Discover the Transformed Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre in Guwahati

The allure of the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre (MBRHC) in Guwahati is hard to resist. In Guwahati, Assam, the Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre has been established in an approximately 150-year-old bungalow.

On the Barphukanar Tila, also known as Barphukan’s Hillock, in Guwahati is the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

Nestled beside the majestic Brahmaputra River, this once ‘Old DC Bungalow’ has undergone a remarkable transformation into a vibrant heritage centre.

It now welcomes the public to explore the rich cultural tapestry of Assam through captivating art installations, enlightening exhibitions, and breath-taking views of the mighty Brahmaputra.

Old DC Bungalow

The Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre (MBRHC) Experience

The prospect of witnessing the revival of the ‘Old DC Bungalow’ piqued my curiosity and excitement. It was an invitation to step back in time and see how this British-era bungalow had evolved.

In August 2023, during a family trip to Guwahati, we decided to spend an evening at the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre. Both my family and I share a passion for museums and art galleries, making this visit a perfect choice.

The journey began as we entered the pedestrian-only campus. It was immediately apparent that not only had the bungalow been rejuvenated but the entire hill on which it stands for over 150 years had been meticulously landscaped. This transformation had turned the surroundings into a lush green oasis adorned with tall trees.

Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre (MBRHC)

Our adventure took us past the ‘Culture Wheels,’ the first of many Art Installations in THE ART GARDEN. Resembling Buddhist prayer wheels, each Culture Wheel represented the diverse tribes and communities inhabiting the Brahmaputra Valley. As we turned these wheels, the vibrant sounds of folk music transported us into the colorful lives of these communities, highlighting the essence of the Brahmaputra River’s celebration.

Further along the path, we encountered ‘The River Life,’ another captivating Art Installation that beautifully depicted the coexistence of the mighty Brahmaputra and the people living along its banks.

The River Life Brahmaputra

The tour continued with a visit to the exquisite ‘Heritage Mosaic.’ Our journey then led us to viewing decks that offered mesmerizing views of boats and steamers gracefully navigating the Brahmaputra. We couldn’t resist capturing a few photographs against the backdrop of the evening skyline before entering the Heritage Centre.

THE ART GALLERY

THE ART GALLERY - Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

Inside the Heritage Bungalow, we found THE ART GALLERY, which serves as a platform for artists and photographers to showcase their work. It was heartening to see how the ‘Old DC Bungalow,’ while retaining its colonial charm, had been repurposed into a dynamic center for preserving and promoting art and culture.

THE CENTRAL HALL

THE CENTRAL HALL - Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

Upon entering THE CENTRAL HALL, I was captivated by its ceiling adorned with traditional Assamese fishing equipment, a tribute to the rich heritage of Assam. As I gazed at the ceiling’s beauty, memories of my home’s decor in Dibrugarh from the ’90s flooded my mind. The room’s earthy ambiance, complete with locally made cane furniture and handloom weaves, had garnered admiration from all who had visited us.

A large portrait of Lachit Borphukan, the heroic Ahom warrior, stood as a powerful reminder of this place’s historical significance. In bygone days, this hillock, known as Itakhuli, had served as Lachit Borphukan’s naval headquarters. His strategic brilliance and unwavering commitment had resulted in the decisive Battle of Saraighat, leading to the Mughal retreat from Assam. A fitting tribute to this valiant commander would be a worthy addition to the Heritage Centre.

The Central Hall, themed ‘Life Along the River,’ featured pictorial wall panels that emphasized this theme. Noteworthy was the traditional taat-xaal, a weaving loom, highlighting the continued significance of hand weaving in the Brahmaputra Valley’s rural life and culture.

THE VIEWING ROOM

THE VIEWING ROOM

THE VIEWING ROOM, with its theme ‘Weaving A Heritage,’ showcased a curated collection of traditional weaves from the indigenous tribes of Assam. These textiles, adorned with characteristic ethnic motifs, adorned the walls. The Viewing Room also featured photographs of natural organic dyes commonly used in the Brahmaputra Valley.

THE RIVER LOUNGE

THE RIVER LOUNGE

THE RIVER LOUNGE, the bungalow’s main room, exuded the ambiance of an upscale colonial living room. Its tall windows, rich paat-silk curtains, and exquisite artifacts on the mantle of the fireplace created a sophisticated atmosphere. A unique chandelier, crafted from an upturned boat, added a touch of distinction. The lounge’s paintings and plush seating enhanced its well-styled appearance.

