Guwahati, the capital of Assam, located at the bank of the Brahamputra River. It is treated as the gateway of northeast India and the most popular tourist destinations in northeast India. The erstwhile Pragjyotishpur (the City of Eastern Light), Guwahati derived its name from two Assamese words, “Guwa”, which means areca nut and “Haat”, meaning market. Set among the beautiful hills of the eastern edges of the Himalayan mountain range, it is positioned in the northeastern state of Assam. Guwahati has in the recent times developed into one of the finest tourist destinations in India.
The city of Guwahati has on offer numerous tourist sites, some religious and some natural, for the travelers. These tourist attractions see the footfalls of several tourists from far and wide, the year round. Its a commercial hub for the entire region and an entry point to the world of wonders. This erstwhile capital of Demon king ‘Narakashura’ of ‘Pragjyotishpur’ finds mention in the Great Indian Epic ‘Mahabharata’. It is also the ancient land of ‘Kamarupa’ from which the present day name of Kamrup administrative district under which Guwahati city comes, was derived. “Kama-Rupa” was the land where the Hindu god of Beauty, fertility and source of life was reborn. One can easily spend a week here… with every day being a new experience in itself!
Assam State Museum:
The Assam State Museum, which has an envious collection of antiques dates as early as prehistoric times. It was a reveling experience and eye opener, for it showed the cultural richness of its races, least known to the civilized world. Overlooking the state museum is the Dighali Pukhuri, a huge water body in the heart of the city and the Peace Park. The place offers a relaxing atmosphere amidst the State High court, Centenary Cotton College, Diamond Jubilee Handique Girls College, District Library, amongst others.
The museum is a 10 minute walk from the Guwahati (Paltan Bazar) Railway station.
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. The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati derives its name from the saint Srimanta Sankardeva who was a follower of the Vaishnava religion. The Srimanta Sankardeva is respected in the state of Assam for integrating the people of the region. The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra commemorates the contribution of the saint to the society of Assam.
The Kalakshetra is divided into several complexes. The Central Museum exhibits the articles used by the tribal people of Assam state. The museum also houses several cultural objects of the state within it. The open-air theater can accommodate 2000 people and hosts cultural programs in its premises. Traditional dance and drama performances are conducted in this theater. Kalakshetra also has the Artists’ Village, which replicates the village society of Assam. The Sahitya Bhavan is the library in the Kalakshetra, which has a huge collection of rare books and manuscripts. It is a repository of the literature of the region. Another section of the art complex is the Lalit-Kala Bhavan. It is the center used for exhibitions and workshops on art and culture. A heritage park is also a part of the huge complex of the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.
The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra hosts several cultural programs in its compound. The different sections of the art complex are an exposition of the Assamese art and culture. The Kalakshetra has been chosen as the venue for many cultural activities.
Assam State Zoo:
The State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden of Assam is one of the chief attractions of the city of Guwahati. Established in the year 1982, the botanical garden at Guwahati occupies an area of 130 hectares while the botanical garden is spaced out over an area of 82 hectares. It has gathered 44 varieties of orchids from the northeastern region of the country of India. The orchids placed in the orchid house of the botanical garden are rare species that are typical of the mountainous region. The garden is decorated with trees of various types that abound in plenty. The garden has planted palm, conifers, broad-leafed plants, variety of herbs and shrubs. The zoo has a huge collection of reptiles, mammals and aves. The section for the reptiles has assorted as many as 358 reptiles of various kinds. The mammal section of the zoo has a total collection of 37 animals. The zoo has a huge collection of diverse kinds of birds that are placed in the Cave section of the zoo. There are as many as 277 kinds of birds in the zoo. The Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden had approximated an average of 5 lakh visitors in a year. It is evident that the zoo is one of the most frequented tourists destinations in Guwahati in the state of Assam. The Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden is located at a distance of 5 kilometers from the railway station in the city of Guwahati in the state of Assam.
Regional Science Museum:
Science is a miracle that has a logical explanation. The children, our future, need to inculcate the habit of asking questions and thinking logical answers to the questions. An effort to make science simple for the children and even the grown ups is the Regional Science Center/Museum, situated at Khanapara in the Kamrup district. Established in 1994, the Regional Science Center has created innovative interactive exhibits on science education and pre historic life. The Regional Science Museum is one of the favorite places for the kids and learners. The museum had nicely displayed the scientific developments and Indian contribution to the same. Here we could know about some important scientific contribution by Indian scientists and Nobel Laureates. Major attractions at the Regional Science Center include the like magic tap, the cliff lift, the fun mirror, the colamin etc. The museum provides an insight into the works by Indian and World’s great scientists. The museum is available for exploration 10 am – 5.30 pm everyday except Holi and Diwali.
Overall, Guwahati is a must visit for any and every tourist visiting the north-eastern region. A diverse and an interesting place, Guwahati is a travelers delight.
The writer is an Assam based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz