Fondly dubbed as the gateway of the northeast, the importance of the age-old city of Guwahati can be in no way undermined. The origin of Guwahati still remains ambiguous with several myths surrounding its existence. Guwahati, meaning 'areca nut marketplace' in Assamese, was known by the name of 'Gauhati' during the British Raj. The Ambari disinter in the city shed lights on the different dynasties that ruled the place, economic progress and military strategy that existed during that era. Guwahati was ruled by the Varman Empire before it was passed on to the Pala reign belonging to the Kamarupa monarchy. In the medieval period, the city changed hands with the Kamata Kingdom before the rise of the Ahom dynasty. The rise of the Ahom rulers saw several combats with the mighty Mughal leaders. Despite of several attempts, the Muslim invaders were unable to capture the port city. Later, the British troops were left with no other option but to intervene in the internal affairs of the state of Assam and safeguard the continent from being invaded by Burma. Read the write-up to know more about the history of Guwahati.
The fables associated with the existence of Guwahati goes back to the mythological era. Even though there are no concrete proof available to testify the origins of the city, it cannot be denied that the city has found mention in the puranas, epics and other important texts. A detailed archeological study have confirmed that the place was once ruled by king Naraka and Bhagadatta. The Goddess Kamakhya temple seated in Nilachal Hill, the beautiful astrological shrine Navagraha situated in Chitrachal Hill, and the archaeological remnants in Basista are believed to date back to the ancient fictive period.
The Ambari exhume has been significant to archeologist as it enlighten us on the past dynasties and kingdoms. Starting from the 6th century AD, the town was referred as Pragjyotishpura, which deciphers as the 'light of the east'. The region became an important center under the Pala and Varman reign, who were believe to be a part of the Kamarupa Kingdom. Xuanzang a Chinese traveler describes the city as one of the most prosperous province during the 7th century AD. As per his description, the place was under the Varman King Bhaskaravarma, who developed a strong navy base in the region and a flourishing trading centre. After the collapse of the Pala dynasty, Guwahati saw the rise of the Kamata Kingdom. Kamata Kings ruled the place from the 12th to the 15th century. With the rise of the Ahom Empire, the place lost its significance as a commercial trading post and mainly became a military hub.
By the start of the 16th century, the sub-continent was dominated by the forces of the Mughal emperors. There were certain regions in the country that the Muslim leaders were unable to capture, despite their constant efforts, Guwahati being one of those lands. Under the able commander general Bir Lachit Borphukan of the Ahom kingdom, the Battle of Saraighat took place within the vicinity of Guwahati in 1671. Historians describe Bir Lachit Borphukan as a heroic figure in the history of Guwahati, because it was under his expertise in warfare that the Ahom army was able to defeat the outsized and powerful military forces of the Mughal seventeen times.
By the year 1826, the lower half of the state of Assam was under the British rule. By 1906, the place became a part of British India. At the outset, the state of Assam including the city Guwahati merged with the Bengal Presidency. Later in the year of 1906, the city was referred as an important part of eastern Bengal in Assam. After independence, Assam's capital shifted from Shillong to Dispur, which is currently the administrative hub of Guwahati.