Guwahati formerly known as Pragjyotishpura and Durjoya in ancient Assam and Gauhati in the modern era is an ancient urban area, metropolitan and largest city of Assam as well as of north-eastern India. It is one of the fastest developing cities in India and is a major city in Eastern India. It is often referred as "gateway" of North Eastern Region of the country. Guwahati, formerly Prāgjyotishpura meaning "city of eastern light," "city of eastern astrology", and Durjaya meaning "impregnable" were the capitals of the ancient state of Kamarupa under Varman's and Pala's respectively. Many ancient Hindu temples are in the city, Kamakhya, Umananda, Navagraha, Sukreswar, Basistha, Lankeshwar, Doul Govinda, Dirgheshwari, Ugro Tara, Rudreswar etc. are but a few so also known as the "The City of Temples."
Dispur, the capital of the Indian state of Assam is in the city and is the seat of the Government of Assam. The city is between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, with LGB International Airport to the west and the town of Narengi to the east. It is gradually being expanded as North Guwahati to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra.The famous heritage Madan Kamdev is situated 30 km away from Guwahati.This heritage is same as khajuraho. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation, the city's local government, administers an area of 216 km², while the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority, the planning and development administers an area of 340 km².
Guwahati is the major commercial and educational hub of North-East India and is home to World class institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati and other premier institutions like Gauhati University and Cotton College. The city is a major center for cultural activities and sports in the North Eastern region and for the administrative and political activities of Assam. The city is an important regional hub for transportation. Guwahati and its environs are rich in wildlife with several rare mammals such as Asian elephants, python, tiger and primates. The birdlife in and around the city is also rich and diverse.
Guwahati's myths and history go back several thousands of years. Although the date of the city's beginning is unknown, references in the epics, Puranas, and other traditional histories, lead many to assume that it is one of the ancient cities of Asia. Epigraphic sources place the capitals of many ancient kingdoms in Guwahati. It was the capital of the mythological kings Narakasura and Bhagadatta according to the Mahabharata. The ancient sakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya in Nilachal hill (an important seat of Tantric and Vajrayana Buddhism), the ancient and unique astrological temple Navagraha in Chitrachal Hill, and archaeological remains in Basista and other locations support the mythological assertions of the city's ancient past.
The gross domestic product of Guwahati metro was estimated at $1 billion in 2010. As a river port, Guwahati has traditionally been an important administrative and trading center. Separate income estimates are not yet available as city-level income estimation is not a traditional practice in India, and is not practiced in a systematic and continual manner. However, by looking at the agglomeration of activities and employment patterns it can be easily understandable that the city contributes a lion's share of the state's income. The major economic activities are trade and commerce, transportation and services. Guwahati is the most important trade hub in the North Eastern Region. It is a major wholesale distribution center, a marketing hub, and also a retail hub of the region.
The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre is one of the largest in the world. As in other cities, 'mall culture' is now invading Guwahati. Manufacturing is an important activity, although it is not comparable to those of India's rapidly growing industrial cities. The most important manufacturing industry in the city is the petroleum refinery of IOCL at Noonmati, which is known as Guwahati Refinery. The city contains the headquarters or regional offices of several manufacturing and business establishments, e.g., Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL). Bamunimaidam and Kalapahar are two major industrial estate of Guwahati. Guwahati is important for printing and publishing, as well as businesses related to electronic and print media. During the past two decades, businesses such as real estate development, finance, etc. have intensified.
Although being a medium sized city, ranking around 50th (in terms of population) in India, the city's quality of life is comparatively higher. A recent survey (2006) by a popular Indian magazine - Outlook (Money) ranked Guwahati 16th among all the major and medium sized Indian cities. The city provides competitive residential and working environments with beautiful landscapes, pleasant climate, modern shopping areas, modern apartments and bungalows, and considerably good social infrastructure. Yet infrastructure in the city still requires extensive attention, which can increase and revolutionize the city's reputation, investment environment, and overall growth pattern. Major investments in infrastructure are being planned in the city, covering many aspects of the utilities and transportation infrastructures, with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- Air: Guwahati is serviced by the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar, about 20 km west of the center of the city. Air connectivity have improved considerably in the last couple of years with all major domestic airlines flying into Guwahati. Helicopter services are operated from Guwahati to Shillong (30 min), Tura (50 min), Naharlagun (Itanagar), Tawang (75 min) by Pawan Hans, a helicopter service provider.
- Rail: Guwahati falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway zone of the Indian Railways. Guwahati Junction which is the major station of Guwahati is the headquarters of the zone. Two other stations are Kamakhya and New Guwahati (for freight services) located towards west and east from Guwahati respectively. Few trains depart from Kamakhya station also. Guwahati is well connected by express trains to major cities
- Road: National Highway 31 connects Guwahati with the states Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. National Highway 37 from Goalpara in Assam to Dimapur in Nagaland traverses the entire length of Assam and connects Guwahati with almost all the major cities of Assam including the cities of Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Bongaigaon. Guwahati is very well connected with adjoining regions via bus services. Three nodal points, Adabari, Paltan Bazar and ISBT Guwahati, provide bus services to towns and cities in Assam and adjoining states.
