Major tourist attractions of Guwahati - largest town of Assam


One of the most picturesque states of India, Assam, with its lofty mountains, expansive valleys brilliantly green with tea gardens, lush forests, and Asia’s richest wild life, its lively inhabitants, is the north-eastern frontier of India. Just next to West Bengal and Sikkim, Assam’s border goes through the foothills of Nepal and Bhutan. It is directed more towards the hilly areas of Myanmar and China.

Geographically, Assam broadly comprises the Brahmaputra Valley. The Valley is dominated by the river Brahmaputra with its numerous tributaries, flowing for over 700 kms through the State.

Kamarupa is the ancient name of Assam. Legend goes that the God of Love, Kama, once tried to arouse passion in the heart of Shiva, who is the supreme ascetic. Then Shiva who was in meditation opened his third eye rage from which a fire leaped and destroyed Kama.

But however, the compassionate Shiva, let Kama to be revived later. Thus this land came to be called Kamarupa beacuse it is the land where Kama got back his form or rupa.

Famous as Pragyotishpur—the light of the East—in the remote past, Guwahati, the largest town of Assam sprawls on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra. Six kms from Guwahati is the capital of Assam—Dispur.

Air, rail and road services connect Guwahati. Guwahati, by road, is 3,104 kms from Mumbai, 1,128 kms from Koklata, and 2,160 kms from New Delhi.

Here are some of the major tourist attractions of Guwahati

Basistha Ashram


One of the great seers of mythical India, Basistha, had his Ashram here. Three streams—Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta— flow close-by, giving the spot a unique beauty. It is a pilgrim spot as well as an ideal picnic spot.

Janardan Temple


The deity residing in the temple atop the hillock at the heart of the city represents an assimilation of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Kamakshya Temple


According to the folktales, in days gone by only wizards and Tantriks could approach the domain of Goddess Kamaksha, the presiding deity of the Tantrik cult at one time. To this day thousands of exorcists, necromancers, and magicians in India end the chanting of their incantations with: "It is in the name of Goddess Kamaksha that I command this to be done."

The deity was installed where a limb of Sati, the consort of Shiva, fell when Vishnu had to cut asunder her dead body. The original temple is said to have been built by King Narakasura of the Mahabharata age. The temple of Kamaksha is situated on the Nilachala hill, just 5 kms off Guwahati.

Architecturally, the temple with its beehive-patterned top is an excellent specimen of the old Assamese architecture. From the city, buses ply regularly to this site.

Umananda Temple


Situated on Peacock Island in the center of the Brahmaputra River, this temple dedicated to Shiva has on its walls rock-cut figures of gods and goddesses which are among the finest specimens of Assamese craftsmanship.

Navagraha Temple


Located to the west of Chitrachal Hill is this temple of the Nine Planets, once famous as a seat of astronomical and astrological research. Because of this temple the city of Guwahati became famous as the City of Eastern Astrology—Pragjyotishpur.

Hajo


24 kms from Guwahati, Hajo is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, Muslims as well as Buddhists. The Buddha, according to a version, achieved his Nirvana here, in the Hayagriba Madhav temple. There is a mosque which is held in high esteem and is called the Poa-Mecca, i.e. which carries one-fourth of the sanctity of Mecca.

Sulakashi (or Sualkuchi)


24 kms from Guwahati, this is a village famous for producing a variety of silk, every household weaving the typical Assam style clothes. The village is also famous for its brassware products.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary


Situated at a distance of 176 kms from Guwahati and nestling against the Himalayan foothills, this place can justly be called one of the loveliest natural wildernesses in the country. The sanctuary harbors rhinoceros, elephants, and buffaloes, various species of deer, rare apes and birds.

The Forest Department runs two fully furnished bungalows with catering arrangements.

Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary


Kaziranga Sanctuary's fame is mostly due to the fact that it is the chief sanctuary of the one-horned rhino. But the rhinos are not the only ones to lead a healthy life there. You can meet a number of species of deer and birds—as well as buffaloes, elephants, bears, leopards, tigers and reptiles—all leading a carefree life.

Kaziranga is about 217 kms from Guwahati airport and 96 kms from Jorhat airport. Motor transport from these airports to Kaziranga can be arranged upon advance information to: The Tourist Information Officer, Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Kaziranga; or Tourist Information Office, Guwahati.

Comfortable tourist bungalows, maintained by the Government of Assam, can be available if reservation is made ten days in advance.

Barpeta


145 kms from Guwahati is Barpeta, famous for its Vaishnava monastery and the shrine of Shri Madhavdeva, the disciple of the great reformer, Shri Sankaradeva. The Holi festival is performed at Barpeta with gusto. The entire town goes festive.

Darranga


On one's way back to Guwahati, one can take a little diversion and reach Darranga (80 kms from Guwahati). From November to March a fair known as the Bhutanese Fair is held here. The Bhutanese come with numerous items that are collected by tourists as curios.

Tezpur


Tezpur was once known as Sonitpur, ruled by the mythical demon-king Banasura. His daughter, Usha, fell in love with Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna.

Banasura who had taken his fort to be invulnerable, was surprised and annoyed to know that Aniruddha frequented it. The result was a battle between him and Krishna. Banasura was defeated and then reconciled to the situation.

The ruins found here are believed to be those of Banasura's fort. Aditionally, there are many other temples of remote antiquity.

Sibsagar


Once the capital of the Ahom kings, Sibsagar has many attractive monuments. King Siva Singha dug a tank in 17th century and built three temples on its bank, dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga.

Talatal Ghar, the underground garrison of the Ahom kings, is three-storey-deep, and has a secret escape route to the Dikhow River.


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