About Guwahati :
Guwahati is a city in India,
often considered to be the gateway to the north-eastern part of the country. A
Guwahati suburb, Dispur, is the capital of the Indian state of Assam. The city
is between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the
Shillong plateau. It is also the home to the Institute of Technology, Guwahati.
The name Guwahati is derived
from two Assamese words: guwa (betel nut) and hut (market place). It was
situated midway between two powerful kingdoms: the Ahom and the Koch kingdoms.
Later when the Koch regions were overrun by the Mughals, Guwahati would
intermittently be the seat of a forward Mughal commander. Neither the Mughals
nor the Koch could maintain power at Guwahati, however, and it became better
known as the seat of the Borphukan, the civil and military authority of the
region appointed by the Ahom king.
There is another story of where
the name Guwahati had come from. This city is surrounded by hills and from the
top, it looks like a cave (Guha in Assamese). Many people believe the name was
Guwahati which later took the form of Guwahati (under British dynasty) and then
changed to Guwahati.
straddeles the valley of the river Bharalu, a small tributary of the river
Brahmaputra. It is surrounded by hills, except where the Bharalu discharges into
the Brahmaputra. To its west the Nilachal hill is said to be the home of the
goddess Kamakhya, a shakta temple. In the past, this was an important seat of
tantric and Vajrayana Buddhism. To the north, on top of Chitranchal hill, is the
Navagraha (nine planets) temple, a unique astrological temple. To the south of
the city lie the Narakasur hills, named after a legendary king of ancient Assam.
An ancient name of this city is said to be 'Pragjyotishpur'.
Guwahati today is important
because it is close to the seat of power in Assam, is a commercial centre, and
is the node that connects six other north-eastern Indian states of Arunachal
Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura.
The Ambari excavations trace
habitation in the city to the sixth century. Epigraphic sources place capitals
of historical kingdoms, like, Pragjyotishpurnagara, in the Guwahati area.
Guwahati was a Mughal administrative and military centre for lower Assam, and it
became the seat of the Borphukan, the Ahom viceroy for the western part of the
There are a number of
historical features in Guwahati. The Dighalipukhuri is a rectangular lake that
was connected to the Brahmaputra, and was probably dug for naval reasons by the
How to get
Guwahati iswell connected by
air, train and road with the rest of the country. There are direct train
services to and from New Delhi and Kolkata with connectivity to mumbai, Chennai,
Bangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Jodhpur etc.
Guwahati is well connected by
air with New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. Air Lines like Indian, Sahara
and Jet Airways operate regular flights to Guwahati. The other towns to which
these airways operate flights are Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and
Silchar. Air India operate direct flight between Guwahati and Bangkok on Mondays
A network of National Highways
and other roads connect Guwahati with all the important places of Assam. Both
Government and private buses ply from Guwahati to all the major towns of Assam.
These buses also ply from Guwahati to the capitals of the neighboring states.
What to see
Situated atop the Nilachal
hills, the foremost shrine of Assam, Kamakhya is an ancient seat of tantric and
shakti cults of Hinduism. A little distance from Kamakhya temple is
Bhubaneshwari temple from where one can have a panoramic view of the Brahmaputra
river and the city.
Situated atop Chitrachal hills
this 'Temple of Nine Planets' was a great centre for the study of Astroloy and
This Shiva Temple is situated
on the Peacock island in the middle of the Brahmaputra river.
This temple island is believed
to be the world's smallest human inhabited river island.
Tirupati Balaji Temple
This temple with striking south
Indian Archtecture is situated about 11 km from the city.
Set in idyllic surroundings
about 12 km from the city centre, this ashram was established by Rishi Basistha
in the remote past. It is now a pilgrim centre as well as a picnic spot for
Srimanta Sankaradev Kalakshetra
A modern cultural complex
situated at Panjabari. Regular cultural events, musical recitals and dance
performances are held every weekend. It is open to visitors on all days except
It is a well laid out complex
displaying various aspects of Assam's culture, history andcrafts. the various
sections are epigraphy, sculpture, natural history, crafts, arms, manuscript
village ethnography and a miscellaneous section.
