DC Office, Barpeta | Barpeta - 781301
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CULTURE




HERITAGE & CULTURE


The heritage and culture of Barpeta District is predominated by the remarkable work of the great Assamese renaissance figure and reformer Mahapurush Shrimanta Sankardeva who laid the foundation of Assamese culture and heritage in and around the district. Subsequently the great saints disciples namely Madhabdev, Haridev, Damodardev and their devotees followed the good-works of the great figure.

SATRAS

A good number of Satras was founded by these great saints that are considered regio-cultural institutions or monasteries that created deep impact in the Society, polity, economy etc.in the region. Although the Satra institutions were established for the propagation of Vaishnavite faith but with passage of time these institutions gradually transformed into open universities to become all-embracing socio-cultural centres covering numerous subject including education, music,dance, sculpture ,drama, fine-art, Ivory-works etc.

Some of the important satras are-


  • PATBAUSHI SATRA: The Satra at Patbaushi was established by Shrimanta Sankardeva. His Vaishnava faith was spread by the guru's able disciples Shri Madhav Deva, Shri Damodar Deva and Shri Hari Deva. It was from this satra that Srimanta Sankardeva spread his faith, literature, music art-forms, culture and work-culture to its fullest form. Here the guru spent 18 years of his life with remarkable achievement including completion of the 'Kirtan Ghosa' and composition of 20 number of invaluable Borgeets. Some of the items used by these Gurus and Sachipat puthis are well-preserved here. The Satra is located about 2 K.Ms North of the Barpeta town.

  • GANAKKUCHI SATRA: This satra was founded by Sri Madhab Deva for which the land was purchased by Shrimanta Sankardeva for 1 Tola (about 10gm) Gold and nominated his close disciple Shri Madhab Deva as the satradhikar to stay here to spread his faith and he went on to stay here for 18 long years. Some of the items used by the guru and Sachipat puthis are well-preserved here. The Satra is located within the Barpeta town area.

  • JANIA SATRA: This Satra was established by Sankardeva's disciple Shri Narayan Das Thakur Ata. He composed a large number of devotional songs here. This Satras located at a distance of 8 K.M. from Barpeta in Barpeta Jania Road.

  • SUNDARIDIYA SATRA: The Satra was established by Shri Madhab Deva after leaving Ganakkuchi Satra. The first satradhikar of Barpeta Satra Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata initially come to this Satra and became a disciple of Shri Madhab Deva. It was here that Paal Nam and Beer Nam or Thiya Nam was created by sri Madhab Deva. A large number of items used by the guru including Sachipat-puthis are preserved here.

  • BARPETA SATRA: Sri Madhab Deva founded the Barpeta Satra and stayed here for 8 long years. Here he appointed Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata as the first Satradhikar of the Satra. It was Burha Ata who systematised the administration of the Satra leading to development of the institution and the region of Barpeta. A democratic system was introduced which is effective till today. Large number of followers came to Barpeta & accepted the Vaishnava faith irrespective of their caste high or low that created an egalitarian Society. A new work culture developed among the followers. The Satra has several buildings. The front gate is called 'Batsora'. The main 'Kirtanghar' is where prayers or 'Nam Kirtan' are performed is an architectural splendour. Earlier built as a Kutcha house was concretised with big-pillars in 1952 with decorative wall paintings. All the 'bhakats' or 'devotees' discussed all kinds of problems in the Jagmohan Ghar. In the 'Bhajghar' a lamp is continuously burning for more than 400 years that is called 'Akhay Banti'. Sri Krishna Doul festival is organised at the premises of Doul ghar. There is a small zoo and small 'rangial' garden. Within the premises a cultural school, Keli kadam tree,Shri Shri Mathura Das Burha Ata Library, study-room, office and kitchen are also located. Constitution formulated by Sri Mathura Das Ata is still in vogue.

  • BARADI SATRA: This satra was also established by Sri Madhab Deva and stayed here for a very short period.The Sankarite culture spread far and wide from Baradi making it a centre for learning. The place is located about 2.K.M. east of Barpeta town.

