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Lying on the southern fringes of the mighty Brahmaputra river, Guwahati, the largest city of Assam, holds spirituality and adventure at its heart. Home to the much revered Kamakhya Temple, dedicated to mother goddess Kamakhya, an incarnation of Goddess Sati, the 8th-century temple attracts devotees throughout the year.Apart from temples, river cruising in the feisty Brahmaputra is a magical experience, with rock climbing at the Elephant Rocks in Morigaon, about 78 km away, coming a close second.
With a number of trekking trails and breathtakingly-beautiful camping sites to its credit, Guwahati offers travellers a plethora of thrilling opportunities. Crisscrossed by waterways that pass through wildlife sanctuaries strewn around Guwahati, the city enjoys a rich bounty of flora and fauna. Driving through the jungle for safaris can be a stimulating experience. Feel your heart leap with excitement as you spot a flying fox jump across the forest, or the Indian cobra slither sinfully by. Watch out for the elusive dolphins that call the waters of the Brahmaputra their home, along with beautiful endemic and migratory birds that take shelter nearby.
While its wild side languishes in serenity, the city's cosmopolitan centre bustles with the vibrancy of festivals, fairs, music, dance and arts and crafts. From the renowned Bihu dance and folk music to the energetic bhortal nritya, the city holds its culture close to its heart and displays it in an array of colours and merriment that leave tourists in awe.
To sample the local flavours of the city, head to the old quarters by the river. Dotted with palms, ponds, quaint temples and imperial mansions, the area speaks of the glorious history of the region when it was ruled by the Ahom kingdom and the Koch Hajo. The city was once known as Pragjyotishpura or the Light of the East and is said to have been a powerful kingdom during the days of Mahabharata.
Guwahati is also known for the resplendent silk saree and its yardages, known as Assam silk or Muga silk.