Nestled in the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra river, Majuli is the largest river island on the World. Majuli Island derives a unique identity as being a place a holy place of the Neo Vaishnavism cult of Assam which makes it a true treasure house of culture and religion. The peaceful environment of this river island is what draws visitors from across the World to Majuli. The village atmosphere with the touch of modernity (has all amenities like electricity, mobile and data coverage), the cool winds of the rivers Brahmaputra and Luit, the warm and welcoming people, delicious traditional cuisine of the Mishings of Majuli, the religious Monasteries, the island to you for cycling, swimming in the natural lakes, traditional fishing on the open rivers, trekking across the huge forest reserves, visiting the Samaguri Satra to learn about the traditional art of mask making, visit the Salmora Village to try your hands at traditional pottery making, indulging in endless conversations in broken english with the local villagers over a kitchen fire, sipping a huge bowl of the traditional rice wine called ‘Apong’, exploring the many Satras, roaming around the island on a rented motorbike (this to give a feel of Ga but with a less number of tourists), indulging in the festivities of various festivals especially the Raas Leela, putting your camera to work by clicking pictures of amazing birds that visit Majuli every year from far across the World relaxing on the sands of the river bank to catch a glimpse of the sunset, gazing at the stars on a clear sky free of smog, reading a book, relaxing on a hammock, sipping a cup of black tea or coffee, camping in the open air tents, trying your hand at traditional handloom weaving, trying your hand at cooking with freshly picked vegetables and herbs from an organic garden, playing on huge open green fields with you children and loved ones, walking along the river banks til the time you board your ferry to bid Goodbye to Majuli, you will never feel how you ran out of your time in Majuli Island and were still left with many things to do and explore. For example you missed to see the Sattriya Nritya performance at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra – which is among one of the eight classical dance performances of India or you missed to step foot in the Museum of the Auniati Satra that has on display many ancient relics of the Ahom Kingdom of Assam – the fear of the Mighty Mughals. Majuli Island has lots to offer its visitors from the perspective of ecotourism environment where visitors blend themselves to the natural environment of the place and for a few days become a part of that place and indulge in activities that form a part of the day to day activities of the people of Majuli Island. There are numerous instances when visitors come to Majuli Island only for a day but end up spending more than a month just to feel the calmness, vast natural beauty, the warmth of the simple people here at Majuli. A land of fun, frolic, festivals, peace, calm, natural environment, simple people, rich cultural heritage – We welcome you to the Largest River Island in the World – welcome to Majuli Island!
A unique and the largest river Island in the World, Majuli is home to the Mishing tribes of Assam who are simple people living in a world that is away from a fast paced city life. The quaint surroundings filled with green paddy fields and yellow mustard gardens, that create a clean and green village environment where the Mishing people dwell in harmony engaging in agricultural activities, fishing and weaving of exquisite handlooms of cotton and silk. These simple and unmaterialistic life is what makes Majuli island a sought after destination to visitors from across the World who come here to spend their time away from the city and relax in a peaceful environment that is filled with the chirping of thousands of migratory birds who come to Majuli every year from across the globe and fill Majuli’s water bodies with varied colors. These water bodies along with the Rivers Brahmaputra and Luit bring in a lot of fertile soil to the Island of Majuli which makes this island a unique land for agricultural farming. People have realized this and have engaged in agricultural activities at Majuli from very early times until today. While you travel across Majuli, you will see vast areas of land covered with rice plantations that provide food to the people of Majuli. This is why ‘Majuli’ the name contains two meaningful words, where ‘Ma’ stands for ‘Laxmi’ (the goddess of property) and ‘Juli’ meaning ‘Granary’.
Heritage of the Satriya Art of Majuli Island ~
Boutique of nature, surrounded with the waters of the Brahmaputra, the center of vibration of culture is Majuli. In order to be of the environment with the sounds of birds, spiritual environment with Raas Paalnam, Musical Ainitom and symphony of Khol Tal, every year thousands of devotees from the country and abroad come to Majuli Island creating a heavenly environment on Earth. The people of Majuli are imparting the ray of culture to the devotees coming here to gather gems from the treasure house of culture. Having been brightened with that ray it has been established in the world scenario. With cultural heritage, wonderful dance art, holy place of assimilations of various communities and tribes, Majuli Island is the place of ‘Atoka Mahanta’.
Parallel to the Satriya culture, production, practice and training of handicrafts and cottage industry is also coming to notice at Majuli Island. In making of gosa, mortar, Sarai, singhasana, fan of cane,boat making, mat from googol and coloring them with hengul-haital are expressive of the creative thinking of the artists of Majuli Island.
