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Guwahati

Guwahati (Assamese: ), Pragjyotishpura (Sanskrit: ) and Durjoya (Sanskrit: ) in ancient Assam, and formerly known as Gauhati in modern era, is a metropolis, the largest city of Assam in India and is the fastest developing city in India, ancient urban area and now largest metropolitan area in north-eastern India. It is said to be the "Gateway" of the North East Region. Dispur, the capital of the Indian state of Assam is located within the city and is the seat of the Government of Assam. Guwahati, formerly Pr gjyotishpura meaning City of Eastern Light [1] [2], other view is Pr g meaning eastern and jyotish meaning astrology [3] and Durjaya meaning impregnable were the capital's of ancient state of Kamarupa under Varman's and Pala's respectively.[4] The city has many ancient hindu temples located within the city. Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple, Navagraha Temple, Sukreswar Temple, Basistha Temple, Lankeshwar Temple, Doul Govinda Temple, Dirgheshwari temple, Ugro Tara Temple, Rudreswar Temple, etc., are to be named a few. Thus, the city is also known as the "The City of Temples."

The city is situated between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, with LGB International Airport to the west, and the town of Narengi to the east. The city is gradually being expanded as North Guwahati to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation, the city's local government, administers an area of 216 km , while the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority, the planning and development administers an area of 264 km .[5]

Guwahati is a major commercial and educational center of North-East India and is home to world class institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati and other premier institutions like Gauhati University and Cotton College. The city is also a major center for cultural activities and sports in the North Eastern region and for the administrative and political activities of Assam. The city is also an important hub for transportation in the North East Region.

Guwahati and its environs are also rich in wildlife with several rare mammals such as Asian elephants, Gaur, Tiger and primates.[6] The birdlife in and around the city is also rich and diverse.[7]

Contents


Etymology

The name Guwahati is two Assamese words: 'guwa' (areca nut) and 'haat' (market place). The name used to be spelled as Gowhatty (pre-colonial and colonial), standardized to Gauhati (colonial-British), which was then changed to the present form in the late 1980s to conform to the local pronunciation

History

Guwahati's myths and history go back several thousands of years. Although the date of the city's beginning is unknown, references in the epics, Purana's, and other traditional histories, lead many to assume that it is one of the ancient cities of Asia.

Epigraphic sources place the capitals of many ancient kingdoms in Guwahati. It was the capital of the 'mythological' kings Narakasura and Bhagadatta according to the Mahabharata.[8] The ancient sakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya located in Nilachal hill (also important seat of Tantric and Vajrayana Buddhism), the ancient and unique astrological temple Navagraha located in Chitrachal Hill, and archaeological remains in Basista and other locations support the mythological assertions of the city's ancient past.

A view of Kamakhya Temple

The Ambari excavations trace the city to the 6th century AD. The city was known as Pragjyotishpura and Durjoya in different time periods, and was the capital under the Varman Dynasty and the Pala dynasties of the Kamarupa kingdom. Descriptions by Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) reveal that during the greatest Varman king Bhaskar Varman(7th century AD), the city stretched for about 30li (15 km)[9] and was probably the principal base for his strong naval force (30,000 war-boats, with officers who were knowledgeable of the sea-routes from the Indian Ocean to China - Xuanzang). The city remained as the capital of Assam till the 10-11th century AD under the rulers of the Pala dynasty. Excavations in Ambari, and the brick walls and houses excavated during construction of the present Cotton College's auditorium suggest that it was a city of great size with economic and strategic importance until the 9-11th century AD.

During medieval times between the 12-15th century AD, after the destruction of the Kamata kingdom, the city lost its earlier glory and became mainly a strategic outpost of the Koch Hajo and Ahom Kingdoms of western and eastern Assam. When the western part of the Koch Kingdom (Koch Bihar) fell to the Mughals, the eastern half (Koch Hajo) eventually became a protectorate of Ahom. Although the actual border between both powers (Ahoms and Mughals) fluctuated between the Kartoya river (now in North Bengal) to the Manas and Barnadi rivers, Guwahati remained an important outpost.

