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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. Guwahati offers travellers a plethora of thrilling opportunities. Here’s how you can make the best of your 48 hours in the city.
Explore luxurious as well as budgeted accommodations of the city. For a more traditional experience, you can book a homestay and live like the Assamese.
8:00 am: Start your journey by taking blessings from Goddess Kamakhya, and visit the popular Kamakhya Devalaya Temple. It is an iconic landmark of the city, perched on the Nilachal Hill by the banks of the Brahmaputra. It is counted as the most sacred shaktipeetha
(devotional shrine where the severed body parts of Goddess sati fell).
10:00 am: A short distance away is the ISKCON Temple,where you can soak in spiritual fervour. Have yourself a traditional Assamese breakfast of Jol Paan (a mix of puffed and flattened rice, curd and jaggery).
Your next stop should be Sualkuchi , a weaver’s village that is also called the centre of Assam’s textiles. Two very popular kinds of silk sold here are pat and muga. The village is known for its handwoven fabrics created with techniques that are centuries old. The mekhela chadors woven here are very popular and most of them sport the popular kinkhaap design, which comprises two front-facing lions. It is said this design has been in use since the times of the Ahom kings. The chadors are also decorated with patterns of flowers, creepers etc. Lined with bamboo houses, the rustic village is a birdwatcher's paradise as well.
2 pm: A short drive away lies Hajo, among the few places where ancient ritualistic ceremonies are followed. Hajo is known as the place where the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, breathed his last. It is home to a number of temples and sacred places, including the Hayagriva Madhava Mandir. Situated on Monikut Hill, the temple is one of the most visited points in Hajo. You can also visit the Lord Ganesha temple built during the rule of Ahom king Pramatta Singha in 1744 AD. Visiting Hajo gives you a chance to know about the history and rich heritage of Assam.
4:00 pm: Dig into some delicious Assamese delights like duck meat curry, masor tenga (fish curry), ou khatta (elephant apple sauce), paro manxho (pigeon meat), etc.
6:00 pm: Cruising along the waters of the gushing Brahmaputra river is one of the best experiences you can have during their Guwahati visit. Sail into the heart of the river and see various birds taking shelter in its lush surroundings. While it is a delight for birdwatchers, nature lovers can also have a memorable time. Watch the burning orb of the sun sink into the river, painting the sky in myriad hues, as you cruise slowly by. Sample authentic delicacies on your trip and interact with locals to get a glimpse of their lifestyle. The quaint and rustic hamlets scattered by the bank also invite tourists to soak in the local culture and traditions. Live musical performances are also organised at the cruise that add to the charm of the overall experience.
There are several artful cafes and restaurants in Guwahati, where you can relax and get a light and tasty meal. Watch the many shades of the city unfold before you as you munch on comfort food in a cosy cafe.
8:00 pm: Call it a night by strolling around the city and sampling the local delicacies.
10:00 pm: Guwahati has several lounges and pubs that offer exciting nightlife opportunities.
Visit Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which is very famous for one-horned rhinos. Ensconced in the grasslands of Assam, the sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise as one can find an astounding variety of avifauna. The wetlands host birds like the greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, swamp francolin, white-bellied heron etc. If one is lucky, they can also spot the dolphins that are found in the Brahmaputra river.
8:00 am: Sample the delicious Assamese tea in one of the many cafes around the city.
10:00 am: For a deeper insight into the history and culture of the state, visit the Assam State Museum. The collections include royal garments, weapons, paintings, sculptures, stone and copper inscriptions, woodwork and more. Some memorabilia from World War II is also on display. A library inside the museum is particularly amazing, as it houses a rich collection of journals, periodicals and books relating to mythology, biography, art and culture, and other subjects.
Spend your afternoon shopping for traditional handicrafts and local products at the Fancy Bazaar. Bamboo products, muga silks and Assamese tea are some of the best choices.
2 pm: A short distance away is the Umananda Temple, perched on a hillock. Several deities are worshipped in this temple, but the major shrine is that of Lord Shiva.
4 pm: Pay your respects at the Purva Tirupati Balaji Temple, a famous Hindu temple in Guwahati.
Take a tour of the Regional Science Centre. From enjoying fascinating 3D science movies and shows to admiring colourful butterflies at the Butterfly corner and watching beautiful fishes in the aquarium, there's a lot you can do at the science centre. There is a special corner for children where they can develop a fondness for science through fun games.
8 pm: Rope in a visit to Basistha Ashram, a popular pilgrimage site. Within the premises, lies the Basistha Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The ashram also hosts the site where the body of sage Basistha is said to have been buried. The temple and the ashram are adorned with many sculptures made of stones and terracotta. In close proximity to the ashram, lies the cave where the sage used to meditate. A serene waterfall flowing nearby adds to the melody of the surrounding beauty.
10:00 pm: Finish your tour with an authentic Assamese thali, which consists of four to five types of vegetarian dishes. The most popular of these are masor tenga, pura maas (roasted and smoked fish), siddho chicken (boiled chicken), etc.