Assam is a state in northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of 78,438 km2 (30,285 sq mi). The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east; Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Bangladesh to the south; and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide strip of land that connects the state to the rest of India. It is also one of the world's most populous subdivisions. Assamese is the official and most commonly spoken language of the state, followed by Bengali, which is official in the Barak Valley and Bodo which is official in Bodoland Territorial Region.
Assam is known for Assam tea and Assam silk. The state was the first site for oil drilling in Asia. Assam is home to the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, along with the wild water buffalo, pygmy hog, tiger and various species of Asiatic birds, and provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant.
According to the 2011 census, 61.47% were Hindus, 34.22% were Muslims. Christian minorities (3.7%) are found among the Scheduled Tribe and Castes population. The Scheduled Tribe population in Assam is around 13%, of which Bodos account for 40%. Other religions followed include Jainism (0.1%), Buddhism (0.2%), Sikhism (0.1%) and Animism (amongst Khamti, Phake, Aiton etc. communities). Many Hindus in Assam are followers of the Ekasarana Dharma sect of Hinduism, which gave rise to Namghar, designed to be simpler places of worship than traditional Hindu temples.
Assamese is the official language of the state. Additional official languages include Bengali and Bodo languages. Bodo in Bodoland Territorial Council and Bengali in the three districts of Barak Valley where Sylheti is most commonly spoken.
According to the language census of 2011 in Assam, out of a total population of around 31 million, Assamese is spoken by around half that number: 15 million. Although the number of speakers is growing, the percentage of Assam's population who have it as a mother tongue has fallen slightly. The various Bengali dialects and closely related languages are spoken by around 9 million people in Assam, and the portion of the population that speaks these languages has grown slightly. Hindi is the third most-spoken language.