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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Assam State Map

Kamarupa (कामरूप) was one of Buddhist Kingdoms visited by Xuanzang in 639 AD. Alexander Cunningham[1] has identified Kamarupa with Assam.




Tej Ram Sharma[2] provides following information from Gupta inscriptions:

Kamarupa (कामरूप) (No. I, L. 22: Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta) :

(L. 22.)-Whose imperious commands were fully gratified, by giving all (kinds of) taxes and obeying (his) orders and coming to perform obeisance, by the frontier-kings of Samatata, Davaka, Kamarupa, Nepala, Kartripura, and other (countries), and by the Mālavas, Arjunāyanas, Yaudheyas, Madrakas, Abhiras, Prārjunas, Sanakanikas, Kākas, Kharaparikas, and other (tribes);-
२२. समतट-डवाक-कामरूप-नेपाल-कर्त्तृपुरादि-प्रत्यन्त-नृपतिभिर्म्मालवार्जुनायन-यौधेय-माद्रकाभीर-प्रार्जुन-सनकानीक-काक-खरपरिकादिभिश्च5 सर्व्व-कर -दानाज्ञाकरण-प्रणामागमन-

It has been mentioned as one of the frontier states which were subordinate to Samudragupta and whose emperors paid him

254 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

taxes and all kinds of obeisance. Majumdar 539 identifies it with Upper Assam. Kamarupa consisted of the Western districts of the Brahmaputra valley which being the most powerful state and being the first to be approached from the western side came to denote the whole valley. 540 The area of Kamarupa was estimated by the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang to have been 10,000 li i.e. 1667 miles in circuit which shows that it must have comprised the whole valley of Brahmaputra. 541 Saktisangama describes 542 Kamarupa as extending from Kalesvara to the Svetagiri and from Tripura to the Nila-parvata (which is the Niladri or Nilakuta, the name of the Kamakhya hill). According to the Yogini Tantra, the kingdom of Kamarupa included the whole of the Brahmaputra valley together with Rangpur and Cochbihar. 543 The Puranas mention Pragjyotisa, identified with Kamakhya or Gauhati, as the capital of Kamarupa. 544 The Kamauli grant of Vaidyadeva mentions Kamarupa as a Mandala of the Pragjyotisa-bhukti. 545

The Abhidhana, the Vaijayanti and the Trikandasesa in- form us that Pragjyotisa and Kamarupa were the same country. 546 In the Raghuvams'a, 547 the separate mention of Pragjyotisa and Kamarupa may seem to be a little puzzling. But we see that whereas verses 81-82 of the fourth canto refer to the king of Pragjyotisa as terrified, the subsequent verses describe the presentation of elephants and the offer of respects by the king of Kamarupa to Raghu. Thus all the four verses are inter-linked and, the context also proves that Pragjyotisa and Kamarupa were the same. 548 The Buddhist Chronicle Arya-manjusri-mulakalpa describes Kamarupa as a country of the east. 549 The Brhatsamhita 550 and the Kavyamimamsa 551 also mention it in the same direction. Chatterji remarks that the tribes living on the frontiers of Kamarupa were akin to the Man tribes of South-Western China, a wild Tibeto-Chinese people. 552

The Ahoms of the Shan Tribe came into Assam at the beginning of the 13th century due to the break-up of the Chinese empire by the Moguls and ruled till the British occupation in the beginning of the 19th century. 553

Visit by Xuanzang in 639 AD

Alexander Cunningham[3] writes that From Paundra Varddhana, or Pubna, in Middle India, the Chinese pilgrim proceeded for 900 li, or 150 miles, to the east, and crossing a great river, entered Kia-mo-leu-po, or Kamarupa, which is the Sanskrit name of Assam.[4] The territory is estimated at 10,000 li, 1667 miles, in circuit. This large extent shows that it must have comprised the whole valley of the Brahmaputra river, or modern Assam, together with Kusa-Vihara, and Butan. The valley of the Brahmaputra was anciently divided into three tracts, which may be described as the Eastern, Middle, and Western districts, namely, Sadiya, Assam proper, and Kamrup. As the last was the most powerful state, and also the nearest to the rest of India, its name came into general use to denote the whole valley. Kusa-Vihara was the western division of Kamrup proper ; and as it was the richest part of the country, it became for some time the residence of the rajas, whose capital, called Kamatipura, gave its name to the whole province.[5] But the old capital of Kamrup is said to have been Gohati, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra. Now, Kamatipura, the capital oi Kusa-Vihara, is exactly 150 miles, or 900 li, from Pubna,[6] but the direction is due north ; while Gohati is about twice that distance, or say 1900 li, or 317 miles, from Pubna, in a north-east direction. As the position of the former agrees exactly with the distance recorded

