|Kamakhya Temple||Nestled amidst the Nilachal Hills in the western part of the city|
|Uma Nanda Temple||Situated at the ‘Peacock Island’ in the middle of the Brahmaputra River right across the Kachari Ghat of Guwahati.|
|Janardana Temple||Nested atop the Shukleshwar Hillock overlooking the River Brahmaputra in the close proximity with the Shukleshwar Ghat|
|Ugro Tara Temple||Stationed right in the center of the city in Lotaxil (also called Latasil) area on the western side of the Jor Pukhury Tanks|
|Navagraha Temple||Clasped atop the ‘Chitrasal Hill’|
|Bhubaneswari Temple||Located approximately 8 kilometers away from the downtown Guwahati,|
|Sukreswar Temple||Situated atop the Itakhuli Hill also known as the ‘Sukreswar Hill’ on the southern banks of the river Brahmaputra in the Pan Bazaar area of the city|
|Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple||Located at Betkuchi along the Guwahati Shillong Highway|
|Doul Govinda Mandir||Positioned at the footings of the Chandrabharati Hill on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra River at Rajaduar in North Guwahati|
|ISKCON Temple||Located at Sarania Hills off Ashram Road just 2 kilometers away from the Guwahati Railway Station|
|Basistha Ashram||Positioned to the south of Dispur in the proximity with the Sandhychal Hills on the outskirts of the Garbhanga Reserve Forest|
|Shankardeva Kalakshetra||Located in the Panjabari area of the city|
|Pandu||Set up on the south banks of the river Brahmaputra in the western Guwahati|
|Assam State Museum||Situated in the central Guwahati adjacent the southern end of the Dighali Pukhuri Tank|
|Shilpagram||Positioned adjoining the Shankardeva Kalakshetra of Guwahati|
|Guwahati Planetarium||Located along the M.G. Road close to the Dighali Pukhuri Tank|
|Regional Science Center||Located at Khanapara just 14 kilometers away from Guwahati|
|Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens||Nestled within the premises of the Hengrabari Reserved Forest|
|Dighalipukhuri||Clasped right in the bosom of the city in the Uzan Bazaar area of Guwahati|
|Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||Located close to Guwahati in the eastern foothills of the Himalayas|
|Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary||Situated in the Marigaon district of Assam at the distance of about 48 kilometers to the east of Guwahati|
|Madan Kamdev||Stationed at Baihata Chariali of Kamarupa at the distance of about 40 kilometers from Guwahati|
|Sualkuchi||Located nearly 35 kilometers away from Guwahati and reposed on the northern banks of the river Brahmaputra|
|Cherrapunjee||Located about 148 kilometers from Guwahati|
|Hajo||Positioned on the banks of the river Brahmaputra about 35 kilometers away from Guwahati|
The Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati nestled amidst the Nilachal Hills in the western part of the city and dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya; a manifestation of Goddess Durga is one of the four Aadi Shakti Peethas scattered across the Indian Terra Firma. The Kamakhya Temple happens to be the chief shrine of a temple complex where the ten different forms of the Goddess Shakti i.e. ‘Dasa Mahavidyas’ are worshipped in separate shrines. The Kalika Purana cites that the Kamakhya Temple is the abode where Goddess Sati used to retire with Lord Shiva and indulge in amorous activities. Not only that, this is also the place where the ‘Yoni’ i.e. vagina of Sati had fallen while Lord Shiva was carrying her half burnt body from Daksha Yagna to Kailasa. Furthermore, the Kalika Purana describes the Goddess Kamakhya as the young bride of Lord Shiva who fulfils all the desires and yields salvation.
The original Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati was established during the reign of Kamarupa sometimes during the first millennium which was destroyed in 14th or 15th century AD approx. Chilarai; the commander-in-chief of Kamata Kingdom raised the second Kamakhya Temple in 1565 AD. The present day Kamakhya Temple crowned with a bee hive shaped Shikhara is ornamented with marvelously sculptured panels and several figurines of Lord Ganesha and other Hindu deities. The interiors of the temple encompass three major chambers. The middle one, square in outline and festooned with the sculptures of Nara Narayana, religious inscriptions and the effigies of other deities enshrines a small idol of Goddess Kamakhya. This chamber leads to the main sanctum sanctorum where inside a cave a perennial underground spring flows through a vagina (yoni) shaped cleave.