The city was the seat of the Borphukan, the civil military authority of the lower Assam region appointed by the Ahom kings. The Borphukan's residence was in the present Fansi Bazaar area, and his council-hall, called Dopdar, was situated about to the west of the Bharalu stream. The Majindar Baruah, the personal secretary of the Borphukan, had his residence in the present-day Deputy Commissioner's residence .

File:River Brahmaputra.jpg|

River Brahmaputra at Kharghuli, Guwahati

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Digholy Pukhury, Guwahati

File:Accoland by Vikramjit Kakati 2012.jpg|

Accoland Amusement park

The Mughals tried to invade Assam 17 times and each time they were defeated by the Ahoms led by the great Ahom general Bir Lachit Borphukan. The Battle of Saraighat fought close to Guwahati in 1671 is the most well known of all those battles, in which the Mughals were over-run due to the strong leadership of Lachit Borphukan and hard work of Brahmaputra, and was an ancient boat yard probably used by the Ahoms in medieval times. Moreover, there are many tanks, temples, ramparts, etc. in the city. The most important archaeological site is the Ambari excavation site close to Dighali Pukhuri. Guwahati means place of sunrise.

A new cantilever bridge across river Brahmaputra has been planned to link North Guwahati.

Climate

Urban morphology

Guwahati's Urban Morphology

Guwahati's 'urban form' is somewhat like a starfish. With a core in the central areas, the city has tentacles extending in the form of growth corridors towards south, east and west. In the past few decades, southern Guwahati areas such as Ganeshguri, Beltola, Panjabari, Jatia, Kahilipara etc. began forming a southern sub-center surrounding the capital complex at Dispur, principally depending on the GS Road corridor. The Panjabari area which is near about 5 km from Dispur is full of natural beauties and climatic condition are somehow similar to Meghalaya. Shankardev Kalakshetra is one of popular tourist spots in this area.

The core area consists of the old city with Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Fansi Bazaar and Uzan Bazaar, each one facilitating unique urban activities. While Paltan Bazaar is the hub for transportation and hotels, Pan Bazaar is centered around educational, administrative, cultural activities, offices and restaurants. Fansi Bazaar is the hub for retail and wholesale commercial activities, and Ujan Bazaar mainly contains administrative, retail and residential areas. With these bustling areas, the city core is a busy and lively part of the Guwahati. Ulubari, Lachit Nagar, Chandmari and Zoo Road (R.G. Baruah Road), which have a mix of retail-commercial and residential areas, can be considered an additional part of the core.

Among the city corridors, the most important is the corridor formed along the Guwahati-Shillong (GS) Road towards the south (almost 15 km from the city-center). The GS Road corridor is an important commercial area with retail, wholesale and offices developed along the main road, and it is also a densely-built residential area in the inner parts. The capital complex of Assam at Dispur is situated in this corridor. This corridor has facilitated the growth of a southern city sub-center at Ganeshguri, along with other residential areas to the south developed during the past few decades.

The corridor extending towards the west (around 30 km from the city-center) contains a rail-road linking not only Guwahati but also other parts of the North Eastern Region east of Guwahati to rest of western Assam and India. The corridor links residential and historically important areas such as Nilachal Hill (Kamakhya), Pandu, and Maligaon (headquarters of Northeast Frontier Railways) before it separates into two - one towards North Guwahati and the other continuing west towards LGB International Airport via the University of Gauhati (Jalukbari). There are also many river ports/jetties along this corridor.

The third major corridor extends towards the east (around 15 km from the city-center) linking Noonmati (Guwahati Oil Refinery - IOC Ltd.) and Narengi, and has facilitated residential growth along it.

Highway NH 37, which encircles the city's southern parts and links the southern corridor in Noumile to the western corridor in Jalukbari is currently supporting rapid development. Similarly, the VIP Road linking Zoo Road with the eastern corridor and recently completed Hengerabari-Narengi Road are also supporting massive residential development to the east.