[p.501]: by the pilgrim, it is almost certain that it must have been the capital of Kamrup in the seventh century. This would seem to be confirmed by the fact that the language of the people differed but slightly from that of Central India. It was therefore not Assamese, and consequently I infer that the capital visited by Hwen Thsang was not Gohati, in the valley of the Brahmaputra, but Kamatipura, in the Indian district of Kusa-Vihara. The great river crossed by the pilgrim would therefore be the Tista, and not the Brahmaputra.

On the east Kamrup touched the frontiers of the south-western barbarians of the Chinese province of Shu; but the route was difficult, and occupied two months. On the south-east the forests were full of wild elephants, which is still the case at the present day. The king was a Brahman, named Bhaskara Varmma, who claimed descent from the god Narayana, or Vishnu, and his family had occupied the throne for one thousand generations. He was a staunch Buddhist, and accompanied Harsha Varddhana in his religious procession from Pataliputra to Kanoj, in A.D. 643.


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[7] ने लेख किया है ...कामातिपुर (AS, p.170) अकबर के दरबार के प्रसिद्ध विद्वान अबुलफजल ने आईने-अकबरी में कामातिपुर को तत्कालीन असम के सूबे की राजधानी लिखा है. जान पड़ता है कि कामातिपुर असम के प्राचीन संस्कृत नाम कामरूप का ही अपभ्रंश है.


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[8] ने लेख किया है ...कामरूप (AS, p.168) असम राज्य का प्राचीन नाम है। विष्णु पुराण 2,3,15 में कामरूप निवासियों को पूर्वदेशीय बताया है--'पूर्वदेशादिकाश्चैव कामरूप निवासिन:। कालिकापुराण में लौहित्या ब्रह्मपुत्र को कामरूप में प्रवाहित होने वाली नदी बताया गया है--'स कामरूखिलं पीठप्लावय वारिणा, गोपायन् सर्वतीर्थाणि दक्षिणं याति सागरम्' कालिदास ने रघुवंश 4,83-84 में रघु द्वारा कामरूपनरेश की पराजय का वर्णन किया है--'तमीश: कामरूपाणामत्याखंडलविक्रम्, भेजे भिन्न कटैर्नागैरन्यानुपरुरोध यै:। कामरूपेश्वरस्तस्य हेमापीठाधिदेवताम् रत्न-पुष्पोपहारेणछायामानर्च पादयो:'।

कामरूप परिचय

प्राचीन समय में असम राज्य 'प्राग्ज्योतिष' अर्थात् 'पूर्वी ज्योतिष का स्थान' कहलाता था। कामरूप राज्य का सबसे पुराना उदाहरण इलाहाबाद में समुद्रगुप्त के शिलालेख से मिलता है। इस शिलालेख में कामरूप का विवरण ऐसे सीमावर्ती देश के रूप में मिलता है, जो गुप्त साम्राज्य के अधीन था और गुप्त साम्राज्य के साथ इस राज्य के मैत्रीपूर्ण संबंध थे। कामरूप के ही शासक भूतिवर्मा ने 554 ई. में अश्वमेध यज्ञ किया था।

चीन के विद्वान् यात्री ह्वेनसांग लगभग 743 ईस्वी में राजा कुमारभास्कर वर्मन के निमंत्रण पर कामरूप में आया था। ह्वेनसांग ने कामरूप का उल्लेख 'कामोलुपा' के रूप में किया है।

11वीं शताब्दी के अरब इतिहासकार अलबरूनी की पुस्तक में भी 'कामरूप' का विवरण प्राप्त होता है। इस प्रकार प्राचीन काल से लेकर 12वीं शताब्दी ईस्वी तक समस्त आर्यावर्त में पूर्वी सीमांत देश को 'प्राग्ज्योतिष' और 'कामरूप' के नाम से जाना जाता था और यहाँ के नरेश स्वयं को 'प्राग्ज्योतिष नरेश' कहलाया करते थे।

संदर्भ: भारतकोश-कामरूप