Indian
Rheumatology
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Annual Conference Of

Indian Rheumatology Association

About Guwahati

The largest city of Assam and Northeastern India
Guwahati

Guwahati is the largest city of Assam and Northeastern India, a major riverine port city and one of the fastest growing cities in India, situated on the South Bank of the Brahmaputra River.

The ancient cities of Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya (North Guwahati) were the capitals of the ancient state of Kamarupa under the Varman and Pala dynasties. Many ancient Hindu temples are in the city, giving it the name "City of Temples". Dispur, the capital of Assam, is in the circuit city region located within Guwahati and is the seat of the Government of Assam.

Guwahati lies between the banks of the Brahmaputra River and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, with LGB International Airport to the west and the town of Narengi to the east. It is gradually being expanded as North Guwahati to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra. The noted Madan Kamdev is situated 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Guwahati. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), the city's local government, administers an area of 216 square kilometres (83 sq mi), while the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is the planning and development body of greater Guwahati Metropolitan Area. Guwahati is the largest city in Northeast India.

The Guwahati region hosts diverse wildlife including rare animals such as Asian elephants, pythons, tigers, rhinoceros, gaurs, primate species, and endangered birds.

Etymology

Once known as Pragjyotishpura (the Light of the East), Guwahati derives its name from the Assamese words "Guwa" meaning areca nut and "Haat" meaning market.

History

Ancient History

Guwahati's myths and history go back several thousands of years. Although the exact date of the city's beginning is unknown, references in the epics, Puranas, and other traditional histories of India, lead many to assume that it is one of the ancient cities of Asia. Epigraphic sources place the capitals of many ancient kingdoms in Guwahati. It was the capital of the kings Narakasura and Bhagadatta according to the Mahabharata. Located within Guwahati is the ancient Shakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya in Nilachal hill (an important seat of Tantric and Vajrayana Buddhism), the ancient and unique astrological temple Navagraha in Chitrachal Hill, and archaeological remains in Basistha and other archaeological locations of mythological importance.

The Ambari excavations trace the city to the Hindu kingdoms of Shunga­Kushana period of Indian history, between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. During earlier periods of the city's history it was known as Pragjyotishpura, and was the capital of Assam under the Varman Dynasty of the Kamarupa kingdom. Descriptions by Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) reveal that during the reign of the Varman king Bhaskar Varman (7th century AD), the city stretched for about 30 li (15 km or 9.3 mi). It remained as the capital of Assam until the 10th­11th century AD under the rule of the Pala dynasty. Archaeological evidence by excavations in Ambari, and excavated brick walls and houses discovered during construction of the present Cotton College's auditorium suggest the city was of economic and strategic importance until the 9th­11th century AD.

Medieval History

The city was the seat of the Borphukan, the civil military authority of the Lower Assam region appointed by the Ahom kings. The Borphukan's residence was in the present Fancy Bazaar area, and his council­hall, called Dopdar, was about 300 yards (270 m) to the west of the Bharalu stream. The Majindar Baruah, the personal secretary of the Borphukan, had his residence in the present­day deputy commissioner's residence.

The Mughals invaded Assam seventeen times, and they were defeated by the Ahoms in Battle of Itakhuli and Battle of Saraighat. During the Battle of Saraighat, fought in Saraighat in 1671, the Mughals were overrun due to the strong leadership and hard work of Lachit Borphukan. The great embankment called ‘Mumai­Kota Gorh’, named after an incident in which Lachit had to slay (Kota) his own maternal uncle (Mumai) for being lazy in building the embankment (Gorh) that runs along the outskirts of the city, stands as a proof of the hard work and war­readiness on the part of the Ahoms. There was an ancient boat yard in Dighalipukhuri, probably used by the Ahoms in medieval times. Medieval constructions include temples, ramparts, etc. in the city.

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