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Cachar district
Ruins of Kachari fort near Khaspur
Ruins of Kachari fort near Nayagram
Location in Assam
Location in Assam
DivisionBarak Valley
 • Lok Sabha constituenciesSilchar
 • Vidhan Sabha constituenciesSilchar, Sonai, Dholai, Udharbond, Lakhipur, Barkhola, Katigorah
 • Total3,786 km2 (1,462 sq mi)
 • Total1,736,617
 • Density460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-AS-CA
Official languageBengali

Cachar district is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. After independence, the undivided Cachar district was split into four districts in Assam: Dima Hasao district (formerly North Cachar Hills), and Cachar district alongside Hailakandi and Karimganj.


The Kacharis (Kachari kingdom) have given their name to the modern district of Cachar. The Kacharis call themselves Barman in Barak valley and Dimasa in the Dima Hasao district. They were known to the Ahoms as Timisa, a corruption of the word "Dimasa". The Kacharis are allied to the Boro, Koches, Chutias, Lalungs (aka Tiwa), and Morans of the Brahmaputra valley and to the Garos and Tripuras of the southern hills. The Kacharis were perhaps the earliest inhabitants of the Brahmaputra valley and Barak valley. They are identical to the people called ‘Mech’ in Goalpara and North Bengal.[2]


Pre-independence period

At Dimapur, Dimasa Kachari elder prince Drikpati and younger prince Dakhin had a conflict and the younger prince along with his followers left and built their capital at Barak valley. Dakhin and his followers declared themselves as Dibrasa where Di means "River", Brasa means "Barak" translating to the Children Of The Barak River. Dibrasa later came to be known as Twiprasa who formed the Twipra kingdom in Barak Valley. In 1562, Koch king Chilarai invades and captures Barak valkey from Twipra kingdom. Chilarai gave the charge of the region to his brother Kamalnarayan. The descendants of Kamalnarayan ruled the region until the 18th century. After the fall of the Koch kingdom (due to no heir) the Dimasa Kingdom took charge over of the region and ruled most of the undivided Cachar district. The most powerful King of the Kachari kingdom at Khaspur capital was Raja Shri Krishna Chandra Dwaja Narayan Hasnu Kachari. It is said that during his rule, Manipuri King sought his help against the Burmese Army. Kachari King Krishna Chandra defeated Burmese in the war and in lieu was offered Manipuri Princess Induprabha. As he was already married to Rani Chandraprabha, he asked the Princess to be married to his younger brother Govinda Chandra Hasnu. The Last king of Cachar was Raja Govindra Chandra Dwaja Narayana Hasnu. During his period Khaspur was the Capital of Cachar. Cachar was another native kingdom that fell victim to the imperialist design of the British. The Kingdom of Cachar was ruled by two rulers having clearly defined areas of control. In the plains (southern portion of Cachar) Govindra Chandra Dwaja Narayana Hasnu was the ruling prince. Tularam Thaosen was the ruling chief of the hilly tract (northern portion of Cachar or Dima Hasao). His territories were annexed after he died in 1854, and all of Cachar thus came under British occupation. While south Cachar was annexed under Robertson, the hilly tract of Cachar came under British occupation when Jenkins was the Commissioner of Assam. In 1916, he was the Commissioner of Pakokku Hill Tracts until 1947. [3][page needed]


Cachar district occupies an area of 3,786 square kilometres (1,462 sq mi),[4] comparatively equivalent to South Georgia.[5] The Barak is the main river of the district, and apart from numerous small rivers that flow through the Dima Hasao district, from Manipur. The district is mostly made up of plains, but there are a number of hills spread across the district. Cachar receives an average annual rainfall of more than 3,000 mm. The climate is Tropical wet with hot and wet summers and cool winters.


The district headquarters, Silchar, is one of the most important business centres of Assam[citation needed].

In 2006, the Indian government named Cachar one of the country's 250 most backward districts out of a total of 640.[6] It is one of the eleven districts in Assam currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[6]


Nazirpatty, Silchar City

The district has three sub-divisions: Silchar, Lakhipur, and Katigorah. There are seven Assembly constituencies in this district, viz. Silchar, Sonai, Dholai, Udharbond, Lakhipur, Barkhola, and Katigorah Assembly constituency.[7] Dholai is designated for scheduled castes.[7] The seven constituencies make up the Silchar Lok Sabha constituency.[8]


View of passenger terminal.
Silchar Airport

Silchar is one of the seven cities of Assam to have an airport, which is located at Kumbhirgram. It is served by regular flights from IndiGo, Air India, and SpiceJet. The district is connected by broad-gauge railroads to Lumding in Assam and by road to the rest of the country. Regular bus and train services are also there with other cities in North-East India.



