Guwahati is a major city in eastern India, often considered as the gateway to the North-East Region (NER) of the country and is the largest city within the region. Dispur, the capital of the Indian state of Assam is situated within the city. Guwahati is one of the most rapidly growing cities in India. During past few decades it has experienced unprecedented spatial expansion and also steep rise in population. In fact according to a survey done by a UK media, Guwahati is among the first 100 fastest growing city of the world and its 5th fastest growing among Indian cities. Today, the city straddles between the LGB International Airport in the west to Narengi in the east for almost 45 kilometres and between the southern bank of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau for around 15 kilometres. Moreover, the city is also getting gradually expanded to the northern bank of Brahmaputra. Guwahati with population just 0.2 million in 1971 is a million plus city today. Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), the city's local government covers an area of 216 km², while Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the planning and development authority covers an area of 340 km².
It is a major commercial and educational center of eastern India and is home to world class institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. The city is also a major center for cultural activities and sports in the North Eastern Region and for the administrative and political activities in Assam. The city is also an important hub for transportation in the North East Region.
Guwahati is also one of the most beautiful cities in South Asia with the mighty and picturesque Brahmaputra, river islands (e.g. Umananda), beaches, beach-islands (balicapori), thick tropical green cover, natural sweetwater lakes, hills with thick forests and with beautiful and lively native population.
Traditionally, Guwahati has been an important administrative and trading center and a river port. The name Guwahati is derived from two Assamese words: 'guwa' (areca nut) and 'haat' (market place). The name used to be spelled as Gowhatty (pre-colonial and colonial), standardized to Gauhati (colonial-British), which was then changed to the present form in the late 1980s to conform to the local pronunciation.
Guwahati's climate is mildly sub-tropical with warm, dry summers from April to late May, a strong monsoon from June to September and cool, dry winters from late October to March. The city's average yearly temperature is recorded at 24 degree Celsius (76 °F). Average high temperature is recorded at 29 degree Celsius (85 °F), while the average low at 19 degree Celsius (67 °F). The highest recorded yearly temperature is 40 degree Celsius (104 °F), while the lowest recorded yearly temperature is 5 degree Celsius (41 °F). December, January and February are the coldest and June, July, August and September are the hottest. Average yearly precipitation is 161.3 cm (63.5inches) with an average number of 77.3 rainy days. June and July are the wettest months. Extreme high level of humidity, many a times at more than 80/90 percent often creates discomfort during summer.
Separate income estimates for the city are yet not available as city-level income estimation is not a traditional practice in India and is not practiced in a systematic and continual manner. But looking at the agglomeration of activities and employment patterns it can be easily understandable that the city contributes a lions share of the state's income.
The major economic activities are trade and commerce, transportation and services. Guwahati is the most important trade hub in NER. It is a major wholesale distribution center, a marketing hub and also a retail hub in the region. The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre is one of the largest in the world. As in other cities, 'mall culture' is slowly invading Guwahati. Manufacturing is also an important activity although it is not comparable to those of India's rapidly growing industrial cities. The most important manufacturing industry in the city is the petroleum refinery of IOCL at Noonmati. The city is also the head quarter or the seat for regional offices for several manufacturing and business establishments, e.g. Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL). Guwahati is also important for printing and publishing and businesses related to electronic and print media. During past two decades, businesses such as real estate development, finance, etc. are also intensifying.
Tourism and recreation, education, research, cultural activities, etc. are also slowly increasing and are contributing to city's economy.