Kareng ghar(palace), Sivsagar, Assam
600 years of Ahom Kingdom
by Supriya Dutta

"600 years of Ahom Kingdom" is an interactive story narrative designed primarily to understand the Ahom Kingdom through data-visualizations. The primary topics explored here are the Kings, successors, kingdom and the administration system that shaped 600 glorious years.

Ahoms were the descendants of Shan or Tai race, who came to the Brahmaputra Valley of North East during 13th century. With glorious 600 years they entail a very important part in the Assamese history.

The first king, Sukapha came to Assam from Mungmao, currently in Yunan province of China. He left Mungmao with a group of nine hundred soldiers, fifteen elite members, two elephants and three hundred horses. On his way to the Brahmaputra valley of Assam, he conquered Khamjang area of Nagaland. He occupied Namrup, Tipam, areas between Disang and Dikhow River and areas occupied by Moran and Borahi communities. He extended the state to the Namdang River in the west direction. In 1253, he established his capital at Charaidau, Assam.

Ahoms had a successful reign of 600 years, from 1228 to 1824. Let's look into the family members of Sukapha and his successors who made the kingdom.

Years of Reign

The visualization shows the growth of the Ahom kingdom over the period of 600 years.

The kings in the Ahom dynasty were chosen generally through primogeniture. They could be elected by the ministers as well. When a successor was deemed unworthy by the administration system, they could elect another prince from a different family, but with the same royal blood-line. This rule was strictly followed; there were two periods where they could not find a suitable king, the administration system then decided to work without one, until a worthy ruler was found! Those periods were called Interim periods.


With the expansion of the kingdom, Sukapha started his first administration system with two ministers. They were given the title Buragohain and Borgohain. With the acquisition of new territories the administration grew in size. It was divided into two parts, Political and Civil. By 1603, the administration comprised of over 162 members, with 26 major officers in the Political system. Let's look at how the administration system changed.


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Most of the expansion happened during Suhungmung's reign. During his reign four officers were appointed. For better management of the kingdom Ahoms had a rule of dividing the kingdom into several territories, which were then allotted to different officers. Officers in the political division, along with their responsibilities were also allotted a piece of land to rule.

Officers in the administration system had to belong to certain groups to get elected. The most desirable person of the group was chosen for the positions in the administration system.

The visualization shows the Officials and the families that they belonged to. The most eligible member of those families were chosen for these positions.

When placed in the matrix, it was evident that most higher rank officers were from the Ahom community.

Only in the later part of their reign when the administration system evolved, they started incorporating people from different community. But as seen here, most of these people were elected only to the lower positions.


It was another system very unique to Ahom at that time. There were five officers, namely: Borgohain, Buragohain, Barpatragohain, Barbarua, and Barphukan, who could directly engage themselves with the election of the Kings. Kings were primarily elected through primogeniture, but could also be elected and depose by these five ministers. Let's have a look.

In this later part of the time-period(1641-1824), we can see that, most kings were elected through ministers and deposed as well.

Around the time-period 1670-1680, two of the Kings only had on 1 month and 20 days as their duration of reign.

Ministers in the later part of the time-period started to exploit their powers repeatedly.

After King Sunyetpha, the kingdom started to grow weak internally and was subjected to numerous attacks from different groups.

On 24 February, 1826, Assam was handed over to the British through an Yandabu Agreement, signed at Yandabu, near Burmese capital Ava.

The power given to the ministers to elect or depose kings was designed to better administer the kingdom. However, what started of as a noble power proved to be very fatal in the later part of Ahom's history. This created instability in the administration system and could have been one of the possible reasons of their fall.

Modern Ahom people and culture are an amalgamation of Assamese and Tai culture. The name Ahom was given to the Tai community that came to Brahmaputra valley of Assam, and currently represents the largest Tai community in India, with a population of nearly 4 million in Assam and 50,000 in Arunachal Pradesh.
Design and development:
Supriya Dutta

Project Guide:
Venkatesh Rajamanickam, Information Design Lab, IDC
Data Sources:
Itihase Suwara Sohota Bosor, Sarbananda Rajkuwar, Edition-3, M/s Banalata, November 2017

A history of Assam, Edward Gait, Bani Mandir, Edition-3

Ahomor Din, Hiteshwar Baruah

More Information:
Raw data can be downloaded here.
Code can be downloaded here.

Project report can be downloaded here..updated version yet to be uploaded!

Special Thanks to Dr. Dandeswar Dutta for his help with the data collection and Kiran Prasanth Rajan who created the introductory image. I would also like to thank my batch-mates of Interaction Design(2017-2019) for their invaluable suggestions and feedback throughout the course of the project.

I would love your feedback. Mail me at: supriyadutta.1920@gmail.com