Assam is a northeastern state of India. Its capital is Dispur, located within the municipal area of Guwahati city. Located south of the eastern Himalayas, Assam comprises the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleys along with the Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills with an area of 30,285 square miles (78,438 km²). Assam is surrounded by six of the other Seven Sister States: Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya. Geographically Assam and these states are connected to the rest of India via a narrow strip of land in West Bengal called the Siliguri Corridor or "Chicken's Neck".
The history of Assam is the history of a confluence of people from the east, west and the north; the confluence of the Indo-Aryan, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman cultures. Politically, it has been invaded, but has never served as a vassal or a colony to an external power till the advent of the Burmese in 1821 and subsequently the British in 1826.
Geomorphic studies conclude that the Brahmaputra, the life-line of Assam is an antecedent river, older than the Himalayas. The river with steep gorges and rapids in Assam entering Assam, becomes a braided river (at times 10 mi/16 km wide) and with tributaries, creates a flood plain (Brahmaputra Valley: 50–60 mi/80–100 km wide, 600 mi/1000 km long). The hills of Karbi Anglong, North Cachar and those in and close to Guwahati (also Khasi-Garo Hills) now eroded and dissected are originally parts of the South Indian Plateau system. In the south, the Barak originating in the Barail Range (Assam-Nagaland border) flows through the Cachar district with a 25–30 miles (40–50 km) wide valley and enters Bangladesh with the name Surma.
Assam has petroleum, natural gas, coal, limestone and other minor minerals such as magnetic quartzite, kaolin, sillimanites, clay and feldspar. A small quantity of iron ore is available in western districts. Discovered in 1889, all the major petroleum-gas reserves are in Upper parts. A recent USGS estimate shows 399 million barrels (63,400,000 m3) of oil, 1,178 billion cubic feet (3.34×1010 m3) of gas and 67 million barrels (10,700,000 m3) of natural gas liquids in the Assam Geologic Province.
With the “Tropical Monsoon Rainforest Climate”, Assam is temperate (summer max. at 95–100 °F or 35–38 °C and winter min. at 43–46 °F or 6–8 °C) and experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity. The climate is characterized by heavy monsoon downpours reducing summer temperatures and affecting foggy nights and mornings in winters, frequent during the afternoons. Spring (Mar–Apr) and Autumn (Sept–Oct) are usually pleasant with moderate rainfall and temperature.
Assam is the central state in the North-East Region of India and serves as the gateway to the rest of the Seven Sister States. For the purposes of tourism there are wildlife preserves like the Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (Dibrugarh- Tinsukia), among others. Jokai Botanical Garden( Dibrugarh) the only Natural Botanical Garden in entire North- East India. Cultural and historical destinations also provide opportunities for tourists. Apart from wildlife preserves there are many historical places in the state like Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar of Sivasagar, Kareng Ghar of Garhgaon, Agnigarh of Tezpur, Madan Kamdev archeological site of Kamrup etc. While visiting Madan Kamdev Tourist can also visit in Famous ancient temple Gopeswar Mandir situated in Village Deuduar. Cultural places are mainly great temple of Kamakhya, pilgrimage place Hajo, the great Vaishnava Sattras of Majuli and Barpeta and many more.
The economy of Assam today represents a unique juxtaposition of backwardness amidst plenty. Despite its rich natural resources, and supplying of up to 25% of India's petroleum needs, Assam’s growth rate is has not kept pace with that of India; the difference has increased rapidly since the 1970s. The Indian economy grew at 6% per annum over the period of 1981 to 2000, the growth rate of Assam was only 3.3%. In the Sixth Plan period, Assam experienced a negative growth rate of 3.78% when India's was positive at 6%. In the post-liberalised era (after 1991), the difference widened further.
According to recent analysis, Assam’s economy is showing signs of improvement. In 2001–02, the economy grew (at 1993–94 constant prices) at 4.5%, to fall to 3.4% in the next financial year. During 2003–04 and 2004–05, the economy grew (at 1993–94 constant prices) more satisfactorily at 5.5% and 5.3% respectively. The advanced estimates placed the growth rate for 2005–06 at above 6%. Assam's GDP in 2004 is estimated at $13 billion in current prices. Sectoral analysis again exhibits a dismal picture. The average annual growth rate of agriculture, which was only 2.6% per annum over 1980s has unfortunately fallen to 1.6% in the 1990s. Manufacturing sector has shown some improvement in the 1990s with a growth rate of 3.4% per annum than 2.4% in the 1980s. Since past five decades, the tertiary sector has registered the highest growth rates than the other sectors, which even has slowed down in the 1990s than in 1980s.
