This restaurant is popular with locals and foreigners, and serves tasty Indian, Chinese and selected Continental cuisine.
- Barbeque Nation, Ulubari, ☏ +91 9864109282.
- Mocha, Christian basti (near the fly over), ☏ +91 8486000401. Italian restaurant
- Tandoor @ Hotel Dynasty, SS Road, Fancy Bazar, ☏ +91 361 7120055.
Guwahati is said to have the most wine shops.
Pub, disco, and bar
- Cafe Copa, GS Rd.
- Club Ozone, GS Rd.
- Ivory, Ulubari flyover (below Hotel Amrit Regency). Bar/pub.
- The Lounge Bar, Christian Basti.
- Mazbaan, Ganeshguri. Bar, disco, DJ Ronnie
- Q'Ba, Ulubari. Disco
- Silver Streak, Hotel Bramhaputra Ashok.
- Terra Mayaa, Anil Plaza-2.
- Topaz, Ulubari.
- Urban Mantra, Sixmile.
- XS, GS Rd.
There are many budget hotels around the station but only a few are licensed to accommodate foreigners.
- Hotel Brahmaputra Madhukalya, Panjabari Rd, Six Mile (Near Kalakshetra), ☏ +91 97060 37210. Small family hotel. Clean rooms, simple food, nothing fancy but economical. Breakfast.
- Hotel Biswanath, M.E. Road, Paltan Bazar (south of the station), ☏ +91 81358 09898. Not a great value, but one of a few budget hotels licensed to take foreigners. ₹1923 single.
- Hotel Brindavan, Paltan Bazar, M E Rd (3 min walking distance from Rly Station), ☏ +91 94350 40946. Check-out: noon. ₹400/- to ₹3,500/-.
- SPOT ON 72442 Hotel Suradevi, M.L.N Rd (Pan Bazaar), ☏ +91 94353 24031. Slightly out of the action, but a decent budget choice with a restaurant. ₹400 single w/private bath.
- Prashaanti Tourist Lodge, Station Road, Kamakhya, Navagraha, ☏ +91 361-2544475, +91-9435042063, +91-94640 83579. The lodges are operated by Department of Tourism and Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited.
- Hotel Mahalaxmi Indo Myanmar, G.S. Rd, ☏ +91 361 260 2508, firstname.lastname@example.org. This one feels very Indian. Has a restaurant. ₹2514.
- OYO 10571 Hotel Nova, 1, SS Rd, Kamarpatty, Fancy Bazaar (Fancy Bazaar), ☏ +91 124 620 1614. A decent mid-range choice, it is centrally located, reasonably clean and friendly, and has a good restaurant on site. Hot running water, TV with satellite connection, same-day laundry available. ₹1390 for single with no a/c.
- Hotel Rialto, GNB Rd, Pan Bazaar (nearby Pan Bazer), ☏ +91 94017 26686. Has that nice crumbly look like all of the other buildings around it. Buffet and breakfast here. ₹1,000-₹1,800.
- Hotel Dynasty, S.S. Rd (Lakhtokia), ☏ +91 361 251 6021, email@example.com. Centrally located, warm and comfortable, and the staff are friendly. Tandoor is one of the two in-house restaurants, and a good place to splurge on food in the city, with live music in the evenings. Rooms ₹3400-₹5000, Suites ₹8000-₹15,000.
- Hotel Nakshatra, Beltola Tiniali, ☏ +91 99571 81929, fax: +91 361 2229720, firstname.lastname@example.org. Luxurious hotel with comfort and modern facilities. Rooms ₹3000-₹4600, Suites ₹7000-₹12,000.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Guwahati, National Highway 37, Gotanagar, ☏ +91 361 7100100, fax: +91 361 7100101, email@example.com. On NH37 12 km from the railway station and 15 km from Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
- Taj Vivanta, 613, Mahapurush Sriamanta Sankradeva, Road, Khanapara, ☏ +91 361 710 6710. The rooftop pool is at the top of this tall upscale hotel tower, and you get a complimentary breakfast in the morning. ₹6360.
Shillong is an old hill station established by British and stepping point to Cherrapunji and further south. Meghalaya state transport provides several buses departing in the morning and also regular shared 7-passenger jeep service for ₹170 (more comfortable than usual 10-pax Sumo) from the bus terminal south of the train station.
- Tirupati Balaji Temple - The Tirupati Balaji temple is on the National Highway By-pass easily reached by taking the National Highway from the city head towards Maligaon/Adabari and beyond till you reach the Jalukbari junction. It takes about 20 min from the junction to the temple. It is supposed to be a replica of the temple in Tirupati - the temple provides a nice place for solitary meditation, being in a peaceful setting.
- Deepor Beel - A wetland and a very picturesque picnic spot. A bird-watchers paradise, especially in winter when the migratory birds come down. Access is from the National Highway, Gorchuk Ali.
- Hajo - Hajo is an interesting place to visit near Guwahati. The place has religious significance for Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. It takes about an hour and half from the city centre to reach Hajo by own transport (buses are there from Adabari bus stand). Interesting places to visit are the Hayagrib Madhab temple and Pua Mecca. While at the temple, make sure to go down to the temple pond to see the resident turtle.
- Kamakhya Temple - A famous Hindu Temple and Pilgrimage. Attracts visitors and devotees from all around the world and country. A 25-30 minute drive from the heart of the city.
- Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - Wildlife reserve about 50 km from Guwahati. Sort of a miniature Kaziranga, home to one-horned rhinos, buffalo, and other animals, which you can see from a jeep. Elephant rides are also available at certain times of day.
- Resorts on Sonapur Road - The Sonapur Road (Guwahati-Nagaon Road, NH 37) has many dhabas that are within 10-15 km of the city outskirts (Khanapara). These resorts provide a good weekend break. Brahmaputra resort, Disang Dhaba in Tepesia are good for family outings.