When it comes to travelling to the Northeast, most people think of scenic road trips, or snowy, mountainous villages, or sprawling tea estates. But contrary to popular perception, the seven states boast several historical cities that merit exploration. Guwahati, Assam’s capital and the largest city of the region, promises memorable riverside strolls, scrumptious cuisine, local arts and crafts, and stimulating city excursions. The best part? A Kolkata to Guwahati flight takes just a little over an hour. To know how to spend a peaceful weekend in this city set on the banks of the Brahmaputra, read on.
Go Birding in Garbhanga Reserve Forest
An hour’s drive away from Guwahati, lies the Garbhanga Reserve Forest, a favourite with local birdwatchers. Close to the border with Meghalaya, this place offers just the kind of communion with nature that travellers crave. The reserve is home to rare species such as pygmy wrens, lesser shortwings, and grey-bellied tessias, apart from close to 200 other species. The richest of Garbhanga should convince you to book that Delhi to Guwahati flight right away. The forest also offers butterfly sightings aplenty, as 26 recorded species of these winged creatures thrive here.
As evening draws closer, drive to the Deepor Beel wetland and Chandubi Lake nearby for some incredible views of the landscape. The latter has a jungle camp where you can stay the night. Reserve the next day for some fishing at leisure.
Sight Rhinoceroses Just One Hour Away
So, what if Kaziranga is a five-hour drive away—you have a better shot at spotting the one-horned rhinoceros in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Driving from Guwahati to Pobitora takes about an hour, and if you set off early in the morning, you can sign up for an elephant safari. If not, jeep safaris go on all day, and will help you sight not just rhinos, but even civet cats and monitor lizards. The wetlands inside the sanctuary attract migratory birds from North America, Africa, and Siberia. Stay overnight at one of the eco-camps available here and do pick up some bamboo jewellery before leaving for your Guwahati to Kolkata flight.
Witness Weaving in Sualkuchi
Just imagine visiting a place known as the Manchester of the East! This one is for lovers of traditional textiles, especially the mekhela chador, the traditional drape worn by Assamese women. Sualkuchi, the weavers’ village, is just over a 30-minute drive away from Guwahati and is home to several workshops/artisan studios where you can buy mekhelas and gamosas (men’s scarves) and centuries-old sattras (historical performing arts institutions) that are home to intricate architectural features. If you’re visiting during the Raas Mahotsava, don’t forget to take back some khurma and nimki for your Guwahati to Kolkata flight.
Grab Some Local Grub
Those smacking their lips throughout their flight from Delhi to Guwahati won’t go back disappointed. At Uzan Bazaar, you can sample not only Assamese thalis, but Khasi platters, with fusion offerings for good measure. Ganeshguri has humble eateries where you can savour Mising flavours, while restaurants like Paradise on Maniram Dewan Road and Petuaa on Hengrabari Road offer comfort picks made using seasonal produce. Between meals, don’t forget to check out the ropeway across the Brahmaputra to serene North Guwahati, or take a ferry ride to the tiny riverine island of Umananda.