THE MEETING ROOM

THE MEETING ROOM

We proceeded to THE MEETING ROOM, themed ‘Navigating The River.’ Adorning its walls were pictorial representations of various vessels and ships that had sailed the Brahmaputra for centuries. Artefacts from ships of yesteryears added to the room’s allure.

THE LIBRARY HALL

THE LIBRARY HALL

THE LIBRARY HALL, with its two distinct sections, was a treasure trove of knowledge. The ‘Vintage Assam Gallery’ displayed books on diverse subjects related to the Brahmaputra River and its valley. Pictures chronicling the bungalow’s restoration journey adorned the walls. The ‘Majuli Corner’ showcased signature masks of Majuli, reflecting the characters of ‘Srimad Bhagwat Geeta’ and other facets of Xattriya culture. This corner also featured handicrafts and panel paintings illustrating the life of Lord Krishna.

ATTIC ROOM

The ATTIC ROOM, a musical heritage space, housed a vast collection of indigenous musical instruments used by tribes and communities along the Brahmaputra. Each instrument represented a piece of the region’s folk culture, categorized into percussion, wind, and string instruments. My son, a music enthusiast, particularly enjoyed this section.

THE CRAFT SHOP

Back on the ground floor, we explored ‘Lahé Life,’ THE CRAFT SHOP, offering locally crafted souvenirs and collectibles. These mementos allowed visitors to take a piece of Assam’s culture home.

Our tour concluded with a visit to the serene RIVERSIDE GARDEN. This beautifully manicured space featured seasonal flowers, and a pathway along the riverfront surrounded the bungalow, offering a tranquil escape.

Enjoy the view of the majestic River Brahmaputra from the riverside Garden

THE ART GARDEN

At the front aspect of the Heritage Bungalow. Resembling the Buddhist prayer wheels; each Culture Wheel individually represents the ethnically diverse tribes and communities inhabiting the Brahmaputra Valley.

Inspired by the Buddhist prayer wheels, each of the ‘Culture Wheels’ individually depict the tribes and communities that inhabit the banks of the River Brahmaputra, as it enters and exits India

Walking ahead we came across the second eye-catching Art Installation is shows presenting ‘The River Life’, which represent the beautiful coexistence between the mighty River Brahmaputra and the people living on its banks.

observation decks - Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

We immediately made our way to the observation decks, where we could enjoy the captivating sight of small boats and steamers navigating the huge Brahmaputra. We took few beautiful pictures against the evening skyline before walking towards the Heritage Centre.

THE PLAY ZONE

A corridor of activities - Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

Covered among tall lush trees, this corridor of activities includes a colourful ‘Play House Cluster’ for toddlers, a multi-level ‘Play Zone’ for the energetic playful kids, a full-size ‘Snakes & Ladders’ game board laid out on the ground with a soft cushiony dice and a large outdoor ‘Chess Board’ with every chess piece specially designed to represent images of Ahom soldiers and kings.

THE PLAY ZONE

Parents and guardians can relax at the sit-out area with its umbrella-shaded and non-shaded tables overlooking the river, while the children engage in games and play.

THE PLAY ZONE -Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre

Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre – Starbucks Café

Nestled along the banks of the majestic Brahmaputra River, the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre – Starbucks Café is a true gem for those seeking a unique and tranquil coffee experience. This café is not your average coffee shop; it’s a destination that seamlessly blends the rich heritage of the Brahmaputra River with the world-renowned Starbucks experience.

Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre - Starbucks Café

As you step inside the café, you’re immediately struck by the breathtaking interior design. The café’s decor pays homage to the cultural and historical significance of the Brahmaputra River, with intricate artwork and artifacts adorning the walls. The colors and textures used in the café’s design evoke a sense of calm and serenity, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage.

Starbucks Café Photo

But the location is what really distinguishes this café. Positioned to provide guests with panoramic views of the Brahmaputra River, it offers a unique opportunity to enjoy your coffee while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings. The café’s verandah, in particular, offers an unparalleled vista of the river, allowing you to savor your coffee while watching the gentle flow of the Brahmaputra, a river that has played a significant role in the region’s history and culture.

