The state capital, GUWAHATI (or Gauhati), lies on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra. Although some of the old town still retains its character, Guwahati is a rapidly expanding city of shopping malls and heaving bazaars and as it is the main gateway to the region you will probably need to stay here for a night or two. Guwahati’s main attractions are the Kamakhya, Navagraha and Umananda temples, while northwest of the city are the silk village of Sualkuchi, the pilgrimage site of Hajo and Manas National Park.

As the main hub for the region’s lucrative tea industry, Guwahati’s Assam Tea Auction Centre at Dispur is the largest trade centre in the world for the CTC (crush, tear and curl) tea so characteristic of Assam; visits require prior permission from the Senior Manager. Elsewhere, the bustling markets of Paltan Bazaar, Pan Bazaar and Fancy Bazaar, Guwahati’s main shopping areas, are bunched in the centre on either side of the railway, with the older residential areas north of the tracks spread along the riverside. Assamese silk, wooden rhinos and other crafts are sold at several shops on GNB Road, including at the State Emporium.