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Guwahati - Quick Facts

Area: 216 sq. km.
Population: 957,352
Altitude: 54 mt. (approx.)above sea level
Season: Oct to April
Clothing: Summer– Cottons, Winters– Woolens
Languages: Assamies, Hindi & English
Festivals: Majuli, Elephant Festival

Guwahati is a major city in eastern India, often considered as the gateway to the North-East Region (NER) of the country and is the largest city within the region. Dispur, the capital of the Indian state of Assam is situated within the city. Guwahati is one of the most rapidly growing cities in India. During past few decades it has experienced unprecedented spatial expansion and also steep rise in population. In fact according to a survey done by a UK media, Guwahati is among the first 100 fastest growing city of the world and is 5th fastest growing among Indian cities. Today, the city straddles between the LGB International Airport in the west to Narengi in the east for almost 45 kilometres and between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau for around 15 kilometres. Moreover, the city is also getting gradually expanded to the northern bank of Brahmaputra. Guwahati with population just 0.2 million in 1971 is a million plus city today Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), the city's local government covers an area of 216 km², while Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the planning and development authority covers an area of 340 km².

It is a major commercial and educational center of eastern India and is home to world class institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. The city is also a major center for cultural activities and sports in the North Eastern Region and for the administrative and political activities in Assam. The city is also an important hub for transportation in the North East Region. Traditionally, Guwahati has been an important administrative and trading center and a river port. The name Guwahati is derived from 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.

By Air
The Gopinath Bordoloi Airport is located at 23 km from the city and connects Guwahati to major Indian cities by air. Regular flight services to the city of Guwahati are available from Delhi (2½ hours), Kolkata (1½ hours), Agartala, Imphal, Dibrugarh, Aizawl, and Jorhat.

By Rail
The Paltan Bazar railway station of Guwahati connects various parts of India by several train services. Four trains ply from/to Delhi, and plenty of others to/from cities like Kolkata, Chennai, New Jalpaiguri, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Kochi, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram. It is also well linked to the other important places of the state.

By Road
The good road transport system connects Guwahati with Kaziranga, Shillong, Dimapur, Siliguri, Silchar, Bomdila, Hajo and Sualkuchi. The Paltan Bazaar Bus Station offers a number of private and Assam State Transport Company buses linking Guwahati to Kaziranga (215 km), Tezpur (198 km), Jorhat (303 km), Sibsagar (359 km) and Silchar (341 km). Cars on hire can also be availed of from travel agencies.

Hugging the shores of the turbulent Brahmaputra, Guwahati is the gateway to the enchanting North Eastern India. The Light of the East, Pragjyotishpura, as it was known once upon a time, is said to have been a vast kingdom during the epic period of the Mahabharata. Today, Guwahati is the hub of the region and also its largest city.

Assam State Museum is 10 minutes walk from the Railway Station. Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00 hrs. During summer 10:00 - 16:30 hrs. During winter (Monday closed.

State Zoo-Cum-Botanical Garden
Situated 5 Kms. from the Guwahati Railway Station Opening hours: 07:00 hrs - 17:00 hrs. In summer 08:00 hrs. - 16:30 hrs. In winter (Friday closed).

Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra
The Srimanta Sankardeva kalakshetra has been set up as a grand exposition of the life and culture of the people of Assam. Named after the greatest Vaishnava saint and the greatest integrator of the Assamese society Srimanta Sankardeva, the Kalakshetra is a multi-Arts complex.

It houses a Central Museum where cultural objects and day-to-day articles used by different ethnic groups will be preserved and exhibited, an Open Air Theatre with 2000 capacity to hold folk festivals and to present traditional dance and drama of the State, an Artists' Village which offers the visitors and the residents an atmosphere of the village of Assam, the Sahitya Bhavan which is a library of rare books and manuscripts, the Lalit-Kala Bhavan which has sufficient space for exhibition, art and sculpture workshops, and a Heritage Park. The Kalakshetra has been chosen as the venue for many cultural activities.

Dighalipukhuri, a water body in the heart of the city with boating facilities, cruises on the river Brahmaputra in the 'Jolporee', the famous Balaji Temple of Tirupati, Planetarium, and the Saraighat Bridge over the Brahmaputra, the Guwahati Oil Refinery, Lachit Barphukan Park and the Guwahati University are places worth visiting.

Chandubi Lake
A natural lagoon and fine picnic spot which is 64 kms. From Guwahati. The lake and its surroundings is an ideal holiday resort with the added attraction of fishing and rowing the place is easily accessible by bus from Guwahati.The best season to visit is from November to April.

Assam produces three unique varieties of silks, the Golden Muga, the White Pat and the warm Eri. Silks grown all over the state find their way to Sualkuchi, 32 kms from Guwahati.
Sualkuchi is one of the world's largest weaving villages often called the Manchester of the East. The entire population here is engaged in weaving exquisite silf fabrics. A renowned centre of silk production, particularly known for Muga - the golden silk of Assam which is not produced anywhere else in the world.

Located 32 kms. From Guwahati on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, it is a place where three religions meet - Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism It has a large number of temples, the chief among them being Hayagriva-Madhab Temple. There is a belief that this temple contains the relic of Lord Buddha, while a section of the Buddhist holds that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. Large number of Bhutanese visits this temple every year during the winter season. There is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims here known as Poa-Mecca. According to mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in this region during their agyatvas or the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima during this agyatvas.

Shopping in Guwahati you will find a wide choice of bamboo and cane products, from exquisitely made furniture to even hairclips and fashion accessories. Other gift items that you can buy in Guwahati are wall hangings, caps and shawls. In Guwahati, you can also shop for fascinating apparels made of Assamese silks and cottons with threadwork displaying traditional motifs.

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