  • SATRA KANARA: Established by Sri Sri Narayan Das Thakur Ata. This Satra is damaged by natural calamities. Floods creates problem for running the Satra. As a result the original habitants of this place shifted to Gajia and Ganakkuchi in Barpeta. The Satra is located at a distance of 16 K.M. from Barpeta.

CULTURAL ART FORMS


The Barpeta District is rich in cultural art from both ethnic and non-ethnic. The great cultural ambassador Srimanta Sankardeva contributed a great deal in creating different art forms that became integral part of Assamese culture.

  1. BORGEET: Devotional songs composed by Shrimanta Sankardeva are still popular in this region.
  2. ANKIYA GEET: Shrimanta Sankardeva composed ankiyageet for ankiya-nats or plays. These are sung on special occasions like Doul festival,anniversaries of the two gurus and other festivals.
  3. HOLI GEET: Holigeet are the unique form of chorus songs that originated in Barpeta satra and spread throughout the state. These are sung during the Doul festival.
  4. LOKA GEET: Kamrupi Loka geet is popular form of folk music that expresses thoughts and emotion of the common people. These songs are sung from time immemorial by various people of erstwhile undivided Kamrup district. Besides this various forms of songs linking the day to day activities are also popular like biya (marriage) geet,now khelor (boat race) geet, maha-kheda (mosquito drive out) geet, lora-dhemalir (child's play) geet, boroshibowa (fishing) geet, nisukoni (lallabye) geet and various forms of bihu geet.
  5. DANCES: Devadasi nritya was performed at Pari Hareswar Devalaya in Bajali. Deodhani nritya is another form that was popular during middle ages. Shrimanta Sankdardeva popularised the Satriya nritya among the common people. Other dance form that the guru popularised are Krishna nritya, Kalidaman nritya, Dasavatara nritya, Jhumura nritya, Sali nritya, Sutradhari nritya, Gopi nritya Raja Nritya, Rani nritya etc. which were performed in the Satras. Ojapali is a popular dance form among the people.
  6. DRAMA & THEATRE: Sankardeva popularised 'Bhaona' or mythological plays that became centre of attraction from the common masses. Colourful dresses were worn on the occasion by the participants. The modern dance form became popular with spreading of dramas. These dramas resulted in formation of professional theatre groups in and around Pathsala region leaving behind an unique cultural legacy. Large number of professional theatre group enjoy popularity among the people in every hook & corner of Assam. Theatre groups like Nataraj, Kohinoor, Abahan, and Aradhana from Pathsala has not only carved out a niche but also revolutionised this medium despite challenge from Cinema Halls.

TRADITIONAL CRAFTS


  1. HANDICRAFT: Decorative items of daily use including furnitures,gift items, decoration items etc. are prepared by rural artisans out of cane and bamboo are wide spread in the district.
  2. BELL AND BRASS METAL INDUSTRY: The renowned town of Sarthebari is well-known for the household bell and brass-metal industry. Traditional utensils and fancy items designed by the artisans are found in every Assamese household. Most popular utensils here prepared are xorai for offering as gift to namghars and bota on which paan and betel nuts served by hosts to guests.
  3. POTTERY: Pottery works are popular among the common people.The Hira community is engaged in this profession. Ethnic and traditional items of daily use are prepared by the artisans. Great mathematician Varahmihira is said to have stayed in a potter's village of Lehi dongra (now eroded by river Brahmaputra).
  4. WOODEN-CRAFT: Among the various articles preserved in the Satras, the decorative items made out of wood reflects the skillful artistry of the carpenters. The Guru Asana or the pedestal of the guru,various animals and birds figuring in mythology are aesthetically designed by the artisans.
  5. MASK: Bhaonas or plays introduced by Shrimanta Sankardeva used masks which are made with tribal art and folk element. These are prepared with materials like terracotta,pith,metal,bamboo,wood etc.
  6. JEWELLARY: Barpeta is famous centre for preparation of Traditional Assamese ornaments with Gold. The ornaments are still as popular as during the medieval period among the female community.
  7. PAINTINGS: Paintings are traced back to the medieval period. Paintings available in the Satras reflect the skillful work of the painters.
  8. IVORY CARVING: Materials including Ornaments,Toys, images of Gods and Goddessess,Animals, Comb etc are made by skillful artisans of Barpeta since the time of Shrimanta Sankardeva.