State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden
Covering a huge area of 175
hectares of land, this Zoo-cum- Botanical Garden is a house for endangered and
rare species of wildlife and plants. Among the main attractions are the one
horned rhino, giraffe, zebra, chimpanzee etc. It is open on all days except
Science Museum (Regional Science Centre)
Many exhibits and models depict
various natural phenomena and modern technological advancements, a great
learning experience for students and professionals alike. It is open on all days
except public holidays.
Situated in Guwahati is the
only one of its kind in the entire north-eastern region. The mysterious aspects
of the universe are brought alive and explained in the dark domed structure
inside the planetarium. It is open for visitors on all days except the first of
Cup that Cheers
Tea helped place Assam on the
world map- naturally, it is an industry that occupies an important place in
Assam's economy. Tea plants are known to grow naturally in the Upper Brahmaputra
valley, Credit goes to Robert Bruce, an official of the British Empire, for
publishing, in 1823, the existence of the tea plant in Assam.
Assam grows tea in many places
in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat,
Nagaon, Sonitpur etc. About 51% of India's tea production comes from Assam and
it can boast of the oldest and largest Tea Research Centre. This research centre
was started in 1911 and is located at Toklai in Jorhat. The Guwahati Tea Auction
Centre, which started in 1970, is said to be the second largest tea auction
centre in the world.
The Green state of Assam
abounds with different types of flora. Perhaps the loveliest is an orchid that
grows across Assam. Familiar to the westerner as the 'Foxtail' orchid (it hangs
down like a fox's tail), in Assam it known as "Kopou Ful". Along with floral
beauty, Assam has a variety of trees and plants that grow to a height of 150 ft
in the upper Assam regions. Along the banks of the northern regions of the
Brahmaputra are extensive Khair-Sisoo forest; the Segun (Assam Teak) also grows
here. In the Golpara and Kamrup districts of western Assam, the Sal tree grows
Bamboo grooves can be found in
several parts of the state. So endemic is the plant to the region, there is even
as Assamese proverb that refers to it: 'Bamboo is courage'. The areca nut palm
and the jackfruit tree, as also the beetle-nut plant, are found here in
Assam's incredibly varied
wildlife brings in visitors from around the world. Adjoining the Brahmaputra is
the Kaziranga National Park, which covers the area of 430 sq. km. This national
park plays host to Assam's pride and glory, the one-horned rhinoceros. Among the
tall elephant grass, tough reeds and shallow pools of the park live a whole host
of other animals: elephants, Indian bison, hog deer, jungle cat, tigers,
leopards and a number of other spices. This wild congregation is increased, at
different parts of the year, by migratory birds, making this park a scene of
beauty year-round for lovers of wildlife.
The Manas National Park covers
an area of 519.77 sq. km. and is located near sub-Himalayan hills. Some of the
rare wildlife species found here are the golden langur, the hispid hare and
pigmy hog. During winter, migratory birds also flock to this national park.
The Orang Wildlife Sanctuary,
officialy Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is another wildlife arena that sometimes
reffered to as the 'mini-Kaziranga'. The sanctuary covers 78.81 sq. km. and is
located towards the Brahmaputra's northern banks. Orang is 31 km. from Tezpur.
Handloom weaving is integral to
life in Assam. Little surprise, then, that the state can boast of several
special kinds of hand-woven cloth. The most prized is the fine golden 'Muga'
silk. Traditional garments include the two-piece 'Mekhela Chadar' worn by women.
Assam is also known for its
cane and bamboo products. These raw materials go into the production of not just
handicraft items, such as a variety of baskets, mats and musical instruments,
but are also used to make household items and furniture.
Bell-metal products and
brassware from part of the Assamese people's daily life. The 'xorai and bota',
receptacles for beetle-nut and paan leaves, have been traditionally used for
centuries. Two whole townships near Guwahati, Hajo and Sarthebari, are entirely
devoted to the production of traditional metal-ware.