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Legacy of Chaolung Sukapha: The brave heart who wanted larger Assam

Guwahati,Prangan Duarah: Amidst the hundreds of names of Ahom that crowd the columns of the history of Assam, the name of Chaolung Sukapha shine, and shine alone, a star. Sukaphaa (Siu-Ka-Pha) was the establisher of the Ahom Kingdom in Assam. Full name of Sukaphaa was Chao-Long Hso-Ka-HpaSukaphaa. His life is an eternal tale of bravery, determination and uprightness in the Ahom kingdom history of Assam. In Buranjis. The name “Sukafa” brings a sense of pride in every Assamese individual’s heart. Chaolung Sukhapa was the first Ahom king in medieval Assam, & was the founder of the Ahom kingdom (which is famous for defeating the Mughal empire 17 times). As I recall, he was a Tai prince originally from Mong Mao, (now in Yunnan province in Peoples Republic of China). After spending 19 years as crown prince, Sukaphaa decided to leave Mong Mao. According to tradition, his grandmother advised him thus – “no two tigers live in the same jungle, no two kings sit on the same throne.” Accordingly Sukaphaa is said to have left Chieng-Sen the capital of Mong Mao in the year 1215 AD.it appears that Sukaphaa was a prince by birth and his country of origin was “Mung-Mao” or “Mung-Mao-Lung in Yun-Nan. According to the “Deodhai Assam Buranji”, Sukaphaa was the son of Pameupung, king of Mungjamungji. His mother was Langramap. He was the eldest prince amongst the four princes of Mung-Mao. The four prince of Mung-Mao wanted to expand their kingdom and desired to have a kingdom of their own. Sukaphaa, the eldest prince proceeded westward, who was accompanied by a total contingent of 9000, three queens, two sons and a daughter; chiefs from five other dependent Mongs members of the priestly class and soldiers.

Image credit: Dr Puspo Gogoi

Sukapha started his journey in 1225. He was also accompanied by 300 horses and two elephants. During his journey he crossed several ranges of mountains and conquered the Nagas and other hill tribes on his way, he at length reached the plains of upper Assam. Sukaphaa passed through Myitkyina, Mogaung and the upper Irrawaddy river valley. In 1227, Sukhapa crossed the Khamjang River to reach the NangyangLake. That was the land of Nagas. Few of them tried to resist Sukafaa, but he defeated all of them. After that victory against Naga group, other Nagas of the neighborhoods hastened to make their submission. Leaving one of his nobles to rule the conquered country, he proceeded to cross the Patkai hills at the Pangsau pass and reached Namrup in December 1228. For searching the right place for his capital he moved from place to place over the next few years. In 1251, Sukapha established his first capital of Ahom kingdom at “Che-Rai-Doi”, which means the shining city on the hill, near present day Sivasagar town. After conquering the countries of the Chutias, the Kacharis and the Kamata king, Sukapha allowed them to remain as they were in the past on condition of offering tribute. The Borahi king Badancha and the Moran king Thakumtha acknowledged the supremacy of the Ahom king and regularly supplied him with the various products of the jungles, elephants, dye, honey and mats, Sukapha united those people into one nation by wisely adopting facilitatory measures towards those people and by treating them as equals and encouraging intermarriage. Sukaphaa had also conquered all the countries all the way upper Burma to the eastern border of upper Assam. By showing respect to their sentiments and culture, he adopted facilitatory measures towards the indigenous peoples of Assam He was reasonable to all people. And in this way, by assimilating among the locals of various castes, tribes and religions, he created the base of the great Assamese nation. He founded the old “bor-Asom”. Sukaphaa ruled his land until his death in 1268. In 1236, he left Tipam for Abhaypur and in the year 1240, the area was struck by flood, which made him move again down the Brahmaputra to Habung, which is present-day Dhakuakhana. In1244,he moved down the Brahmaputra to the Dikhowmukh, because Habung was also struck by flood, and then up the Dikhow river up to Ligirigaon. Finally, in the year 1253, the capital of Ahom Kingdom was established at Charaideo, which lies close to the present-day Sibasagar and eventually initiated the mission of building a state.In honour to his position, the term ‘Chaolung’ is generally associated with his name-Chao meaning lord & Lung meaning great.

Sukaphaa was not only a brave king at that time but also a good administrator, a good leader and a nation builder, who founded a state with a strong foundation for his successors who ruled Assam for about six hundred years.

Since 1996 December 2 has been celebrated in Assam as the Sukaphaa Divas, or Asom Divas (Assam Day), to commemorate the advent of the first king of the Ahom kingdom in Assam after his journey over the Patkai Hills. He is also known as the first Assamese.


1. Role of Su-Ka-Pha in Founding Ahom Kingdom in Assam by Ms. PikuDoley
2. Tai-Ahom and standard Thai: a descriptive-comparative study by R Duangthip and Rungkarn

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One comment

  1. Sukapha, the great legend, was the founder of Ahom Kingdom in Assam. He was a brave and courageous dignitary who enlightened every part of his kingdom. His good governance not only influenced the Ahom kingdom but also the other small empires in Assam, then known as Kamrup. To make the Ahom dynasty powerful and permanent he undertook conciliatory measures towards the neighbouring kings. He appointed Katakis and two chief Buragohains and Borgohains which were most essential for the foundation, growth and prosperity of his newly established regime. Through this study, an effort has made to draw the role of Sukapha
    in founding Ahom dynasty in Assam and to understand his relation with other neighbouring countries in maintaining peace. Su-Ka-Pha was the founder of the Ahom kingdom in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam. Sukapha was that brave and courageous prince and dignitary who enlightened every parts of his kingdom. Sukapha’s administration was the torch bearer of good administration in Ahom dynasty. His governance not only influenced on the Ahom Empire but also other small empires of Assam, then known as Kamrup. Sukapha took conciliatory measures to all indigenous people, united them for creating better and prosperous administration in Assam. He maintained good relation with the tribal people. He encouraged inter-caste marriages among the different castes.
    Sukapha adopted facilitatory measures towards the indigenous peoples of Assam by showing respect to their sentiments and culture. He was reasonable to all people. He did not fight against the people who acknowledged his supremacy. Sukapha was not a raider, like many other invaders of India.
    Pillage and loot were unknown to his military career. It was never found his intention to plunder but to rule. From that expedition we know that he was a brave nation builder. He placed one of his nobles to administer each of the conquered countries on his way to Assam.