In brief, the major components of Guwahati's urban structure are:

  • The core or the 'city center' with Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Fansi Bazaar and Ujan Bazaar
  • The extended core with Chandmari, Zoo Road and Ulubari
  • The north-southeast Guwahati-Shillong (GS) Road Corridor
  • The southern sub-center of Ganeshguri
  • The western corridor towards Kamakhya, Jalukbari and LGBI Airport and
  • The eastern corridor towards Noonmati and Narengi

But the city is having notable changes in its morphology with rapid expansion. The Khanapara road is being converted into 4 lanes and it will be extended up to a place called Changsari in near future. Various projects are undertaken on the outskirts like the water park in Rani, which has brought those far flung areas under city reach by continuous visit by tourists. Also, two five star hotels are on the verge of being set up, arising hopes that by a decade or so, the city will be twice its size now.

Governance

Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is the local body responsible for governing, developing and managing the city. (GMC) is further divided into 60 municipal wards.[10]

Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is an agency currently responsible for planning and development of the greater Guwahati Metropolitan Area, which is currently revising the Guwahati Master Plan and Building Bylaws.

Guwahati Development Department, a special department of the Government of Assam, has been recently formed for Guwahati's overall development.

Guwahati consists of four assembly constituencies: Jalukbari, Dispur, Gauhati East and Gauhati West,[11] all of which are part of Guwahati (Lok Sabha constituency).[12]

Demographics

Guwahati is one of the most rapidly growing cities in India. The city's population grew from just two-hundred thousand in 1971 to more than five-hundred thousand in 1991, and in the census of 2001 the city's population was found to be 808,021. By 2011, it is estimated that Guwahati will boast more than a 2.5 million residents.

In 2001, males constituted 55 percent and females at 45 percent of Guwahati's residents. It was found that 10 percent of the population is under 6 years of age. Guwahati has an average literacy rate of 78 percent, with male literacy at 81 and female literacy at 74 percent.The Major religion followed is Hinduism.

Economy

The gross domestic product of Guwahati metro was estimated at $1 billion in 2010. As a river port, Guwahati has traditionally been an important administrative and trading center. Separate income estimates for the city are not yet available as city-level income estimation is not a traditional practice in India, and is not practiced in a systematic and continual manner. However, by looking at the agglomeration of activities and employment patterns it can be easily understandable that the city contributes a lion's share of the state's income.

The major economic activities are trade and commerce, transportation and services. Guwahati is the most important trade hub in the North Eastern Region. It is a major wholesale distribution center, a marketing hub, and also a retail hub of the region. The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre is one of the largest in the world. As in other cities, 'mall culture' is now invading Guwahati. Manufacturing is also an important activity, although it is not comparable to those of India's rapidly growing industrial cities. The most important manufacturing industry in the city is the petroleum refinery of IOCL at Noonmati, which is known as Guwahati Refinery. The city contains the headquarters or regional offices of several manufacturing and business establishments, e.g. Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL). Guwahati is also important for printing and publishing, as well as businesses related to electronic and print media. During the past two decades, businesses such as real estate development, finance, etc. have also intensified. Retail and Real Estate have also emerged as big players. Recent times have seen large scale retail chains such as Vishal MegaMart, Big Bazaar,Westside, Pantaloons, Salasar Mega Store,Hidesign, Wills Lifestyle , Levi Strauss & Co. had opened their outlets in Guwahati. Guwahati is home to the Guwahati Stock Exchange (GSE).

Tourism and recreation, education, research, cultural activities, real estate etc. are also slowly increasing and contributing to city's economy.

Terrorism and insurgency

There is a fair amount of ethnic and religious diversity in Guwahati, but the city has been plagued by terrorism and insurgency in recent years. Several bombings were carried out in 2008 and 2009, claiming a total of at least 96 lives and wounding around 600 others.[13][14][15]

Infrastructure

Spanish Garden Complex

Although being a medium sized city, ranking around 50th (in terms of population) in India, the city's quality of life is comparatively higher. A recent survey (2006) by a popular Indian magazine - Outlook (Money) ranked Guwahati 16th among all the major and medium sized Indian cities.

The city provides competitive residential and working environments with beautiful landscapes, pleasant climate, modern shopping areas, modern apartments and bungalows, and considerably good social infrastructure. Yet infrastructure in the city still requires extensive attention, which can increase and revolutionize the city's reputation, investment environment, and overall growth pattern. Major investments in infrastructure are being planned in the city, covering many aspects of the utilities and transportation infrastructures, with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Guwahati is to also receive substantial city development funds from JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) - the Government of India's recently conceived commission for urban development, and a development plan for the city has been recently finalized.

