Guwahati | Wikipedia audio article

Guwahati | Wikipedia audio article


Guwahati (Pragjyotishpura in ancient Assam,
Gauhati in the modern era) is the largest city in the Indian state of Assam and also
the largest urban area in Northeast India. A major riverine port city and one of the
fastest growing cities in India, Guwahati is situated on the south bank of the Brahmaputra.The
ancient cities of Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya (North Guwahati) were the capitals of the
ancient state of Kamarupa . 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 328 square kilometres
(127 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 Shunga-Kushana 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 Kamarupa kingdom. Descriptions by Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang)
reveal that during the reign of the Varman king Bhaskaravarman (7th century AD), the
city stretched for about 30 li (15 km or 9.3 mi). 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.===Medieval History===The city was the seat of the Borphukan, the
civil military authority of the Lower Assam region appointed by the Ahom kingdom kings.
The Borphukan’s residence was in the present Fancy Bazar 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.The Mughals invaded Assam seventeen times, but were defeated by the numerically
inferior yet formidable Ahoms in the Battle of Itakhuli and the 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 ‘Mumai-Kota
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 war-readiness 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.The city was under Burmese
rule from 1817 to 1826. Following the First Anglo-Burmese War, the city became a part
of the British empire. It played an active role during the independence struggle of India
and was the birthplace of activists such as Tarun Ram Phukan.==Urban morphology==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, Hatigaon, Six Mile
and Panjabari began forming a southern sub-center surrounding the capital complex at Dispur.
The core area consists of the old city with Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Fancy Bazaar and
Uzan Bazaar, with each area facilitating unique urban activities. Among the city corridors, the most important
is the corridor formed along the Guwahati-Shillong (GS) Road towards the south (almost 15 km
[9.3 mi] 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.The corridor extending towards the west (around 30 km [19 mi] from
the city-center) contains a rail-road linking not only Guwahati but also other parts of
the northeastern 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 Gauhati University (Jalukbari). There are also many river ports/jetties
along this corridor.The third major corridor extends towards the east (around 15 km (9.3
mi) from the city-center) linking Noonmati (Guwahati Refinery) 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.Guwahati is one among 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.==Geography==
To the south-west of the city lies Dipor Bil, a permanent freshwater lake with no prominent
inflows apart from monsoon run-off from the hills that lie to the south of the lake. The
lake drains into the Brahmaputra, 5 km (3.1 mi) to the north, and acts as a natural stormwater
reservoir for the city.===Climate===
Guwahati has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa), falling just
short of a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). The average annual
temperature is 22.2 °C, with extremes ranging from 39.5 °C recorded on 24 April 2014 to
2.0 °C recorded in January 1964.==Administration & Governance==
Dispur, the capital of Assam, lies in Guwahati. The passing of North Eastern (Reorganization
Areas) Act in 1971 by the Indian Parliament accorded Meghalaya the status of a full-fledged
state. After the creation of Meghalaya as a separate state, Shillong continued to be
the joint capital of both Assam and Meghalaya. However, in 1972, the Government of Assam
decided to shift the capital to Dispur. Accordingly, the first sitting of the Budget Session of
the Assam Legislative Assembly was held at Dispur on 16 March 1973. Dispur houses the
Secretariat of Assam Government, the Assam Assembly House, the National Bank for Agriculture
and Rural Development (NABARD) Regional Office, the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation
Ltd (NEDFi) House and the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).Guwahati Municipal Corporation
(GMC) is the local body responsible for governing, developing and managing the city. GMC is further
divided into 31 municipal wards. 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.Guwahati consists of four assembly constituencies:
Jalukbari, Dispur, Gauhati East and Gauhati West, all of which are part of Gauhati (Lok
Sabha constituency).==Police==
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.==Judiciary==
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.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.==Infrastructure==
The city has a comparatively high quality of life. A 2006 survey ranked Guwahati 17th
among all the large and medium-sized Indian cities. 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 state capitals of Northeast India. Completion of the project will boost the vital upliftment
of the whole region. 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 Jawaharlal
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for its development.==Demographics=====
Population===Guwahati is one of the fastest growing cities
in India. It is estimated that Guwahati metro will house 2.8 million residents by 2025.