Inside view of the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre – Starbucks Café reveals a space that seamlessly blends modern comfort with traditional charm. The café is divided into different seating areas, each with its own distinct ambiance. Whether you prefer a cozy nook by the window or a communal table for group gatherings, you’ll find the perfect spot to enjoy your coffee.

Inside view of the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre - Starbucks Café

As you sip your coffee and savor your treats, you’ll find that the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre – Starbucks Café is not just a place to enjoy great food and beverages, it’s also a space for cultural enrichment. The café hosts regular events and exhibitions that celebrate the art, history, and traditions of the Brahmaputra River region. It’s an opportunity to learn more about this remarkable waterway and its significance to the people who call its banks home.

Inside view of the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre - Starbucks Café Photo

The café’s commitment to sustainability is another aspect that sets it apart. Starbucks has a global reputation for its efforts to reduce its environmental impact, and this café is no exception. From responsibly sourced coffee beans to eco-friendly packaging, every effort is made to ensure that your coffee experience is not only enjoyable but also eco-conscious.

Starbucks Café Photo

Beyond its offerings, the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre – Starbucks Café is a place where people gather. Whether you’re meeting a friend for a catch-up, holding a business meeting, or simply seeking a moment of solitude, this café accommodates all. The free Wi-Fi and ample seating make it an ideal spot to work, study, or connect with others.

Starbuck location map:

Adjacent to the café, the open-air AMPHITHEATRE featured a backdrop painting depicting tea gardens and scenes from the Kaziranga National Park. This venue promised to showcase Assam’s rich culture through various art forms, all against the backdrop of the mighty Brahmaputra.

AMPHITHEATRE

As we left, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. The revitalization of the iconic DC Bungalow had preserved its glory while opening it to the public. The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority’s commendable efforts had given rise to a captivating tribute to the Brahmaputra River and the historic Battle of Saraighat.

Visitor Information:

  • Vehicular traffic within MBRHC premises is prohibited to maintain peace and tranquility.
  • MBRHC offers designated car parking with an overhead connecting walkway.
  • Silent electric passenger carts are available for convenient transportation within the campus.
  • Entry Tickets:
    • Children below 10 years: Free of charge
    • Persons with Disabilities: Free of charge
    • Persons aged above 75 years: Free of charge
    • From 10 years to 75 years: ₹100/- per person
    • Visitors must retain their Entry Tickets throughout their visit, with entry only through the security cabin at the Main Gate.
    • Outside food and beverages are no

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FAQ’s:

Where is the Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre located?

Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre is located at OLD DC BUNGLOW 5PQV+H2F, Pan Bazaar, Guwahati, Assam 781001, India.

What day of the week is Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre closed?

The Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre is open every day from 10:00 AM till 11:00 PM.

What is the nearest railway station from Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre?

Guwahati Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre. It is nearly 1.2 kilometers away from it.

What is the heritage bungalow in Guwahati?

The old DC Bungalow perched atop the hillside has been renovated from a run-down condition to its former splendour during the Colonial era, when this house served as the seat of power. 

What is the entry fee for Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre?

The entry fee for the Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre (MBRHC) is as follows:

  • Free for children under 10 years old
  • Persons with Disabilities: Free of charge
  • Persons aged above 75 years: Free of charge
  • From 10 years to 75 years: ₹100/- per person

What is the heritage bungalow in Guwahati?

The heritage bungalow in Guwahati is the ‘Old DC Bungalow,’ which has been transformed and revitalized into the Mahabahu Brahmaputra River Heritage Centre (MBRHC).

Who is the father of Brahmaputra?

The Brahmaputra River is often referred to as the “father of Brahmaputra” due to its immense significance in the region. It is one of the major rivers in Asia and plays a vital role in the lives of the people living along its banks.

Where are the best places to visit in Guwahati?

Among the top destinations in Guwahati are:

  • Kamakhya Temple
  • Umananda Island
  • Assam State Museum
  • Assam Zoo
  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Navagraha Temple
  • Basistha Ashram

What are the two heritage sites in Assam?

Two heritage sites in Assam are:

  • Kaziranga National Park: Known for its rich biodiversity and the conservation of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
  • Sivasagar: Famous for its historical monuments, including the Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, and Sivasagar Tank.

What is the entry point of the Brahmaputra River?

The entry point of the Brahmaputra River into India is at a place called Bishing in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, near the border with Tibet. This is where the river crosses into Indian territory from China (Tibet) and begins its journey through the northeastern states of India.

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