At the time of the Ambubachi Mela, this water turns red with iron oxide that is symbolized as the menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya. Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped according to the Tantric methods of adulation with flowers and animal sacrifices. Thousands of practitioners of Tantra and other devotees arrive at Guwahati to participate in the annual festivals of Kamakhya Temple, the chief of them being; the Ambubachi Mela, Manasa Puja and Durga Puja.
Uma Nanda Temple
The Uma Nanda Temple of Guwahati also refereed to as the ‘Uma Nanda Devaloi’ is an ancient Shiva Temple perched atop the Bhasmacala Knoll situated at the ‘Peacock Island’ in the middle of the Brahmaputra River right across the Kachari Ghat of Guwahati. The original Uma Nanda Temple constructed during the ascendancy of a Shaivaite Ahom Emperor; Gadadhar Singha was massively devastated in the lethal earthquake of 1897 AD. Later on, the temple was restored by a wealthy merchant. The Uma Nanda Temple bedecked with the rock-cut motifs of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Surya, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and several Vaishnavite slogans can be reached by a set of steep steps. The Peacock Island of Guwahati; the smallest inhabited river island in the whole world can be reached from Guwahati by country boats, ferries and steamers.
As the legend goes, when Lord Shiva was performing deep meditation atop the Bhasmacala hillock, Lord Kamdeva; the Hindu deity of love interrupted his penance and tried to get Lord Shiva attracted towards Parvati. Although, Kamdeva was burnt to ashes due to Lord Shiva’s anger here and thus the mound received its title ‘Bhasmacala’ or ‘Bhasmakuta’. Kalika Purana also mentions that the Peacock Island was earlier known as Urvasi Island as the heavenly nymph Urvasi resides here and daily brings nectar for Goddess Kamakhya. Lord Uma Nanda i.e. the Lord of Uma meaning Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this temple and worshipping Lord Uma Nanda on the day of Somavati Amavasya is believed to be exceedingly auspicious. The temple celebrates its annual festival on the Shiva Chaturdashi Day when myriads of devotees pay homage at the feet of Lord Uma Nanda.
The Janardana Temple of Guwahati nested atop the Shukleshwar Hillock overlooking the River Brahmaputra in the close proximity with the Shukleshwar Ghat is an ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Janardana i.e. a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. Assumed to be originally established in 10th century AD, the present day Janardana Temple of Guwahati is estimated to be dating back to 17th century AD. Despite the fact that the shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, an idol of Lord Buddha too is enshrined inside the main Sabha Mandapam of the Janardana Temple and the temple edifices also reflect several influences of Buddhist structural design. Thus, the Janardana Temple of Guwahati is commended as an exceptional paradigm of the supreme amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist orders of temple architecture achieved during the medieval era. The Shukleshwar Hillock positioned right in the heart of the city offers the most enchanting panoramas of the entire Guwahati conurbation and its surroundings and the most charismatic prospects of the dazzling Brahmaputra River can also be perceived from here. The Janardana Temple is flanked by the famous Shukaleshwar Shiva Temple of Guwahati where a Shiva Lingam supposed to be worshipped by Guru Shukracharya i.e. the Guru of the Demons is consecrated.
Ugro Tara Temple
The Ugro Tara Temple of Guwahati stationed right in the center of the city in Lotaxil (also called Latasil) area on the western side of the Jor Pukhury Tanks is an 18th century Hindu shrine dedicated to Goddess Tara; the 2nd of the Dasa Mahavidyas. Goddess Tara, manifested here in her most infuriated (Ugro) symmetry is the Tantric form of Goddess Kali worshipped as the Goddess of the Great Wisdom. As per the prevailing myth, when Lord Shiva was carrying the half burnt body of Sati to Kailasa from the Daksha Yagna, the naval of her body fell at this place. Besides, the Ugro Tara of Assam is also associated with the ‘Eka Jata’ and ‘Tikshna Kantha’ Goddesses of the Buddhist divinity. The present day Ugro Tara Temple was constructed during the dominion of the King Shiva Singh in the year 1725 which was partially demolished in the 1897 earthquake and rebuilt by certain residential nobleman.
