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Map of Assam (Source: India-WRIS)



Assam the word comes from Sanskrit word 'Asoma' means peerless or unparallel. But today's historians believe that the word Assam is related to the Ahom rulers of the state in thirteenth century and made a great contribution to the growth of Assam's life and culture. Assam's history is very old. In the epic period this place was known as 'Pragjyotisha' or the place of eastern astronomy and later it was known as Kamrupa. This is known from Chinese religious traveler Hieun Tsang, who came India around 743 A.D. (he called it Kamolupo, the Chinese invariably converting the 'r' sound into 'l'). At that time Assam King Bhaskaraverman, who was contemporary of Harshavardhan the emperor of Northern India, ruled over the state. The advent of the Ahoms across the eastern hills in 1228 AD was the turning point in Assam history. This state came under British rule in 1826. Prior to this Assam was ruled by Burmese kings. Some of the Burmese king fought against British rulers and as many as 17 Mughal invasion were beaten back by them. Assam has a glorious role in freedom fight. Finally, in 1947 Assam has emerged as a integral part of free India. The present Assam is a shadow of its former self. It suffered diminution because one after another four states were to be born out of its womb. First Nagaland, then Mizoram, Meghalaya came in the next and finally Arunachal Pradesh separated from the control of Assam. The total land area has been reduced to one third of its original size in forty years after independence. Present Assam has come into existence on 21st January 1972.


Assam is bounded on the north by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on south, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur on east and West Bengal on the west. The state is the sentinel of northeast India is most strategically situated close to India's international borders as many as four countries, i.e. China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh. It is surrounded on all other sides by pre-dominantly hilly or mountains tracts. it is divided into two major parts - the Brahmaputra Valley (or the Assam Valley) and the Cachar area. The Assam valley built mostly by the aggradational work of Brahmaputra and its tributaries is almost flat level plain and very little slope from its northeast corner at Sadiya to Dhubri in the West. Cachar district, which constitutes the upper portion of Surma valley, is a level plain crossed by a number of perennial water channels. The north portion of this district is totally under hills. Assam has a thick fertile soil. Assam has humid tropical type weather. It gets plenty of rainfall and it varies between 178 and 305 cm. All this rainfall is concentrated in 4 months - June to September.


Assam is located between 24°13' and 28°00' N latitudes and 89°46' to 96°04' E longitude. It is bounded by the Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh in the north and east, Manipur and Nagaland in the east, Mizoram in the south, Tripura, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Bangladesh in the west and south west. Assam is connected with the rest of the Indian Union by a narrow corridor in West Bengal that runs for 56 km below the foothills of Bhutan and Sikkim.


Assam has four well defined seasons in a year namely, winter, summer, monsoon and spring. The climate of the state is characterized by its extreme humidity. Its most distinguishing feature is the copious rainfall between March and May at a time when precipitation in upper India is at its minimum. The temperature is moderate. Winter sets in from around the end of October and lasts till the end of February.


  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Mines & Minerals


Assam's economy is mainly dominated by agriculture. Main food crop is rice and the cash crops are tea, jute, oilseeds, cotton, sugarcane and potato. Horticulture items are orange, lemon, other citrus fruit, banana, pineapple, guava, coconut, jackfruit, mango, papaya, litchi, and arecanut etc. are grown on a smaller scale. A total of 78% of the gross cropped area are used for food grain production. Tea plantation started in Assam by the British. Tea cultivation occupies a little more than one tenth of the total cultivated area and 75% of the tea gardens are located in Brahmaputra districts namely - Darrang, Sibasagar and Lakhimpur. 20% are located in Cacher districts and remaining 5% in lower Brahmaputra valley.

Varieties of flora and fauna are available from the forests. Extensive areas of the forests are covered with Sal, Cane & Bamboo, reed and general jungles. Timber is a major product of the state's extensive forests and bamboo is another bringing Assam substantial revenue and adding to its wealth. This state is rich in wildlife resources. This is famous for one horn rhino and elephants.

