Pragjyotishpura (Pron: prāgˈʤjəʊtɪʃˌpʊərə), now deemed to be a region within modern Guwahati, was a ancient city and capital of the medieval Kamarupa Kingdom under Varman dynasty (350 - 650 A.D). The earliest mention from local sources come from the 7th century.
The Pragjyotishpura is derived from Sanskrit. Prag means former or eastern and 'jyotisha' a 'star', 'astrology', 'shining', 'pura' a city thus meaning ' city of eastern light ' otherwise 'city of eastern astrology'.
Location of PragjyotishpuraEdit
No inscription up to the 12th century, when the kingdom of Kamarupa came to an end, give an indication of the location of Pragjyotisha, and the exact location is not known. Three late medieval inscriptions seem to suggest that Pragjyotishpura included the Ganeshguri (inscription from Dununtarai, 1497), Southern slope of Nilachal hills (inscription from Dihingiya Borphukan 1732) and Navagraha temple (inscription Tarun Duara Borphukan, 1752). There are various other theories that modern historians have put forward, but none of them are backed by archaeological evidence. The location of a temple of planet worship called Navagraha, meaning abode of nine planets of the solar system, and its connection with ancient research on astronomy and astrology lends weight to the origin of its name.
Xuanzang visited Pragjyotispura at the time of king Bhaskaravarman and stayed for few months with royal hospitality. He mentioned that the climate was genial. The people were honest. Their speech differed a little from that of mid-India. They were of violent disposition but were persevering students. They worshipped the Devas as Hinduism was sole religion. The Deva-temples were some hundreds in number and the various systems had some myriads of professed adherents. Brahmins and upper caste Hindus make a large chunk of lands population. Being a seat of learning people from other countries visits for studies. The few Buddhists in the country performed their acts of devotion in secret.
- Chaudhury, P. D. (2010). Archaeology in Assam: An Introduction. Directorate of Archaelogy, Assam. p. 17.
- "The earliest mention of the name of Pragjyotisa in the local sources has been found only in the 7th century onwards." (Boruah 2003:339)
- Indian History Congress (1960). Proceedings, Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. p. 43.
- (Boruah 2003:342)
- (Boruah 2003:342-343)
- (Borauh 2003:343)
- Sonalker, Manoher V. (2007). India: The Giant Awakens!. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 159.