Guwahati is an invitation to experience the magical beauty of Northeast India, stretched out by the great Brahmaputra River, surrounded by hills, and clothed by patches of woods.
Although the de facto capital of Assam is best known as the entrance to the northeast, this metropolis, the region’s largest and one of India’s fastest growing, is a place worth visiting in its own right.
Aside from the inevitable development, it is a charming city with idyllic riverside promenades lined by quaint cafes, parks and lakes that provide a respite from the mundane, old temples and new museums that showcase the rich culture and heritage of its warm, welcoming people, and a vibrant food and nightlife scene accentuated by indigenous cuisine flavours. This is your guide to exploring Guwahati’s pleasures.
Places to stay
The major arterial highway of Guwahati-Shillong Road, more often known as GS Road, is the section here where one must remain to really appreciate the city. Several luxury hotel chains have established presences in Guwahati, the majority of them are conveniently located on GS Road.
The urban refuge of Vivanta by Taj is located just beyond the hustle and bustle of this area, where the shops, restaurants, and bars thin out to a panorama of green fields, coconut palms, and Assam-style houses—reminiscent of an ancient Guwahati.
This 5-star property features wide lawns, a spa and fitness centre, and rooms and suites with city or hill views. Seven, an all-day multi-cuisine restaurant, draws heavily on regional specialties; Umami, a Zen-like restaurant, provides some of the best Japanese in the city; and Octave, a young lounge bar, is ideal for calming down with a drink or two.
If you want to be in the middle of things while having a comfortable accommodation with top-notch modern facilities, the Novotel Guwahati is a fantastic option.
It has 118 well-appointed rooms and suites, as well as a spa and 24-hour fitness centre, as well as a rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views of the city.
The worldwide buffet with live cooking and a range of regional cuisines at The Square, the all-day eating venue, is a huge magnet for visitors and residents alike. Malt, a stylish cocktail bar, provides a broad range of single malt whiskies, smoked cocktails, and the finest cigars.
Radisson Blu Guwahati provides 196 large rooms and suites with contemporary décor, luxurious bedding, and rain showers. It is strategically positioned on NH-37, with easy access to both the airport and the city centre.
If you’re travelling for business, consider booking a business class room or suite, which includes benefits like exclusive access to the business class lounge, airport transfers, and complimentary breakfast.
A variety of cuisines are offered at the hotel’s six restaurants, and room service is accessible 24 hours a day.
The Guwahati Address is the greatest bet, because to its unusual vernacular design. A pyramidal glass porch leads from a towering stone-walled entry, while a forest of beautiful wooden columns defends the lobby’s stained-glass roof.
The concierge is made of Cherrapunji stones and features a huge graphic art painting of Bihu dancers. With handcrafted Assam teak furniture and an old-world charm, the rooms here evoke traditional design emotions.
A collage of frames showing diverse fabrics from the region compete for prominence with a beautiful copper chandelier in the dining room with an adjoining bar.
Places to eat
The hotels’ on-site restaurants do their best to provide a sampling of local foods, but if you want to delve further into the region’s genuine flavours, head to the no-frills Michinga in Uzan Bazaar’s high-end neighbourhood.
The thalis served here whether Assamese, Naga, Upper Assam Mughlai, or Meghalaya Khasiare the simplest and most delicious way to taste the region’s culinary history.
In the same spirit, Taii Sinpho’s informal dining serves some of the city’s greatest pig dishes, including local favourites like pork with bamboo shoots and pork in Akhuni.
There are several Asian eateries in the city, and Red Hot Chili Pepper is one of the best. Piazza is an Italian restaurant, Shanghai Salsa is a Mexican restaurant with well regarded Bhut Jolokia hot wings, and 11th Avenue Bistro is an American restaurant.
Places to drink
Guwahati enjoys letting its hair down with excellent drinks and music, and there are plenty of watering spots to choose from across the city. Microbreweries are all the rage right now, and Freemason’s Brewworks and Nuts & Brew have some of the greatest home brews around.
Freemason’s is the region’s largest such establishment, with a two-story interior of beautiful wood and brickwork and a stunning bar display. Nuts & Brew, on the other hand, is known for its laid-back, comfortable rooftop atmosphere as well as its energetic events.
In the year 2020, the European-themed Exoro was voted the finest lounge in Guwahati, and it serves some of the greatest drinks in town, as well as outstanding food from various cuisines.
With fantastic hill and city views from their cabana-style rooftop seating and attractive drink prices, The Root Barrel is a pleasant pick for an evening out with friends.
Places for Shopping
If you could only buy one thing in Guwahati, it would be a piece of excellent Assam silk clothing. Assam silk is available in three colours: white, warm eri, and the famed golden-hued muga. It is noted for being responsibly made by weavers who have been weaving for centuries.
Several stores in Pan Bazaar specialise in gorgeous Assam silk saris, mekhala chadors (traditional Assamese outfits), and textiles, while Silkalay is one of the most popular places to pick up a piece of this cultural heritage for Rs 2,000 and above.
Visit the government-run Pragjyoti Assam Emporium and NEDFi Haat, which showcase and promote ethnic products from the northeast, for more local handicrafts like bamboo and jute artefacts. Visit the Chai Bar at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre for a broad selection of Assam teas.
All of your other retail therapy requirements will be met in the numerous malls, including City Centre and Central Mall, as well as historic marketplaces like Fancy Bazaar.
Places to visit
The Umananda Temple, which is located on the picturesque Peacock Island, the smallest inhabited island, is a sight to behold. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is surrounded by the powerful River Brahmaputra.
A trip to Guwahati would be completed without a visit to the Kamakhya Temple, which is perched atop Nilachal Hill. Guwahati is well-known for its abundant wildlife, and a trip here should undoubtedly include a visit to the stunning Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Dipor Bil or Deepor Beel is a beautiful freshwater lake in Guwahati that is home to a large diversity of birds.
The Assam State Museum, which was built in the 1940s, takes visitors on a fascinating tour across Northeast India. A visit to Guwahati’s world-famous Kaziranga National Park is a must for anybody visiting the city. Guwahati Zoo is part of Hengrabari Reserve Forest, and provides an unexpected encounter with nature.
Located within the city, Nehru Park can offer you respite from the chaos of the city. A visit to the Navagraha Temple is sure to be a memorable experience for you.