The city suffers from the lack of sufficient utilities for the development of infrastructure. The existing water supply system is inadequate, depending largely on ground water resources (higher water level). It also lacks a comprehensive underground sewage system. Septic tanks at individual houses are popular. The storm drainage system is comparatively good, although many areas experience water logging due to heavy rainfall in the monsoon season. Extensive soil erosion from the hills and clogging of the drainage system is frequent and expensive for the city. Solid waste is being managed by the local authority with private partners. It lacks modern equipment, methods and practices.

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Night view of Guwahati

File:Guwahati at Dusk.jpg|

Guwahati at Dusk

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IIT Guwahati Night View

Transport

Air

LGB International Airport

Guwahati is serviced by the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar, about 20 km west of the city center. Air connections have improved considerably in the last couple of years and all major domestic airlines fly into Guwahati. Helicopter services are operated from Guwahati to Shillong (30 min), Tura (50 min), Naharlagun (Itanagar), Tawang (75 min) by Pawan Hans, a helicopter service. Guwahati airport averages about 95-100 arrivals and departures a day. Guwahati is serviced with direct flights to Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore,Chennai, Ahmedabad and other major cities in India by different airlines. Druk Air connects Guwahati internationally to Bangkok and Paro twice a week. A modernization plan is underway at Guwahati airport right now and once it is completed, the AAI plans to make Guwahati a hub of air connectivity. Northeast Shuttles(P) Ltd. has started daily flights in their 18 seater Dornier 228 and 9 seater Cessna 208 aircraft from Guwahati airport connecting Silchar, Imphal, Aizawl, Dimapur.

Rail

Guwahati Railway Station

Guwahati falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway zone of the Indian Railways. Guwahati Junction which is the major station of Guwahati is the headquarters of the zone. Two minor stations are Kamakhya and New Guwahati (for freight services) located towards west and east from Guwahati respectively. Major trains serving Guwahati are Guwahati Rajdhani Express, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, Saraighat Express, North-East Express, Guwahati Bangalore Express, Guwahati Ernakulam Express, Kamrup Express, Guwahati-Jorhat Jan Shatabdi Express.

But the city still lacks direct connectivity through railway to Bhopal Junction, Indore Junction BG, Gwalior, Pune and many central as well as western cities of India.

Road

National Highway 31 connects Guwahati with the states Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. National Highway 37 from Goalpara in Assam to Dimapur in Nagaland traverses the entire length of Assam and connects Guwahati with almost all the major cities of Assam including the cities of Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Bongaigaon.

Guwahati is very well connected with adjoining regions via bus services. Two nodal points, Adabari and Paltan Bazaar, provide bus services to towns and cities in Assam and adjoining states. Some of these services are run by the government agency ASTC, whereas a vast majority of them are run by private companies. "Night supers", or buses that run overnight, and luxury coaches, are very popular.

The Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) located at the outskirts, provides connectivity with other regions of the Northeast with regular buses for major cities and tourist destinations of the neighbouring states.

Citizens from Myannmar can come in through the border post of Tamu-Moreh and take a connecting flight from Imphal to the city. There are also regular Bus services from Imphal to the city. Similarly, citizens can come from Bhutan and Bangladesh through Border Posts and take the Bus Services to the city.

Waterways

National Waterway No. 2 & Saraighat Bridge

Guwahati, being on the bank of Brahmaputra River, is connected to National Waterways No 2, with a terminal at Pandu. It is used for movement of bulk & general cargo, passenger vessels and tourist vessels.

Local transport

Lack of sufficient road space is also a major problem. The length of surfaced road within the city is presently at 218 km (ARSAC). The major corridor roads suffer from insufficient right of way, illegal construction methods, and improper planning and design. The roads in the residential neighborhoods are extremely narrow (lack of proper regulations) causing problems related to both traffic and infrastructure installations. Cul-de-sacs are neither planned nor designed properly.

