About Assam - History Geography Festivals Food Culture

History of Assam
Assam got its name from the Sanskrit word Asama, which means peerless. Human settlement was there in this region from Stone Age time. According to Kalika Purana the earliest ruler of Assam was Mahiranga Danav of the Danava dynasty. Varmanas, Mlechchha and Kamarupa-Palas dynasties ruled Assam. The Ahoms, the Sutiya and the Koch ruled this region during medieval period. Assam became Indian state in 1947. Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram carved out of Assam. Present day Assam i.e., after states carved out of Assam, was formed in 1972.

Geography of Assam
Assam is located on the northeastern part of India. Assam shares national borders with Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Meghalaya and international border with Bhutan and Bangladesh. Brahmaputra is one of the important rivers in the state. Assam is spread in an area of 78438 sq. km making it the 16th largest state in the country. Assam contains three of six physiographic divisions of India i.e., The Northern Himalayas, The Northern Plains and Deccan Plateau.

Government and Administration of Assam
For administration purpose Assam is divided into 32 districts. Which are future divided into 219 development blocks and 206 police stations. Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) are the major political parties in the state. Assam legislative assembly consists of 126 seats. Assam contributes 14 members to the Indian Assembly in which one and two are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.

Language and culture of Assam
Assam culture is traditionally a hybrid one developed due to adaptation of ethno-cultural groups in the past. British and the Post-British Era influenced the modern culture. Peoples' respect towards areca nut and betel leaves, and traditional silk garments is quite common in this area. Great hospitality and bamboo culture are also common. Tamulpan, Xorai and Gamosa are the important symbolic elements in Assamese culture. Symbolism is an ancient cultural practice in Assam and it is still followed. Ankia Naat, Bihu dance, Mishing Bihu, Banjar Kekan are some of the dance forms of the state. Assam Government gives cultural/music awards in the honor of Bishnuprasad Rabha. Khar and the sour dish tenga are the two main characteristics of a traditional meal. Painting is an ancient tradition of the state. Cane and bamboo craft, wood craft, silk and cotton weaving, toy and mask making, bell metal and brass craft, pottery and terracotta work, jewellery making, and musical instruments making are the major crafts in the state. Assamese is majorly spoken in the state followed by Bengali, Bodo, Hindi, Nepali, Mishing, Karbi and English.

Educational Status of Assam
Literacy rate of the state is approximately 73%. English, Bengali or Assamese is the medium of instruction in the schools of state. Nepali language is also taught in schools as Indian language. Indian statistical Institute, Don Bosco university, Assam University, Gauhati University are the important universities in the state. Assam medical college, Gauhati medical college, regional dental college are the important medical colleges in the state. IIT, NIT, IIIT are some of the prominent colleges in the state. National Research Centre on Pig is housed in Gauhati.

Economy of Assam
GSDP of Assam is 10,198 crore which is almost 40% lower than India GDP. Assam's economy mainly depends on agriculture and oil. Assam produces more than half of India's tea and holds one fourth of oil reserves. Agriculture contribute one third of the state’s income and 69% of employment. Sugarcane, turmeric, potato, sweet potato, banana are widely produced in Assam. Assam produces about 15% of India’s crude oil. Asia’s first successful mechanically drilled oil well was drilled in Makum in 1867.

Tourism in Assam
Kamakhya Temple is a seat of Tantric Buddhism in India. Haflong is a picturesque hill-station where one can see the rainbow down below. Sibsagar has the highest Shiva temple in the country. Majuli Island is in the middle of river Brahmaputra, and it is the largest river island in the world. Hajo is also known as an amalgamation of Hinduism, Islamism and Buddhism.

Festivals Celebrated in Assam
Rongali Bihu is also known as Bohag Bihu is celebrated in mid April. This is the beginning of Assamese New Year. On the first cattle is worshipped, second day people clean themselves and in third day Gods' statues are worshipped and are prayed for a smooth and healthy new year. Kongali Bihu also known as Kati-Bihu is celebrated in mid-October. Bhogali Bihu also known as Magh Bihu is celebrated in mid-January.

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