Guwahati, being Assam’s capital and a key tea trading station of Assam, is sought after by most of the tea traders around the world, apart from which there is more about Guwahati than what meets the eye. If you are a nature lover yet can’t give up on the city luxury, you ideally should land in Guwahati to witness the amalgamation of both.
I propose you visit Guwahati during the Bihu time which falls in April-May, popularly known as the ‘Bohag-Bihu’ among the Assamese people, that’s something you should acknowledge because Bihu is Assam’s most eminent festival. The foot-tapping music and the traditional dance moves are surely going to entice you, and yes the mouthful of Assamese Till-peetha (traditional Sesame-sweet), Ghila- peetha, Maalpua peetha, Narikol ladu ( traditional Coconut-sweet), Till ladu, Sunga peetha, Tekeli peetha, etc too are there to caress your sweet tooth. That being said, there lay some nearly extinct tribal festivals amidst the tea labours, such as ‘Jhumur’ et al whose songs are blended with Assamese-Bengali-Oriya languages. You can take a sneak-peek on the life of the tea tribes by travelling not too far from Guwahati into the tea gardens. In any case, you will have to keep Guwahati centre stage.
The life blood of Assam is the Kamakhya temple, a notable Hindu temple which is believed to be blessed with goddess Durga’s genitals as the foundation, thus called the ‘Yoni-peeth’. Devotees in large numbers visit here to offer their prayers in pursuit of a happy and prosperous life. Suffice to say, this place’s enigma is as breathtaking to a non believer too as being one of the oldest and greatest temples in India. The three Garbhagrihas such as Calanta, Pancharatna and Natmandira are the important parts about this temple. The best time to visit the temple is during the ‘Ambubachi-Mela’ festival.
The cruise ride on the Brahmaputra River is another famous attraction in Guwahati and I suggest you don’t give it a miss. Also, include tasting local cuisine made from the local Brahmaputra Fish in your bucket list.
There are rain forests not too far away from Guwahati that stand distinctly appealing to an adventure junkie’s eye. Namely, Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Joypur Rainforest, Dibrugarh etc. You can avail jungle safaris and camping here if you’re on a backpacking adventure trip. To get there, you’ll need to rent a car from Guwahati itself. Besides, there are other means of transport such as tourist buses and information is available on the internet.
How about a footloose in the mesmerizing mountains of Meghalaya? Sounds exciting? Here’s the deal. From Guwahati, you will get the most convenient means of transport to get to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Meghalaya is the notable tourist destination among the seven sisters which boasts of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram as two of the gorgeous hill stations in India.
Shillong has both air and train link from Guwahati and is situated at the altitude of 1491m above sea level thus almost kissing the sky, truly so as you can rub shoulders with baby-clouds in Cherrapunji, distinguished for the persistent rainfall across the year. Places to visit in Cherrapunji: Nohkalikai falls, Seven Sisters’ falls.
Places to visit in Shillong:
Lady Hydari Park: Located in the East Khasi Hills, this is a renowned place inundated with plants and flowers. A suggested visit here is during April and October while the flowers are in full bloom.
Ward’s Lake: A manmade lake named after Sir William Ward, the Chief Commissioner of Assam back then during the English colony. The lake has breathtaking beauty with boating facilities.
Golf Course: Otherwise called the ‘Gleneagle of the East’, this is one of the oldest Golf courses in India that stands witness to the grandeur of the British colony. The groves of Pine and Rhododendron tress at an altitude of 5200 ft are quite a treat to the eye.
Other key places to visit in Shillong: Spread Eagle falls, Elephant falls, Sweet falls, Shillong peak (for a bird’s eye view of the city), Don Bosco centre for indigenous cultures, Capt. Williamson Sangma State Museum etc.