There are diversified important traditional festivals in Assam. Bihu is the most important and common and celebrated all over Assam. It is the Assamese new year celebrated in April of the Gregorian calendar. Durga Puja is another festival celebrated with great enthusiasm. Muslims celebrate two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha) with much eagerness all over Assam.
Bihu is a series of three prominent festivals. Primarily a non-religious festival celebrated to mark the seasons and the significant points of a cultivator's life over a yearly cycle. Three Bihus, rongali or bohag, celebrated with the coming of spring and the beginning of the sowing season; kongali or kati, the barren bihu when the fields are lush but the barns are empty; and the bhogali or magh, the thanksgiving when the crops have been harvested and the barns are full. Bihu songs and Bihu dance are associated to rongali bihu. The day before the each bihu is known as 'uruka'. The first day of 'rongali bihu' is called 'Goru bihu' (the bihu of the cows), when the cows are taken to the nearby rivers or ponds to be bathed with special care. In recent times the form and nature of celebration has changed with the growth of urban centres.
Bwisagu is one of the popular seasonal festival of the Bodos. Bwisagu start of the new year or age. Baisagu is a Boro word which originated from the word "Baisa" which means year or age, ang "Agu" that means starting or start.
|State Bird||State Flower||State Animal||State Tree|
|White-winged Wood Duck||Foxtail Orchids||One-horned rhinoceros||Dipterocarpus macrocarpus|
Assam has a rich tradition of crafts; presently, Cane and bamboo craft, bell metal and brass craft, silk and cotton weaving, toy and mask making, pottery and terracotta work, wood craft, jewellery making, musical instruments making, etc. remained as major traditions. Historically, Assam also excelled in making boats, traditional guns and gunpowder, ivory crafts, colours and paints, articles of lac, agarwood products, traditional building materials, utilities from iron, etc.
Cane and bamboo craft provide the most commonly used utilities in daily life, ranging from household utilities, weaving accessories, fishing accessories, furniture, musical instruments, construction materials, etc. Utilities and symbolic articles such as Sorai and Bota made from bell metal and brass are found in every Assamese household. Hajo and Sarthebari (Sorthebaary) are the most important centres of traditional bell-metal and brass crafts. Assam is the home of several types of silks, the most prestigious are: Muga – the natural golden silk, Pat – a creamy-bright-silver coloured silk and Eri – a variety used for manufacturing warm clothes for winter. Apart from Sualkuchi (Xualkuchi), the centre for the traditional silk industry, in almost every parts of the Brahmaputra Valley, rural households produce silk and silk garments with excellent embroidery designs. Moreover, various ethno-cultural groups in Assam make different types of cotton garments with unique embroidery designs and wonderful colour combinations.
Moreover, Assam possesses unique crafts of toy and mask making mostly concentrated in the Vaishnav Monasteries, pottery and terracotta work in Western Assam districts and wood craft, iron craft, jewellery, etc. in many places across the region.
The Biodiversity of Assam, a state in North-East India, makes it a biological hotspot with many rare and endemic plant and animal species. The greatest success in recent years has been the conservation of the Indian rhinoceros at the Kaziranga National Park, but a rapid increase in human population in Assam threatens many plants and animals and their natural habitats. Apart from the Rhinoceros and the Tiger, the Spotted Deer or Chital / Futukihorina (Axix axix), the Swamp Deer or Dolhorina (Cervus duvauceli duvauceli), the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), the Hoolock Gibbon, Pigmy Hog or Nol-gahori (Sus salvanis), the Hispid Hare, the Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei), the Golden Cat, the peculiar Giant Civet, the Binturong, the Hog Badgers, the Porcupines, the Civet cats, etc. are found in Assam. Moreover, there are abundant numbers of Gangetic Dolphins, Mongooses, Giant Squirrels and Pythons. The largest population of the Wild Water Buffalo anywhere is in Assam. Few of the major birds in Assam are: Blue-throated Barbet or Hetuluka (Megalaima asiatica), the White-winged Wood Duck or Deuhnah (Cairina scultulata), the Ring-tailed Fishing Eagle or Kuruwa (Haliaeetus leucorythus), the Great Pied Hornbill or Rajdhonesh (Buceros bicornis homrai), the Himalayan Golden-backed Three-toed Wood-pecker or Barhoituka (Dinopium shorii shorii), and the Migratory Pelicans.