Art of Mask Making: It is a traditional art in the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island. Kushabanta Dev Goswami of Majuli’s Samaguri Satra has brought glory to Majuli getting Sangeet Natyak Academy Award by establishing the art of Mask making in the National level. One expert artist of the Satra, Hemchandra Goswami has given an entirely new dimension to this art through movement of face, eyes, etc. giving importance to this modern technique.
Fan made of Cane: Fan made of cane in Auniati Satra and Kamalabari Satra of Majuli Island have been adorned by people in various parts of the World. The primary stand of the fan is made with the matured part of the cane. The sticks are made by cutting the matured cane and having them dry in the sun. The small sticks are weaved with the help of a bamboo stick and giving the color with hengul-haitaal the stand us made. Ten circles are connected to the loti. They are beautified with decorative items like cloth and other items.
Your visit to Majuli Island can never be considered complete without a Tour of the ‘Samaguri Satra’ to learn about the ancient art of Mask making in Majuli Island. Mask making is one of the most famous traditional crafts still practiced in Majuli. It is mainly practiced by the ‘Satras’. The ‘Samaguri Satra’ has worldwide acclaim in making exquisite masks. It has been practiced by the ‘Bhakats’ here for centuries.
Majuli Island, being a center of the Neo-Vaishnavite cult of Assam, a lot of Srimanta Shankardeva’s teaching are dispensed in the form of traditional plays aka ‘Bhaunas‘. These Bhaunas are still a prime form of addressing the monks of the Vaishnavite Monasteries of Majuli Island. The use of traditional masks in the Bhaunas and Festivals of Majuli are considered to be indispensable. Masks are an integral part of Sattriya culture of Majuli Island. Traditionally, masks were used for religious dance and drama. They were conceptualized as a tool by Shrimanta Shankaradeva to make and depict the characters of ‘Srimad Bhagwat’ to the devotees. Masks helped to provide a physical form to the puranic characters. They also helped people to associate with the character and expressions of the mythical heroes.
The masks of Majuli Island are used for religious and traditional dramas. The materials used to make traditional masks of Majuli are bamboo, cane, paper, cloth, clay and rock color. The artisans of Majuli create three types of masks viz. Mukha (face masks), Lotokai Mukha (use to move lips, eyes, hands, etc.) and Bormukha (large sized masks). In a process evolving the making of these masks of Majuli, at first the frame of the mask is prepared with bamboo and strings and later cloth and color is used to provide final touches. Masks of Majuli are used to depict various mythical characters of the Hindu mythology like Garuda, Jatayu, Bakasura, Naag, Hanuman, Putana, Ravana and many more deities and demons.
Legends say that, ancient king Arimatta who unfortunately killed his own father offered various glittering goods like gold, diamonds, etc. to the river Brahmaputra for expiating from the committed sin. Denying these, the Brahmaputra broke into two parts leaving an islate between which later came to be called as ‘Majuli’. Another story goes on to say that Saint Parashuram assassinated his mother and traveled the entire World to wash away his sin and finally resorted in meditating to Lord Krishna in the want of salvation. At the time, two streams fell down beside his knees and the middle part is Majuli. It is also said that, when Lord Krishna eloped with Rukmini from Kundilnagar to Dwarka, Lord Krishna took rest at Majuli Island. Rukmini was enchanted by the serene atmosphere of Majuli and commented that Majuli was the Dwarka of her imagination. Lord Krishna went on to say that Majuli would be known as Dwarka in the future. Perhaps earlier Majuli was well known as ‘Majali’. This was changed to Majuli in the later eighteenth century.
Majuli is the largest river island in the World, the center of Satriya culture, place of biodiversity and summit of various cultures. Majuli is incomparable in abundance of crops and fisheries, given the the burden of tragic experience to its people falling under the threat of devastating floods during the summer. As a result of being flood prone, the people of Majuli lose their cattle, buffaloes, goats, etc. and many of them have to take shelter on the dikes or some other safe place to save losing everything. However, with the arrival of autumn, Majuli becomes green again with wonderful and beautiful surroundings. With the effect of the sappy mud due to floods in the summer season Majuli starts being filled with crops giving rise to a hope of new life after the devastation of the floods of summer. Looking at the green paddy fields the people of Majuli Island light Akashbontis and seek for the blessings of Maa Laxmi. In such a time comes the festival of Raas Leela and Palnaam of Majuli Island. Apart from the famous Satras of the Dakhinpat, Auniati, Samaguti, Bengenaati, Garmur, etc. preparations of the Raas Leela festival are made from the day of Lakshmipurnima in more than 50 places. With the harmonizing sounds of Khol (drum) and Taal (cymbals), the place of the Satras becomes Baikuntha (heaven). Forgetting the woes of the devastation of the floods, the people of Majuli Island get prepared to welcome Raas Leela with a new enthusiasm. Majuli Island prepares to welcome guests in Raas Leela Festival where many tourists arrive from the country and abroad. The main objective of the Raas Leela is to feel the joy to be merged in the love of the Almighty dwelling in the heart of people of Majuli Island.
