A visit to Guwahati is considered incomplete without visiting the famous Kamakhya Temple. This is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas according to Hinduism and is counted among the most important pilgrimage centres. Located about 7 km from the city centre at the top of the Nilachal Hills, there are ten individual temples dedicated to ten ‘mahavidyas’.
While the idols of Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala are found inside the main temple, the other seven forms are found in separate temples surrounding the main temple. One of the religious festivals that takes place at the Kamakhya Temple is the Ambubachi Mela around mid-June. This festival is held to commemorate the yearly menstrual cycle of Goddess Kamakhya (another form of Goddess Kali).
Tantric saints from across the country visit the temple during this time. Durga Puja and Manasha Puja are also celebrated in the temple. Tourists should know that only Hindus are allowed within the premises of the Kamakhya Temple.
The Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden is one of the highlights of Guwahati tourism. Spread across 130 hectares, the Zoological Gardens is a storehouse of flora and fauna, housing rare species. It is also a unique zoo as it is spread around a natural forest. The botanical garden adjoining the zoo is regarded as the natural retreat to the growing city of Guwahati.
Several animals can be found to be living in their natural habitat in the zoo such as white tigers, leopards and swamp tapirs. One of the main attractions in the zoo is the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the African two-horned rhino.
There are several rare birds that can be found in the zoo. The interesting thing about the zoo is that the animals are kept in more or less natural habitats and freely move around. The botanical gardens is home to more than 44 varieties of orchids.
The Ugratara Temple, also called the Ugro Tara Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and is located on the western side of Jor Pukhuri, Uzan Bazaar. The Ugratara Temple is one of the most important pilgrimage centres in Assam. Its central location makes it one of the most easily accessible temples in the city of Guwahati.
It is believed that Goddess Ugra Tara, another form of Parvati, resides in the temple. The sanctun sanctorum of the temple does not host the idol of the goddess. Instead, a small pit containing water is considered and worshipped as the goddess. There is also a legend related to Buddhism and thus is also revered by the Buddhists. It is an important Shakti shrine built by Ahom King Shiva Singh in 1725 AD.
Like the other monuments of Guwahati, the Ugratara Temple was also destroyed partially due to the great earthquake of 1897. Thus, the temple that is currently standing tall is a result of several modifications and renovations.
Guwahati Planetarium is located in the heart of the city on MG Road and is considered to be one of the most sophisticated planetariums in India. Its distinctive dome and sloping walls, set it apart from the rest of the planetariums in the country. This place is thronged by students and people interested in the outer space.
Japanese Goto GX instrument has been installed in the planetarium to offer visitors a sight into the space. It throws light into the little known secrets of the outer space. Each day hundreds of people from around the region and tourists visit this place. The planetarium also serves as a venue for science seminars, workshops and conferences for the astronomy fraternity from all over the country.
Located on the Peacock Island on the mighty Brahmaputra, the Umananda Temple is an enchanting piece of architecture that brightens the horizon of Guwahati city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was constructed under the Ahom king Gadadhar Singha’s rule and was constructed by Bar Phukan Garhganya Handique.
Shivratri, in the month of February, sees scores of worshippers every year. Not only is the temple imposing and beautiful but the sight of the River Brahmaputra around the temple is breath-taking.
Tourists should try visiting the temple in the evening when the sun is setting. An interesting feature of the temple is the numerous engraving on the walls of the temple. Images of several Hindu gods such as Surya, Shiva, Ganesha and Devi are engraved on the walls of the temple. The temple can be reached only by ferries and motor launches.
To catch a glimpse of the tradition and culture of Assam, a visit to the Assam State Museum is a must. Situated in the heart of Guwahati on the southern end of Dighalipukhuri Tank, the Assam State Museum features various interesting artefacts that are related to archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics and iconography.
The Assam State Museum was built in 1940 by the Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti (Assam Research Society). Though initially it was privately owned, and the founder president was Late Kanklal Baruah, in the year 1953 it was taken over by the state government. The museum is considered as an interesting storehouse of ancient Assamese coins, tribal arts, sculptures and traditional fabrics.
To promote the culture and tradition of the state, the Assam State Museum also organises handicrafts and handloom exhibitions, etc. The museum remains open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to around 5 PM. Since the museum is centrally located, tourists can easily reach the place.