The percentage of child population of Guwahati is 9.40%. The average literacy rate is stated
to be 91.47% with male literacy at 94.24% and female literacy at 88.50%. The sex ratio
has been recorded to be 933 females per 1000 males and child sex ratio to be 940 girls
per 1000 boys.==Education==Guwahati is the major educational hub of Northeast
India. Among the esteemed institutions is the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
(IIT), an autonomous institute dedicated in the field of technical studies in India. The
Cotton College is yet another century-old autonomous institution in the fields of Science
and Arts. Guwahati has numerous educational institutes
such as Gauhati University, Cotton University, Srimanta Sankaradeva University of Health
Sciences, Assam Science and Technology University, Gauhati Commerce College, Handique Girls College,
Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati , Indian Institute of Information Technology, Guwahati,
B. Borooah College, Regional Dental College, Guwahati, N.E.F Law College, National Law
University and Judicial Academy, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Assam Engineering College,
Assam Institute of Management, Assam Don Bosco University, Assam Down Town University, Royal
Global University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.==Economy==
Pandu, located on the banks of the Brahmaputra at the western part of the city, is an ancient
urban area that acted as the chief military base for the Ahoms against external invasions.
Due to extensive fortification (‘Gorh’) surrounding Pandu, it acts as a natural river harbour
and is formally called Gar-Pandu. Pandu port falls under Dhubri-Sadiya National Waterway-2
and is an important terminal cum transit point for goods and cargo as well as passenger and
tourist vessels. Construction of both low-level and high-level jetty of fixed terminal, capable
of handling container vessels, has been completed and has further enhanced revenue generation
for the city.Manufacturing sector in Guwahati contributes a substantial share to the economy
of the city. Petroleum manufacturing is an important economic activity of the city. The
Guwahati Refinery is the most important manufacturing industry in the city. Located at Noonmati,
the refinery was set up by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited as the first public sector
refinery of India as well as the refinery of Indian Oil since 1962. It was built with
an initial crude processing capacity of 0.75 million metric tons per annum (MMTPA) at the
time of its commission which was gradually increased to 1.0 MMTPA. It produces various
products and supplies them to the other northeast states and also beyond to Siliguri through
the Guwahati-Siliguri pipeline. The various products produced by the refinery include
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Kerosene Oil, Turbine Fuel (aviation use), Motor Spirit,
High Speed Motor Diesel, Light Diesel Oil and Raw Petroleum Coke. There is also an LPG
bottling plant in the city.Tea manufacturing and processing is another important activity
of Guwahati. Assam is one of the highest tea-producing areas in the world, contributing 80% of India’s
export and 55% of the country’s total tea production. So high is the production of tea
in Assam that it is the biggest industry of the state. The headquarters of the Assam Branch
Indian Tea Association (ABITA) is located at Guwahati. The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre
(GTAC), located adjacent to the capital complex at Dispur, is the world’s largest CTC tea
auction centre and the second largest in terms of total tea auctioned. The inaugural sale
took place on 25 September 1970 and the first lot of tea was auctioned at the price of Rs.
42.50 which, during those days, was a big achievement.Many centralised, private and
international banks have set up their branches in the city with the Reserve Bank Of India
having one of its own at Pan Bazaar.==Transport=====Air===Guwahati is served by the Lokpriya Gopinath
Bordoloi International Airport, in Borjhar, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) west from the
heart of the city. With all major domestic and international airlines flying into Guwahati,
it is the thirteenth busiest airport in India in total passenger traffic. Daily and weekly
flights are available to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Bangkok, Singapore, Paro
and other important destinations.===Rail===The city of Guwahati and the northeastern
region falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Zone of the Indian Railways.
