What’s not to love in a city nestled against a majestic river and soaring hills? Guwahati, a vibrant and scenic city located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, is a touchpoint to immerse in every direction your itchy feet can possibly take you.
Known as the gateway to the northeast of India, Guwahati offers quintessential travel experiences, ranging from wildlife sanctuaries, spiritual & sacred pilgrimage spots, a thriving nightlife, Assamese art & culture, and a whole lot of surreal delights. One-day trips in and around the city are commonly sought after; however, the city itself has plenty to offer. Let’s take a look at the top tourist places to visit in Guwahati.
- Best time to visit: October to March. The weather is delightful during this time of the year, although the influx of tourists is expected all year long.
- Travel recommendation: Three to five days for essential trips to famous spots on the outskirts of the city.
- Nearest railway station: Guwahati Railway Station
- Nearest airport: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport
- Public Transport: Well-connected through local and private buses, ferry services, and cabs and autorickshaws
Into the Wild: The best of wildlife and nature in and around Guwahati
1. Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden
If you are someone who likes nature curated and manicured, try a popular tourist attraction and home to over 100 species of animals, Assam State Zoo or Guwahati Zoo. It exhibits the famous one-horned Indian rhinoceros, along with a host of other attractions such as zebras, ostriches, leopards, Himalayan black bears, swamp tapirs, white tigers, and more.
The zoo houses reptiles like venomous snakes and pythons as well as rare species of birds. Its botanical gardens are famous for exhibiting varied species of orchids, plants and herbs. The zoo includes a museum and food joints. The zoo also offers rock climbing and a trekking trail.
- Where: RG Baruah Road, Guwahati, Assam
- When: Summers 7.00am to 4.30pm and Winters 8.00am to 4.00 pm (closed on Friday)
- Why: For leisurely strolls, family trips and botany enthusiasts
2. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
A visual delight for nature lovers and an ideal destination for bird-watchers, Pobitora is spread across 38 kilometres of lush Brahmaputra floodplains and is famous for being home to around 2000 migratory birds.
The sanctuary also boasts of one-horned rhinoceros, leopards, Asiatic buffalos and civet cats. For those who are in a hurry, Pobitora works as a fine option as opposed to Kaziranga, as it is situated roughly 50 kilometres from Guwahati. It is easily accessible by road.
- Where: Pobitora Forest Range Office Rd, Pabitara, Assam
- When: November to February
- Why: For safaris, half-day trips
3. Kaziranga National Park
Concrete jungle weighing you down? Take a break with rhinos, tigers & elephants! Bask in a landscape of scenic grasslands and take a ride through a breath-taking biodiversity hotspot. A world heritage site, Kaziranga National Park, located approximately 200 kilometres from Guwahati, boasts the largest population of rhinoceros in the world, (one-horned rhinos being the biggest attraction) and is also a tiger reserve forest.
The park is equally popular among Indian as well as international tourists, owing to its spectacular natural beauty, flora and fauna. Elephant safaris & jeep safaris are hugely popular among visitors and offer an immersive experience of exploring the Park’s versatile wildlife. Buses operate regularly from Guwahati and the nearest airport is in Jorhat, Assam.
- Where: Kaziranga National Park, National Highway 37, Bokakhat, Assam
- When: November to April. The park is closed from May to October.
- Why: For wildlife enthusiasts, solo trips, family vacations, photo ops and eco-tours
4. Deepar Beel
A freshwater lake, a bird sanctuary, water and birds everywhere! Especially exotic birds in a wetland ecosystem filled with rich flora and fauna. Just an hour away from Guwahati, this lake has been described by visitors as a place that emanates pure bliss & tranquillity. It’s a haven for birdwatchers.
- Where: Deepar Beel, Chakardeo village, Guwahati
- When: October to March
- Why: To see exotic birds and the stunning lake
5. Chandubi Lake
Chandubi Lake is a serene and enchanting natural lake created because of an earthquake. It is around 60 kilometres away from Guwahati and can be reached through NH 37. A boat ride during sunset leaves is a great way to enjoy the lake, which is surrounded by the forest and villages.
It also has a charming tea garden. A quiet retreat that takes one away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the lake also has unique flora and fauna. Tourists can also enjoy rowing and fishing here. One of the best places of interest in Guwahati.
- Where: Kamrup district, an hour away from Guwahati
- When: All day long
- Why: For fishing, tea garden, boating
6. Brahmaputra Riverside
A boat ride across the bank of Brahmaputra is just what the chef would recommend for travellers with an appetite for the scenic grandeur of rivers. River cruises are operated by Assam government as well as private operators.
A short river cruise is recommended for those in a hurry. Sunset cruises and dinner cruises are highly recommended. The view of the river from the upper deck of the cruise is spectacular. The riverside on Kachari Ghat is peaceful, pretty and can be visited all day long.
- Where: Machkowa, Guwahati
- When: 5 pm onwards
- Why: To witness sunset aboard a ship, for excellent photo ops and the stunning waters of the Brahmaputra
For the love of God: Top religious and spiritual destinations in Guwahati
7. Kamakhya Temple
An ancient temple with loaded symbolism and legends to match, Kamakhya Temple is one of the most visited sites in Guwahati, frequented by pilgrims, devotees and tourists. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths – an important pilgrimage site of goddess-focused Hindu tradition.
