Indian State And Union Territory - Assam

Chief Minister: Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal
Governor: Shri Prof Jagdish Mukhi
Area: 78,438 sq. km
Capital: Dispur
Population: 31169272
Male Population: 15954927
Female Population: 15214345
Total Literacy(%): 85
Male Literacy(%): 91
Female Literacy(%): 97
Sex Ratio: 954
No of District: 27
Principal Languages: Assamese
Other Languages: Assamese
Assam

History and Geography

The word 'Assam' as interpreted by some scholars is derived from the Sanskrit word Asoma meaning peerless or unparalleled. But the widely accepted opinion of the academic circles today is that the term has come from the original name of the Ahoms, who ruled the land for about six hundred years prior to its annexation by the British. The races like Austric, Mongolian, Dravidian and Aryan that came to this land long long ago have contributed to its composite culture. Thus Assam has a rich legacy of culture and civilization.

Assam was known as Pragjyotisha or the place of eastern astronomy during the epic period and later named as Kamrupa. The earliest epigraphic reference to the kingdom of Kamrupa is found in the Allahabad pillar inscription of king Samudragupta. Kamrupa is mentioned as a Pratyanta or frontier state outside the Gupta empire but with friendly and subordinate relation to it. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese scholar pilgrim who visited Kamrupa in about 743 AD on an invitation of its monarch, Kumar Bhaskar Varman, left a record of the kingdom he called Kamolupa. Kamrupa also figured in the writings of the Arabian historian Alberuni in the eleventh century. Thus, from the epic period down to the twelfth century AD, the eastern frontier kingdom was known as Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa and kings called themselves 'Lords of Pragjyotisha'.

The advent of the Ahoms across the eastern hills in 1228 AD was the turning-point in Assam history. They ruled Assam nearly for six centuries. The Burmese entered through the eastern borders and overran the territory at a time when court intrigues and dissensions were sapping the vitality of the Ahom royalty. It became a British protectorate in 1826 when the Burmese ceded Assam to the British under the provision of the Treaty of Yandabo.

Assam is the sentinel of north-east India and gateway to the North-Eastern States. The State is close to India's international borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. Assam is surrounded by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh on the north, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh on the east and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the south.

Agriculture

Assam is an agricultural State. Agriculture occupies an important place in the economy of the State. The principal food crop is rice. The cash crops are jute, tea, cotton, oil seeds, sugarcane, potato, etc. Noteworthy horticulture items are orange, banana, pineapple, arecanut, coconut, guava, mango, jack fruit and citrus fruits. The State has an estimated 39.83 lakh hectare gross cropped area of which net area sown is about 27.24 lakh hectare.

Forests

Assam is known for her rich forest wealth which constitutes 26.22 per cent of the total forest area.

Wildlife

The State has five National Parks and eleven wildlife sanctuaries. The Kaziranga National Park and the Manas Tiger Project (National Park) are internationally famous for the one horned Rhino and Royal Bengal Tiger respectively.

Industry

Of agriculture-based industries, tea occupies an important place. There are six industrial growth centres in the State and two such centres are being set up at Balipara and Matia. Presently four oil refineries have been working in the State including the one at Digboi. Construction of the Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) at Amingaon near Guwahati is nearing completion. A Software Technology Park will be constructed at Borjhar near Guwahati. A Central Institute for Plastic Engineering Technology (CIPET) has been established at Amingaon near Guwahati. Assam has always enjoyed the highest reputation for her arts and crafts associated with her cottage industries. Cottage industries include handloom, sericulture, cane and bamboo articles, carpentry, brass and bell-metal crafts. Assam produces varieties of silk, Endi, Muga, Tassar, etc. Muga silk is produced only in Assam in the world.

Power

The major power stations are Chandrapur Thermal Project, Namrup Thermal Project and a few Mobile Gas Turbine Units along with a mini hydro-electric project. Revitalising the Thermal Power Station of Bongaigaon and the on-going Karbi-Langpi Project will boost the power supply in the State.

Transport

Roads: The total length of roads in the State is 37,515 km which includes 2,836 kms of National Highways. The construction of 160 km of barbed wire fencing and 27 kms of the border road along the Indo-Bangladesh International Border have been completed.

Railways: The length of railway tract in Assam is 2,284.28 kms comprising 1,227.16 kms under broad-gauge and 1,057.12 km under metre-gauge lines.

Aviation: The regular civil air services operate from Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport (Guwahati), Salonibari (Tezpur), Mohanbari (Dibrugarh), Kumbhirgram (Silchar), Rawriah (Jorhat) and Silonibari (North Lakhimpur).

FESTIVALS

Assam has an exclusive range of colourful festivals. Bihu is the chief festival celebrated on three occasions. Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu marks the advent of the cropping season and it also ushers in the Assamese New Year. Bhogali Bihu orMagh Bihu is the harvest festival and Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu coming in autumn is a simple affair.

Religion accounts for a large variety of festivals. Vaishnavites observe the birth and death anniversaries of prominent Vaishnava saints through day-long singing of hymns and staging of Bhaonas (theatrical performances in traditional style). Ambubachi in Kamakhya shrine, Sivaratri Mela at Umananda and other places near Siva temples, Durga Puja, Diwali, Dol-Jatra, Id, Christmas, Ashokastami Mela, and Rash Mela, Parasuram Mela are other religious festivals.

TOURISM

Important places of tourism in and around Guwahati are Kamakhya temple, Umananda (Peacock Island), Navagraha (temple of nine planets), Basistha Ashram, Dolgobinda, Gandhi Mandap, State Zoo, State Museum, Sukreswar temple, Gita Mandir, Madan Kamdev temple, a magnificent archaeological place of interest, and Saraighat bridge.

Other places of tourist interest in the State are : Kaziranga National Park (famous for the one horned rhino), Manas Tiger Project, Pobi-tora and Orang (wildlife sanctuaries), Sibsagar (Shiv Temple-Rangghar-Karengghar), Tezpur (Bhairavi temple for its scenic beauty), Bhalukpung (Angling), Haflong (health resort with Jatinga hills), Majuli (largest river island in the world), Chandubi lake (picnic spot), Hajo (meeting point of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam), Batadrava (birth place of great Vaishnava saint Sankaradeva) and Sualkuchi (famous for silk industry).

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