The structure of the Ugro Tara Temple is profoundly influenced by the Vaishnavite order of temple architecture and the walls and the dome of the temple are teeming with small icons of different Gods and Goddesses. As described by the Kalika Purana, the Ugro Tara Temple of Guwahati identifies with a ‘Dikkara Vasini Sthala’ where two Goddesses namely Tikshna Kantha and Lalitha Kantha are enshrined. The Goddess Tikshna Kantha is a black and pot bellied deity who is also worshipped as ‘Ugro Tara’ or ‘Eka Jata’. The sanctum of the temple doesn’t contain any idol of the presiding deity but only a small trench filled with water is regarded as the Goddess Ugro Tara. A Shiva Temple is sited next to the tiny Ugro Tara temple and a water pool is placed at the rear of these shrines. Goddess Ugro Tara is worshipped akin to Goddess Kamakhya and the devotees offer liquor, animal sacrifice, Modaka, sugar cane and coconuts at the feet of the Goddess.
Navaratri is the chief temple festival of the Ugro Tara Temple when animals like goats, bulls, buffaloes, wild boars, etc are sacrificed and offered to the Goddess.
The Navagraha Temple of Guwahati clasped atop the ‘Chitrasal Hill’; the second highest hillock of the region is a Hindu shrine dedicated to the nine celestial planets namely Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budh (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (the head of a demon planet) and Ketu (the body of a demon planet). The Chitrasal Hill receives its sobriquet ‘the Navagraha Hill’ after the Navagraha Temple of Guwahati itself. This Navagraha temple enshrines nine Shiva Lingams representing the nine planets, each of them wrapped up in a colorful cloth that would symbolize the Navagrahas respectively. The Lingam at the center stands for the Sun God or Lord Surya. Aside from the Shiva Lingams portraying the Solar System with sun in the middle and other planets rotating around it, the Navagraha Temple also houses a stone imprint of the solar system. Probably it was this temple that yielded the epithet ‘Pragjyotishpura’ i.e. the ‘city of eastern lights’ to Guwahati. As per the inscriptions discovered on the walls of the temple, this shrine was built during the supremacy of an Ahom King; Rajeswar Singha in 1751 AD. Subsequent to the deadly earthquake of 1897, the temple was refurbished with ridged iron sheets sometime between 1923 and 1945 AD. A water tank known as ‘Silpukhuri’ is placed adjoining the Navagraha Temple. The Navagraha Temple of Guwahati the primeval center of Astrological and Astronomical study and research is one of the most preeminent places of worship that apart from its religious magnitude also reveals the progress made by our ancestors in the fields of astrological and astronomical sciences.
The Bhubaneswari Temple dedicated to Goddess Bhubaneswari; a manifestation of Goddess Durga is one of the most sought after religious destinations of Guwahati that is perched atop the Nilachal Hill nearly 165 feet upside from the Goddess Kamakhya Temple. Located approximately 8 kilometers away from the downtown Guwahati, the Bhubaneswari Temple a small white colored structure looks like a tiny speck suspended upon the Nilachal Hill against the backdrop of the azure sky. The temple enshrines a red colored slab of rock in its shadowy inner sanctum that represents its presiding deity; Goddess Bhubaneswari. Cuddled amidst the stunning lush green surroundings, the Bhubaneswari Temple yields the most breathtaking vistas of the entire Guwahati City and the meandering Brahmaputra River from the top of the Nilachal Hill. Additionally, the prospects of the setting sun look extremely spectacular from the Goddess Bhubaneswari Temple. Devotees from all corners of the country congregate at the Bhubaneswari Temple at the time of the Ambubachi and Manasa Festivals and the Durga Puja. Tourists can reach the temple just in 20 minutes from the Guwahati Bus Stand on foot.
The term ‘Sukreswar’ can be explained as Sukra + Ishwar meaning the Lord of Sukra i.e. Lord Shiva. As the legend goes, Sage Sukra or Shukra; the celestial Guru of the demons resided at this place and worshipped Lord Shiva. It is further believed that the Shiva Lingam enshrined inside the Sukreswar temple of Guwahati is the very same Lingam worshipped by the Sage Sukra. Established in 1744 AD during the ascendancy of an Ahom King Pramatta Singha, the Sukreswar Temple was later financially patronized by another Ahom Emperor King Rajeswar Singha. Situated atop the Itakhuli Hill also known as the ‘Sukreswar Hill’ on the southern banks of the river Brahmaputra in the Pan Bazaar area of the city, the Sukreswar Temple is also acclaimed as the venue for performing post death rituals in the honor of the departed ancestors. A long flight of stairs from the Sukreswar Temple lead us down to the Sukreswar Ghat where people offering ‘tarpan’ to their forefathers can be spotted in abundance. Apart from its religious significance what draw the tourists to the Sukreswar Temple are the fascinating perspectives of the sun setting on the composed waters of the Brahmaputra River and the little boats gentling moving across the unruffled riverbed. Both kids and adults enjoy bathing in the Brahmaputra River at the Sukreswar Ghat.
Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple
The Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple of Guwahati also recognized by its moniker the ‘Venkateshwara Temple’ is a Vaishnavite shrine that was recently added to this temple city of Guwahati. Consecrated in 1998 AD under the divine guidance of His Holiness Pujyasri Sankarcharya Swamiji of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, the Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple happens to be the first of its kind designed in the South Indian order of temple architecture. Located at Betkuchi along the Guwahati Shillong Highway, the Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple Complex is spread over an all-embracing area of two acres. Particularly distinguished for its clean and unpolluted environment, this temple complex enclosed by sprawling stretches of emerald green lawn and budding coconut & ashoka trees, blossoming flowerbeds, bougainvilleas and other plantations appears exceptionally pulchritudinous. A Lord Ganesha Temple is sited at the entrance of the complex while the main temple dedicated to Lord Balaji is flanked by the sub shrines dedicated to Goddess Padmavathi and the celestial bird Garuda; the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
The Tirupati Balaji Temple fashioned after the archetypal South Indian temples comprises a rajagopuram, a maha mandapam, an ardha mandapam and the sanctum sanctorum. The lofty Gopurams of the temple ranging from the height of 8 feet to 70 feet add to the magnificence of the shrine. The idol of the presiding deity weighing 4 tones is carved out of one single stone. The noteworthy features of the Lord Balaji those allure His devotees include the smiling face, the four arms holding the four weapons i.e. Shankha (conch), Chakra (discus), Gada (mace) and Padma (lotus flower) and the sublime hands ‘Abhya Hastam’ showering the blessings upon the devotees. The Utsav Murthy of Lord Balaji sided by his consort; Ubhayee is carved out of metal. The Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple of Guwahati when illuminated with hundreds of electric lights at night looks immensely impressive. The Laddu Prasad exclusive to the Tirupati Balaji Temple of Tirupati is also prepared at the Balaji temple of Guwahati here.
Doul Govinda Mandir
The Doul Govinda Mandir positioned at the footings of the Chandrabharati Hill on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra River at Rajaduar in North Guwahati is one of the highly esteemed temples of Assam that is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The original structure of Doul Govinda Temple was constructed over 150 years ago which was revamped in 1966 AD. It is believed by the devotees that the idol of Lord Sri Krishna was brought from Sandhyasar near Nalbari by a Late Ganga Ram Barooah. The daily worships and ritualistic ceremonies offered to the Lord Govinda comprise of Snanam, Archanam, Aarti, Kirtanam, Prasad, Bhoga, and so on. The intake of the devotees starts from early morning as soon as the doors of the temple are opened at 7 o’ clock. The temple remains closed for some time in the afternoon when Lord Krishna is believed to be resting. Devotional songs are recited in the evening which is followed by the distribution of the Bhoga Prasad amongst the devotees. The visitors also financially contribute in the Bhoga or Sarai offered at the temple. The Doul Govinda Mandir of Guwahati is principally renowned for its Holi festival that is celebrated with unlimited gusto and zest in the month of February or March. Various cultural programs are organized at the temple for five days at the time of the Holi Festival. To reach the Doul Govinda Mandir tourists can avail the ferries or steamers from Fancy Bazaar Ferry Ghat to Rajaduar. A five minutes walk from Rajaduar will reach you to the Doul Govinda Mandir.
The ISKCON Temple of Guwahati also referred to as the ‘Sri Sri Rukmini Krishna Temple’ is located at Sarania Hills off Ashram Road just 2 kilometers away from the Guwahati Railway Station. Operated by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the ISKCON Temple of Guwahati is dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna. The noteworthy fact is that, Goddess Rukmini is consecrated next to Lord Krishna in this temple unlike other ISKCON Temples where Radha Rani is worshipped as Krishna’s consort. The ISKCON Temple of Guwahati probably happens to be the smallest and simplest of all the ISKCON Temples of India. Both the interiors and the exteriors of the temple are plain and there are no paintings or bas relief embedded upon them yet. The temple premises are very tranquil and peaceful and as it is not a tourist destination, the number of visitors is also scanty. Perched atop the Sarania Hills, the ISKCON Temple offers the 360 degree view of the entire downtown Guwahati.