Majuli Island is renowned across the World for the presence of various Neo Vaishnavite Monasteries. These Monasteries or religious ‘Satras’ as they are popularly known as, are a kind of a storehouse of culture and art that play an important role in the literary development and socio-cultural development of Majuli Island as well as the State of Assam. These Satras of Majuli Island that act as a place of learning today were developed and promoted by the Holt Saint Reformer Sri Sri Srimanta Shankardeva during the 16th century. Srimanta Shankardeva was the promoter of the Neo Vaishnavism cult of Assam that promoted all people as equal thereby eliminating the caste system across Assam. These Satras of Majuli Island today have become important religious centers visited by people from across the World and are important centers for promoting music, art, literature, dance, drama along with certain artistic activities like manufacturing traditional masks, musical instruments and various other items used in religious and cultural performances of Majuli Island as well as Assam. Majuli Island today has become a nerve center of the Satriya culture of Assam. The four combining forces of Brahma, Nika, Purusha and Kaal Sanhati of Mahapurusha dharma have spread the religious advice among the people here. The various Satras of Majuli Island of ancient and present are: Auniati Satra, Elengi Satra, Dwa Satra, Kalakata Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Notun Kamalabari Satra, Karatipar Satra, Kakarikota Satra, Katanipur Satra, Kamjania Satra, Kaupatia Satra, Kharkatia Satra, Gajala Satra, Garamur Satra, Garamur Saru Satra, Samaguri (purani) Satra, Notun Samaguri Satra, Chupaha Satra, Douka Chapori Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Dihing Satra, Narasingha Satra, Nachanipar Satra, Nepali Satra, Adi Elengi Satra, Phulbari Satra, Batargayan Satra, Bor Sakopara Satra, Baghargaya Satra, Bihimpur Satra, Bengenaati Satra, Belosidhia Satra, Bhagati Satra, Matiyabaria Satra, Madarguri Satra, Letugram Satra, Saru Sakopara Satra, Sualkuchi Satra, etc.
Sample Itinerary for your visit to Majuli Island and Kaziranga ~
Day 1 ~ Guwahati -Kaziranga National Park
Arrive at Guwahati Airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative at the airport offering a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. From the Airport drive to the Kaziranga National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park is home to the highest population of the Endangered One Horned Rhinoceros species anywhere in the world. On arrival check into a Comfortable hotel/Guest House. Visit the nearby tea gardens in the late afternoon. Evening Bonfire and cultural performances (Bihu Dance of Assam) on request.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at the Kaziranga National Park
Meals Included: NA
Day 2 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kaziranga Orchid Park ~ Majuli Island
Early morning go for a Jeep Safari into the Kaziranga National Park from the Bagodi/Kohora Safari Range at the National Park. Later in the day visit the Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park at Kaziranga National Park. The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park is the Largest Orchid Park in India. Later depart to Majuli Island. Night halt at a comfortable Resort/Homestay at Majuli Island.
Night Stay: Resort/Homestay at Majuli Island
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3 ~ Majuli Island
Today we visit the Satras (Assamese Monasteries) and learn about the Neo Vaisnavite culture that is practiced by the monks. Explore the mysteries of the Largest River Island in the World also learn about the lost art of Mask making. Spend time spotting rare birds and fishing. Spend the later part of the day at Majuli with the local people learning about their traditional arts & crafts. Spend time Bird-watching and at leisure. Evening, spend time savoring the locally brewed ‘Apong’ and other servings prepared by the locally by the Bon fire.
Night Stay: Resort/Homestay at Majuli Island
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4 ~ Majuli Island and Shillong
Morning depart to Shillong in Meghalaya. Arrive at Shillong for night halt.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel/Guest House at Shillong
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5 ~ Shillong and Cherrapunji
Embark on your journey to Cherrapunji. On the way sight the Shillong Peak and Elephant Falls. Arrive at Cherrapunji. At Cherrapunji, visit the Nohkalikai Falls, the Seven Sister Falls and the Mawsmai Caves.
Night Stay: Comfortable Resort/Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 6 ~ Cherrapunji ~ Double Decker Living Root Bridge (Trek Duration ~ 5 – 6 HRS)
Today after breakfast, we kick start the Double Decker Living Root Bridge Trek at Nongriat Village near Cherrapunji. Duration of trek is 5 – 6 hours. We will also spot the Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Cherrapunji.
Highlights of the Trek:
- These Living Root Bridges (Single and Double Decker) are one of the most unique bridges in the world. They are grown by the ancient tribes of the Khasi hills
- Pools with pristine blue water
- Cross Hanging Bridge
- Picturesque Views
After the trek we’ll have lunch at the Local Market at Cherrapunji and savor Ethnic Khasi Delicacies and Cuisine. Later visit the Dainthlen Falls and wrap up for the day.
