Kamrup region

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This article is about the modern region of Assam. For ancient country, see Ancient Kamrup. For 350-1140 c kingdom, see Kamarupa.
Country India
Cities Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Guwahati, Nalbari
Capital Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya (Ancient)
Timezone UTC+05:30 (IST) (UTC+5.30)

Kamrup or Kamarupa[1] is the modern region situated between two rivers Manas and Barnadi in Western Assam, congruent to ancient "Kamapitha", "Kamarupa Mandala" of Pragjyotisha Bhukti, medieval "Sarkar Kamrup" and modern "Undivided Kamrup district",[2][3] though historian Dinesh Chandra Sircar suspects Kamapitha division as fabrications from late medieval times.[4]

Pre-colonial Kamrup was a large territory consisting of Western Assam and North Bengal,[5] which keep reducing in size in subsequent periods. In the nineteenth century eastern Kamrup became part of Colonial Assam while parts of western Kamrup merged with Bengal. Ancient cities Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya were located in modern Kamrup. Kamrup is considered as a politically, socially and culturally separate unit,[6] and cultural artefacts from this region are called Kamrupi.

Ancient Kamrup (350–1140)[edit]

Main article: Ancient Kamrup
Further information: Kamarupa

The first historical mention of Kamarupa comes from Samudragupta's 4th-century Allahabad prasasti, where it is mentioned along with Davaka and Samatata as frontier kingdoms of the Gupta empire. Davaka, currently in Nagaon district (central Assam), is not mentioned in historical texts again, which indicates that the kings of Kamarupa must have absorbed it.[7] Though the kingdom came to be known as Kamarupa, the kings called themselves the rulers of Pragjyotisha (Pragjyotishadhipati), and not Kamarupa;[8] nevertheless Kamarupa continued to be mentioned in inscriptions, such as Nidhanpur inscription of Bhaskar Varman.[9] Vaidydeva, an 11th-century ruler, named Kamarupa as a mandala within the Pragjyotisha bhukti.[10] According to Sircar, the Kamarupa mandala is congruent to undivided Kamrup of the modern times.[11]

Although the epigraphic records define Kamarupa as a smaller region within the historic kingdom, the 9th–10th-century shakta work Kalika Purana names the kingdom Kamarupa. Yogini Tantra provides the traditional boundary: Karatoya river in the west, Dikkaravasini (Sadiya) in the east and the Brahmaputra-Lakhya river confluence in the south forming a triangle.[12] Both the western boundary as well as the name agrees with the 7th-century account left by Hiuen Tsang, who identified the kingdom as Kamarupa (Ka-mo-lu-po) which was located to the east of the Karatoya (Ka-lo-tu).[13] Thus the ancient kingdom covered not just the present undivided Kamrup region, but also the rest of the Brahmaputra valley as well as most of the northern parts of Bangladesh. The medieval and modern usage of “Kamrup” does not cover this vast region.

Medieval Kamrup[edit]

Kamrup/Kamata (1255-1581)[edit]

Main article: Kamata kingdom

The Kamarupa region soon lost a unified political rule. Sandhya, a 13th-century ruler in the Kamarupanagara (Guwahati), moved his capital to present-day North Bengal and his kingdom came to be called Kamata;[14] or sometimes as Kamata-Kamrup,[15] with its eastern boundary at the Manas river.[16] This kingdom was a part of the original Kamarupa kingdom and included in general Koch Bihar, Darrang, Kamrup districts, and northern Mymensing.[17] In the extreme east of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom the Sutiya, Kachari and the Ahom kingdoms emerged, with the Baro-Bhuyans providing the buffer between these kingdoms in the east and the Kamata kingdom in the west.[18]

Kamrup/Koch Hajo (1581-1615)[edit]

Main article: Koch Hajo

In the beginning of the 16th century Viswa Singha filled the vacuum left by the destruction of the Khen dynasty of Kamata and consolidated his rule over the Baro-Bhuyan chieftains ruling over the Kamrup region, and by the time of Naranarayana, the kingdom extended a firm rule between the Karatoya and the Bhareli rivers. Even though the Koch kings called themselves Kamateshwars (lords of Kamata),[19] their kingdom came to be called the Koch kingdom and not as Kamrup.

In 1581 the Kamata kingdom was bifurcated with Raghudev gaining control over the portion to the east of the Sankosh river up to the Bharali river[20] in the northbank; and east of the Brahmaputra in present-day Bangladesh. Raghudev’s kingdom came to be called Koch Hajo in Muslim chronicles, and Kamrup in Ekasarana documents.[21] As the Mughal gained power in Dhaka, Koch Bihar entered into an alliance with them, and arraigned themselves against Parikshitnarayana, the son of Raghudev, who had come to power in Koch Hajo in the meanwhile. The Mughals pushed eastward, removed Parikshit from power in Koch Hajo/Kamrup by 1615 (up to the Barnadi river), and came into direct military conflict with the Ahom kingdom; and after the first round of battles, they established control over nearly the entire Koch Hajo, right up to Barnadi river.[22]

Sarkar Kamrup (1639-1681)[edit]

The Mughals established four sarkars in the newly acquired land---among which were Dhekeri (between Sankosh and Manas) and Kamrup (between Manas and Barnadi).[23] The Mughals lost Kamrup for ever in 1682.

Kamrup/Borphukan's domain (1682-1820)[edit]

After the Battle of Itakhuli (1682), the Ahom kingdom established control over Sarkar Kamrup, and it became the domain of the Borphukan, based in Guwahati. The region continued to be called Kamrup and its eastern and western boundaries were identical to the later British district.[24] In addition to the Kamrup region, the Borphukan's domain included the additional region to the east up to Kaliabor. The Koch prince that oversaw Darrang, too, reported to the Borphukan. The Ahoms did not impose their administrative system fully over Kamrup, and the resultant pargana-based system was a mixed Mughal-Ahom system, in contrast to the Paik system in the rest of the kingdom.[25]

Kamrup/Burmese empire (1821-1826)[edit]

The region became part of Burmese empire between 1821 and 1826.