The Basistha Ashram positioned to the south of Dispur in the proximity with the Sandhychal Hills on the outskirts of the Garbhanga Reserve Forest is a historical pilgrimage destination and a popular picnic spot nuzzled in the fondling cradle of Mother Nature. Rested at the confluence of the three watercourses Lalita, Sandhya and Kanta; christened after the names of Sage Vasistha (Basistha)’s wives, the Basistha Ashram of Guwahati is believed to be the place where the legendary Sage Vasistha; one of the Saptarishis used to dwell and perform austerity in the Vedic era. As per the prevalent legend the Sage Vasistha used to perform his ‘sandhya’ rituals in the rivulet (where Lalita, Sandhya and Kanta converge) near his ashram. Once he spotted Lord Indra indulging in romantic activities with his consort Shachi and other heavenly nymphs. The agitated hermit cursed Indra that he would have sexual intercourse with a demon female.
It is said that the curse came true and Lord Indra fathered a boy with a Daitya woman who later turned out to be the precursor of the Ahom Dynasty of the Kamarupa Kingdom of Assam. Presently, the Basistha Ashram of Guwahati encloses a cave where the Hermit Basistha is supposed to have meditated. A small entrancing waterfall is sited beside the Ashram. An additional attraction of the Basistha Ashram is the Shiva Temple that was established by an Ahom King Maharaja Rajeswar Singha in 1764 AD. This temple stands on the banks of the mountain tributaries those originate from the Meghalaya Hills and later flow into the Guwahati City under the name of the Basistha and Bahini rivers. Tourists throng the Basistha Ashram for religious purposes as well as for picnicking. It is believed that bathing at the confluence of the Lalita, Sandhya and Kanta streams washes off the sins and grants you a long and healthy life.
Shankardeva Kalakshetra of Guwahati located in the Panjabari area of the city and christened in the fond memory of a 15th or 16th century Assamese saint, scholar, playwright and social-religious reformer; Srimanta Shankardeva is an Assamese Cultural Museum and Art Gallery where the indigenous culture and artistic masterpieces of Assam and other north-eastern regions is preserved and propagated. Bequeathed with the kudos; ‘the largest cultural congregation of Northeast India’, the Shankardeva Kalakshetra functional since 1998 acts as a proponent of art and culture of the Assam State and upholds local dance, music, drama and other artistic and creative talents. The Shankardeva Kalakshetra is categorized into several; complexes including a museum, an art gallery, an open air theatre and a number of Vaishnavite Temples.
The museum displays the traditional and cultural objects used in their day to day life by the tribal people of Assam. Whereas the open-air theater, enjoying the capacity of accommodating over 2000 people at a time hosts various cultural events such as dance and drama performances all round the year. A part of Kalakshetra is developed as an Artists’ Village where the village life of Assam is portrayed through models. The Shankardeva Kalakshetra houses a library named ‘Sahitya Bhavan’ where a mighty anthology of rare manuscripts, books and other literature of the North East Region is conserved. The Lalit-Kala Bhavan of the Shankardeva Kalakshetra is the center where interesting and educating workshops and exhibitions on art and culture are held.
An additional draw of the Kalakshetra is its heritage park and the cable car those lure both kids and adults. From the Shankardeva Kalakshetra premises one can also perceive the impressive vistas of the Shillong plateau. Greatly frequented by the tourists, the Shankardeva Kalakshetra is a repository of Assamese aboriginal culture and legacy that yields you an insight into the ethnic lifestyle and heritage of the Northeastern India. Tourists can buy the local handcrafted products and also enjoy the delectable local cuisine at the Shankardeva Kalakshetra.
Pandu, set up on the south banks of the river Brahmaputra in the western Guwahati, is a suburban town and a river port that served as an entryway to Guwahati until the Saraighat Bridge was constructed in early 1960s. Christened after the King Pandu of the Mahabharata Era, who was the brother of Dhritarashtra and the father of five Pandava brothers, the Pandu township of Assam is noted amongst the pilgrims for its Pandunath Temple. Nestled atop the Tila Hills, the Pandunath Temple is dedicated to King Pandu. As the legend goes, the five Pandava brothers resided in the Pandu town during their exile under the disguise of Lord Ganesha. The five Ganesha Idols found in Pandu are believed to be representing the five Pandavas namely Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.
