Ahom Dynasty: History, Kings, Administration of the Ahom Kingdom

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 20th, 2023

Ahom Dynasty, also referred to as the Ahom Kingdom, was a dynasty that ruled over the region of present-day Assam in Northeast India for nearly 600 years. Founded in the 13th century, the Ahom Dynasty saw the rise of a powerful kingdom that expanded its influence over neighboring territories. The Ahom rulers were known for their strong military strategies and alliances, which helped them resist external invasions and maintain their sovereignty.  The First King of the Ahom Kingdom was Chaolung Sukaphaa, who crossed the Patkai mountainous region to reach the Brahmaputra valley and lay the foundations of the Ahom Dynasty.

Ahom Dynasty witnessed a period of cultural and intellectual flourishing. The Ahom kings patronized the arts, literature, and architecture, resulting in the construction of magnificent structures such as temples, palaces, and fortresses. They also played a crucial role in promoting the local language, literature, and religious practices, blending indigenous traditions with elements from other cultures. The Ahom Dynasty left a lasting impact on the socio-cultural fabric of Assam, with their legacy visible in the rich heritage, traditions, and customs of the region to this day.

Ahom Dynasty

Chaolung Sukaphaa, the first Ahom king, crossed the Patkai mountainous region to reach the Brahmaputra valley. His 3 queens, two sons, and a retinue of nobles, bureaucrats, and warriors accompanied him. On December 2, 1228, Sukaphaa arrived in modern-day Namrup and resided in the area along the Burhidihing River’s south bank. This was when the foundations of the Ahom Dynasty were laid.

Chaolung Sukaphaa established his capital at the Charaideo and made friends with the indigenous Barahi and Marans tribes. The title Chaolung is attached to him because of his role in Assamese history. Sukaphaa died in 1268, having set the foundations for a powerful sovereign empire.

Founder of Ahom Dynasty

Ahom Dynasty was founded by Sukaphaa, who is considered the founder of the dynasty and the first Ahom king. Sukaphaa was a Tai prince who migrated from Mong Mao (present-day Myanmar) and established the Ahom Kingdom in the Brahmaputra Valley of present-day Assam, India. He arrived in the region in the 13th century and laid the foundation of the Ahom Dynasty, marking the beginning of a new era.

Sukaphaa’s leadership and vision played a crucial role in the establishment and early development of the Ahom Dynasty. He consolidated his rule, assimilated with the local communities, and organized the administration of the kingdom. Under his leadership, the Ahom Dynasty flourished, and the kingdom expanded its territory, gradually becoming a powerful political and cultural entity in the region. Sukaphaa’s contributions as the founder of the Ahom Dynasty left a lasting legacy and set the stage for the prosperous rule of subsequent Ahom kings.

Ahom Dynasty Expansion

Sukaphaa and his followers acquired the wet rice farming technology and shared it with the region’s residents. This technology increased the region’s agricultural output. The Ahom style of life and government gradually absorbed other people in the region, such as the Barahi, resulting in a large increase in the population. The absorption process lasted until the 16th century when the Ahom Empire grew large enough to welcome other ethnic groups.

In 1615, the Ahom Dynasty engaged in its first significant conflict with an imperial force, the Mughal Empire. The Mughals conquered the Ahom capital of Garhgaon in 1662 but were defeated in later battles. Finally, during the battle of Saraighat in 1671, the Ahoms led by Lachit Borphukan successfully repelled a strong Mughal assault, extending their borders westward to the Manas River. By 1682, the Mughal influence in the region would be completely eradicated.

First King of Ahom Dynasty: Chaolung Sukaphaa

Chaolung Sukaphaa was the first king of the mighty Ahom Kingdom, who founded the Ahom kingdom. Sukaphaa is widely referred to as the architect of “Bor Asom” or “Greater Assam”. According to the evidence provided in the book ‘A History of Assam’, by Sir Edward Gait, it is widely recognized that Chaolung Sukaphaa left a place called Maulungin AD 1215 with eight nobles and army men. In 1215 AD, Sukaphaa, with his men, settled in Charaideo in upper Assam. Charaideo was the first small principality that sowed the seeds of the further expansion of the Ahom Empire.