Colonial Kamrup (1833-1947)[edit]

The region came under Burmese control in 1822. The British, in control over the region to the west of the Manas river since the transfer of Bengal in 1765, marched into Guwahati on March 28, 1824 at the beginning of the First Anglo-Burmese War and established administrative control by October.[26] The Kamrup district that the British constituted in 1833/1836 was largely congruous to the Mughal Sarkar Kamrup of 1639.[27]

Modern Kamrup[edit]

After Indian Independence in 1947, the Kamrup district maintained its form. The district was divided, beginning in 1983, and the original district is often called "Undivided Kamrup district". The Kamapitha, Sarkar Kamrup of 1639 and the Undivided Kamrup district from the Colonial as well as the Independent periods is today defined as the Kamrup.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaṅgā Rām Garg (1992), Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World, P 428 The poet was a Brahmin of Hajo in the Kamarupa district, where his father, Ratna Pathaka, was a renowned scholar and expounder of the Bhagavata at the Madhava temple.
  2. ^ Kali Prasad Goswami, "Kāmākhyā Temple: Past and Present", 1998, Page 25 The Guwahati area up to the Manas river formed the waist on the position of the genital organ (kama) and was known as the Kamapitha
  3. ^ Pratap Chandra Choudhury, The history of civilisation of the people of Assam to the twelfth century , Page 448, 1959 The Kamapitha of the Tantras was no other than Kamarupa and Kamakhya.
  4. ^ "These theoretical divisions are not known from the early epigraphic records and may have been fabricated in the late medieval period." (Sircar 1990, p. 68)
  5. ^ Upendranath Goswami (1970), A Study on Kāmrūpī: A Dialect of Assamese, Page iii
  6. ^ Upendranath Goswami (1970), A Study on Kāmrūpī: A Dialect of Assamese
  7. ^ "It is presumed that (Kalyana Varman) conquered Davaka, incorporating it within the kingdom of Kamarupa" (Puri 1968, p. 11)
  8. ^ "The name Kamarupa does not appear in local grants where Pragjyotisha alone figures with the local rulers called Pragjyotishadhipati." (Puri 1968, p. 3)
  9. ^ Epigraphia Indica Vol XII and XIX
  10. ^ (Puri 1968, p. 3)
  11. ^ (Sircar 1990, p. 70)
  12. ^ (Sircar 1990, pp. 63–64)
  13. ^ (Sircar 1990, p. 64)
  14. ^ "Hema Saraswati in his Prahrada-carit says that Durlabhanarayan was the unequaled king of Kamata-mandala" (Neog 1990, p. 40)
  15. ^ (Gogoi 2002, p. 17)
  16. ^ "The invasion of Mughisuddin, though abortive, had shaken the Kamarupa kingdom. It was reorganized as a new state. 'Kamata' by name with Kamatapur as capital. The exact time when the change was made is uncertain. But possibly it had been made by Sandhya (c1250-1270) as a safeguard against mounting dangers from the east and the west. Its control on the eastern regions beyond the Manah (Manas river) was lax." (Sarkar 1992, pp. 40–41)
  17. ^ (Sarkar 1992, p. 44)
  18. ^ (Sircar 1990, p. 171)
  19. ^ (Nath 1989)
  20. ^ Though Chilarai and Naranarayana established control up to Subansiri river via the Treaty of Majuli, the Sukhaamphaa recovered control between Bhareli and Subansiri soon after.
  21. ^ "The eastern division (of the Koch kingdom) was known as 'Kamrup' in the local sources and as 'Koch Hajo' in the Persian chronicles." (Nath 1989, p. 86)
  22. ^ Treaty of Asurar Ali
  23. ^ (Gogoi 2002, p. 99)
  24. ^ "Camroop (Kamrup), on the west, or towards Bengal, is bounded by the Manaha river (Manas river); on the north by Raotan, on the east by Bushnudeee (Barnadi river) which separates it from Dehrungh (Darrang) and on the south by Berhampooter (Brahmaputra river)", Wade, Dr John Peter, (1805) "A Geographical Sketch of Assam" in Asiatic Annual Register, reprinted (Sharma 1972)
  25. ^ (Gogoi 2002, p. 98)
  26. ^ (Bannerjee 1992, pp. 5–6)
  27. ^ (Banerjee 1992, pp. 53–54)


  • Bannerje, A C (1992). "Chapter 1: The New Regime, 1826-31". In Barpujari, H K. The Comprehensive History of Assam: Modern Period. IV. Guwahati: Publication Board, Assam. pp. 1–43. 
  • Gogoi, Jahnabi (2002), Agrarian System Of Medieval Assam, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company 
  • Nath, D (1989), History of the Koch Kingdom: 1515-1615, Delhi: Mittal Publications 
  • Neog, Maheshwar (1980). Early History of the Vaishnava Faith and Movement in Assam. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass. 
  • Puri, Baij Nath (1968). Studies in Early History and Administration in Assam. Gauhati University. 
  • Sarkar, J. N. (1992), "Chapter II The Turko-Afghan Invasions", in Barpujari, H. K., The Comprehensive History of Assam, 2, Guwahati: Assam Publication Board, pp. 35–48 
  • Sircar, D C (1990), "Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa", in Barpujari, H K, The Comprehensive History of Assam, I, Guwahati: Publication Board, Assam, pp. 59–78 
  • Sharma, Benudhar, ed. (1972). An Account of Assam. Gauhati: Assam Jyoti.