In old days the city there was dense forests at several areas in the city. There were no streetlights on GS Road and glow worms used to welcome those who passed by. Every night citizen of Guwahati used to hear the roar of tigers and snarls of leopards and fox howling. The only mode of public transport was the blue buses of Assam State Transport Corporation.
Now all that has changed. Shopping malls, multiplexes, flyovers and big streetlights characterized GS Road. There was a time when trains used to run through Ambari . There was no television till 1982 and small local clubs used to show the latest movies on video. According to her, the winds of change swept through Guwahati since 1982 when television came just before the Delhi Asian Games. “People now get connected to the outside world more easily. Television has started making a sharp impact on our lifestyles.”
Consumerism and materialism have become a priority for the people at present; there is a new apartment-centric culture, which is not very healthy. The people of Assam, who are basically agrarian and loved to keep in touch with nature, have suddenly moved to apartments.
Guwahati is a cosmopolitan in its true sense and presents all the amenities of a modern city. A drive round the city shows you the glittering shops, the inviting restaurants, the buzzing traffic, wide thoroughfares, tree lined roads and streets, busy offices and commercial establishments. Come in the vicinity of an educational institution and one hears the carefree laughter of the colorful youth and the future citizens of the country. A peep into the market place reveals the variety of wares. And to crown it all, are the people - a friendly population of around 12 lakh. The people of Assam carry the famous Indian tradition of hospitality to new heights. Guwahati boasts of a four star-hotel in the heart of the city and numerous three-star hotels, most of them located at scenic spots of economy hotels and lodges, accommodating guests to the state capital have never been a problem for Guwahati. Both national and international banks have branches in the city to cater to the huge volume of business and personal transactions of the region. Guwahati has given the nation its share of academic and professionals, which speaks volumes of the level of the educational institutes in the city.
If one has a little amount of spare time, leisure and entertainment avenues abound in the city. Cinema theatres, auditoriums, the zoo cum botanical garden, the state museum, the planetarium, the district library, numerous parks, river cruises, game parlors, glitzy restaurants, a visitor is presented with a wide range of choices. As a cultural centre, the Sankardev Kalashetra opens a window to the rich cultural heritage of the state Assam. set amidst a luxurious landscape, a visit to the complex in an experience in its own right. The Balaji Temple, net to the national highway, showcases the marvelous blend of ancient and modern architecture. The Bashista Temple grounds at the southern end of the city is not only a pilgrimage site but also a favored picnic spot for the citizens. Nestled among hills, rocks and sparkling clear water, one communicate with Mother Nature herself. For the religious minded, the Kamakhya Temple weaves its magic over the city. Sitting atop the Nilachal (Kamakhya) hill, the temple is a prime pilgrimage site and receives the highest number of visitors in the state.
For visitors interested in a bit of shopping or looking for a new souvenirs, the numerous marketplaces in the city offer a wide spectrum of products. One can buy the famous Assamese pat and muga silks at the many retail outlets. Special showrooms operated by ARTFED offer and showcase the traditional craftsmanship of the state.