[Travel Series] Guwahati – Gateway to the north eastSajna Ali
It was not the first time for Guwahati, seeing me holding a backpack entering to a hotel. Every time when I come here, the temperature is always so high that I wished to curl up inside the room and only go out when the sun is down. After the long tiring late running train journey from Kolkata, it was evening 3PM when I reached Guwahati. For the day I had nothing to do but wash few cloths and started roaming around the local market in Paltan Bazar. Foods and Garments are everywhere. Dinner was street food with desert of Butterscotch shake.
Spent a day peacefully Guwahati with sound sleep. Before going to sleep just enquired about the boat timings to Umananda temple and the distance to the boat jetty. After seeing the google map and its distance to Umananda , I decided to make it a morning walk for the day. But Google map failed to show me the construction work going on the way and the closed roads. This made 2km walk to 4km. But still I was the first one to get into the boat. They were waiting for the first ride of the day, apart from me there few 4-5 boys was also got tickets for the same boat.
We together waited nearly 30-40 minutes till the driver start the boat. Once he is done we got the instruction to sit on the roof of boat. It was my first experience to travel in a boat on its roof. Enjoyed the 8-10 minutes length journey through the Brahmaputra. When we reached the other side, there were few were waiting for the boat and they got in for their return journey.
Uma nanda devi temple is situating in a very small island in Brahmaputra. It’s the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world. There are few steps which lead to the main temple and it’s a small mountain called Bhasmacala. Main deity of temple is Umananda. Worshiping him here on Amavasya, believed to be bring highest bliss. During Shiva Chaturdashi there will be colorful festivals annually and will be crowded with devotees.
The actual temple was built by Ahom Dynasty King Gadadhar Singha but later in 1897 in an earthquake the temple was completely destructed and it was re constructed by a merchant. He chose to design the interior of the temple inscribe with Vaishnavite slogans.
The temple and premises is good for bird watching too and there are monkeys around. After an hour walking and climbing the steps I came down to the boat jetty and there were no one except for waiting the boat. After few minutes a boat came and I got in. but it was wrong and there some unwritten rule for the boats. I have to wait till my boat come back which dropped me this side of river. Knowing that I stepped out of the boat and waited for my boat to come. It was long one hour, when I identified my boat which is coming from the other side. By this time the other boys also came down and the same people got in to boat and started our journey back to other side.
There was a small restaurant close to the boat jetty from where I had my breakfast and hailed a cycle rickshaw back to hotel.
What you can do next time when you come here
Being the gateway to North East, it’s easy to explore around whenever you start a north east trip. Kamakhya temple is another attraction in the city. You can hire a auto or Tuk Tuk from any part of the city, they will drop you at foothills of Kamakhya. From there you will get a lot of shared taxis which cost per head its Rs.20 to reach the top hill. Along with Kamakhya Devi Darshan you will get a very beautiful view of Brahmaputra and city from there. If its evening, it will be more beautiful with a sunset.
Pobitora is another attraction in Guwahati. Mostly everyone knows Kaziranga but very few go Pobitora wildlife sanctuary. Here also as Kaziranga morning jeep safari is there but you have to book in advance to avoid disappointments. 46 km from the city is not a distance when it compares to Kaziranga and it’s in budget too.
Majuli, it’s another attraction nearby Guwahati to spent a whole day. It’s the world’s biggest river island. To reach here you have to reach Jorhat first. With a beautiful ferry journey you can reach the island.
Those who love street food and street shopping Guwahati is a paradise. Paltan Bazar gives you so many options.
Where to stay
Once you get down at railway station or bus stand, Paltan bazaar is very close by. There you will get a lot of good budget hotels for stay. If you are flying to Guwahati get a prepaid taxi or low floor bus which is do shuttle service from Airport to Paltan bazaar.
This travel post is a part of Aao hostels fellowship travel series.