Formerly known as Pragjyotishpur, Guwahati, also called as Gauhati, is considered as the gateway to the north-east region of the country. Located on the bank of the Brahmaputra River, Guwahati is also the largest city of Assam. The largest metropolis in the north-east region of the country, this city is also the second largest metropolitan area in entire eastern India.
The history of the city dates back to the epic times. Guwahati has its first mention in the great epic Mahabharata as the capital of the demon king Narakasura of Pragjyotishpur. Due to this reason, the city came to be known as Pragjyotishpur, which means Light of the East. It is also believed that the city was the ancient land of Kamarupa. In this ancient land, the Hindu god of beauty, fertility and source of life was reborn.
The destination, till the invasions of Ahoms, had been the nerve-centre of all cultural activities. In addition, the city has also been a battleground and witnessed plenty of intense struggles between the Mughals and Ahoms. The Mughals tried to invade the state around 17 times, however every time they were defeated by the Ahoms. During the time of battle, the army of Ahoms was led by the great Ahom General, Bir Lachit Borphukan.
In 1897, the entire city was ruined due to a major earthquake. Most of the old city was wiped out because of this earthquake, which was followed by a series of devastating floods.
The present capital of the State of Assam is Dispur, which is located within the city and is also the seat of the Government of Assam. With world class institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati is also a major commercial and educational centre of North-East India.
A hub for cultural activities and sports in the north-eastern region, the city is also the centre for political and administrative activities of Assam. Moreover, the destination is also an important transportation hub in the north-east region and is well connected to the rest of the country.
Guwahati airport is the main airport of the region and has flights to places like Aizawl, Agartala, Delhi, Kolkata etc. The closest international airports are at Kolkata and Delhi. The city is part of the North-East Frontier Railway and is a major railhead of the region. It is connected by quite a few train services to different parts of the country.
Buses also connect Guwahati to major destinations in and around the state. There are bus services to places like Darjeeling too which is in the state of West Bengal. These buses are operated by the state as well as private tour groups.
Guwahati attracts tourists due to its rich cultural mix and tribal traditions along with several colourful festivals. One of the most popular fairs that is held in this city is the Ambubachi Mela. This fair is organised every year during the monsoon season, which is attended by large number of devotees.
Some of the major festivals celebrated in the city are Bihu, which is the National Festival of the Assamese and the Bahag Bihu during April. The Kati or Kangali Bihu and the Magh or Bhogali Bihu are some of the other festivals of Guwahati. The best time to visit Guwahati is from the months of October to April.