Sprawled like a prehistoric leviathan along the length of the Brahmaputra valley, Assam (also known as Ahom) is the biggest and most accessible of the Northeast States. A hospitable population, a cuisine with its own distinctive aromas and flavours, a vibrant artistic heritage marked by exotic dance forms, and a string of elegant Hindu temples top its list of innumerable attractions. The archetypal Assamese landscape is a picturesque golden-green vista of rice fields and manicured tea estates, framed by the blue mountains of Arunachal in the north and the highlands of Meghalaya and Nagaland to the south.
Assam's culture is proudly sovereign. The gamosa (a red-and-white scarf worn around the neck by men) and the mekhola sador (the traditional dress for women) are visible proclamations of regional costume and identity, while the subtly flavoured fish tenga (sour curry) is distinctly different from its regional culinary cousins.