Just 10 Km from Assam's commercial capital Guwahati, Dispur is an insigniﬁcant township, which has been strangely elevated to the Dispur Citye status of a state capital.
When Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state, Shillong continued to be the common capital of both Assam and Meghalaya. However, in 1972, the Government of Assam decided to shift the Capital to Dispur.
Except for a few government buildings, the theologically important site of Basistha Ashram and the Shankardev Kalakshetra, a cultural centre dedicated to the memory of social reformer and writer Srimanta Sankardeva, there is nothing much to see here. The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre in Dispur (GTAC) is one of the busiest tea trading facilities in the world.
With its proximity to the commercial capital, the points of access, tourism related information and places of interest remain the same as Guwahati.
Guwahati is particularly famous for the Kamakhya temple located atop the Nilachal hill, at a distance of 10 km from the railway station. Known to be the most revered among the Tantrik shrines of Shakti worship in the world, Kamakhya, was built in the 10th century by the Koch king Naranarayan. Animal sacriﬁce is a common practice here to appease the goddess.
Above Kamakhya is another small temple, Bhubaneshwari, from where one can get a bird's eye view of the city of Guwahati and the majestic Brahmaputra.
Located on an island in the middle of the Brahmaputra, this Shiva temple of Umananda can be reached by motor boats and public ferries from Umananda Ghat.
Atop a hill in the eastern part of Guwahati is the Navagraha temple, the 'temple of nine planets', an ancient seat of astrology and astronomy. Housed in a red beehive-shaped dome, the central lingam is encircled by nine more lingams representing the planets.
Vashistha Ashram (the abode of sage Vashistha), is an ancient shrine 12 km from the railway station. It is sited amidst scenic surroundings. Three beautiful streams (Lalita, Kanta and Sandhya) ﬂow through it in cascades.
It is one of the largest zoos in the country and worth a visit.
In And Around Chandubi Lake (50 Km)
A natural lagoon and popular picnic spot approximately 64 km from Guwahati. The place is easily accessible by bus. The best season to visit is from November to April.
Sualkuchi (32 Km)
Situated on the bank of the river Brahmaputra about 35 km from Guwahati, Sualkuchi is known as the Manchester of the East. The silk weaving tradition in this hamlet can be traced to the 11th century when king Dharma Pal of the Pala dynasty encouraged the craft and brought 26 weaver families from Tanatikuchi to Sualkuchi. The entire population here is engaged in weaving exquisite silk fabrics. It is a renowned centre of silk production, particularly known for Muga - the golden silk of Assam which is not produced anywhere else in the world.
Hajo (32 Km)
On the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 32 km from Guwahati is the quaint village of Hajo, which bridges three religions - Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. It has a large number of temples, of which the Hayagriva-Madhab Temple is considered to be the most propitious as it is believed that the temple entombs the relics of Lord Buddha. A signiﬁcant section of the Buddhist community also believes that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. The Poa-Mecca Masjid here is greatly revered by the Muslim community.
Shopping hopping anywhere is a delight. The people of Assam have traditionally been craftsmen and agriculturists. Assam is mostly known for its exquisite silk fabrics, pottery, woodcraft, terracotta, cane and bell-metal products. Assamese paintings are popular all over the country. Traditional Assamese toys that usually depict human ﬁgures are generally crafted out of clay, pith, wood and bamboo, which are found in abundance all over the state. A variety of animal ﬁgures dominate the clay-toys scene.
In Assam, handicraft has also evolved as a means of gratifying the divine. Papier-mâché masks play an intrinsic role in the dances and rituals of northeast India. The best place to shop for local handicrafts is the Assam state emporium 'Pragjyotika', which can be found in most large towns.