Guwahati,Assam: The city of Guwahati, which is also popularly called as 'Durjoya' and 'Pragjyotishpura' in ancient Assam is nestled in the state of Assam in India. Guwahati is situated exactly at 26°11′0″N 91°44′0″E, and at an average altitude of 182 feet above sea level.
The Brahmaputra River is seperating the city as Guwahati main city and the North Guwahati, Which flows from the north to the southeast direction.The both parts of city are connected by the 4900-foot rail-cum-road bridge, called Saraighat Bridge. National Highway 27 & 31 pass on this bridge connecting North Guwahati to Guwahati main city.
Guwahati and its surrounding are rich in Wildlife - the fauna and the avifauna that inhabit this region in large numbers. Guwahati lies on the foothills of the eastern flanks of the Himalayan Mountain Range which makes lucrative and inviting for the wildlife in this ecoregion.
Guwahati is situated at the foothills of the plateau of Shillong (the State Capital of Meghalaya) which was once the State Capital of undivided Assam until a new State called Meghalaya was created and Shillong was made Meghalaya's Capital.
National Highways 31, 37 & 40 pass through Guwahati.
Guwahati derives its name from two Assamese names - 'Guwa' which means Areca Nut and 'Haat' which means the market which was Anglicized by the British to 'Guwahati'.
Guwahati also means 'a place of the sunrise' - it is said.
What attracts people to Guwahati is its rich and interesting mix of old and new cityscape which alternates between ancient Temples such as the Kamakhya Temple and the Island Temple - the Umananda Temple and the Navagraha Temple which display amazing ancient temple architecture and the new icons of the modern era such as IIT- Guwahati, Planetarium, Museum, Zoological Park and more and all this surrounded by verdant hills and tea gardens and dense forests which house National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
The Guwahati city scape comprises picturesque landscapes, modern offices, modern residential complexes and villas, malls and country's top retail chains and multiplexes.
Guwahati is a cosmopolitan city and the commercial capital of Assam State and also houses the State Political Capital - Dispur. Guwahati is also a hub for education with big institution like IIT in it. Guwahati is also the Culture & Sports Capital of Assam. And because of its strategic position, Guwahati serves as a gateway to the northeastern States which makes Guwahati a hub for transport in the Northeast India region.
Guwahati is the largest city in the State of Assam and also Northeast India's (the seven sister states) largest metropolitan. Guwahati is an excellent mix of ancient and urban city and is also one of the fastest growing cities in India.
The old city of Guwahati - in the north segment of the City forms the nerve-centre of the city with different Bazars performing different functions:
1. Paltan Bazar is where the Guwahati Railway Station and Guwahati Bus Stand are where trains and buses from other cities of Assam and other States converge which makes this area a hub for transport. Paltan Bazar is also where there are maximum number of Hotels.
2. Pan Bazar is where the educational institutions, administrative offices, cultural centres and restaurants are located. Pan Bazar is couple of kilometres north of Paltan Bazar. The Pan Bazar is the closest part of the city to River Brahmaputra as it is located on the river banks.
3. Uzan Bazar is predominantly a commercial and residential area which is the oldest settlement of the city. Uzan Bazar encompasses many tourist sites and others sites of great regional importance. Uzan Bazar is on the east bank of River Brahmaputra and is few kilometres on the north of Paltan Bazar and Pan Bazar. Uzan Bazar is also where there is a Fish Market where you get fresh fish from River Brahmaputra.
4. Fansi Bazar is a retail and wholesale market - basically a shopper's paradise. Fansi Bazar is just a kilometre southwest from Pan Bazar and Paltan Bazar. Fansi Bazar is located on the east bank of River Brahmaputra.
Apart from these action-packed and bustling Bazars, Ulubari, Lachit Nagat, Chand Mari, Zoo Road plus the Guwahati-Shillong road on the south of the city, are all retail-commercial hubs.
The western segment of Guwahati city is where you will find the Guwahati Airport, the Headquarters of the Northeast Frontier Railways in Maligaon as well as the ancient Kamakhya Temple (atop a green hill called the Nilachal Hill). The western part of Guwahati city has numerous river ports and jetties. At Jalukbari you will find the University of Guwahati which is enroute to Guwahati Airport.
The eastern segment is where there is the Guwahati Oil Refinery and a large residential area also is near it. At Narengi in the east, the residential area is swelling at a fast pace in trying to meet the needs of the rapid growing city.
The Assam government is supporting numerous commerce-based and tourism-based projects around the city of Guwahati in order to promote both industries.
Guwahati houses the seat of Government of Assam - Dispur - Assam State Capital which has the Assam Secretariat building. The 556 square kilometre-area of Guwahati is divided into 2 administrative segments for governing - Guwahati Municipal Corporation and Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority.
Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - one of the largest auction centres in the world is in the east of the Guwahati city near the Gymkhana Club. Together with the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, the industries of retail, real estate, oil refinery, stock exchange, education, research and tourism are the top contributors of Guwahati Economy.
The top festival celebrated in Guwahati is 'Bohag Bihu' which is the celebration of Assam New Year during which time sweetmeats like 'ladoos' and 'pithas' get sold in tonnes and the entire city is abuzz with celebrations. Durga Puja is the next major festival celebrated in Guwahati. The famous Kamakhya Temple hosts the annual 'Ambubashi Mela' which is attended by thousands of local and out-of-town pilgrims every year.
Guwahati is the gateway city the other 6 notheast states. It has beautiful and interesting antiquity arts and handicrafts stores from all over the northeastern states of Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram. Guwahati is the best sightseeing for the shopping in northeast states.
Tezpur (185 kms northeast), Jorhat (305 kms northeast), Haflong (307 kms southeast), Dibrugarh (433 kms northeast), Shillong (Meghalaya State Capital - 99.5 kms south), Siliguri (in West Bengal - 437 kms west), and Kolkata (WB Capital - 1003 kms southwest) are the nearest bigtowns to Guwahati.