Before the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Misoram and Nagaland were formed, those areas carried a common name as a single state and that was Assam. Tripura and Manipur stood separately. 

During the ancient period, Assam was called Pragjyotisham. There are references of this name in the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Indologists point out that during the Middle Ages this zone was called Kamaroopam. This was also famous as the central seat for the tantric practices and magic. The Kamakhya Devi Temple near the capital city of Guwahati is acclaimed as one of the great centers of Shakti Puja of the Hindu cult. 

The name ‘Assam’ developed at a later stage. Indologists have pointed out that this term has links with the armed invaders belonging to the ‘Ahom’ tribes. ‘Assam’ is an English term, and the original of it in Asamiya language is pronounced as ‘asom’ or ‘ahom’ which means the land of hills and valleys, of ups and downs. 

The name ‘Assam’ was changed to ‘Asom’ by a resolution in the state legislature in 2006, but it will take effect only when the Indian parliament gives its nod to the change.