Located on the top of the Nilachal Hill is the famous Bhuvaneshwari Temple built in the honour of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari who according to Hindu mythology is the fourth of the ten Mahavidya goddesses and an aspect of Devi.
The temple is said to have been built between the 7th and 9th century AD. The stone structure is quite similar to the Kamakhya temple, and it offers tranquil surroundings for the devotees and tourists to enjoy. The temple is thronged by hundreds of tourists every day.
It attracts a large number of devotees and tourists from around the world during Ambubachi and Manasha Puja. Many tourists prefer to trek upwards to the temple from Kamakhya, and it gives them awesome sights of the mighty Brahmaputra River below. You will also get a panoramic view of the city of Guwahati from the Bhuvaneshwari Temple.
The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is located 50 km from Guwahati in the Marigaon district of Assam. The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is especially known for housing a large population of the one-horned Rhinos. Out of its total 30.8 sq km area, 16 sq km is inhabited by Rhinos.
Since it is over populated with Rhinos, they are now said to be moving out of the sanctuary’s boundaries. Apart from the Rhinos the major attraction of the wildlife sanctuary is the migratory birds that make this place their home once every year. Over 2000 migratory birds flock here every year.
There are several other animals that can be spotted in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, such as the Asiatic Buffalos, Leopards, Wild cats, Wild bears, etc. The best time to visit the wildlife sanctuary is between the months of October and April. It takes about one hour on the road from Guwahati to reach the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
Manas National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the state of Assam. It has been declared as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, a Project Tiger Reserve, Biosphere Reserve and an Elephant Reserve. It is located at the foothills of the Himalayas and extends up to Bhutan where it becomes the Royal Manas National Park.
The park is home to several kinds of endangered animals such as the Hispid Hare, Assam Roofed Turtle, Pygmy Hog and the Golden Langur. It also has a substantial population of the wild water buffalo. There are over 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 kinds of reptiles and 3 kinds of amphibians found in the park.
Tourists can also indulge in jungle safaris, natural treks and trail. The national park falls under several districts, namely Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, and Darrang. The best time to visit the park is from October to March.
The Janardana Temple is dedicated to Lord Buddha. It is situated on the Shukleshwar hillock near the Shukleshwar Ghat of the Brahmaputra river. The architecture reflects a subtle combination of Hindu and Buddhist styles enhancing its beauty manifold. It is believed that the temple was renovated in the 17th century but was built much earlier.
The temple’s location is beautiful and almost perfect. Its location on a hillock gives an overview of the river Brahmaputra. Tourists can enjoy the calm evening on the Janardana Temple while praying at the main hall of the temple.
Tourists can easily reach the temple from Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati’s city centre on public transport buses and hired taxis. The best time to visit the Janardana Temple is during early mornings and evenings as one can bask in the beauty of the sun rising and setting.
The Regional Science Centre Museum in Guwahati is one of the 27 science centres administered by the Government of India's National Council of Science Museums. It is an extremely popular place with the students and the science fraternity and a must visit for the visitors travelling with kids. Here, you will be able to catch a glimpse of a number of exhibitions, science shows, camps and seminars.
The centre is located in Jawaharnagar, Khanapara in the outskirts of the city of Guwahati and easily accessible by various forms of transportation. It came up in the year 1994 and has featured in tourist itinerary ever since. It houses a number of rare instruments, machinery and documents that can help understand science better.
The major attractions in this science centre include a prehistoric park, 3D science movies, mirror magic, science shows, butterfly corner, digital planetarium and many aquariums.
The Sukreswar Temple is one of the must-visit places for anyone coming to Guwahati. This shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed in 1744 by Ahom King Pramatta Singha. The temple also saw the contribution of King Rajeswar Singha from 1744 to 1751 and serves as an important chapter in Assam’s history.
The temple promoted the cause of the Saiva cult. The temple is located on the Sukreswar or Itakhuli Hill on the south bank of river Brahmaputra near Panbazar, one of the prominent localities in Guwahati.
The long flight of steps to the river Brahmaputra is one of the favourite places with the tourists visiting this temple. Tourists can enjoy the scenery of the sun setting on the horizon of the river. It is an equally popular place among the young and the old. The stone structure also gives you a glimpse into the architecture that prevailed during the rule of the Ahom dynasty.