Assam State Museum
The Assam State Museum situated in the central Guwahati adjacent the southern end of the Dighali Pukhuri Tank is a heritage menagerie that was established in the year 1940 by the ‘Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti’, also known as the ‘Assam Research Society’ and later taken over by the State Government in the year 1953. Acclaimed as one of the largest multipurpose repositories of India, the Assam State Museum displays various rare exhibits under different sections such as Anthropology, Natural History, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Sculptures, Folk Art, Crafts, Arms, Iconography, Numismatics, Miscellaneous, and so on. The Assamese sculptures exhibited here can be classified into four major categories viz. stone, wood, metal and terracotta. The museum also showcases many uncommon remnants of Ahom Sovereignty including royal equipments, outfits, antiques, manuscripts written on Shashi-Paat, statues and numerous other invaluable articles. Not only that, the Assam State Museum also houses a library rich in its collection of books related to mythology, biography, art, culture, encyclopedias, Asiatic Society Journals, other journals & periodicals, stenographic compilations and so on which was established in the year 1985. Other noteworthy gatherings of the Assam State Museum include prehistoric sculptures, ivory paintings, ancient Assamese coins, stone and copper plate inscriptions dating back to 5th to 12th century AD and other tribal art products. The Museum also organizes several exhibitions on tribal huts and tribal art and crafts of Assam region where visitors can observe the traditional weaving process and buy local handicrafts, cane and bamboo articles, toys and pottery items from here. A visit to the Assam State Museum gives you an insight into various aspects and dimensions of Assamese history and culture. The museum remains open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm.
Shilpagram positioned adjoining the Shankardeva Kalakshetra of Guwahati is an artists’ village where the daily life of the villagers of Northeastern India and the significance of art and crafts in their standard of living is portrayed through various models. Shilpagram happens to be the only crafts village of the NEZCC (North East Zone Cultural Center). The Shilpagram promotes the ethnic arts and cultures of the tribal populace of Assam and surrounding region through its regular cultural exhibitions and events held in its auditorium and open air stage.
The Guwahati Planetarium located along the M.G. Road close to the Dighali Pukhuri Tank happens to be the only astronomical research center of Assam as well as the whole of the Northeastern India that earnestly strives for spreading awareness about astronomy and space science amongst students and other scientifically inclined people and for providing them with the information about the available data gathered by the researchers, explorers and scientists over the centuries. Easily distinguishable in the Guwahati skyline with its imposing dome and sloping walls, the Guwahati Planetarium beckons myriads of school children, science students and general tourists every single day. The Guwahati Planetarium uses the GX Starfield Projector, the Sixty Special-Effects Projectors, Sky Theatre’s Sound System and other Goto GX hardware and software imported from Japan.
The planetarium conducts regular sky watching sessions, daily planetary shows in Assamese, Hindi and English, workshops, seminars and conferences on astronomy, quizzes, exhibitions and eclipse viewing, and many other interesting events. Watching special planetary shows on a dome shaped overhead screen is the prime attraction of the Guwahati Planetarium. Moreover, the museum and the library of the planetarium allure the enthusiasts to no extent. The Guwahati Planetarium will soon get a unique hybrid planetarium projection system which will be the first of its kind in the Northeastern India and second in the country only to Delhi. Aside from that, other upcoming projects of the Guwahati Planetarium include an astronomical gallery, an astro-van and a mobile ‘Taramandal’ which will be launched here by the NCSM (National Council of Science Museum).
Regional Science Center
The Regional Science Centre of Guwahati also popularly referred to as ‘Science Museum’ is a unit of National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) that functions under the Department of Culture of Government of India. Located at Khanapara just 14 kilometers away from Guwahati, the Regional Science Centre endeavors to provide the basic knowledge of science and popularize and disseminate Science and Technology among the residents of Assam and other Northeastern regions of the country. Moreover, it also pursues the objective of making science simple, easy and interesting for the school children. Inaugurated on 15th March 1994, the Regional Science Centre of Guwahati endows with a proficient forum for the students, teachers and other general public to learn science through fun and interactive activities.
Some of the worth mentioning indoor and outdoor galleries of the Regional Science Centre of Guwahati include Fun Science, Mirror Magic, Bio Machines, Coal Mine, Agriculture, Children’s Corner, Aquarium, Entrance Lobby, Science Park, Prehistoric Life Park, Medicinal Aromatic Garden, Butterfly Park, Garden of Fame, Mig21 Aircraft, etc. The most interesting activities undertaken at the Science Centre are; 3D Film Show, Digital Planetarium, Science Show, Lectures, Sky Observation, Hobby Camps, State Level Science Fairs, Seminars, Mobile Science Exhibitions, etc. The Science Centre also organizes various training programs. The Regional Science Centre of Guwahati remains open for the visitors from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm all days of week all round the year but Holi and Diwali day. An entry fee of rupees 10 is charged here.
Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens also popularly known as the ‘Guwahati Zoo’ nestled within the premises of the Hengrabari Reserved Forest of Guwahati is an animal repository that is spread over an extensive area of 175 hectare. This zoo provides a safe haven to approximately 895 animals, birds and reptiles in total representing different 113 species from different parts of the globe including Africa, South America and Australia. Established in the year 1957 and opened to public in 1958 AD, the Guwahati Zoo happens to be the largest zoo of the North Eastern India. The zoo houses rare and exotic wildlife such as Tiger, One Horned Indian Rhinoceros, Clouded leopard, Chimpanzees, Zebras, Giraffes, Golden Langur, Jaguar, Puma, Llama, Hoolock Gibbon, Elephant, Himalayan Black Bear, Brow Antlered Deer, Serow, Slow Loris, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Binturong, Kangaroos, Ostriches, and many others in their natural habitat. The Guwahati Zoo imports exotic animals from other counties in exchange of several indigenous species of Indian animals such as One Horned Indian Rhinoceros. The zoo also successfully undertakes captive breeding programs and the Animal Adoption Scheme was launched here in the year 2005. Over the years a museum and a Botanical Garden were added to the Guwahati Zoo and it kept on developing and expanding. Presently, the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens receives over 430462 visitors every year.
‘Dighalipukhuri’ also spelt as ‘Digholy Pukhury’ is an enormous artificial water reservoir clasped right in the bosom of the city in the Uzan Bazaar area of Guwahati. The term Dighalipukhuri means a ‘long pond’. True to its name, this rectangular shaped manmade pond measures half a mile in its length. Regarded as one of the most ancient lakes of the region, the Dighalipukhuri Pond is supposed to be as old as the Mahabharata Era. As per the prevailing myth, Dighalipukhuri was constructed by digging a canal from the river Brahmaputra during the ascendancy of the mighty Emperor of Pragjyotishpura named King Bhagadutta. The tank was created at the time of the ‘Swayamvar’ of King Bhagadutta’s daughter princess Bhanumati who was betrothed to a Kaurava prince Duryodhana. During the supremacy of the Ahom Kings, the Dighalipukhuri Tank, linked with river Brahmaputra was used as a boat yard and an inland port for the war vessels. In the course of time, the inland waterway of the Brahmaputra River was closed and the Lake Dighalipukhuri was isolated from the Mother River. During the British Era, the northern end of Dighalipukhuri Lake was filled up by the piles of mud and the present-day Circuit House, Guwahati High Court and many other edifices of the city were erected upon it.
The contemporary Dighalipukhuri Reservoir is one of the most sought after tourist and picnicking destinations of Guwahati which offers tremendously mesmerizing panoramas during the evening. Unwinding on the banks of Dighalipukhuri and enjoying the calm and composed ambience in the evening is truly a memorable experience. What add to the charm and recreational appeal of Dighalipukhuri are the boating facilities made available here and the numerous eating joints serving mouth watering Assamese cuisine and Indian Chat. Dighalipukhuri is flanked by a number of prominent cultural and educational institutes of the city including Assam State Museum, Cotton College, Handique Girls College, India Club, Rabindra Bhawan, District Library, Guwahati High Court, etc. The famous Ambari excavations are also sited close by. The outer periphery of the Dighalipukhuri Lake is fringed by thick groves of verdant trees believed to be cultivated here during the Colonial Era.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary or Manas National Park of Assam is a Biosphere Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site located close to Guwahati in the eastern foothills of the Himalayas that beckons thousands of tourists and nature lovers to observe rare and exotic wildlife dwelling happily in their safe and protected natural habitat. Covering the terrains of the five districts of Assam namely Chirang, Udalguri, Darrang, Baksa and Kokrajhar, the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over the total area of 950 square kilometers. Originally used as the hunting grounds by the Cooch Behar royal family and the King of Gauripur, this National Park was declared a protected sanctuary on 1st October 1928. The Manas Bio Reserve was formed in the year 1973. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary derives its title from the name of the Manas River; a major tributary of Brahmaputra that flows through the densely forested national park. The sanctuary was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1985.