The state is also one of the major sources of fresh water fish in its vast perennial rivers, swamps, marshes and bils.


Despite, the richness of mineral resources, the state has not made great headway in industrialization. Agro-based industries play an important role. Guwahati Tea Auction Centre has now become the biggest tea auction centre in the world. Assam is also an important producer of silk, silk products like Saris and fabrics for male and home wear. Production of tusser and silks, weaving of fabrics is an important occupation for a number of people. Another industry consists of cane and bamboo works and small-scale cottage industries like brass metal industry, Carpet making industry etc. Recently there is a proposal for mega-Gas cracker project at Tengakhat will produce three lakh tones of ethylene annually. Construction of Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) at Amingaon near Guwahati is nearing completion.

Mines & Minerals

Assam is rich in mineral reserves like oil and natural gas, limestone, fire clay and soft tertiary coal. The British started exploration of oil in 1889. The first well drilled at Digboi. The other oilfields in this state are Naharkatia, Shibsagar, Moran, Hugrijan etc. there are refineries like Digboi (0.65 million tones of capacity), Bangaigaon (2.35 million tonnes of capacity), Numaligarh (3 million tonnes of capacity). Exploration, exploitation and refining of petroleum form the bulk industries in the state. The scattered but rather extensive coal reserves serve to feed the local industrial, transport and domestic consumers need. Fireclay deposits are also important with vast hydropower potentials; the balance of power is rendered more promising.


  • Irrigation
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Education
  • Telecommunication


Brahamputra river dominates the state. Successive floods have of late ravaged the state almost every year by Brahamaputra and its numerous perennial tributaries, causing extensive damage to the Kharif, which is the main crop. The strategy of irrigation facilities is mainly adopted to provide the supplemental irrigation to the Khariff crop, pre-Khariff and Rabi.


There are hydel, thermal as well as gas cracker power generation projects in this state.The major power stations are Chandrapur Thermal Project, Namrup Thermal Power Project. a few gas cracker project, and mini hydro electric power project. With the new policy of private sector investment helps Assam to set up power projects like Karbi Langpi Project and revitalizing the Thermal project of Bangaigaon, which will boost the power supply of the state. Tipaimukh Dam Project has been received approval.



Assam has a much more efficient transport and communication system than the surrounding hilly areas.


Railway link connecting Assam with the rest of India was established in 1950. There are a number of long distance trains connecting Guwahati with the rest of the country. The extension of broad gauge line from Guwahati to Dibrugarh has been completed. The construction of Naranarayan Setu-the third bridge over Brahamaputra has been completed and opened on 15th April 1998.


There are six civil airports in the state operating regular air services. These are at Lokpriya Gopinath Bardoloi airport (Guwahati), Salonbari (Tezpur), Mohanbari (Dibrugarh), Lilabari (Lakhimpur), Kumbhirgram (Silchar) and Rowriah (Jorhat).


There are several tourist places in and around Guwahati. These are famous Kamakhya temple, Umananda (Peacock Island), Navagrah (temple of nine planets), Basistha Ashram, Dolgobinda, Ganhi Mandap, State Zoo, State Museum, Sukreswar temple, Gita Mandir, Madan Kamdev temple, a magnificent archaeological place of interest and Saraighat bridge. In 16th century the Kamakhya temple destroyed by Muslim invasion. In 1655 Koach king Naranarayan built the new Kamakhya temple. The other places are Shivsagar (famous longest Shiv temple), Tezpur (natural beauty), Bhalukpunj (Angling), Halflong (health resort with Jatinga hills), Majuli (largest river island in the world), Chandubi lake (picnic spot), Hajo (meeting point of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam), Batadrava (birth place of great Vaishnava saint Sankaradeva), Sualkuchi (famous for silk industry), Kaziranga National Park (famous for one horned rhino), Manas (tiger project), Pobi-tora and Orang (wild life sanctuaries).

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