January 20, 2015

Guwahati is located on the banks of River Brahmaputra; it offers a taste of culture, ancient temples and hills. It is also called by some as the lifeline of North east India. Surrounded by hills, the weather forces you to wear jackets to shield yourself from the cold breeze. North-eastern states are completely different from the southern states, right from food and traditions to the local culture. In the city of Guwahati a mixture of tradition thrives, for people who love to explore different culture and tradition this is definitely a perfect holiday destination.

One morning in the month of May, I boarded the Guwahati express from Chennai Central, eagerly counting the hours to reach the destination. The train was filled with people from the North East heading back to their homes for a long break. After three long days of journey I set my foot in the scenic city early in the morning, welcomed by the sunshine with a big grin.

The Shankardev Kalashetra is Assam’s premiere cultural centre that is about seven to eight kilometres from the city centre. The museum is named after poet-playwright Srimanta Sankardeva and displays various traditional articles and artifacts of the ancient times .The visitors can explore the library and rest in the park.

After visiting the museum, we went to the nearby Assam State Zoo, which is around three kilometres from there. The zoo cum botanical garden is bordered by a tea plantation on the eastern side of its premises. The zoo invites visitors with butterflies swarming around and birds chirping from the trees. The garden has various herbs and shrubs, some of the animals found in the zoo are Bengal tiger, One-Horned Rhinoceros, zebras, Hog deer, Leopards. The zoo is generally open from 8.am to 4.30 pm. People can also visit the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest habitat of Indian One Horned Rhino.

The legendary Kamakhya temple is of nearly seven kilometres from the Guwahati railway station. Initially listening to the history of the temple makes people curious to visit the place. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Guwahati. Once you enter the temple one can see images of gods and goddesses carved on the walls and after climbing a few stairs, one can see a water tank of an average size where people offer their prayers.

According to mythology, Sati fought with her husband Shiva to attend her father's great yagna. At the yagna, Sati's father insulted her husband; Sati was angered and killed herself. When Shiva came to know he went insane with rage, Vishnu cut the body of sati into parts to calm down Shiva. Kamakhya temple is where Sati's womb and genitals fell. During the month of June there is a myth that the water in the tank turns into red for three days. The other famous temples in Guwahati are Umananda temple and basistha temple.

The Café Hendrix restaurant is a mini ‘Hard Rock Café’ with live music and artistic paintings hanging on the walls. It is a wonderful place for wine and dine; don’t forget to stop by Café Hendrix for a good beer and mouthwatering fish fingers. Another must-visit restaurant is ‘The Delicacy’ located in the ganeshguri area, it provides a taste of traditional Assamese food items such as steamed fish, bamboo shoot pork and pigeon dishes. Other Restaurants such as the Morung and Khorika are a must try. The tea in Assam has a peculiar and distinctive taste which is not offered by any other place in the country. On the roadsides of Guwahati vendors sell delicious Pani Poori, a perfect evening-snack.

Shopaholics should check out the Fancy Bazaar which offers electronic items to clothes such as playstations, modern outfits and Assamese clothes. It is the biggest shopping market in the city. Guwahati known for its handlooms and handicrafts, one can witness Assam’s world famous silks and exotic local crafts in any shopping area of the city. The other popular shopping areas are Sohum Shoppe, Dona Planet and the Cube.

The festival Bohag Bihu marks the beginning of Assam New Year and is celebrated during April that gives tourists an opportunity to understand the local culture and tradition.

Finally do not forget to look at the Brahmaputra River and capture the moments that will wow your heart. Guwahati dazzled me with its palm trees, walls of traditional stories, folk music and tea plants. A visit to Guwahati leaves one with words of silence astonished by its beauty and impeccable nature.

The best time to visit the place would be between October to May. There are several trains and daily flights from Delhi connecting to Guwahati.

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