Abhayapuri (Asm)

Asm: অভয়াপুৰী  abhaẏāpuri ‘Ahhayeswari’s City’  -Town, Assam. From Abhayeswari and Skt: puri, ‘fort’, ‘city.  Abhayapuri was the third capital of the ancient Bijni Kingdom founded by Bijit Narayan (Chandra Narayan) in the 17thC. Abhayeswari Devi was the queen at the...

Assam (Asm)

Assam (Asm) Asm: অসম āsāma ‘Land of the Ahom’ From Asm: syam, ‘Ahom/Shan people’. The Ahom community (who are ethically Tai/Thai) has been known here by several different but closely related names: Ahom, Asam, Aham, Shan, Syam. Spread across Asia they are known as...

Dergaon (Asm)

Asm: দেৰগাঁও dēragāon ‘God’s Village’  [Devagram] Town,  Assam From Asm: deor, ‘god’; and Asm: gāon, ‘village’  Its old name Devagram [From Skt:  deva, ‘god’; and grama, ‘village’] is simply a translation. The god in question is Shiva who has a temple here. It was...

Dibrugarh (Asm)

Asm: ডিব্ৰুগড় ḍibrugaṛa ‘Fort on the River Dibru’   [Dibrumukh]  City/District, Assam From Bod: dibru, ‘River Dibru’ [Bod:  di, ‘water’, ‘river’; and dib(a)ru, ‘blister’] and Asm/Hin:  mukh, ‘mouth’; garh, ‘fort’, ‘rampart’. The mukh in...

Dikhowmukh (Asm)

‘Mouth of the River Dikhow’  Village, Assam From River Dikhow [Bod: di, ‘water’, ‘river’; khau/khow, ‘deep’, ‘steep’; and Asm/Hin: mukh, ‘mouth’]. The Dikhow river flows northwards from Nagaland and joins the Brahmaputra at Dikhowmukh. Dikhowmukh was an important Ahom...

Garhgaon (Asm)

Asm: গড়গাঁও gaṛhgāon ‘Fort Village’  Town,  Assam From Asm: gaṛh, fort’, ‘ramparts’; and gāon, ‘village’ [Skt: grama]. The town was built in 1540 and was the Ahom capital from the 16-18thC. In 1747 a 5km fortified wall was built  around the city with gates and...

Guwahati (Asm)

Asm: গুৱাহাটী guwāhāṭi  ‘Betel-nut Market’  [Pragjyotishpura] City/ Capital, Assam From Asm: guwā, ‘areca nut’, ‘betel-nut’; and Ben: hāṭa  [Skt: haṭṭa], ‘market’. Guwahati’s history stretches back to ancient times and it is mentioned in the...

Hajo (Asm)

Asm: হাজো hājō ‘Hill’   Town, Assam From Bod:  hajo/hajw, ‘hill’.  Hajo is a pilgrimage site for three religions. The celebrated Hayagriva Madhava Hindu temple is dedicated to Narasimha, the part-man, part-lion incarnation of Vishnu Some Tibetan and Chinese Buddhists...

Hatigar (Asm)

Asm: হাত্তিগড় hāttigaṛa ‘Elephant Fort’ [Gajpur] Village,  Assam From Asm/Hin: hāthī, ‘elephant’; and gaṛh, ‘fort’. Hatigarh literally means a fort or a rampart (garh) for confining elephants (hati). The  Ahom king, Suklingphaa (1795–1811 CE), used this site (close...

Jorhat (Asm)

Asm: যোৰহাট jōrhāṭ ‘Twin Markets’  City/District, Assam From Asm: jor, ‘pair’; and Ben: hāṭa, ‘market’ [Skt: haṭṭa]. The ‘pair’ of markets existed in the 18thC on opposite banks of the Bhogdoi river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, which flows past the town. Jorhat...

Kaziranga (Asm)

Asm: কাজিৰঙা kājirāṅgā  ‘Kazi’s Village’  National Park, Assam From Kbi: kaji/kazi,  female personal name; and rang/rong, ‘village’. Archaeological evidence suggests the Karbi people once ruled here. There are a number of derivations which are based on personal names...

Nagaon (Asm)

Asm: নগাঁও nagām̐ō ‘New Village’  [Nowgong] Town/District,  Assam From Asm: na, ‘new’; and gāon, ‘village’ [Skt: grama].  Nowgong was a feeble British attempt at writing Nagaon. It is neither new (it dates back to at least the 17thC) nor a village (it has a population...

Nalbari (Asm)

Asm: নলবাৰী nalabāṛi ‘Reed Garden’  Town/District, Assam From Asm: nal, ‘(a kind of) reed’; and bari, ‘garden’, ‘compound’. At one time the Nalbari region was famous for its silks and the Tailaparnika perfume which, according to Kautilya’s Arthasastra, had the:...

Nazira (Asm)

Asm: নাজিৰা nājirā ‘Harbour’  Town,  Assam From Asm: nāo, ‘boat’;  and jira, ‘resting (place)’. One could imagine this as an inlet used as  a stopover on the River Dikhow. Other sources suggest: ‘Steep Field’. [from Aho: nā, field;  ji, ‘slant’;  and rā, ‘much’,...

Rangpur (Asm)

‘City of Joy’  Monument/Palace, Assam From Asm: ranga, ‘joy’, ‘pleasure’; and  Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’. Rangpur, founded in 1707, was the fourth capital of the Ahom kingdom and its military base. It fell into rebel hands towards the end of the century but by the...

Sadiya (Asm)

Asm: শদিয়া śadiẏā ‘City of Sathyakanarayana’  [Sadhayapuri]  Town,  Assam This is an abbreviation of Sadhyaka-narayana -pur, the city of 14thC King Sathyakanarayana. Sadiya was the Chutia Kingdom’s third capital. It was founded in the 13thC and lasted through until...

Seven Sisters – North East Region (NER)

The ‘Seven Sisters’ are a family of seven states on the North Eastern Region (NER) of India: Arunachal Pradesh (ArP), Assam (Asm), Manipur (Man), Meghalaya (Meg), Mizoram (Miz), Nagaland (Nag), Tripura (Tri). Sikkim is usually included as a brother state....

Silchar (Asm)

Asm: শিলচর śilac(h)ara ‘Stone Bank’  City, Assam From Asm: śilā, ‘stone’; char, ‘(river) bank’. Silchar is the second largest city in Assam, famous for tea cultivation. Indira Gandhi called it the ‘Island of Peace’ during a time when it was a beacon of stability in a...

Sivasagar (Asm)

Asm: শিৱসাগৰ śivasāgara ‘Shiva’s Ocean’  [Sibsagar] City/District,  Assam From Shiva; and Skt: sāgar, ‘ocean, ‘sea’. The city gets its name from the big tank/lake in the city centre built in the 1730s by the Ahom queen Phuleswari. The three temples along its banks...

Tezpur (Asm)

Asm:তেজপুৰ tējapura ‘City of Blood’   City,  Assam Asm/Ben: tez/tej, ‘blood’[Skt: śōṇita]; and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’. Tezpur is situated in Sonitpur, a District with which it shares its original name. Bana, the arrogant thousand-armed king and ardent devotee of...

Tinsukia (Asm)

Asm: তিনিচুকীয়া tinasukiẏā ‘Three-cornered Tank’   [Bengmora] City/District, Assam From Asm: tini, ‘three’; kōṇa, ‘corner’; and pukhuraī, ‘tank’.  Bengmora was the capital of the Motok kingdom which rebelled against the Ahom kings. It was founded by...