The Land of Red River and Blue Hills: ASSAM
Assam… A land nestled in myths and mysteries, lore’s and legends. Assam is almost another world, the gateway to the eastern states, the coloured wonderland of India. It is the magic land and the largest among the seven sisters in the North eastern sector of India, Assam is a land of mountains and hills, plains and lowlands, the land of the Red coloured Brahmputra River cutting across the serene blue hills and mountains. Assam has been identified with the famous only pre – historic animal, the horned Rhinocerous, the Muga silk ranking among the finest in the world, the Kamakhya temple, the tea produced in the tea gardens here and sipped throughout the globe and of course for its Bihu festivities. Assam is the gateway to the North east and one of the most modern states amongst the seven. The breath taking scenic beauty and a great variety of Flora and Fauna, Assam truly is lavishly bestowed by Mother Nature with all her beauties. It is a land of contrasts and therefore most beautiful and charming; attracting people from all over the world.
Gateway to the Northeast: ASSAM
Area: 78,520 sq km
Language: Assamese, Boro, Bengali, Hindi
Capital: Dispur (Guwhati)
Best Time to Visit: October to May
Airport: Guwhati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat
Situated in the North eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, the state of Assam is land bounded from all the sides. To the west it shares the boundaries with West Bengal and International boundary with Bangladesh. In southwest are the states of Meghalaya and Tripura while the small state of Mizoram is down south. To the South east is Manipur and Nagaland while it shares the international border with Myanmar in the east. Arunachal Pradesh borders large area of Assam, from the North to the North east. Assam also shares its northern International borders with Bhutan.
Due to verdant greenery and the tropical forests, Assam experiences a tropical climate throughout the year. A relatively pleasant climate due to its proximity to the Himalayas can be experienced round the year other than in the months of Monsoon, when humidity levels are very high and unbearable.
The gateway to the North east is the largest state among the seven sisters. Abundant in natural beauty, Assam is a land full of life and ancient civilization. Assam has a rich legacy of tradition and culture. Homeland of various races which mingled over the years; formed an Ahomi clan which reigned supreme in the area of Assam and the surrounding areas. History of Assam goes back to Vedic times. Assam finds a mention in the epics of Ramayana and the Mahabharata where it is mentioned as Pragjyotish, the land of the rising Sun or the land of the eastern heavenly bodies. It was also known as Kamrup. The earliest reference to the word can be found on the famous Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta from the 4th century A.D. Even the great traveler Xuan Zhang has written about Assam in his travelogues to India.
The word Assam finds many expressions. Assam pronounced as Ahom in the local dialect means peerless or unequalled land. Hacham according to the Bodos, the local tribe, means the low land. But the name of Assam or Ahom was conferred upon when the Ahom tribe entered the region in 1228 crossing the eastern hills. With the advent of the Ahoms, the center of power shifted from Kamrup in Lower Assam to Sibs agar in Upper Assam. The kings of this tribe ruled Assam for more than six centuries in succession, giving a tough fight to the other small neighbouring kingdoms and also the mighty Mughals. The one who gave the toughest fight to the Mughals in the late 18th century was the general Lachit Barphukan who achieved immortality for his heroism and many anecdotes are now an integral part of the folklores of Assam. Later the Burmese rulers annexed a substantial part of the region and were forced to cede it to the British in the late 19th century. Post Independence Assam was given a separate statehood along with Tripura and Mizoram. It was only in the later years due to the regional distinctions that the other states were carved out of Assam.
The mighty River Brahmputra which rises in Tibet, flows through the entire length of Assam and finally empties itself into the Bay of Bengal. This lifeline of Assam is also known as Lohit (deriving from Lauhitya in Sanskrit, meaning the red river). The legend behind the red river is that sage Parashuram washed off the bloody stains off his body after committing matricide thus regaining his sainthood. The red colour of the water gives the name of red river to Brahmputra. Brahmputra is Tsangpo in Tibet; Siang in Arunachal and becomes Brahmputra reaching the plains of Assam. The mighty Brahmputra also accommodates the world’s largest riverine island Majuli. The River cruise on the mighty River is an experience in itself, the mighty roars of the River with equal serene calmness at one point and the civilization that has grown and developed on the banks of the ancient River is an exciting and mesmerizing site.
Assam has the biggest tropical forests in India full of various flora and fauna including the prehistoric one horned Rhino, the only pre-historic living animal of the world.