University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Gauhati or Guwahati, the erstwhile capital of the state of Assam was earlier known as “Pragiyotishpura” (The Light of East). This city with a varied history dating back to the 6th century is also the most developed and important city of Assam.
The name suits Guwahati remarkably due to its terrain and structure and with the river Brahmaputra bisecting the city into two halves, the city represents a miniature Assam complete with a collection of all inhabitants, their lifestyles and their dependence on the mighty river. However, the presence of mighty Brahmaputra carving its way through the city makes for a romantic and memorable experience.
Guwahati is replete with various religious places, green hills, tea plantations, educational institutes and Art Workshops. The city with its ancient roots offers a plethora of archaeological sites, historical monuments and educative as well entertaining museums. The excavation sites and the artifacts recovered from the sites make for a very interesting and exciting audience. The city offers an opportunity to interact with not only the Assamese populace but also the immigrants from all adjoining states, thus making it a vibrant cosmopolitan city.
A visit to Guwahati is incomplete without satiating the taste buds with authentic Assamese as well as Eastern Indian food mix. The visit also demands acquisition of mementos from Assam to adorn the house. There is a wide choice for shopping in Guwahati where the artisans even from remote Assam arrive with bag full of goodies. The Satriya as well indigenous art and craft items and bamboo and cane work goods are recommended for the sheer innovativeness, creativity and the afford ability factor.| From the Planetarium explaining the planets to the nine temples devoted to these celestial bodies, Guwahati has it all. Situated on the hilltop of the Chitrasal Hill or popularly known as Navgraha Hill (the hill of Nine Planets).The nine are temples dedicated to Surya (Sun) Chandra(Moon), Chevaai/Mangal(Mars), Budhan (Mercury), Guru/Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (Head of Demon Snake) and Ketu (Tail of Demon Snake).
Though the temples are dedicated to the Planets, enshrined in the temple are nine Shivlingas with a symbolic colour garment for every planet. The cluster of Navagraha temple was constructed in 1751. View all photos
The Nilachal Hill situated at a distance of 7 km from Guwahati is of great historical, archeological as well as religious importance. This hill believed to be a ‘Khasi’ sacrificial site earlier, now has a group of ancient temples on the top; the largely eminent of them is the Kamakhya temple. The temple of Goddess Shakti or Kamakshya is the oldest and most revered centre for Shakti worship leading to the spread of the sect Tantrik Hinduism.
It is believed that female genitalia (yoni) of dead Sati fell down while her corpse was being carried by her husband Shiva turning the hill blue, therefore the name Neelachal (Blue Spread). This 10th century temple was reconstructed after being destroyed by Muslim rulers. The famous Kaziranga National Park, located at a distance of 200 km from Guwahati, is the star attraction for tourists for its unique animal and bird mix and authentic habitat in which the tourists are permitted to catch a glimpse.
The park is spread over an area of 450 sq km and has the blessings of river Brahmaputra throughout the stretch. This World Heritage Site is renowned for breeding and habituating the one-horned rhino. The park also boasts of a rich assortment of shallow water fowls, pond herons, fishing eagles, the egrets, river terns, adjutant and the black necked storks etc.
What a sight it is to ride a tall elephant and still be covered with grass which grows taller than the elephants and watch the rhinos steer expertly away from the trained Pachyderm.
October to April is considered to be the best season and the Park shut down during monsoon (April to mid September).