Guwahati has a good public transit system. A government agency - Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and many private operators provide a considerably good city-bus system. It requires further modernization and integration with city planning and management initiatives. Guwahati is the first city in the North-east where low floored buses were introduced.

Apart from City Buses, tracker services, which are soft top multi utility vehicles with a sitting capacity of 10-12, also provide public transport facilities along major roads in the city. They are popular among people for fast travel in the city, although these vehicles are usually overloaded with passengers and tend to drive very fast causing frequent accidents.

Three-wheeler Auto rikshaws are available throughout the city on metered fare basis. [16] There is no organised Taxi service in Guwahati for intra-city travel, although cars are available on rental basis from numerous travel agencies operating in the city.

As of now, there is no Mass Rapid Transit System in Guwahati, although the authorities are planning for the same in future.

Ropeway

A ropeway is being constructed connecting Guwahati city with North-Guwahati over Brahmaputra River. Its purpose is local travel as well as tourism.

Education and health facilities

IIT Guwahati Academic and Administrative Buildings
Cotton College buildings
IIT Guwahati Panorama View
AEC: Assam Engineering College

The city is home to Gauhati University in Jalukbari. Gauhati University was the first university in Assam to be set up in 1948. This was also the first premier educational institute to be set up in the North-East India. Gauhati University was recently ranked among the top 26 universities of India according to a survey by India Today.

The century-old Cotton College is one of the most reputed colleges in eastern India, and possesses great scholastic and cultural value.

The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is the sixth member of the high-profile world's renowned IITs in India. Since its establishment in 1994, IIT Guwahati has proven itself as an excellent institution for research and education. The Assam Engineering College and the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital which include Regional Dental College and Regional College of Nursing are the two important institutions for science and technology and medical education.

Among the city's many other institutions of higher learning are the Gauhati Commerce College, College of Veterinary Science under AAU, Government Ayurvedic College, Arya Vidyapeeth College,B. Borooah College, Handique Girls College (they all have both Arts and Science streams), Assam Engineering Institute (engineering diploma courses), Pandu College, LCB College, West Guwahati Commerce College, K.C.Das Commerce College (1983) and J.B. Law College.

Guwahati also has branches of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). Assam Institute of Management, North Eastern Regional Institute of Management (NERIM), Institute of Strategic Business Management (ISBM), NEF Law College, NEF College of Management & Technology and Darwin School of Business are notable institutes of higher education. There are newly opened private higher education institutes like Royal Group of Institutions, Betkuchi, Asian Institute of Management and Technology, Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Management and Technology, Azara and NAPS- National Academy of Professional Studies. The city also has Don Bosco University, the first State approved private university in Assam and North East India. The Kamrup College of Vocational Training provides education and training on Vocational and Professional Management Courses.

The city is an important center for health facilities in eastern India, featuring many government and private specialty hospitals. The most important are the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital,Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital, Guwahati Neurological Research Centre (GNRC), Down Town Hospital, International Hospital, Dr. B. Barooah Cancer Institute, Hayat Hospital and Sankardev Netralaya. Medical education and research are also important activities.

Sports

Guwahati has considerably good sporting facilities, boasting the Nehru Stadium while the Kanaklata Indoor Stadium in the R.G. Baruah Sports Complex (in the Ulubari locality) is older sports complex of the city.

There are smaller stadiums in Maligaon (the N.F. Railway Stadium) and in Paltan Bazaar area where the SAI Sports complex is located.

Recently completed sporting facilities specially constructed for the 33rd National Games include a large stadium at Sarusajai the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, the Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, and the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi A.C. Indoor Hall. Other new sports structures include the Maulana Md. Tayabullah Hockey Stadium at Bhetapara, the Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium at Ulubari, Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium at Amingaon, and Chachal Tennis Complex.

The other renovated sports complexes include Ganesh Mandir Indoor Stadium, Khanapara, Rudra Singha Sports Complex, Dispur and Gauhati University sports stadium.

GTC: Gauhati Town Club, a very old and prestigious club of the state located at Pan Bazar is provide very good sports facilities . The club has a football academy, cricket centre, chess foundation and a swimming centre where the prime thrust is given to groom the young and budding talents of the region.

A swanky new cricket stadium being under construction by Assam Cricket Association at Barsapara, under West Guwahati Assembly Constituency. The stadium boasts of having international quality standards with a capacity of 50,000 spectators.

Moreover, along with the Brahmaputra river, there are many lakes and rocky hills in the city suitable for various water and adventure sports.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Guwahati

The Akshaya Patra Foundation came into being in the year 2000 to address two of the most immediate challenges of India - hunger and education by providing unlimited, wholesome food to attract children to schools, retain them and then focus on children s holistic development.

Akshaya Patra Kitchen Facility in N.H. 31, Amingaon, Guwahati

Akshaya Patra Kitchen (Steam Cooking of Rice, Dal & Sabji)

A secular, charitable organization, Akshaya Patra offers nutrition-rich food daily to school children in government schools in eighteen locations in India. Since its inception, the program has scaled up to provide about 12,98,049 hygienic and nutritious meals every day through a cost-effective process.

In Guwahati, the Foundation provides meals for 45,000 government school children daily in 510 Schools covering a radius of 45 50 km from the kitchen. Situated in Amingaon on N.H. 31, it is one of the North East Region's biggest centralized kitchen facilities.

The kitchen is fully mechanized with industrial boilers and steam cookers for cooking rice, dal, sabji, and kheer for 50,000 children in 4 hours.

Places of interest

A beautiful view of sunset across the Brahmaputra river near Sukleswar ghat in Guwahati
KFC Restaurant
Spanish Garden
Dona Planet
Brahmaputra with Ferry; Fancy Bazaar
Paltan Bazaar
GS Road, Guwahati
Umananda Temple
View of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati from Nilachal hill
A Rhino at Assam State Zoo
Balaji Temple, Guwahati
ISKCON Temple, Guwahati

Guwahati possesses many places of interests with its lively urban activities, ancient temples, numerous scenic natural features, and the recreational activities they provide. Guwahati is also situated at the center of an attractive region (within 200 km radius) with natural parks, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations of different types, and a colourful cultural landscape.

City attractions

There are several interesting and lively places in the city. These areas provide the city with hotels, restaurants, shopping and business areas, the most lively being the city center. Momos and chicken rolls are a popular form of fast-food available in almost every restaurant. Moreover, there are several good restaurants offering Indian, South Indian, traditional Assamese, Chinese and continental food. There are also several good book shops and music stores. A few of these areas are:

Shopping centres

The city boasts several shopping malls.[17] These are the major ones:

  • Metro Bazar
  • Eastrends
  • The HUB
  • Ohio Shopping
  • Fort mall
  • Sohum Shoppe (Fancy Bazar & GS Road)
  • The Cube
  • Dona Planet
  • Spanish Garden

Retail Chains

Exclusive boutiques around Digholi Pukhuri and the riverside:

  • Hidesign
  • Fabindia
  • Flying Machine

Multiplexes in the city

The city has several multiplexes for refreshments.[18] Some of them are:

  • Gold Cinemas (Paltan Bazar, Lakhtokia & Narangi)
  • CineMAX
  • Fun Cinemas

Pan Bazaar:

A lively part of the city center on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra. Cotton College, Digholy Pukhury (Dighali Pukhuri), The State Museum, RBI, District Court (Kamrup District), etc. are all major landmarks. Moreover, the area also possesses many libraries, major government offices, and a shopping district. Restaurants and bookshops in the area provide a unique environment. It also contains a major wholesale market for drugs and pharmaceutical products, and a hub for printing and publication. Close to Digholy Pukhury, there are many stores with traditional arts and crafts from Assam and other parts of the NER. Kachari Ghat, next to the district court is an important local river port.

Fancy Bazaar:

Situated in the western part of the city-center is a busy commercial district for both wholesale and retail. Originally called Fansi Bazaar after the district jail that executed criminals/freedom fighters by british by hanging (fansi, in the local language), the name has slowly transformed to Fancy Bazaar to denote the retail stores for clothes and garments. The place is also the hub for various wholesale products ranging from food and beverages, garments, to hardware and building materials.