The temple is also known as a centre of Tantra practice and hosts the popular annual Ambubachi Mela. The festival takes place in June and is filled with Indian tactics, yogis and sannyasis, rendering colourful, mystical overtones to the temples.
- Where: (On Nilachal Hills) Kamakhya Temple Complex, Kamakhya, Guwahati
- When: All year round
- Why: For architecture, those seeking spirituality, and Indian mythical symbolism
8. Temples of Hajo
Located around 25 kilometres from Guwahati, a group of expertly carved temples unites three major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Foremost of all, steeped in architectural glory is Hayagriva Madhab temple is visited by Hindus and Buddhists alike, while other temples include Madan Kamdev, Kedareswara temple and Hajo Powa Mecca, a place for Muslim pilgrimage.
The temples are surrounding by the peaceful quietude of hills, forests and lakes, almost as if the site was a sacred symbol of religious unification juxtaposed with nature’s miracles.
- Where: Hajo, Assam (easily accessible by road from Guwahati)
- When: All year round
- Why: For the splendid natural setting and amazing architecture
9. Basistha Temple
A quaint temple near a waterfall works as a holy place as well as a picnic spot. Located outside of Guwahati, Basistha temple is worth a visit for its pleasant surroundings. It is said that sage Vashishtha of the Vedic times founded the ashram and meditated in a cave here.
The atmosphere offers a rare glimpse into the life of Vedic saints. The boulders among the waterfall that springs next to the temple are an interesting spot to hop on and take great pictures. Monkeys are a common sight here, too.
- Where: Located in Beltola, around 14 kilometres from Guwahati, easily reachable by road
- When: 6 am to 9 pm
- Why: Atmosphere, waterfall, meditation spot
Urban wonders – top city sights in Guwahati
10. Café Hendrix
Are you a night owl with a musical ear? Café Hendrix, a live blues café, beckons. Popular among the younger generation, the café which is modelled after western blues bars, offers a peek into the nightlife of the city. Yes, it’s named after Jimi Hendrix. And yes, it promotes and showcases local talent (covers & originals). Also serves good food. And, alcohol!
- Where: Opp Pantaloons, G. S, Road, Guwahati
- When: 1 pm to 11:30 pm
- Why: Assamese nightlife, live music, beers
11. Shrimanta Shankaradeva Kalakshetra
What good is a trip without a little culture in it? Assamese art, culture and heritage are charmingly displayed in this spot, which has a museum, an amphitheatre and a laser and light show. On display are artifacts, tribal art and weapons showcasing the rich history of the region. A great place for a those who enjoy arts and handicraft.
- Where: Panjabari Road, Batahguli, Guwahati
- When: 10 am to 8 pm
- Why: Art, history and culture
12. Fancy Bazar
Travellers across the world indulge in street photography and Guwahati offers just the right place to capture the vibrant throb of local life at Fancy Bazar, which also happens to be a good place to shop for souvenirs.
Chaotic and iconic, a landmark local market, Fancy Bazar is where tourists can enjoy miscellaneous bargain shopping and enjoy taking instagrammable pics. Essentially everything one can do in a typical flea market.
- Where: It’s a well-known landmark by itself
- When: All day long
- Why: Bargain shopping, street photography, ethnic shopping
13. Saraighat Bridge
A local favourite and a fine specimen of urban progress, the Saraighat Bridge is a road cum rail bridge (a double-decker bridge) and is over 50 years old; the first ever to be constructed over Brahmaputra river. Sunrise and sunsets are an ideal time for shutterbugs to capture gorgeous images of the bridge over the grand river.
- Where: Amingaon, Guwahati, Assam
- When: 24/7
- Why: One of the rare double-decker bridges in India, great site for taking stunning pictures
14. Nehru Park
In the heart of the city, the Nehru Park is well-maintained and green. A great spot for kids, the park has playground and rides, statues showing various dance forms, a plant maze and a musical fountain in the evening.
- Where: Cotton College Road, Pan Bazaar
- When: 6 am to 8 pm
- Why: For an evening stroll and kids
15. Guwahati Planetarium
Astronomy freaks and science geeks behold! A dome-shaped planetarium, with a peculiar design awaits you with its daily shows on the wonders of the universe. This is the only centre of astronomical research in the northeast and influences & promotes scientific enquiry among the youth of the region by organising regular workshops and seminars.
- Where: MG Road, Uzan Bazar
- When: Show timings 11am to 11:45am, 12pm to 12:45pm, 1:30pm to 2:15pm and 3pm to 4:45pm
- Why: For science buffs and kids
16. The Regional Science Centre
This spot can make a good place to go with your kids. Major attractions include outdoor delights like science park, prehistoric life park, butterfly park, mock coal mine, magic mirror gallery, planetarium show, and various science exhibits.
- Where: Khanapara, Guwahati
- When: 10am to 5pm
- Why: For science buffs and kids
Surprised at the sheer number of things there are to do in Guwahati? Well, it’s an up-and-coming city with a lively, vibrant culture, so you shouldn’t be. Have fun on your trip and do let us know if we missed out on any good spots when you’re back!