Known as the gateway to northeast India and the most cosmopolitan city in the region, Guwahati is one of the country’s lesser known gems. There are dozens of things to see and do in Guwahati, and many of them are directly influenced by the city’s location within India as well as its long history.
This city, the largest in the state of Assam, is a major port located along the shores of the Brahmaputra River. It is unknown when Guwahati was founded, but because it is mentioned in numerous epics, myths, legends, traditional histories, and other ancient media, it is believed to be one of the ancient cities of Asia. The city dates back to at least 400 CE, when it was the capital of the Kamarupa kingdom.
Because of its long history, Guwahati boasts plenty of historical attractions. Tourists who prefer to dive into religion and culture will find plenty of places to do so, as the city is nicknamed “the City of Temples.” And foodies will have a field day roaming its streets in search of mouthwatering Assamese cuisine. Here, we will break down the finest places to enjoy the best that Guwahati has to offer. These are the top 10 things to see and do in Guwahati, India.
Without question, one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati is to see the Brahmaputra River, the widest in all of India. In addition to India, the Brahmaputra River also runs through parts of Tibet, China, and Bangladesh.
Guwahati is situated along the river, so there are many spots from which you can view it. But few are more scenic than Sati Radhika Prashanti Udyan Riverfront Park. There, you can enjoy stunning views of India’s widest river among the park’s beautiful trees and gardens.
Given its secluded and romantic setting, Sati Radhika Prashanti Udyan Riverfront is a popular date spot. It’s not unusual to see couples taking strolls along the park’s concrete paths and watching the ferries traverse the river.
There is a great lookout spot where you can get a good look at Umananda Island, the smallest river island in the world. While the regular entry fee is only 10 rupees, note that it will cost you 50 rupees if you have a camera with you!
Travelers who would like to sample Assamese Mughlai cuisine in Guwahati should look no further than Michinga Ethnic Cuisine. Mughlai cuisine was developed during the Mughal Empire between 1526 and 1857. It counts Persianate and Turkic cuisine among its main influences.
Michinga Ethnic Cuisine is also a great eatery to try Naga, Khasi, and other Asian dishes. I suggest going with their Upper Assamese Mughlai Thali. A thali is usually a large meal that consists of breads and/or rice, as well as an assortment of other dishes, which vary by state and region. This thali is sort of a mix between the bread-heavy northern thalis and the primarily rice-based ones found in the southern part of the country.
This thali comes with a pair of delicious paneer, or cottage cheese, dishes. The crispy and crunchy paneer kofta has an almost meaty texture and absorbs all of the flavors of the curry it’s served in. The other paneer dish is also bathed in a flavorful curry and is so buttery, it melts in your mouth.
Try your pulao with the yellow mustard and green chili chutney to give it a spicy kick. There’s also a delicious eggplant that’s coated in gram flour, a delightful chicken korma, and a chicken cutlet that’s similar to a croquette. But the star of the meal for me is the tender and juicy mutton, which comes in a slightly sweet curry that contains cardamom. Don’t forget to suck the marrow out of the bones for a boost of intense flavor!
Do not miss out on eating at Michinga Ethnic Cuisine during your time in Guwahati. It’s easily one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati!
One of my favorite places to have breakfast in Guwahati is JB’s. When you go there, you have to order their puris and club kachoris. They come with two incredible potato curries: a regular potato curry and one where the potatoes are mashed.
Even dipped into the potato curry, the puri was still very crispy but also had a nice softness to it that created a great contrast of textures. The curry itself is rich, but not spicy, so this is a perfect breakfast dish for travelers who aren’t fond of heat.
The club kachori, which is a puffy, hollow flatbread like puri, is sensational with the mashed potato curry. Unlike the other potato curry, this one had a spicy kick to it and was so good, I wanted to drink it! This curry alone makes eating at JB’s one of the best things to see and do in Guwahati!
Finish your meal with a jalebi, a popular Indian sweet that consists of spiral-shaped deep-fried dough covered in sugar syrup. Most jalebis are bright orange, but there are other varieties around the country that are yellow.
Regardless of their color, they’re always cloyingly sweet, super fatty, and extremely tasty!
While exploring Guwahati, be sure to get a taste of the local culture by paying a visit to Ganesh Temple Latasil. Its origins date back to the 1950s, when a young boy named Hali Ram Das discovered an image of Lord Ganesha where the temple now stands.
The boy, also known as Kanduraka, began offering prayers to it daily in the shade of a banyan tree. Over the years, a small temple was built from contributions from the locals.
The current temple was built on the site in 2005. A statue of Kanduraka was erected at the temple later that year following his death. The temple is known for the delicious and sweet Payox that is served to devotees and the financial aid it provides to the poor and needy.
The main temple is a beautiful white building with lots of intricate carvings. Inside, I had a truly spiritual experience, gave my offerings, and rang the bell afterward.