Ahom Kings List

The Ahom Dynasty ruled for nearly 600 years and was well known for showing great resistance to the mighty Mughals for their expansion into the northeast. During the nearly 600 years reign of the Ahom Dynasty, more than forty rulers ruled. Below is the list of the mighty rulers that ruled the Ahom Kingdom:

Ahom King Reign (in AD)
Sukaphaa 1228–1268
Suteuphaa 1268–1281
Subinphaa 1281–1293
Sukhaangphaa 1293–1332
Sukhrangpha 1332–1364
Interregnum 1364–1369
Sutuphaa 1369–1376
Interregnum 1376–1380
Tyao Khamti 1380–1389
Interregnum 1389–1397
Sudangphaa 1397–1407
Sujangphaa 1407–1422
Suphakphaa 1422–1439
Susenphaa 1439–1488
Suhenphaa 1488–1493
Supimphaa 1493–1497
Suhungmung 1497–1539
Suklenmung 1539–1552
Sukhaamphaa 1552–1603
Susenghphaa 1603–1641
Suramphaa 1641–1644
Sutingphaa 1644–1648
Sutamla 1648–1663
Supangmung 1663–1670
Sunyatphaa 1670–1672
Suklamphaa 1672–1674
Suhung 1674–1675
Gobar Roja 1675–1675
Sujinphaa 1675–1677
Sudoiphaa 1677–1679
Sulikphaa 1679–1681
Supatphaa 1681–1696
Sukhrungphaa 1696–1714
Sutanphaa 1714–1744
Sunenphaa 1744–1751
Suremphaa 1751–1769
Sunyeophaa 1769–1780
Suhitpangphaa 1780–1795
Suklingphaa 1795–1811
Sudingphaa 1811–1818
Purandar Singha 1818–1819
Chandrakanta Singha 1819–1821
Jogeswar Singha 1821–1822
Purandar Singha 1833–1838

Economy of the Ahom Kingdom

The Paik system was crucial to the Ahom Dynasty’s economy. In this arrangement, able-bodied adult males, known as paiks were required to serve the state and constitute the state’s militia in exchange for land.

Suklenmung was the first to introduce coinage in the 16th century, while the Paik system was still in place. During Ahom’s advance into the Mughal territory, the income systems it encountered were altered to fit its needs.

Administrative Structure of the Ahom Dynasty

The administrative structure of the Ahom Dynasty was characterized by a centralized system with a strong monarchy at the helm. The rulers held absolute power and governed through a hierarchical structure that included various officials and administrative divisions. The administrative structure of the Ahom Empire was as follows:

  • Swargadeo- The empire was controlled by the Swargadeo, who had to be descended from the same family as the first king Sukaphaa. In most cases, succession was by primogeniture, but if the situation required it, another descendent of Sukaphaa might be chosen to the throne of the great Gohains.
  • Royal Offices- Under Pratapa Singha’s reign, two new royal offices, the Borbaru and Borphukan, were created. The Borabaru was the military and judicial leader of the Swargadeo, whereas the Borphukan was a military officer who served as a form of Viceroy to the Swargadeo’s western lands. Lachit Borphukan was the most renowned of the latter.
  • Patra Mantris- The Council of Ministers, also known as Patra Mantris, comprised five important roles. They gave the king advice on crucial state matters.

Decline of the Ahom Dynasty

The Tungkhungia kings, the final Ahom Dynasty rulers, would come to power near the end of the 17th century. Their reign was marked by advances in the arts and architecture and internal struggles that shook their foundations.

The Moamoria revolt, cast aside by British soldiers, characterized the latter portion of their reign. However, it did not succeed in ending the conflict. Internal turmoil, emigration, and attack by Burmese tribes all contributed to the kingdom’s demise. The Ahom Dynasty eventually fell under the power of the British Empire after the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826.

Ahom Kingdom UPSC

The topic of the Ahom Dynasty holds great importance in the UPSC Exam as it provides insights into the history and culture of the Ahom Kingdom, which played a significant role in the region of present-day Assam. This topic is included in the Medieval Indian History section of the UPSC Syllabus.

Candidates must thoroughly explore the expansion and decline of the Ahom Kingdom to adequately prepare for the exam. By referring Medieval History Notes for UPSC candidates can understanding the historical context and key events related to this dynasty will enhance their knowledge and enable them to answer related questions effectively.

Ahom Kingdom UPSC Questions

Candidates should regularly practice Ahom Kingdom UPSC questions as it will help them create an effective study plan for the exam. Acquiring a complete understanding of this topic is crucial. By referring to the list of questions provided below, candidates can familiarize themselves with the types of questions asked in the exam.

Question: Who was the first king of the Ahom Kingdom? (A) Purandar Singha, (B) Suhungmung, (C) Chaolung Sukapha, (D) Suteupha

Answer: (C) Chaolung Sukapha

Question: Who among the following Ahom king was known as ‘Bamuni Konwar’? (A) Sudangpha, (B) Sudinpha, (C) Sutupha, (D) Suhungmung

Answer: (A) Sudangpha

For Mains Exam

Question: Discuss the major contributions of the Ahom Dynasty to the socio-economic and cultural development of the region. How did their administrative policies and military strategies shape the Ahom Kingdom? (UPSC Mains, 2019)

Question: Analyze the factors that led to the decline of the Ahom Dynasty in the 19th century. Assess the impact of external invasions, internal conflicts, and changes in political dynamics on the downfall of the Ahom Kingdom. (UPSC Mains, 2017)

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