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2011 census, Cachar district has a population of 1,736,617,[1] roughly equal to the nation of The Gambia[10] or the US state of Nebraska.[11] This gives it a ranking of 278th in India out of a total of 640.[1] The district has a population density of 459 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,190/sq mi) .[1] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 20.17%.[1] Cachar has a sex ratio of 958 females for every 1000 males,[1] and a literacy rate of 80.36%. 18.17% of the population lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 15.25% and 1.01% of the population respectively.[1]


Religions in Cachar district (2011)[12]
Religion Per cent
Other or not stated
Population of circles by religion
Circle Hindus Muslims Christians Others
Katighora 45.00% 53.55% 1.32% 0.13%
Silchar 72.19% 26.42% 1.00% 0.39%
Udarbond 70.45% 26.05% 3.13% 0.37%
Sonai 41.17% 56.92% 1.76% 0.15%
Lakhipur 61.04% 32.71% 5.87% 0.38%

Among Bengalis, Muslims and Hindus are in equal numbers. Christians are mainly found in tribal communities such as Khasi and Naga. There was a presence of Sikhism in Cachar after Guru Nanak's visit to eastern India in 1508 to spread the religion. Most of these Sikhs, in the early 18th century, were found in the northern part of Cachar where they used to work for the Assam Bengal Railway.[13]


Languages in Cachar district (2011)[14]

  Bengali (75.13%)
  Hindi (8.49%)
  Meitei (6.06%)
  Bhojpuri (3.32%)
  Dimasa (1.19%)
  Others (4.49%)

Bengali is the official language of the district and is spoken by 75% of the overall population,[14] while English also served as 2nd additional official language of the district. Bengalis are the majority community, with a significant number of indigenous tribals like (Meitei) Manipuri, Bishnupuriya Manipuri, Dimasa (Kachari), and Rongmei-Naga. Immigrants from other parts of India are also present, mainly Hindi-speakers.[15] The main dialect of the region is Sylheti.

Flora and fauna

Gibbon in a tree.
Hoolock gibbon

The vegetation is mostly Tropical evergreen and there are large tracts of Rainforests in the northern and southern parts of the district, which are home to Tiger, Asian elephants, hoolock gibbon, Gaur, etc. The forests of Cachar were once rich in wildlife but now vanishing due to human onslaught. Rare species found are Hoolock gibbon, Phayre's leaf monkey, Pig-tailed macaque, Stump-tailed macaque, Masked Finfoot, White-winged Wood Duck, etc., have been recorded. The Asian elephant is already extinct.[16][17] The southern part was also recommended as 'Dhaleswari' wildlife sanctuary.[18][19] Barail Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary of the district as well as the Barak valley region. It was initiated by noted naturalist Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury in early 1980s.[20] This sanctuary was ultimately notified in 2004.[21]


The district of Cachar has a number of well-known educational institutes in North East India. Silchar, the district headquarter, is a major learning hub of Assam. The district has a central university, the Assam University, which is situated at Dorgakuna, 18 km from Silchar.[22] It also has NIT Silchar, one of the 30 NITs in India.[23] The Silchar Medical College and Hospital is the only medical college of southern Assam.[24]


The district also includes a number of degree colleges such as:


Schools in the district include:

Moinul Hoque Choudhary HS school, Sonabarighat Swarna Laxmi HS school, Narsingpur


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "District Census Handbook: Cachar" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  2. ^ Dutta, P.N. (1962). Glimpses into the History of Assam. Guwahati: Bina Library.
  3. ^ Chaudhuri Kalyan.(1999):New History of Assam & IndiaGuwahati: Oriental Book Company.
  4. ^ Srivastava, Dayawanti, ed. (2010). "States and Union Territories: Assam: Government". India 2010: A Reference Annual (54th ed.). New Delhi, India: Additional Director General, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India), Government of India. p. 1116. ISBN 978-81-230-1617-7.
  5. ^ "Island Directory Tables: Islands by Land Area". United Nations Environment Program. 18 February 1998. Retrieved 11 October 2011. South Georgia 3,718
  6. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (8 September 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme" (PDF). National Institute of Rural Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Revenue & Election District wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  8. ^ "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Parliamentary Constituencies wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  9. ^ Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901
  10. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011. Gambia, The 1,797,860 July 2011 est.
  11. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. Nebraska 1,826,341
  12. ^ "Table C-01 Population By Religion: Assam". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  13. ^ B C Allen (1905). Assam District Gazetteers. Vol. 1: Cachar. Calcutta: Government of Assam.
  14. ^ a b "Table C-16 Population By Mother Tongue: Assam". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  15. ^ "District Profile | Cachar District | Government of Assam, India".
  16. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1999). Status and Conservation of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus in north-eastern India. Mammal Review 29(3): 141–173.
  17. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2004). Vanishing habitat threatens Phayre's leaf monkey. The Rhino Found. NE India Newsletter 6:32–33.
  18. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife refuge in eastern India. Tigerpaper 10(4):12-15.
  19. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife sanctuary in Assam. WWF - India Newsletter 4(4):15.
  20. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1989). Campaign for wildlife protection:national park in the Barails. WWF-Quarterly No. 69,10(2): 4–5.
  21. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2005). Amchang, Barail and Dihing-Patkai – Assam's new wildlife sanctuaries. Oryx 39(2): 124–125.
  22. ^ Assam University, Official website
  23. ^ Official NIT, Silchar website
  24. ^ Official website of Silchar Medical College

25°05′N 92°55′E / 25.083°N 92.917°E / 25.083; 92.917