Road Trippers Guide To Assam- Chapter 1: Exploring Guwahati
The Road Trip : A Bird's Eye View
The State of Assam has a total of 23 districts as officially stated by the census 2015. Assam has a plethora of attractions unexplored with a rich culture and extraordinary natural beauty. Known for its tea, wildlife, folk music, festivals, bamboo and cane handicrafts, Assam is a state that is yet to be explored to its full potential.
This article covers the districts of Kamrup, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh in a series of posts. The guide will help you to orient yourself while you plan your road trip across the state. The state has an excellent road connectivity, barring a few hic-ups(but that will never bog you down) and the main highway is NH-37, which connects the major tourist districts of the state.
The starting point of the trip is from Kamrup district from the grandeur of the Guwahati City. This post will help you to plan the trip in the Guwahati city. So, let's get you started
Guwahati is the benchmark of the rich culture and heritage that the state of Assam has. If you are in Guwahati, it is a must not to miss out on the cultural buildings, temples, museums and parks and of course the Brahmaputra River Cruise:
Most of the attractions can be covered over a day, as they are situated close by, except for the Kamakhya Temple which requires half a day to visit. The trip can be easily planned over a two day schedule with the second day for the temple visit. The transit can be nearby the Guwahati Railway Station. The area has plethora of budget hotels and lodges where accommodation is cheap and will help you keep your travel costs in control.
Guwahati on the Map
The ideal start point for the journey can be the Guwahati Railway Station. The prime attractions are located close to the railway station.
Learn about the rich and varied culture of Assam by dropping into the Assam State Museum, by witnessing a huge collections of artifacts and paintings.
Take a break, cross the street and relax at the Prashaanti Udyan Park. Best, step on a pedal boat and explore the lakes.Splendid views of the city!
#1. Assam State Museum
Start with exploring the areas around the railway station. Drop into the Assam State Museum and find yourself surrounded with the colors of a rich culture. Walk through the miniature setup of a typical Assamese village and learn what makes up an Assamese house.
Inside Assam State Museum
#2. Prashanti Udyan Park
The Prashanti Udyan Park opposite the Assam State Museum is a serene lake in the hustle-bustle of the city, yet a peaceful place to be. Go boating on the pedal boats, sit along the pedestrian walks, and sip some coffee as you enjoy the pristine views.
Ready for the boat ride??
#3. Alfresco Grand River Cruise
If you are visiting Guwahati and you are not venturing on the Brahmaputra Rivers, then your journey here is not complete. Hit straight for the Alfresco Grand River Cruise for a spectacular ride on the Brahmaputra Rivers.
The river cruises save more than 45 minutes of ride across the Saraighat bridge. The idea is not to save on the road trip, but to give your ride a ride of the river cruise. Everyday, the ferries cross more than 200 two-wheelers from the Guwahati city on the other side to the Kamrup district.
The Alfresco Grand River Cruise takes you on a ride along the Brahmaputra river to explore the beautiful natural lagoons, the temples along the ghats and not to forget- the prestigious IIT Guwahati Campus.
You can also explore the local ferry boats which charge lesser prices to take you across the river. If you are looking for a ferry boat solely for yourself, then you can get one on a bargain of Rs. 300/- to Rs. 400/- for a 45-50 minute ferry over the waters.
Tip: Charge your cameras. You want to take lots of pictures here..
#4. Guwahati Planetarium
Located adjacent to the Guwahati High Court, the Guwahati Planetarium is worth a visit. A 30 mins small movie show is conducted at regular intervals on the weekdays. You may not expect wonders here, but certainly you will enjoy the show here.
The planetarium attracts limited visitors, but then that is enough to conduct a show everyday. The charges start from a nominal Rs. 30/-.
#5. Nepali Mandir
Head for the city to explore more of Guwahati. The Nepali Mandir, a traditional temple along the crossroads as you move around in the market area near the Guwahati Railway Station is a great attraction for the travelers.
Located on the Md Shah Road, this temple is a landmark for the travelers passing the street.The Radha Krishna Temple is maintained and looked after by the Gorkha Community since 1932, after the plot of land had been allotted to them by the British during that year.
#6. Kamakhya Temple
Ideally, if you intend to visit the temple, I would recommend that you keep a day for it, as the temple is the most sought after destinations of the State. I intentionally kept it for the end, so the best part is uncovered in the end.
The Kamakhya Temple is the temple of Goddess Kali, and the legend says, that a person who crosses over the Brahmaputra river to come to the land of Kamakhya Devi will cross the river 7 times in his life. I do not know how far the legend is true, but so far, I have crossed it five times.
I had first stepped into North East India at the age of 14 years; back then it took me a train journey of 3 days to reach Guwahati, what seemed to be a never-ending journey for me. Since then till date, I have been in and out of the city several times, and witnessed the beauty of the Kamakhya Temple several times.
Early morning at 05:00 am is the ideal time to be here.The earlier you get here, the better it is. For me it is the sunrise view from the temple. So glorious, it will send a chill through your spine. The temple bells ringing in the morning adds to the divinity.
Attend the morning prayers here and seek the blessings for the journey ahead, and you are ready to hit the roads after a quick breakfast to venture deeper into Assam.
Summary of the Sights
Time To Spend
Distance from the Railway Station
Assam State Museum
Prashaanti Udyan Park
Alfresco Grand River Cruise- Umnanda Temple