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Gauhati or Guwahati, the erstwhile capital of the state of Assam was earlier known as "Pragiyotishpura" (The Light of East). This city with a varied history dating back to the 6th century is also the most developed and important city of Assam.

Excavations trace the origins of the city to around the 6th century and it was the capital of Assam until the 10th century. Currently, the city has a population of around one million, making it the largest city in the state and its main center for shopping and business, attracting people from all over the north east as well as from Eastern Bhutan. The slow, meandering Brahmaputra River is a focal point of the downtown while the lush hills of the Shillong Plateau provide a verdant backdrop for the suburbs. The pleasant environment, however, is somewhat tempered by the lack of investment in the region, which is apparent from the low quality of roads. Still, despite the weak infrastructure, private investors have been drawn to the city in recent years and there has been something of a boom in the construction of shopping malls and high quality condominiums, which has helped raise the economic profile of the city.