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For northern areas, see North Guwahati.
Pragjyotishpura (Ancient), Gauhati (Modern)
Guwahati sg.png
Guwahati is located in Assam
Location of Guwahati in Assam
Coordinates: 26°11′N 91°44′E / 26.183°N 91.733°E / 26.183; 91.733Coordinates: 26°11′N 91°44′E / 26.183°N 91.733°E / 26.183; 91.733
Country India
State Assam
Region Lower Assam
District Kamrup Metropolitan district
 • Type Republic
 • Body Guwahati Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Abir Patra
(Indian National Congress)
 • Deputy Commissioner Dr. M Angamuthu, IAS[1]
 • Police Commissioner Mukesh Agrawal, IPS[2]
 • Metropolis 216 km2 (83 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,528 km2 (590 sq mi)
Elevation 55.5 m (182.1 ft)
Population (2011)[4]
 • Metropolis 957,352
 • Rank 48th
 • Density 4,400/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
 • Metro[5] 1,253,938
Demonym(s) Guwahatian
 • Official Assamese, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Telephone code +91 - (0) 361 - XX XX XXX
Vehicle registration AS-01 (Kamrup Metro) / AS-25 (Kamrup Rural)
Planning agency Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority
Climate Cwa (Köppen)

Guwahati (Listeni/ɡʊwəˈhɑːti/; Pragjyotishpura in ancient Assam, Gauhati in the modern era) is the largest city of Assam and one of the fastest growing cities in India.[6]

The ancient cities of Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya (North Guwahati) were the capitals of the ancient state of Kamarupa under the Varman and Pala dynasties.[7][8][9][10][11] 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 Guwahati Metropolitan Area. With an area of 1,528 square kilometres (590 sq mi), Guwahati has the second largest metropolitan area in eastern India after Kolkata.[3]

The Guwahati region hosts diverse wildlife including rare animals such as Asian elephants, pythons, tigers, rhinoceros, gaurs, primate species, and endangered birds.[12][13]


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.[14]


View of Guwahati from Nilachal Hilltop

Lying between the Brahmaputra and the Shillong Plateau, Guwahati straddles the valley of the river Bharalu which is a small tributary of the Brahmaputra. The city is surrounded by hills, except where the Bharalu discharges into the Brahmaputra. To its west lies the Nilachal Hill on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra, to the north is the Chitrachal Hill and to the south lies the Narakasur Hill.[15][16]


Ancient History[edit]

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.[17] Located within Guwahati is the ancient sakti 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 Basista and other archaeological locations of mythological importance.

A view of Kamakhya Temple

The Ambari[18][19] excavations trace the city to the 4th 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.[20] It remained as the capital of Assam until the 10th-11th 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 9th-11th century AD.[21]

Medieval Era[edit]

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 council-hall, 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 present-day deputy commissioner's residence.[22]

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. There was an ancient boat yard in Brahmaputra, probably used by the Ahoms in medieval times.[citation needed] Medieval constructions include temples, ramparts, etc. in the city.[23][24]

Modern Era[edit]

The city experienced a brief period of Burmese rule during the Burmese invasions of Assam from 1817 to 1826. After the First Anglo-Burmese War, the city became a part of the British Indian Empire Vide Yandabo Teaty on 24th Feb 1826. Later, the city was an active site of the Indian Independence Movement, being the birthplace of many independence activists such as Tarun Ram Phukan.[25]

Panoramic view of Guwahati City


Guwahati under a cloudy sky

Guwahati has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa), falling just short of a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw).

