Kamrup

Kamrup District is situated between 25.43 and 26.51 North Latitude and between 90.36 & 92.12 East Longitude

HISTORY

Today 'Kamrup' is confined to only a district of modern Assam. But in the ancient Sanskrit literature, both the name Kamrup and Pragjyotishpur were used as a designation for ancient Assam. In 'Kalika Purana' and 'Jogini-Tantra' however, Kamrup alone appears as the name of this country. Till the Ahom conquest, Pragjyotishpur was known as Kamrup.

Kamrup District is the capital district of Assam. It comprises two sub- divisions namely, Guwahati and Rangia. Below this level, there are 13 Revenue Circles under Guwahati sub-division and 4 Revenue Circles under Rangia sub-division.

Furthermore, from developmental angle, the district is divided into 17 Development Blocks. Below the block level set-up, there are 178 Gaon Panchayats, each comprising of a number of villages and governed by local-self bodies. From the angle of Police administration, the district is divided into two Police Districts, namely, Guwahati City District and Kamrup District (for other than city of Guwahati). The district area is divided among 27 Police stations.

The mythologies of ancient Assam tell a beautiful story as to how Pragjyotishpur become known as Kamrup. The word "Kamrup" means the land where "Kama" (Love) regained his "Rupa" (form).

The story of the mythologies of Assam goes that there was a very powerful king, Daksha by name, in ancient times. He gave his daughter, Sati, in marriage to god Shiva. The King Daksha once held a great sacrifice to which he invited all the gods except his son-in-law, god Shiva. Sati also came to attend the sacrifice with the permission of her husband, Shiva. In her father's house Sati became very annoyed at the discourtesy shown to her husband by her own father. She died of vexation in the sacrificial fire.

Overcome with grief at the death of Sati, Shiva began a grim penance and wandered about the world carrying her dead body on his head. Shiva's 'dance of death' and penance alarmed all the gods because it threatened to destroy the world. In order to stop the frightful wanderings of Shiva, the supreme god, Vishnu, cut the dead body of Sati into fifty- one pieces with his great weapon, the Discus. The pieces fell onto the earth in fifty one different places and wherever they fell, the ground was held to be sacred. One of the important organs of Sati fell on Nilachal hill near Guwahati and the place was thenceforth held sacred and called Kamakhya.

As Shiva continued to do penance, the other gods became afraid that he would thereby acquire universal power. They sent Kamadeva, the God of Love, to make Shiva fall in love again, and thereby break his penance. Kamdeva succeeded in his mission, but Shiva was so enraged at the result that he burnt Kamadeva into ashes by a fiery glance of his third eye. Kamadeva eventually regained his life and his original 'form' (Rupa) in Assam and the land where this took place become known as "Kamrup" ("Kamarupa").



PLACES OF INTEREST

Kamakhya Temple: It is located in Guwahati on the top of Nilachal hill which is 160 metres high. This hill has a group of ancient temples, the most famous of which is the Kamakhya temple. This temple is considered as the greatest of all the Shaktipithas in India. Around this shrine the small township of Kamakhya has sprung up. Kamakhya is known for its rare natural beauty and one can enjoy an arial view of the city of Guwahati and the mighty river Brahmaputra flowing below.

Geeta Mandir: The Geeta Mandir is located on a hill contiguous to the New Guwahati Railway Marshalling yard. It is approachable from the Zoo-Narengi Road. The architecture of the temple is unique in itself and is in the shape of a chariot, indicating the Divine Chariot that Lord SriKrishna rode in the epic war Mahabharata.

Aswaklanta: It is a small hill lying on the North bank of the Brahmaputra river. To the Hindus, particularly for the Vaishnavites, this place has a lot of religious importance and to the non believers it is a treasure of scenic beauty. It is associated with the mythical story of SriKrishna Rukmini. The hill has two Vishnu temples known as Kurmayanardan and Anantasayi-Vishnu. Ideally located on the bank of the river, it is linked by regular ferry services with the south bank. It can be reached by road across the Saraighat bridge.

Balaji Temple: It is located in Guwahati in Lokhra area near the National highway 37. This temple has been constructed in tune with the South Indian temples.

Navagraha: It is located on a hilltop close to Silpukhuri. It is approachable by a pitched road. Worship of planets to ward off evil is prevalent here.

Basistha Ashram: Situated on the southern border of the city in the midst of lofty hills, this site is known for its scenic beauty and a historical temple. There is a hilly brook, which welcomes a large number of daily visitors

Sukreswar & Janardan : These two temples are located at Panbazar by the side of the Brahmaputra, built during the reign of Swargadev Pramatta Sinha (AD 1744-51).

Dirgheswari Temple : Located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra and linked by a motorable road, this shrine is considered as one of the supreme Devi Tirthas of the state. Isolated and lying at the foot of a range of hills, it has several rock cut images which can be traced to the 11th to 12th century A.D. This is one of the few temples where buffalo sacrifice is done annually during Durga Puja.

Umananda Temple: Greater Guwahati contains three islands in the midst of the Brahmaputra known as Umananda (Peacock Island), Urvashi and Karmanasa, the first one being the biggest of the three. On the top of Umananda island exists three temples - Umananda, Chandrsekhar and Hargauri. These temples contain rock-cut sculptures and carvings.

Poa Macca: It is a place of pilgrimage for the Muslims and is located at Hajo, a small town near Guwahati. It is believed that by offering prayers here the faithfuls gain one fourth of the spiritual enlightenment of what could be gained at Mecca. Hence the name - "poa" meaning one-fourth.

Hayagriva-Madhab Temple: It is situated thirty two Km. From Guwahati at Hajo, a small town near Guwahati, where the three religions - Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism meet. Hayagriva Madhab Temple is an important place for Hindus and Buddhists.

Assam State Museum: Situated on the South of the Dighalipukhuri, this museum is the oldest institution of its kind in Northeast India. It is a multipurpose museum, but its sculptural assortment is the richest.

Cottage Industry Museum: It is a small museum situated in the Ambari area and under the management of the Industris Department of the State Government. The objects on display cover many colourful items from the Satriya culture and indigenous art and craft. Its only five minutes walk from the Assam State Museum.

Regional Science Centre & Museum: Located at Khanapara this museum is the only science museum of the state. Apart from galleries full of scientific gadgets, this institution imparts science education to the student community.