I spent just a shade over 48 hrs in Guwahati, I thought I'd share my impressions while they are still fresh.
Most travel guides and listings from lonely planet to trip advisor would like you to believe that the only attractions in town are the temples and river cruises, and that you should view it only as a gateway to the NorthEast. It is true only so far as it being no different to any major indian city or state capital; it is far more cosmopolitan than most though.
To me, the best indicator of cosmopolitanism is the wide range of eateries a city has and Guwahati scores pretty high on this front and affordability too. You can get a typical unlimited vegetarian thali, which is referred to simply as rice (bhaat) over here for as little as ₹40, the non-vegetarian option for around ₹75. Win!
The public transport is well organized too, you can choose from state run buses, private buses, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and shared taxis. The bus network is pretty extensive and from what I could gather there are 4 major hubs, interchanges, call it what you will; Jhalukbari, Beltola, Khanapara and Paltan Bazar.
Paltan Bazar is also where a backpacker ought to stay. It is situated around the Guwahati railway station (if you happen to arrive through other station i.e. Kamakhya Jn, its a 20 min bus ride, fare ₹ 10). You have a huge choice of hotels from the very basic to the snazzy. The aforementioned gamut of eateries are also spread around the Paltan bazar, Ulubari, GS road area. The state museum, state arts & crafts center are walking distance from here, so is the kachari ghat, one of the many ferry points.
Which brings us to something that I found disappointing, there is hardly any riverfront infrastructure. For a city based on the banks of Bhramaputra, I found this very odd. There is a park next to the kachari ghat but it seemed more like one of those that young couples seek out. On the same road i.e. MG road is the Uzan Bazar fish market, although I walked by it in the late evening when it was shut, by the looks of it, I'm pretty sure it would be thriving each morning.
If you are from Guwahati and find any of the info here inaccurate or incomplete, please let me know by commenting below and I will incorporate it in the post.
This blog was originally published on Aglastation.