Climate data for Guwahati (Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.6
Average high °C (°F) 23.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.1
Average low °C (°F) 10.5
Record low °C (°F) 3.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 1.4 2.8 5.2 12.5 15.1 16.6 20.0 15.4 13.3 5.9 2.2 0.9 111.3
Average relative humidity (%) 79 65 57 68 75 81 83 82 83 82 82 82 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 225.5 213.8 220.1 200.6 191.1 133.1 123.7 161.6 139.0 205.8 230.9 231.7 2,276.9
Source #1: NOAA[26]
Source #2: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[27]

Urban morphology[edit]

Guwahati's urban morphology
Rush Hour at Guwahati Club
City view from Gandhi Mandap atop Sarania hillock

Guwahati's 'urban form' radiates from a central core with growth corridors radiating and extending towards the south, east and west. In the past few decades, southern Guwahati areas such as Ganeshguri, Beltola, Panjabari, etc. began forming a southern sub-center surrounding the capital complex at Dispur. The core area[28] consists of the old city with Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Fancy Bazaar and Uzan Bazaar, with each area facilitating unique urban activities. While Paltan Bazaar is the hub for transportation and hotels, Pan Bazaar is centered on educational, administrative, cultural activities, offices and restaurants. Fancy Bazaar is the hub for retail and wholesale commercial activities, and Uzan Bazaar mainly contains administrative, retail and residential areas. With these bustling areas, the city core is a busy and lively part of Guwahati. Ulubari, Lachit Nagar, Silpukhuri, Chandmari and Zoo Road (R.G. Baruah Road), which have a mix of retail-commercial and residential areas, can be considered as additional parts of the core.[6][29]

Among the city corridors, the most important is the corridor formed along the Guwahati-Shillong (GS) Road towards the south (almost 15 km from the city-center). The GS Road corridor is an important commercial area with retail, wholesale and commercial offices developed along the main road; it is also a densely-built residential area in the inner parts. The capital complex of Assam at Dispur is situated in this corridor. This corridor has facilitated the growth of a southern city sub-center at Ganeshguri, along with other residential areas to the south developed during the past few decades.[6][29]

The corridor extending towards the west (around 30 km from the city-center) contains a rail-road linking not only Guwahati but also other parts of the North Eastern Region east of Guwahati to western Assam and the rest of India. The corridor links residential and historically important areas such as Nilachal Hill (Kamakhya), Pandu, and Maligaon (headquarters of Northeast Frontier Railways) before it separates into two - one towards North Guwahati via the Saraighat Bridge and the other continuing west towards LGB International Airport via the University of Gauhati (Jalukbari). There are also many river ports/jetties along this corridor.[6][29]

The third major corridor extends towards the east (around 15 km from the city-center) linking Noonmati (Guwahati Oil Refinery - IOC Ltd.) and Narengi, and has facilitated residential growth along it. Highway NH 37, which encircles the city's southern parts and links the southern corridor in Noumile to the western corridor in Jalukbari is currently supporting rapid development. Similarly, the VIP Road linking Zoo Road with the eastern corridor and recently completed Hengerabari-Narengi Road are also supporting massive residential development to the east.[6][29]

Guwahati is one among the 98 Indian cities which will be upgraded to Smart Cities under a project embarked on by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. With the grade of a Smart city, Guwahati will have highly up-to-date and radical provisions like regular and continuous electric supply, first-rate traffic and transport system, superior health care and many other prime utilities. Under this scheme, the city will use digital technology that will act as the integral mechanism of the aforesaid facilities and thereby further elevate the lifestyle of the citizens of Guwahati.[30][31]

Administration and governance[edit]

Assam Secretariat at Dispur

Dispur, the capital of Assam, lies in Guwahati. In 1973 when Meghalaya was carved out from Assam, Shillong was made the capital of the newly formed state; while Dispur was made the capital of Assam. Dispur houses the Secretariat of Assam Government, the Assam Assembly House, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Regional Office and the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).[32][better source needed]

Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is the local body responsible for governing, developing and managing the city. GMC is further divided into 31 municipal wards.[33] Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is an agency responsible for planning and development of the greater Guwahati Metropolitan Area and for revising the Guwahati Master Plan and Building Bylaws to cover an area of 3,214 square kilometres (1,241 sq mi) by 2025.[34] Guwahati Development Department, a special department of the Government of Assam, was formed for Guwahati's overall development.