Paltan Bazaar:

In the central part of the city-center is the hub for transportation and hotels. With Guwahati railway station, the regional bus stand (ASTC), numerous hotels, restaurants and offices and stops of numerous private regional bus service providers, this area is the busiest and most congested. There are also many small shops selling traditional garments from various parts of the NER. After the start of operations at ISBT for Intra and Inter state bus service, bus services from paltan bazar has been prohibited by authorities to ease traffic congestion in the area. Now the ASTC Bus stand and various private bus operators only run shuttle services from Paltan Bazar to ISBT.

Ganeshguri:

A developed commercial area in the south, outside of the city-center. Its proximity to the state capital complex and rapidly growing southern residential areas have made it an important city sub-center. Ganeshguri is a busy part of the city with retail shopping areas, hotels and restaurants, and small businesses. It is named after the popular Ganesh Mandir situated in the area.

Beltola Bazaar:

A traditional weekly fruits and vegetables market with historic importance. The market has existed since its historic past and is an important traditional trading point between the people from the Khasi hills (Meghalaya) and local people. It is a rich market with various types of local food products. It is located in Beltola, a predominantly residential area in the south.

G S Road:

A long stretch of road between Ganeshguri and Paltan Bazaar, G S Road has emerged as the new commercial hub of Guwahati. G S Road boasts of some of the finest malls and restaurants Guwahati has to offer, and is considered by many to displace Fancy Bazaar and Pan Bazaar as the major shopping centers in the years to come. It is now also one of the most important and expensive pieces of property in Guwahati, containing some of the most commercially important buildings.

Guwahati War Cemetery:

A World War II war cemetery, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission[19] This is the only cemetery among the nine cemeteries in India which has war graves of Japanese soldiers. The cemetery has 521 graves, including 316 known and 18 unknown graves of soldiers from the United Kingdom, 136 known and seven unknown Indian soldiers, four from Canada, four from South Africa, one from New Zealand, two graves of soldiers whose nationality is unknown, 11 graves of Japanese soldiers and 24 graves of Chinese Army soldiers.[20]

Key attractions

The key attractions are:

River Cruise:

One of the major attractions of Guwahati is the River Cruise on the Brahmaputra river. To go a cruise on the mighty river is thrilling experience.There cruise vessels like 'MV Mahabahu', 'Jolporee','Charaidew', 'Alfresco' , 'Baginadi' etc. that will take the visitors on joy rides on the Brahmaputra river.Sitting abroad these luxurious cruise vessels tourists can relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset in the evening hours.

Umananda Temple:

Umananda Island, Guwahati
Situated on the peacock island in the middle of the Brahmaputra,this temple was built in 1664.This is a Shiva temple.It is believed that Lord Shiva by using his third eye burnt Kamdeva at this place.Every year Shivaratri is celebrated in this temple in great way.This temple island is believed to be the worlds smallest human inhabited island.

'''Accoland:'''

Accoland Family fun kingdom is North-East's only amusement park.named after Acco, the mythological king of amusement.This 'Family Fun Kingdom' is located at Patgaon.

'''Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra:'''

A view of Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra
Shankardev Kalakshetra is a place that visitors should never miss in Guwahati. Shankardev Khalakshetra name synonymous with the great Vaishnava saint and scholar of Assam Srimanta Shankardeva.It is a multipurpose cultural complex in Assam that has fulfilled its aim in protecting, promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of the different communities and tribes of Assam and the entire country.

Guwahati Planetarium:

Situated in Uzanbazar this planetarium is the only one of its kind in the entire North-Eastern region and a centre of astronomical research.

Assam State Museum:

Assam State Museum is situated near Dighali Pukhuri. This state museum houses many rare, specimen of Ahom Dynasty.Many articles equipment, dress materials belonging to the Glorious past of Assam are found here. Many antiques, statues, manuscripts, written on Shashi-paat and other valuable articles are preserved and displayed here.

Kamakhya Temple:

Kamakhya Temple situated some 5 km. away from the main city on the Nilachal Hill, is one of the most sacred Hindu Shrines of India. Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped here.'Ambubachi Mela' is celebrated every year in the middle of June in this temple.Lots of devotees from across the country gathered here during this mela.

