Assam was known as Pragjyotisha or the place of eastern astronomy during the epic period and later named as Kamrupa. The earliest epigraphic reference to the kingdom of Kamrupa is found in the Allahabad pillar inscription of king Samudragupta. Kamrupa is mentioned as a Pragyan or frontier state outside the Gupta empire but with friendly and subordinate relation to it Hiuen Sang, the Chinese scholar pilgrim who visited Kamrupa in about 743 A.D. on an invitation of its monarch, Kumar Bhaskar Varman, left a record of the kingdom he called Kamolupa. Kamrupa also figured in the writings of the Arabian historian Alberuni in the eleventh century. Thus, from the epic period down to the twelfth century A.D., the eastern frontier kingdom was known as Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa and kings called themselves 'Lords of Pragjyotisha'.
Assam is the sentinel of north-east India and gateway to the North-Eastern States. The State is close to India's international borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. Assam is surrounded by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh on the north, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh on the east and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the south.