Coming to this temple is meant to remove obstacles from your life, so be sure to pay it a visit! It’s one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati for a reason!
No trip to Guwahati is complete without at least one trip to Fancy Bazaar, a locality and commercial business area with lots of shops and street food vendors. There, you can find everything from designer clothing to glorious street food, so it’s the perfect place for a curious traveler to explore!
Fancy Bazaar is another amazing place to get breakfast in Guwahati. There’s a vendor there who serves buttery and freshly-made parathas with a light and flavorful aloo ki sabzi.
The sabzi is a delicious mashed potato curry that also contains chickpeas, tomatoes, and green chilies. This dish is alone makes exploring Fancy Bazaar one of the best things to see and do in Guwahati!
I also recommend the chole bhature, which is a large puri with chickpea curry. At only 3o rupees/$0.72 U.S., it’s an inexpensive snack that’s also very tasty and quite filling! There’s also a delightful puri sabzi, which comes with four puris and a rich and oily green pea curry with potatoes.
Don’t miss sweet drinks like lassi with rose, sugar syrup, and almonds. Try the rasgulla, a sweet and fluffy dough ball that is soaked in a sugary syrup, as well as gulab jamun, a milk-based ball with sugar syrup and nuts.
Another dish you can find there is puchka, which is another name for my favorite Indian dish, pani puri! This popular street food consists of a puri that is filled with potatoes, spices, chilies, and a soupy mixture of mint and tamarind chutneys.
They’re meant to be eaten in one bite. The version I found there was spicy, which made it even better in my opinion! They only charge 10 rupees, or $0.14 U.S. for 4 puchkas, so it’s an incredible deal!
If you’re on the hunt for flavorful and inexpensive street food at night, look no further than the vendors and stalls at Nehru Park!
I recommend trying the chicken momos, which are similar to chicken dumplings or potstickers. Your momos will be served with a hot red chili sauce and ketchup, but for me, it was chili sauce all the way!
The momos are spicy and filled with tender pieces of chicken and onion. The tasty filling contrasts nicely with the soft exterior. The red chili sauce really kicks them up a notch!
I also suggest trying the pani. Pani is a soup-like mixture that contains various herbs and spices. It’s one of the main ingredients in pani puri. At Nehru Park, it was served to me boiling hot.
Definitely let it sit and cool off for a few minutes before you decide to sip it. Once you do, you’ll really get to enjoy the ginger and mint flavors throughout!
You can’t leave Nehru Park without sampling some bhel puri, a type of chaat. This light, sweet, and refreshing chaat contains potatoes, puffed rice, peanuts, onions, and crispy and fried dough wafers called papdi. It is also topped with a tangy tamarind chutney that has to be tasted to be believed!
I also highly recommend the Kolkata-style chicken biryani, which contains a perfectly cooked fried egg with a runny yolk. Between the sensational glaze on the chicken and the fine-grain basmati rice, the flavors and textures had me in biryani heaven! Eating it is easily one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati.
Also try the spicy chicken chow, a spicy noodle dish that is essentially an Indian version of Chinese noodles. The freshness of the carrots and onions, along with the heat of the chilies and the deep-fried chicken lollipop pieces made this a winning dish I will never forget!
Finish your night at Nehru Park with an Oreo waffle. Yes, an Oreo waffle. Trust me. The waffle is made from sweet batter, which is topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, crushed Oreos, and chocolate chips. The whipped cream is so smooth it’s almost reminiscent of ice cream!
While the Oreo waffle sounds like a very American dessert, I could taste lots of Indian touches that I guarantee I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. This rich and decadent dish is cut into nine pieces, so get a couple of friends and enjoy it with them!
Learning about the culture and history of the places I visit is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. When in Guwahati, one of the best places to learn about both is Navagraha Temple, also known as the Nine Planets Temple. The temple can be found atop Chitrasal Hill.
Nine Planets Temple was built by the Ahoms in the 18th century. This ancient temple was built to study the nine major celestial bodies in Hindu astronomy.
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Nine shivalingams representing these bodies can be found inside the temple. Today, people go there to make offerings to the planets and get blessings to sort out hardships in their lives.
The temple is quite gorgeous and worshipping inside them is a wonderful, spiritual experience. That said, I advise being careful with your shoes when you visit Hindu temples in India.
Sometimes people will take advantage of the fact that shoes must be left outside and will steal them while their owners are worshipping inside. It happens more often in the bigger and busier cities.
Just to be safe, I suggest traveling with a couple of pairs of shoes. That way, you’ll never find yourself shoeless after a temple visit.
Also, watch out for the monkeys at Nine Planets Temple! Quite a few of them hang around outside. They may look cute, but they can be pretty aggressive when they want to be, so keep your distance.
The ones I encountered were not a fan of my camera!
