There are many interesting places near Guwahati the gateway to unsung and untamed northeast India. The wild life sanctuaries in Assam and the quaint red-roofed hill capital of Meghalaya, Shillong, are the most well-known.
Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary is located 65km from Guwahati. The wildlife includes the one-horned rhinoceros, leopards, tigers, and varieties of migratory and non-migratory birds. Accommodation available is forest bungalows – contact the Range Forest Officer, Pabitora, Assam. Driving here from Guwahati is the best option – it is close by and the roads are good.
Kaziranga Game Sanctuary is one of the most well known tourist destinations in Assam, covering an area of 430 km. Home to the nearly extinct one-horned rhino, one can also spot elephants, sloth bears, tigers, leopard cats, jungle cats, hog badgers, capped langurs, hoolock gibbons, pigs, jackals, porcupines, pythons, buffaloes, Indian bisons, swamp deer, sambhars and hog deer from very close quarters. Trips into the sanctuary are taken at dawn on elephants that wade through the tall elephant-grass and give you a vantage view of animals waking up to the day. The sight of the one-horned rhino bathing in ponds with its offspring on its back is one you just cannot afford to miss. Do wear trousers that fully cover your legs to avoid abrasions from the elephant-grass. The best season to visit this park is November to April. Avoid the monsoons (June to September) that bring heavy rainfall and often flood the park. There is a wide range of accommodation available at the park ranging from luxury hotels to rest houses and dormitories.
Manas National Park is 176km from Guwahati it is the only tiger reserve in Assam and also famous for the rare golden Langur and red Panda, Manas is one of the best-kept national parks in India. The wildlife is best seen on elephant back at dawn.
Shillong is described as ‘Scotland of the East’ because of its striking similarity to the Scottish highlands, situated at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level, romantic and picturesque with an abundance of natural beauty, Although it is a bustling city today, its striking waterfalls and caves are just a breath away. Shillong also boasts of Asia’s first 18 holes golf course. Within the city is the flower bedecked Ward’s Lake encircled by whispering pine groves. Take a boat ride if you want to or feed the multihued fish standing on the bridge across the lake. You’ll love the walks in this city although it does get a little crowded with cars in the afternoon.
Lady Hydari Park doubles up as a miniature zoo and is a short distance away from Ward’s Lake. A visit to the cathedral at Dhankheti is a must, it has beautiful stained glass windows and the grotto is carved out of a single rock. The bells of the cathedral resonate across the city at dawn, in the afternoon and dusk. You can hire a taxi or take a conducted bus tour of the sights around the city, the cascading Elephant Falls, the twin Beadon and Bishop Falls, Sweet Falls, Crinoline Falls, the Shillong Peak, the Cherrapunjee limestone caves and the Barapani Lake could all be a part of your itinerary.