The City of Eastern Lights
|District||: Kamrup Metropolitan District|
|Type of Tourism||: City Tourism, Pilgrimage, Wildlife|
|Area||: 556 sq km|
|Population||: 1,498,659 ((As per Indian census- 2012)|
|Altitude||: 55.5 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Cotton in summer, woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0361), International (+91 )|
|Pin Code||: 781001|
|What to buy||: Assam Tea, Ethnic Handicrafts, Bamboo and Cane Artifacts, Wall Hangings, Laichampi, Handmade Toys, Tribal Masks, Pat, Muga and Endi Silk Saris, Mekhela Chaddar, Caps, Shawls, Traditional Threadwork on Cotton Clothes, Fashion Accessories, Furniture, Bell Metal & Brass Utensils, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Masor Tenga, Bah-Gaj, Tomato Tok, Payesh, Kharoli, Pithas, Cuppa, Pork Momos, Bamboo-Shoot Pork Curry, Poitabhat, Pitika, etc|
|Local transportation||: Auto Rickshaw, Taxi, City Bus, Rented Bikes|
Nestled on the sprawling banks of the river Brahmaputra and cuddled at the footings of the Shillong Plateau, Guwahati; the largest city of the Indian State of Assam and also the principal metropolitan of the North Eastern India functions as the chief commercial, industrial, political, educational, religious, cultural and communication hub of the Assam constituency. Previously reckoned by the appellation ‘Pragjyotishpura’ meaning, ‘the City of Eastern Lights’ and ‘Durjoya’ meaning ‘Invincible’, Guwahati is also commonly referred to as ‘the Gateway of the North East Region’. This conurbation of eastern astrology formerly served as the administrative headquarters of the Assam State until the capital seat was moved from here to the planned metropolis of Dispur; reposed on the outskirts of Guwahati.
Bequeathed with the laurel; ‘the City of Temples’ due to its scores of magnificent Hindu shrines, Guwahati derives its epithet from two Assamese words ‘guwa’ and ‘haat’ wherein Guwa means ‘areca nut’ and haat means ‘the market place’. Thus, Guwahati is the market place where areca nuts are sold in abundance. During the pre-colonial and colonial era, the title Guwahati was spelt as ‘Gowhatty’ which was later standardized by the British as ‘Gauhati’. Eventually, Gauhati was modified to ‘Guwahati’ in late 1980s in order to concur with its local pronunciation. The present day Guwahati; a thriving commercial and educational axis of Northeastern India is a home to a number of prestigious institutes for instance Indian Institute of Technology - Guwahati, Gauhati University, Cotton College, and so on.
Guwahati; the place of sunrise is also the burgeoning pivot of all the cultural and recreational activities and all the political and administrative undertakings of the state of Assam. Moreover, it is also the vital regional transportation hub of the province. Affluent with multitudinous places of worship, Guwahati also teeming with legions of historical monuments and archaeological excavation sites, as well as educative and amusing museums boasts of its precious prehistoric pedigree. Embellished with luxuriant green hills wrapped up in the emerald tapestry of blooming tea plantations, Guwahati offers the most captivating prospects of the charismatic natural scenery. Well-off in its wildlife populace too, the environs of Guwahati provide shelter to some of the rare mammals including Asian elephants, tiger, gaur, primates, etc and several miscellaneous species of fascinating avifauna. Guwahati, a treasure house of nature’s infinite bequest and man’s incessant endeavors is today applauded as one of the most preeminent tourist destinations of Northeastern India.
Guwahati; the booming business city noted for its Assam products such as Assam Tea, natural oils, other jungle products and handloom – handcrafted articles is deemed amongst the top hundred fastest growing cities of the world and is credited to be the 5th most rapidly developing Indian megalopolis by a certain UK media.
History Of Guwahati
The earliest epigraphic citations of Guwahati suggest that this city flourished as the capital of the mythological demon kings Narakasura and Bhagadatta during the Mahabharata Era. Additionally, the primordial Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati, the ancient Navagraha Temple set up amidst the Chitrachal Hills and the Basista Excavations testify the mythological allusions of Guwahati’s antediluvian existence. The Ambari excavations placed in the proximity with Dighalipukhuri trace the roots of Guwahati back to 6th century AD. Recognized by the rubrics ‘Pragjyotishpura’ and ‘Durjoya’ during different epochs, Guwahati, a division of Kamarupa Domain proliferated as the capital city under the governance of the Varman Kings between 350 and 650 AD. Xuanzang (or Hiuen Tsang) records in his travelogues that during the ascendancy of the greatest Varman Sovereign; Bhaskar Varman, who ruled in 7th century AD, Guwahati stretched over an extensive area of more than 15 kilometers and operated as the prime naval base where approximately 30,000 war-boats were stored. The kings of Pala clan ruled Kamarupa from 900 AD and Guwahati remained the capital of Kamarupa (Assam) till 11th century AD. The Ambari Excavations and the houses & brick walls unearthed during the construction of the Cotton College Auditorium vouch for the magnitude and the enormity of this gigantic metropolis that enjoyed both strategic as well as economic importance till 11th century AD.
During the medieval era from 12th to 15th century AD subsequent to the decline of the Kamata Kingdom, Guwahati lost all its ancient grandeur and was reduced to the status of a mere strategic outpost of the Koch Hajo and Ahom empires of eastern & western Assam. Guwahati was selected by the Ahom Kings as the headquarters of their Borphukan; a civil military commander of the lower Assam region. The Borphukan resided in the present Fancy Bazaar area of Guwahati while his court, also known as ‘Dopdar’ was sited about 270 meters to the west of the Bharalu Stream. The Mughals assaulted Assam about 17 times but every single time Ahoms whitewashed them. The most worth mentioning skirmish between the Ahoms and the Mughals is called ‘the Battle of Saraighat’ which was fought in 1671 AD when the efficient, vigilant and shrewd planning and leadership of Lachit Borphukan resulted into the comprehensive defeat of the Mughals. In the year 1897, a dire earthquake knocked the entire city down and most of the Old Guwahati was shattered by this tremor as well as the ensuing floods. However, the upcoming years witnessed the restoration and revival of Guwahati and the contemporary Guwahati acts as the abode of Dispur; the state capital of Assam.