The ancient cities of Pragjyotishpura and Durjaya (North Guwahati) were the capitals of the ancient state of Kamarupa under the Varman and Pala dynasties. Many ancient Hindu temples are in the city, giving it the name "City of Temples". Dispur, the capital of Assam, is in the circuit city region located within Guwahati and is the seat of the Government of Assam.
Guwahati lies between the banks of the Brahmaputra River and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, with LGB International Airport to the west and the town of Narengi to the east. It is gradually being expanded as North Guwahati to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra. The noted Madan Kamdev is situated 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Guwahati. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), the city's local government, administers an area of 216 square kilometres (83 sq mi), while the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is the planning and development body of greater Guwahati Metropolitan Area. Guwahati is the largest city in Northeast India.
The Guwahati region hosts diverse wildlife including rare animals such as Asian elephants, pythons, tigers, rhinoceros, gaurs, primate species, and endangered birds.