Taking a deep dive into the local food scene is always a good idea when you travel. In Guwahati, I suggest exploring the unique flavors of Assamese cuisine at Paradise Restaurant. There, you’ll find the Parampara Thaali, a small but incredible thali that gives diners a wonderful look at traditional Assamese food.
I suggest starting off with the tangy and citrusy gooseberry soup with crispy crackers before you dive into the thali. There’s a tasty and slightly spicy aloo pitika and a fantastic dal, which are heavenly when mixed together.
The most exotic dish in the thali is the pigeon, which is served in a magnificent sesame curry. The curry is dark and rich-looking and tastes even better than it looks!
I suggest being very careful while eating the pigeon, which is extremely bony. You don’t want to accidentally swallow one like I did! The bird is tasty and fatty and reminded me a bit of goat meat, to be honest.
Another delicious dish is the fish tenga, which I recommend pulling apart to get rid of any bones before you dig in. Eat it, with your hands, with the rice that’s provided. The fish’s skin is very tasty and goes extremely well with the rice. Don’t miss the meat on the fish’s head; there’s a lot of it there!
There’s also a deep-fried eggplant that is incredible. I wasn’t a big fan of the mint-coriander chutney it came with, but I suggest you try it to see if you like it more than I did.
One of my favorite parts of this thali was the steamed fish with a mustard sauce, which was cooked and served in a banana leaf. This fish is divine! It melts in your mouth the moment you take a bite.
The meat is infused with the flavor of the banana leaf and eating it was a culinary experience I didn’t want to end! Having this thali is easily one of the best things to see and do in Guwahati!
Why settle for only seeing the Brahmaputra River from the shore when you can take an hour-long cruise down it and enjoy a delicious dinner at the same time? That’s exactly what you’ll experience on the Afresco Grand dinner cruise, which you can catch from Guwahati.
The cruise only costs 400 rupees/roughly $5.75 U.S. per person, so it’s practically a steal for such a wonderful experience. Note that the cost of food is extra, so if you’re planning on eating, be prepared to spend a little more.
Beer enthusiasts should go with a Kingfisher premium beer, which pairs nicely with quite a few of the food options. Beer isn’t very common in India, so enjoy it where you can.
My personal recommendation for food on the cruise is the paneer chili. Paneer chili is an Indo-Chinese dish that consists of huge, savory chunks of cottage cheese with onions, green peppers, chilies, and lots of other veggies.
I fell in love with it the first time I tried it in Mumbai in 2018, so I order it every chance I get. It’s a delightfully spicy vegetarian dish that really hits the spot. Eating this must-have dish on the Afresco Grand dinner cruise is, without question, one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati.
A fantastic food to order along with your beer is the chicken pakora, which is a fried minced and boneless chicken patty. My suggestion is to eat it without the provided ketchup and enjoy sips of your beer between bites. After all, what pairs better with fried food than beer?
As amazing as the food on the cruise is, the main attraction is the Brahmaputra River itself. During the hour-long cruise, you’ll pass by Umananda Island, which is known as the smallest river island in the world.
As you dine and ride down the river, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. If you’re lucky, you might spot one of the river dolphins the Brahmaputra River is known for!
One of the best things to do in Guwahati is driving a few hours to Manas National Park. On your way to or from the park, I highly recommend stopping by Prince Dhaba & Family Restaurant in the town of Barama.
Dhabas are roadside restaurants that can be found throughout India. Dhaba menus are comprised of dishes from a wide variety of Indian cuisines. This is because dhabas cater to truck drivers who drive from state to state.
Whether you’re in the mood for Assamese, Punjabi, or any other type of Indian cuisine, you’ll likely find it there.
Prince Dhaba & Family Restaurant’s crunchy and juicy onion pakora is a perfect and savory appetizer. Try it with a Kingfisher strong beer to start your meal off right! I also recommend the mixed veg. This dish consists of paneer, potatoes, green beans, and a wonderful curry that blew my mind!
The dry fry, which consists of tender, fatty pork and lots of refreshing vegetables, is phenomenal. There were some Chinese flavors in it that caught me by surprise but really made for a tasty and unique dish. Unlike other parts of India, pork is common in Assam, so go for it!
There’s also a sensational curry that consists of a light and sweet fish and a thick gravy. Just look out for the bones; there are a lot of them! One of my favorite dishes at the dhaba was the Maharashtra chicken, which contains an egg and a curry that is simply out of this world.
This chicken is so flavorful and falls apart in your mouth. It had the undeniable flavor of fresh chicken. I could tell it had been freshly killed and had never been frozen. It makes a world of a difference and makes the Prince Dhaba & Family Restaurant one of the top things to see and do in Guwahati!
Guwahati may be a small city in northeastern India, but it’s also an exciting world within a world. Between its incredible temples, fascinating markets, beautiful sites, and mouthwatering food, it’s a place everyone should explore. Book a trip to Guwahati today to experience the top 10 things to see and do in Guwahati for yourself!
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