Shilpagram:

Situated adjacent to Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra, this is the one and only Crafts Village of the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC).It had made landmark in the promotion of the varied arts and cultures of the people of the North-East.

It also hold regular cultural events throughout the year in its open air stage and auditorium.

Nehru Park:

Situated at heart of the city at Panbazar by the side of Cotton College. Nehru Park is another place that visitors should never miss.The highlights of the park are the concrete statues of Bihu dance, Ojapali dance, Deodhani dance, Jhumur dance, Bhoor tal dance etc. There are altogether 45 concrete statues depicting these various aspects of Assamese life and culture.

NEDFi Haat:

NEDFi Haat is located at a leased building of Industries & Commerce Department Govt. of Assam.In NEDFi Haat visitors can buy various handicraft & handloom products. As well as they can buy varieties of traditional food items produced by the Self Help Groups of the State in the Bihu seasons.

Assam State Zoo Cum Botanical Garden:

Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden is located at Hengerabari Reserved Forrest in the city.

Basistha Temple:

Basistha Temple is situated on Sandhyachal Hill,on the southern part of the city, this beautiful tourist spot was once the ashram (harmitage) of sage Basistha.

Sukreswar Temple:

Sukreswar Temple is an ancient Shiva temple built by Ahom king Pramatta Singha on Dakini Jogini hill by the side of river Brahmaputra.

Navagraha Temple:

Situated on the Chitranchal hill, this temple of nine planets (Navagraha) was built by Ahom king Rajeswar Singha. There is a stone imprint of solar system inside the temple.

Digholi Pukhuri:

Situated at the heart of the city at Uzanbazar and surrounded by the High Court on the north and the State Museum and District Library on the south. This is a huge man made tank.It was excavated by the mighty king Bhagadatta to celebrated the 'sayambar' of his daughter Bhanumati who was married off to Kourava prince Druyadhana.There is boating club on the Dighali Pukhuri.

Ugro Tara Temple:

Situated at the heart of the city banks of Joar Pukhuri (twin ponds). The Ugro Tara Temple is another shakti peeth temple where the eyes of sati were believed to have fallen.

Balaji Temple, Guwahati:

This temple is a recent addition to the religious places of Guwahati.It is situated at Betkuchi area of the city.Balaji temple with striking South Indian architecture is unlike the other temples of this place.In the evening illuminated by electric lights the temple looks very beautiful.

ISKCON Temple, Guwahati:

This Temple belongs to the ISKCON society founded by Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The Temple's main Deity is Radha-Krishna. The main emphasis of this temple's preaching lies on the teachings of Krishna and Bhagavad Gita. The evening is a good time to visit when the temple is filled with Devotees and Kirtan is held with full grandeur and splendor.

Other attractions in and around the city

  • Garchuk Lachit Garh
  • Lankeshwar Temple
  • Doul Govinda Temple
  • Dirgheshwari temple
  • Rudreswar Temple
  • Nepali Mandir
  • Kharghuli Beach
  • Sarania Pahar
  • Urvashi Island(Restricted)
  • Shraddhanjali Kanan
  • Dighli Pukhri
  • Chandubi Lake
  • Chandubi Eco Camp
  • Narengi Golf Club
  • Pandu port
  • Hajo
  • Deepor Beel Birds Sanctuary
  • Madan Kamdev archaeological region
  • ARTFED
  • Asom International Trade Fair (annual)
  • Guwahati International Annual Book Fair (annual)
  • Sualkuchi
  • Mirza
  • Jyotichitrabon
  • '''Gauhati Artists' Guild'''
  • Rest Camp Kalibari
  • AOL (Art of living) Aashram

See also

  • Battle of Saraighat
  • Pragjyotisha Kingdom
  • Kamarupa
  • Kamrupi
  • Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti
  • Kamrup District
  • Kamrup Metropolitan district
  • List of people from Assam
  • List of most populous cities in India
  • Saraighat Bridge
  • Varman Dynasty
  • Pala Dynasty
  • Pragjyotishpura
  • Durjaya

Notes

15.^ http://www.nehungama.com/

16.^ http://www.assamfuntime.com/

References

  

External links

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