Assam Tourism

About Assam

A Brief Introduction to A Paradise Unexplored

Welcome to Assam

The moment you mention the word Assam, a different kind of feeling comes to your mind. Yes, most people on this planet start their day with a cup of tea. A series of images – green tea estates, golden paddy fields, the mighty Red River, lofty blue hills, the one horned rhinoceros, golden silk fabrics, the sound of the siphung, the rhythm of the bihu dance, the mother Goddess - start floating in front of you eyes.

Assam was known by different names in the ancient times. In both Mahabharata and Ramayana, the two great Indian epics, it was referred to as Pragjyotisha - the Eastern light, or Land of the Eastern light. The first century Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and the second century Geography written by Ptolemy appear to call it Kirrhadia after its Kirata population. Kautilya's Arthashashtra reffered to it by several names, including Para-Lauhitya, meaning Land on the banks of the Red River Lohit. The fourth century AD Allahabad pillar inscription mentioned it as Kamarupa, and so also the puranas. The present-day name Assam on the other hand has two theories: (i) A-sama in Sanskrit meaning "peerless" or "incomparable", and (ii) A-cham in the Tai language meaning "undefeated" or "unconquered".

Land of gold

Assam is India's most beautiful place after Kashmir, said 19th century monk-philosopher Swami Vivekananda. Had he explored the essence of Assam - it included much of present-day Northeast and parts of Bangladesh then - he could have discovered why the state means unparalleled or incomparable, with Kashmir or anywhere else. The Brahmaputra, an international river that comes down from Tibet in China and flows out to Bangladesh to meet the sea there, is known by several other names, the most significant being Luit - the Red River.

The Red River

Among the largest rivers on earth in terms of discharge and sediment, Brahmaputra is intrinsic to the socio-cultural life in Assam. Brahmaputra means Son of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, and mythology makes it one of the very few masculine rivers on earth. It originates in the glacial womb of the Kailash Range of the Himalayas, south of Rake Kanggyen Tso lake in south-west Tibet, at an elevation of 5300 metres, travels 1625 km of its 2880 km in China, 918 km in India and 337 km in Bangladesh.

Today, Assam is one of the most vibrant states of the country. More importantly, it is India's Gateway to South-east Asia, and South-east Asia's entry point to India.