General Information of Assam
Assam, also described as the Shangrila in the North-Eastern India is the gateway to the North-East. The word Assam is derived from the Sanskrit word "ASOMA" meaning peerless. Nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas Assam is known as the land of blue hills and red rivers. The largest and most easily accessible of the north-east states, Assam
grows 60% of India's tea and produces a large proportion of India's oil. The main visitor attraction is Kaziranga National Park, home of India's rare one horned rhinoceros.
Assam has a rich legacy of culture and civilization. The state is the homeland of different races of men : Austric, Mongolian, Dravidian and Aryan that came to dwell in her hills and valleys at different times since remote antiquity. Assam has devloped a composite culture of variegated colour. During the epic period Assam was known as 'Kamrupa'. Guwahati is an ancient town whose history goes back to the puranic days. The city known as 'Pragjyotishpur' (place of eastern astronomy) was said to have been founded by Narkasur who is mentioned in Purans and epics. His son Bhagadatta had led a large elephant force to the battlefield of Kurukshetra and had fallen fighting on the side of the Kaurvas, according to the Mahabharta. The earliest epigraphic reference to the kingdom Kamrupa is found in Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta. Huien sang, the Chinese scholar pilgrim who visited Kamrupa in about 783 AD, on an invitation of its of its monarch Kumar Bhaskar Varman, left a record of the kingdom he called Kamolupa. kamrupa also figured in the writinges of the Arab historian Alberuni in 11th century. The advent of the Ahomas across the eastern hills in 1228 AD changed the course of Assam's history. The Ahomas defeated the local Karchari, Chutia and Moran kings and ruled Assam nearly for six centuries. The Burmese entered through eastern borders and overrun the territory. The British appeared in 1826 and defeated the Burmese in several battles. On the partition of Bengal in 1905 Assam was united with the eastern districts of Bengal. From 1912, the chief commissionership of Assam was revived and in 1921 a Governership was created.
The Muslim district of Sylhet emerged with the formation of East Bengal (Bangladesh at present) after partition of India in 1947. Dewanagiri in north Kamrupa was ceded to Bhutan in 1951. In 1963 Nagaland, and in 1972 Meghalaya and in 1987 Mizoram emeged out of Assam as full-fledged States.
Guwahati, the capital of Assam and the gateway to the north-eastern states, is a lively city revered for its ancient Hindu temples. It spreads at the edge of the vast moving, river-sea of the Brahmaputra. It's the service center for the oil industry and tea plantations; the world's largest tea auctions are held here.
The People :-
The Assamese are a mixture of Mongolian-Tibetan, Aryan, and Burman ethnic origins. Their language is akin to Bengali, spoken in West Bengal and in Bangladesh. Since the late 19th century a vast number of immigrants from Bangladesh have entered the valley, where they have settled to cultivate the almost empty lands, particularly the low floodplains. The hilly margins of the plain are inhabited by the hill tribes of the Garo, Khasi, and Hajong. The Bodo are the largest minority group in Assam and are concentrated in the northern areas of the Brahmaputra River valley.
Artist and sculptors, masons and architects, and others practicing minor crafts such as weavers, spinners, potters, goldsmiths, artisanns of ivory, wood, bamboo, cane and hide flourished in Assam from ancient times. Every household possesses a handloom used to produce silk and (or) cotton clothes of exquisite designs. The Eri, Muga and Pat are the important silk products of Assam.
Assam observes Bhogali Bihu , Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu, Janmashthami and Durga Puja festivals. Rangali Bihu, the main Bihu festival, is in April. This festival is essentially in celebration of a good harvest and is accompanied with lively dances, music and feasting. Guwahati also celebrates the Ambuchi Festival in July.
Assamese and Bangla.
22.40 million (1991 Census).
Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Lakimpur, Silchar.
Guwahati : Anthropological Museum - Guwahati University; Assam State Museum; Assam Forest Museum and Assam Government Cottage Industries Museum .
Pilgrim Centres :-
Guwahati, Peacock Island, Hajo, Sibsagar.