Budget: Rs.8500/person (including stay, food, and sightseeing), also depends on hotel preference
Places to Visit:
- Maa Kamakhaya Devi Temple- located at 5 km (13 minutes) distance from our hotel, is this pious and one of the oldest Shakti Piths in the Nelachal Parvat hills. All modes of transport, be it vans, rickshaws, cabs are available and charge Rs. 5-15/person (depending on mode) but we took a Mega cab that got us to the temple in just 5 mins at Rs. 25/person. It attracts devotees from all over the world mainly during the Aambhubachi Mela and Manasha Puja. Entry fee is only Rs. 50/person. In order to visit the main Garbhagriha, you need to pay Rs. 500/person. The Divya Darshan for the devotees begins at 9 in the morning. It closes for an hour in the afternoon for Bhog Nivedan (Offering food) and reopens at 3 p.m. till and closes at sunset.
- Dipor Beel- It is a wetland bird sanctuary, situated at 40.6 km from Guwahati and takes around 1 hour 20mins (depending on traffic) to reach here. It is at 25 km (45 mins) away from Kamakhaya temple, so we attended it on the same day. Combined tour packages cost Rs.800/person (round trip). Individual buses, shared taxis are also available from Kamakhaya which charge one way for Rs.200/person (negotiable as much as you can). We took a shared cab for Rs. 120/person to reach there.
- Kaziranga National Park and Agnigarh Palace- At a distance of 205 km (4.5 hrs) from Guwahati is located this huge wildlife reserve in Tezpur. If coming by train, then you have to get down at Furketing/Jorhat and then travel by road for the next 75 km to reach the park and it takes around 8-9 hours and costs around Rs. 450-500/person. The best and most convenient mode we suggest would be to hire a taxi/cab which takes only 4-5 hours (depending on traffic) and costs Rs. 650/person.
The park is closed from 15 April to 15 October. Hence the best time to visit it is the spring season. Entry fee to the park is Rs. 100/person, safari rides require pre-bookings and cost Rs. 300/person, elephant rides, and jeep rides are cheaper, charging only Rs.90 and Rs. 150/person respectively without any pre-booking. On our way to Guwahati, we stopped at the Agnigarh Palace in Tezpur, at 150 km distance (1hr 45mins). This palace was built by Banasur and has a tryst with Hindu Mythology. It exhibits great ancient artworks. No extra charges need to be paid for this sight.
- Madan Kamdev Caves- At 38kms (1hr) from Guwahati, is a splendid archeological masterpiece carved during the 9th Century and the Bhabagauri Artwork is done in it. No entry fee is required.
- The Umananda Temple- It is in peacock islands, in the middle of the Brahmaputra River; boat services charged Rs.30 (round trip) and took us there. The serene atmosphere and scenic beauty are its main attractions.
Must Try in Assam:
- Assamese cuisine is a must try. Especially, the Non-Veg Platter of GAM DELICACY RESTURANT including the Bansh-Patudi (bamboo fish) just for Rs.180 is a delight. I would highly recommend trying the Fried Duck Omelette of The Khorika Resturant, which costs Rs. 540/plate but has much worth than its cost.
- The Kalashetra Museum on GN8 Road (7 km away from Panbazar) and its Collection of Modern art paintings are no less. We brought a few pieces of art & crafts from the gallery for just Rs. 1000 each.
- Muga and Assam Silk sarees are famous and I could not resist buying a bunch of them from the Assam Handloom Centre at Uzan Bazaar, at walking distance from our residence for just Rs. 700-800 with rich quality work in it. Lucky me.
- Assamese culture and Bihu dance shows are a treat to watch. Hence just don’t miss it at any cost. Shows are held at the Kalashetra Museum with an entry fee of only Rs. 100/person.
- Train- We took Saraighat Express which costs around Rs.1315/person and reaches Guwahati in 17.5 hrs. However, other trains with same fare and time are available like Kamrup Express, Guwahati Express (visit irctc.co.in for more details).
- Flights- Kolkata to Guwahati flights cost around Rs. 2099/person (depending upon availability) and takes 65-70 minutes. We recommend this as the most convenient option.
- Lilawati Grand- We stayed in this 3.5-star hotel at Panbazar, Guwahati which charged Rs.2200/room a day. It is at a distance of 15kms (25mins) from airport and 9kms (15mins) from Railway Station. Ola cabs, private taxis charge Rs. 200-250 whereas auto rickshaws charge only Rs.80. Free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and a Floatel on roof-top make this hotel stand out from the others.
- The Radisson Blu- This 5-star luxury hotel demands Rs. 10399/room day with a swimming pool, free parking, luxury small scale casino, Bar, and other amenities.
- Sunview International- It is located at a distance of 34 km (70 min) from the airport, this budget hotel charges only Rs.1600/room day with free Wi-Fi and breakfast. However, its distance from the city areas makes it less popular than other nearer hotels.
- Assam is undoubtedly a beautiful state with a perfect hilly ambiance and beauty but train transport is a weak demerit. Hence anywhere you need to travel is only by road. We had to go through a lot of traffic congestions and landslides issues.
- There is no fixed fare for any region except the bus transport. Hence never hesitate to negotiate with the Auto/Taxi drivers.
I enjoyed my trip and I wish the same for you… Happy tripping 🙂
PS: This trip was taken in April 2016