The sanctuary is celebrated for its rare and endangered population of the Assam Roofed Turtle, Golden Langur, Pygmy Hog, Hispid Hare, Wild Water Buffalo, and so on. The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary provides a safe home to approximately 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. The most noteworthy fauna of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary comprises Indian Rhinoceros, Asian Elephants, Asian Water Buffaloes, Tigers, Clouded Leopards, Leopards, Black Panther, Gaurs, Barasingha, Golden Langurs, Capped Langurs, Assamese Macaques, Asian Golden Cat, Smooth-coated Otters, Slow Loris, Barking Deer, Sambar Deer, Hog Deer, Chital, Hoolock Gibbons, Sloth Bears, etc. The birds spotted in the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary include Bengal Florican, Giant Hornbills, Brahminy Ducks, Bulbuls, Jungle Fowls, Serpent Eagles, Fishing Eagles, Kalij Pheasants, Falcons, Pelicans, Scarlet Minivets, Egrets, Bee-Eaters, Grey Hornbills, Pied Hornbills, Magpie Robins, Mergansers, Herons, Ospreys, Harriers, etc.
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary situated in the Marigaon district of Assam at the distance of about 48 kilometers to the east of Guwahati is a wildlife reserve particularly acclaimed for its intense population of Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. Covering the flat flood plains and the Raja Mayong Hill, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over the total area of 38.8 square kilometers. Pobitora was declared a reserved forest in the year 1971 while it was deemed a wildlife sanctuary in 1987 AD. Other than the great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary also provides shelter to leopards, barking deer, wild boars, and wild buffalos and so on. Not only that, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam is also a haven of more than 2000 migratory birds and innumerable reptiles. Presently, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary houses about 93 Rhinoceros.
Madan Kamdev stationed at Baihata Chariali of Kamarupa at the distance of about 40 kilometers from Guwahati is an archaeological site estimated to be dating back to 9th or 10th century AD. The excavations scattered all over the Dewangiri Hillock sing the sagas of the might and prosperity of the Pala Kings who reined Kamarupa in 9th and 10th century. The ruins unearthed at the Madan Kamdev are assumed to be the remains of ancient Shiva Temples numbering around 20. The remnants of the sculptures found here portray different motifs of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, heavenly nymphs, dancing fairies, griffins, and so on. The pillars, walls, lintels and door frames bedecked with intricate carvings of Kalpa-Vriksha, four headed Lord Shiva, Lord Bhairava, Demons, Serpents, Men, Women, animals, flowers, various erotic postures, and many other sketches still reveal the artistic ingenuity achieved during the primordial times. As the tale is told, Madan Kamdev is the very vicinity where Lord Kamdev; the Hindu God of Love after being burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva was restored to life and reunited to his wife Rati. It is also said that Kamdev was born in the Pala Dynasty, got married to Rati and ruled Kamarupa. Appreciated in the lines of the Khajuraho and Konark Temples of India, the ruins of Madan Kamdev eloquently boast of the excellence and dexterity of the ancient Assamese artisans.
Sualkuchi or ‘Soalkuchi’ located nearly 35 kilometers away from Guwahati and reposed on the northern banks of the river Brahmaputra is a small town of Kamarupa district in the state of Assam that is reckoned far and wide for its bustling cottage handloom industries and its booming silk production. Bequeathed with the moniker ‘the Manchester of Assam’, Sualkuchi is the textile center of Assam that is celebrated for its various varieties of silk such as Muga Silk, Eri silk Pat Silk and Endi Cloth. Mekhela Chadors and Gamosas of Sualkuchi are in demand all over Assam.
Cherrapunjee, located about 148 kilometers from Guwahati is a small town of Khasi District in the state of Meghalaya that is honored to be the second wettest locus in the world.
Hajo, positioned on the banks of the river Brahmaputra about 35 kilometers away from Guwahati is a primeval pilgrimage center teeming with numerous ancient temples and other religious edifices. Equally venerated by the people of Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist faiths, Hajo is particularly reckoned for its Hayagriva Madhava Temple and Hajo Powa Mecca. The Hayagriva Madhava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is nestled atop the Monikut Hill. Assumed to be constructed during the governance of King Raghudeva Narayan in the year 1583, the Hayagriva Madhava Temple is also believed to be the place where Lord Buddha had achieved Nirvana. The Hajo Powa Mecca estimated to be built in 1657 AD during the ascendancy of the great Mughal Emperor Shahjahan is noted for its Pir Giasuddin Auliya Dargah. This holy mosque located atop the Garurachal Hill, is believed to be built by Sujauddin Mohammed Shah using the soil brought from Mecca.