Guwahati is the largest city in Assam and Northeast India. Dispur, the state capital, is situated within the city. The city is the second-largest metropolitan area in eastern India after Kolkata and one of the fastest developing cities in India.
Excavations trace the origins of the city to around the 4th century and it was the capital of Assam until the 10th century. Today, the metropolitan city has a population of more than 957,000 people, spread across an area of over 360 km2; making it the largest city in the state and the region. It is the 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 inadequate investment in the region, which is apparent from the low quality of roads. Still, despite the average 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. The end of decades-long insurgence in the state has also facilitated an economic boom in the city.