The Guwahati railway station, located in Paltan Bazaar area of Guwahati, is the major railway
station of the city. It lies along the Barauni-Guwahati Line and Guwahati–Lumding section, categorised
as an A-1 railway station under Lumding railway division. There are three more railway stations
in the city – the Kamakhya Junction for passenger and goods services, the New Guwahati
Junction (near Noonmati) for only freight services and Azara Railway Station, also primarily
used for freight services. There are regular trains connecting Guwahati to and from other
major cities of the country. Rajdhani Express, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, Brahmaputra
Mail, Kamrup Express, Northeast Express, Saraighat Express and Garib Rath are some significant
trains running to and from Guwahati. The train with the longest route in India, Vivek Express,
which runs from Dibrugarh in Upper Assam to Kanyakumari in southern tip of India passes
through Guwahati.===Road===
The length of surfaced roads within the city is 218 km (135 mi). National Highway 27 connects
Guwahati with the states West Bengal, Bihar & Rest of India. This highway connects Guwahati
with Silchar in Barak Valley Assam and further connecting the city to the states of Meghalaya,
Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. National Highway 17 from Sevoke in West Bengal terminates in
Jalukbari and connects Guwahati with the major cities of Dhubri and Cooch Behar. National
Highway 15 and its several secondary roads runs through both the banks of River Brahmaputra
and connects the Guwahati with the cities of Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh in Upper Assam
and the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.The public transportation is well developed in
the city. Buses are the major means of public transport in Guwahati. The state owned Assam
State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and private operators provide the city bus services within
the city. ASTC also operates the Volvo air-conditioned bus services within the city as well as to
the LGBI airport. Now Under ASTC Volvo Chartered buses are also available which ply from LGBI
Airport to Shillong and Itanagar. In addition to this, there are a number of private bus
operators which regularly run day and night bus services from Guwahati to neighbouring
towns and cities within Assam and other Northeastern States. Rupnath Brahma Inter-State Bus Terminus
(ISBT), located at Betkuchi area on NH-37, is the most significant terminal cum transit
point for buses plying between Guwahati and other destinations in Assam and Northeast
India. The areas of Adabari and Paltan Bazaar also act as nodal points in providing bus
services to towns and cities in Assam and adjoining states.A metro rail project has
also been planned to relieve the hectic traffic conditions on the streets.===Water===
The Inland Water Transport Department is headquartered at Pandu port in Guwahati. The waterways transportation
services in Guwahati are used for transporting bulk goods and cargo, and for movement of
passenger and tourist vessels. Ferry services are available for transportation of people
from different ports along the Brahmaputra to Pandu port.==Sports==Guwahati features the multi-purpose Nehru
Stadium which hosts mainly cricket and football; while the Kanaklata Indoor Stadium in the
R.G. Baruah Sports Complex (in the Ulubari locality) is one of the oldest sports complex
in the city. There are smaller stadiums in Maligaon (the North-East Frontier Railway
Stadium) and in Paltan Bazaar where the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex is located.
The sporting infrastructure 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 at Khanapara, Rudra Singha Sports Complex at Dispur and
Gauhati University Sports Stadium. The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium was also the main
venue of the 2016 South Asian Games, which was held from 5 to 16 February 2016. The stadium
also hosted the Himalayan Region Games in 2017 and the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India
in 2017. Guwahati is home to professional football
team NorthEast United FC of Indian Super League, who play their home matches at the Indira
Gandhi Athletic Stadium. It presents one of the finest football atmospheres in India.
ACA Stadium, also known as Bhupen Hazarika Stadium, is a cricket stadium located at Barsapara
in Guwahati. It has a seating capacity of 40,000.
It is the largest cricket stadium in Northeast India and 2nd largest in East India. It hosted
an India vs Australia T20 match in 2017 in its international debut. The first ODI in
the stadium was held in 2018 between India and West Indies. Professional sports clubs based in the city==Media & telecommunications==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.
Eclectic Northeast Magazine is a leading Guwahati-based monthly Northeast magazine with an online
version. G Plus is the only English weekly tabloid published from Guwahati.Doordarshan
Kendra Guwahati provides composite satellite television services to Northeast India. The
Guwahati-based 24-hour regional news channels include News Live, DY 365, Pratidin Time,
Prag News, Assam Talks and News 18 Assam/North-East. The Guwahati Radio Station of state-owned
All India Radio was inaugurated on 1 July 1948 as Shillong-Guwahati Station. The Headquarter
of the Shillong-Guwahati Station was shifted from Shillong to Guwahati in 1953. It is a
full-fledged Regional broadcasting station with 3 channels; the Guwahati A & B Channels
are AM Channels and the CBS Channel is a FM Channel. The other FM stations include 92.7
BIG FM, Radio Gup-Shup 94.3 FM, Red FM 93.5 and Radio Mirchi. Telecom services are BSNL,
Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Jio.==Growth issues==
Increase in population Guwahati has seen a rapid 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.
Price rise 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. 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.==Notable
people====See also

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