Guwahati consists of four assembly constituencies: Jalukbari, Dispur, Gauhati East and Gauhati West,[35] all of which are part of Gauhati (Lok Sabha constituency).[36]

Local police[edit]

Assam Police Headquarters at Guwahati

Guwahati is the headquarters of Assam Police. The city is under the Police Commissionerate Of Guwahati headed by the Commissioner Of Police, Guwahati. It is divided into three districts: East Police District, Central Police District and West Police District, each headed by a Deputy Commissioner Of Police. Each police district consists of officers, not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner Of Police, functioning as executive magistrates within a said metropolitan area.[37]


Gauhati High Court new building

Guwahati is the principal seat of the Gauhati High Court. It acts as the High Court of Assam and also of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh with their outlying benches of Kohima, Aizawl and Itanagar respectively. Gauhati High Court came in effect from 5 April 1948. It initially had its sittings at Shillong but was shifted to Gauhati from 14 August 1948.[38]

Guwahati also houses the Court of the District & Sessions Judge, Kamrup established in 1920. It is a lower court of the district judiciary having territorial jurisdiction over the greater Guwahati area only.[39]


Guwahati at night

The city has a comparatively high quality of life. A 2006 survey ranked Guwahati 17th among all the major and medium-sized Indian cities.[40] The city provides competitive residential and working environments with beautiful landscapes, pleasant climate, modern shopping areas, modern apartments and bungalows, and considerably developed social infrastructure. A centrally funded four-lane, ambitious East-West Corridor will pass through Guwahati and connect all the North-Eastern state capitals. Completion of the project will boost the vital upliftment of the whole North-Eastern region.[6]

The city still needs attention to improve its infrastructure. Funding from the Asian Development Bank is providing assistance to improve Guwahati's transportation infrastructure along with a substantial amount from JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) for its development.[6]


Religions in Guwahati
Religion Percent
Distribution of religions
Includes Sikhs (0.2%), Buddhists (<0.2%).

Guwahati is one of the fastest growing cities in India.[6] The city's population grew from just 200,000 in 1971 to more than 500,000 in 1991. In the 2001 census, the city's population was 808,021. By 2012, the population of the rapidly growing metropolitan area had risen to 1.5 million. It is estimated that Guwahati metro will house 2.8 million residents by 2025.[41]


Guwahati Tea Auction Centre

Guwahati metro has a GDP of more than $1 billion. Important economic activities of the place include transportation, commerce, trade and services. Guwahati is the major retail and marketing hub of the region and also a wholesale distribution center. Some of the essential industries and sectors influencing the economy are oil (Guwahati Refinery), tea (Guwahati Tea Auction Centre), tourism, hospitality, banking and financial services, real estate, pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles and handicrafts, print and electronic media.[42]

Education & Health facilities[edit]

Main article: Education in Assam

The city is home to Gauhati University in Jalukbari. Gauhati University was the first university in Assam to be set up in 1948.[citation needed] It was also the first premier educational institute to be set up in the North-East India.[citation needed]

The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is the sixth member of IITs in India. Since its establishment in 1994, IIT Guwahati has proven itself as an institution for research and education. The Assam Engineering College and the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital which include Regional Dental College and Regional College of Nursing are two important institutions for science and technology and medical education. The institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research, under the mentorship of GMCH, started functioning from September 2008.[43][not in citation given] National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam which is one of the fourteen National Law Universities of India was established in 2010 and is in the field of legal education in North East India.[44][not in citation given]


GS Road, the main commercial hub of Guwahati at night


Guwahati is served by the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, situated at Borjhar, about 20 km west from the heart of the city. With all major domestic airlines flying into Guwahati, it is the ninth busiest airport in India in terms of traffic.[45]

Inside the LGB International Airport


From the footbridge of Bharalumukh

National Highway 31 connects Guwahati with the states Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. National Highway 37 from Goalpara in Assam to Dimapur in Nagaland traverses the entire length of Assam and connects Guwahati with almost all the major cities of Assam including the cities of Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Bongaigaon.

