Picturesque nature, the pristine Brahmaputra river, and a sense of utter tranquillity...Welcome to the exotic north-eastern gem called Guwahati. Tucked away in the gorgeous city of Assam, this town does more than just strip you off your worries. It calms the senses and soothes the mind!
Marrying a chef entails zipping across to different states and cities to discover and gorge on their delectable cuisines. So, sticking to our ‘ritual’ and for the love of food, this time my husband and I zeroed in on Guwahati. Armed with our COVID negative reports and enticed by IndiGo Airlines’ irresistible fares (plus their meticulous safety precautions), we soon found ourselves in Novotel Guwahati.
OF FOOD AND FANCY SHOPPING
Novotel is just the right base if you want to explore the city well. Fresh and modern, it exudes extravagance as well as individuality. After a traditional check-in, we are at ‘The Square’, which serves breakfast as well as other meals. We enjoy a fabulous meal of Masor Tenga (fish in a sour gravy) and stir-fried local greens with Joha rice.
We decide to call it an early night as both of us want to wake up early enough the next morning to explore the local restaurants. However, the rain gods have other plans! Most of the morning is washed away and we spend hours over Assam tea at the scenic Bistro, which is enclosed by greenery, taking in the beauty of the open kitchen and the pizza oven.
Finally, as the downpour abates, we set out to the bustling Fancy Bazaar, the perfect place to collect souvenirs. From thrift shops to opulent showrooms, we find diverse options here. Of course, I end up gorging on some local food, after buying the Mekhela Chador aka the traditional Assamese saree.
We can’t resist buying copious quantities of Assam, Darjeeling and Green Tea as well as several packets of the famous Bamboo and Olive pickle.
As is a given, shopping has made us incredibly hungry, yet again. So, we ask around for Michinga, which is highly recommended for local Assamese food. The menu here offers various thalis; we go for the Jumbo Assamese which includes, masoor dal, koldil chop, deemer devil, amita khar, labra, aloo begun pitika, palang saag, pith, joha rice, macher tenga, lai saag, murgir jhol and guder payesh. Completely sated, we enjoy the sunset cruise over the mighty Brahmaputra before calling it a day.
PIETY, PARTY AND PALM TREES
Guwahati is predominantly well-known for its Kamakhya temple, atop Nilachal hill. It is said to be distinguished amongst the holiest tantric shrines of Shakti reverence in the world. Just above Kamakhya is Bhubaneshwari, a small temple, from where we get a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
As we ramble on, we discover older areas near the river, and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the ponds, palm trees, temples, single-storey traditional houses and colonial-era mansions. Only a few stretches of the riverbank are approachable, but once you get there, the view is as enchanting as a memorable dream!
We head back to our hotel to savour a four-course tea-inspired menu by Executive Chef Sujit Chakraborty, as well as an evening of music and cocktails at Malt, the bar. Quietly recharge, live it up, or just soak in the beauty. Whatever your agenda is, Guwahati doesn’t disappoint in the least!
How to reach: Fly IndiGo, it offers the best connection and is budget-friendly, always on time and maintains all safety standards
Best place to stay: Novotel Guwahati, Downtown Dispur, G.S Road, Guwahati, 781006, Assam. Tel No – 03617104444/ 7577884027