- Waterways: Guwahati, being on the bank of Brahmaputra River, is connected to National Waterways No 2, with a terminal at Pandu. It is used for movement of bulk & general cargo, passenger vessels and tourist vessels.
Guwahati features the multi purpose Nehru Stadium
, hosts mainly cricket and football; while the Kanaklata Indoor Stadium in the R.G. Baruah Sports Complex (in the Ulubari locality) is older sports complex of the city. There are smaller stadiums in Maligaon
(the N.F. Railway Stadium) and in Paltan Bazaar area where the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex is. The sporting infrastructures specially constructed for the 33rd National Games in 2007 include a large stadium at Sarusajai-the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
, the Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, and the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi A.C. Indoor Hall. Other new sports structures include the Maulana Md.
Tayabullah Hockey Stadium at Bhetapara
, the Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium at Ulubari, Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium at Amingaon
, Chachal Tennis Complex and Tepesia Sports Complex. The other renovated sports complexes include Ganesh Mandir Indoor Stadium, Khanapara
, Rudra Singha Sports Complex, Dispur and Gauhati University sports stadium. GTC: Gauhati Town Club, a very old and prestigious club of the state at Pan Bazar provides very good sports facilities. The club has a football academy, cricket centre, chess foundation and a swimming centre where the prime thrust is given to groom the young and budding talents of the region.
River Cruise, Umananda Temple
, Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati Planetarium
, Assam State Museum
, Kamakhya Temple
, Nehru Park
, NEDFi Haat
, Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, Basistha Temple
, Sukreswar Temple
, Navagraha Temple
, Ugro Tara Temple
, Balaji Temple
, ISKCON Temple
Places Of Interest:
Famous Places Of Guwahati:
- Shopping Centres: Shine Towers, Eastrends, The HUB, Ohio Shopping, Fort mall, Sohum Shoppe (Fancy Bazar & GS Road), Sohum Emporio, The Cube, Dona Planet, Westside, Pantaloons, Spanish Garden, Dihang Arcade, Big Bazaar, Metro Bazar, Vishal Megamart.
- Multiplexes: Gold Cinemas (Paltan Bazar, Lakhtokia & Narengi), CineMAX, Fun Cinemas.
- Pan Bazaar: A lively part of the city center on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra. Cotton College, Digholy Pukhury (Dighali Pukhuri), The State Museum, RBI, District Court (Kamrup district), etc. are all major landmarks. Moreover, the area also possesses many libraries, major government offices, and a shopping district. Restaurants and bookshops in the area provide a unique environment. It also contains a major wholesale market for drugs and pharmaceutical products, and a hub for printing and publication. Close to Digholy Pukhury, there are many stores with traditional arts and crafts from Assam and other parts of the NER. Kachari Ghat, next to the district court is an important local river port. Moreover it is also renowned for sports market.
- Fancy Bazaar: In the western part of the city-center is a busy commercial district for wholesale and retail. Originally called Fansi Bazaar after the district jail that executed criminals/freedom fighters by British by hanging (fansi, in the local language), the name has slowly transformed to Fancy Bazaar to denote the retail stores for clothes and garments. The place is also the hub for wholesale products ranging from food and beverages, garments, to hardware and building materials.
- Paltan Bazaar: In the central part of the city-center is the hub for transportation and hotels. With Guwahati railway station, the regional bus stand (ASTC), numerous hotels, restaurants and offices and stops of numerous private regional bus service providers, this area is the busiest and most congested. There are many small shops selling traditional garments from parts of the NER. After the start of operations at ISBT for Intra and Inter state bus service, bus services from paltan bazar has been prohibited by authorities to ease traffic congestion in the area. Now the ASTC Bus stand and various private bus operators only run shuttle services from Paltan Bazar to ISBT.
- Ganeshguri: A developed commercial area in the south, outside of the city-center. Its proximity to the state capital complex and rapidly growing southern residential areas have made it an important city sub-center. Ganeshguri is a busy part of the city with retail shopping areas, hotels and restaurants, and small businesses. It is named after the popular Ganesh Mandir situated in the area.
- Beltola Bazaar: A traditional weekly fruits and vegetables market with historic importance. The market has existed since its historic past and is an important traditional trading point between the people from the Khasi hills (Meghalaya) and local people. It is a rich market with local food products. It is in Beltola, a predominantly residential area in the south.
- G S Road: A long stretch of road between Ganeshguri and Paltan Bazaar, G S Road has emerged as the new commercial hub of Guwahati. G S Road boasts of some of the finest malls and restaurants Guwahati has to offer, and is considered by many to displace Fancy Bazaar and Pan Bazaar as the major shopping centers in the years to come. It is now also one of the most important and expensive pieces of property in Guwahati, containing some of the most commercially important buildings.
- Guwahati War Cemetery: A World War II war cemetery, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This is the one cemetery among the nine cemeteries in India which has war graves of Japanese soldiers. The cemetery has 521 graves, including 316 known and 18 unknown graves of soldiers from the United Kingdom, 136 known and seven unknown Indian soldiers, four from Canada, four from South Africa, one from New Zealand, two graves of soldiers whose nationality is unknown, 11 graves of Japanese soldiers and 24 graves of Chinese Army soldiers.