Guwahati, in Assam, is where I grew up and have spent my formative years. Any place that you spend two decades in, becomes a little closer to your heart but that’s not the only reason I love this city!
We shifted there in November 1993 when my brother was just one year old. My earliest memory of this place is the Saraighat Bridge over the mighty river Brahmaputra. Our train was on the bridge around the evening time and the train was crawling along the tracks. It took us almost ten minutes to cross the bridge. And for those ten minutes, all you could see was the vast expanse of the river, a few lights flickering along the banks of the river.
We started school in January 1994 and our school followed the state board curriculum in which an academic year would be from January to December. That very year, our school decided to shift to the CBSE curriculum and the academic year ended in April 1995. As a result, I studied the fourth standard for 20 months. (I had already done four months of schooling before we relocated).
We had a very adventurous first year in Guwahati. From kidnapping threats to being suddenly picked up from the school to moving to Shillong, we were under constant threat from the terrorist organisation there. This also started our annual ritual of a staycation in Shillong. Every summer we would go to the “Scotland of the East”, spend a weekend or a few more days there, mostly just relaxing in the hotel.
This city also has a ritual of a winter picnic by the river bank and this ritual still exists! Every year from December to January sees people going for picnics in the boats, making a bonfire, cooking the meals, soaking in the winter sun, playing games and reconnecting with nature and life. This is one thing that I really miss in the cities.
If you’ve ever visited Guwahati, you would have also gone to pray to Maa Kamakhya, one of the holiest shrines in the country. It is said that when Sati’s body was cut into pieces, the reproductive part fell here. It doesn’t have any idol, only a carving in the earth from where there is a constant flow of water.
Then there is the Umananda Temple the smallest river island that houses a Shiva temple.
A city that boasts of a river, hills and the greenery, celebrates every festival with equal pomp and galore. Most of the festivals here revolve around the crops and their harvesting season.
Best time to visit there: November to March.
Detailed posts to follow soon!
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