Local transport

A metro rail project has also been planned to relieve the chaotic traffic conditions on the streets.[46][47]

Three-wheeler auto rickshaws are available on metered fare basis.[48][better source needed]

Growth issues[edit]

Increase in population[edit]

Guwahati has seen an high rise in population in the past few years. People from other parts of the state and the region routinely migrate to the city chiefly for education and occupation resulting in undesirable expansion of population in the city, which further brings with it many collateral problems in the city.[49]

Price rise[edit]

One of the economic problems that the citizens of Guwahati have to put up with is the hike in prices of many essentials, chiefly vegetable, poultry and fish. The prices of these commodities keep escalating at an inordinate rate because of which the buyers find it difficult to buy these items. Vegetables are transported into Assam from West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Meghalaya and the truckers en route have to pay considerable amount of money as tax at various check posts.[50][51] It is one of the causes of rise in prices of vegetables in the markets of Guwahati. The prices of locally available vegetables and fruits undergo large markup because of transportation expenses grounds, besides intra-State check posts taxes. In addition to these, the wholesale dealers as well as the retail sellers augment the prices of the commodities according to their own desires. The prices of poultry, mainly chicken that reach the city markets from places like Chaygaon and Barpeta have been soaring rapidly because of similar factors. There has been steep rise in the prices of fishes as well, the prominent varieties of which being Rohu ("Rou"), Catla ("Bahu"), Walking catfish ("Magur") and Monopterus ("Kuchia") among many others.[52][53]


Rongmon Statue at Sarusajai Stadium
View of Nehru Stadium

Guwahati features the multi purpose Nehru Stadium, hosts mainly cricket and football; while the Kanaklata Indoor Stadium in the R.G. Baruah Sports Complex (in the Ulubari locality) is older sports complex of the city. There are smaller stadiums in Maligaon (the North-East Frontier Railway Stadium) and in Paltan Bazaar area where the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex is located.

The sporting infrastructures specially constructed for the 33rd National Games in 2007 include a large stadium at Sarusajai—the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, the Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, and the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi A.C. Indoor Hall. Other new sports structures include the Maulana Md. Tayabullah Hockey Stadium at Bhetapara, the Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium at Ulubari, Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium at Amingaon, Chachal Tennis Complex and Tepesia Sports Complex. The other renovated sports complexes include Ganesh Mandir Indoor Stadium, Khanapara, Rudra Singha Sports Complex, Dispur and Gauhati University sports stadium.

Guwahati is home to the Indian Super League club NorthEast United FC. The city hosts the very prestigious football tournament Bordoloi Trophy organized by Assam Football Association every year.

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Cricket Stadium, a new cricket stadium is built at the suburbs of Guwahati, located in Barsapara. The stadium is being constructed by the Assam Cricket Association (ACA). With a seating capacity of 60,000 people and world class infrastructure it is pipped to be the 2nd home ground for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL.

City based clubs
Club Sport League Stadium
NorthEast United FC Football ISL Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
Gauhati Town Club Football GSA Super League Judges Field
FC Green Valley Football Assam State Premier League Nehru Stadium
Guwahati FC Football I-League 2nd Division Nehru Stadium


Assamese daily newspapers published from the city are Dainik Agradoot, Asomiya Pratidin, Asomiya Khobor, Amar Asom, Dainik Janambhumi, Janasadharan, Niyomiya Barta, Dainik Asam, Ajir Asom and Gana Adhikar. English dailies are The Assam Tribune, The Sentinel, The Telegraph, The Times of India and Eastern Chronicle.

Doordarshan Kendra Guwahati provides composite satellite television services to north east region. The Guwahati-based 24 hour regional news channels include News Live, DY 365, Pratidin Time, News Time Assam, Prag and News Network.

In FM Radio, All India Radio, 92.7 BIG FM, Radio Gup-Shup 94.3 FM, and Red FM 93.5 are FM stations of the city. Telecom services are BSNL, Aircel, Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance and Idea Cellular.

See also[edit]

Notable People[edit]


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External links[edit]