Night Stay: Comfortable Resort/Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 7 ~ Dawki, Mawlynnong and Guwahati
Today, our day starts in the beautiful village of Mawlynnong, settled in the wilderness of East Khasi Hills. Morning after breakfast we visit the Living Root Bridge of Mawlynnong. You spend the day simply enjoying the nature of the place. Get your camera out, make notes of the place, read a book or anything that unwinds you.
For Sightseeing, Options are:
- Asia’s cleanest village
- Balancing Rock
- Village Walks
Dawki Sight Seeing Options:
- Clear Water Boating on the Umngot River at Dawki
- Bangaldesh Border at Tamabil
Later depart to Guwahati
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at Guwahati
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 8 ~ Kamakhya Temple and Guwahati Airport
Morning visit the Holy Maa Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. The Kamakhya Temple ‘the Temple of the Bleeding Goddess’ is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is one of the holiest temple shrines in India. Offer your worship to Goddess Kamakhya. After breakfast, depart to Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!
Meals Included: Breakfast
To plan your visit to Majuli Island in Assam please fill the form below ~
Hotels, Resorts and Homestays at Majuli Island ~
If a visitor to Assam wants to experience the true essence of the State, the best way is to travel and stay with the locals of Assam. The vast and green countryside of Awesome Assam makes one feel with the bounties of Mother nature and also experience the true beauty of Assam which lies in the unadulterated landscapes of the countryside of the State. A perfect getaway in Assam is the Island of Majuli ~ the Largest river Island in the World and the Abode of the Neo Vaishnavite cult of Assam. Majuli Island is the perfect destination in Assam to experience Ecotourism at its best! Inhabited by the Mishing tribes of Assam, the people of Majuli are very welcoming and allow travelers here to experience their way of life across the various Homestays at Majuli Island.
1| La Maison De Ananda ~ Majuli Island
The La Maison De Ananda is one of the oldest homestay properties at Majuli Island. La Maison De Ananda meaning the ‘House of Happiness’ was an initiative of a local of Majuli, Danny and two french architects who fell in love with Majuli Island and decided to open a place here to serve guests with an authentic Mishing tribal experience accompanied by local savouries and wine of the Mishing tribal culture of Majuli Island.
The La Maison De Ananda has now gradually built an extension just opposite the road named as the Risong Family Lodge which is owned and run by the caretaker of La Maison De Ananda, Mr. Monjit Risong. Mahendra is an able local who assists Mr. Monjit in running the overall operations here. Both these places offer a lovely stay at cozy traditional bamboo cottages adorned with all necessary amenities to make your stay comfortable.
A family kitchen (Risong’s Family kitchen) just adjacent to the cottages of La Maison De Ananda churns out ethnic local cuisine to tickle your taste buds. Accompanied by locally brewed rice beer of Apong, your stay at the La Maison De Ananda will be one filled with endless conversations about the beauty of Majuli Island with travelers from across the World accompanied by a soothing background score of the chirping migratory birds of Majuli Island making your visit to Majuli one to be cherished for a lifetime!
2| La Lolat Eco Camp ~ Majuli Island
From the promoters of the La Maison De Ananda we present to you the newest Eco Camp at Majuli Island ~ the La Lolat Eco Camp. A traditional style Mishing constructed camp that offers travellers a unique experience of camping at the World’s Largest River Island of Majuli. A haven for backpackers and traveller groups, the La Lolat Eco Camp at Majuli, offers accommodations at nominal rates along with traditional Mishing tribe food that is sure to leave your taste buds crave for more. The La Lolat Eco Camp is equipped with facilities for over 15 travellers who can choose to stay at tents at our camp or carry the option of bringing tents of their own and staying at our premises (conditions applicable). The La Lolat Eco Camp has a traditionally constructed Mishing kitchen and the local chef churns out delicious meals for dinner and lunch. Conversations of travellers with the locals of Majuli over a glass of rice beer (Apong and Sai Mod) discussing the rich heritage and culture of Majuli island is a common sight to be witnessed at the La Lolat Eco Camp. Nearby tribal villages can be accessed with our team who can guide you in detail about the day to day life of the Mishing tribal people of Majuli. A nearby lake ensures a soulful breeze touches your skin every moment. Traditional fishing can be experienced by our travellers at the La Lolat Eco Camp. Bathrooms with running water is an added advantage. When at leisure during your visit to Majuli get a chance to rest on the hammock at our camp alongside a river savouring a cup of black tea. We arrange for your pickup and drop to our campsite from the Kamalabari ghat at Majuli. Cycles on nominal rent are available at our camp to assist you to explore the mysteries of the largest river island in the World. Bird watching can be experienced at the lake and rivers adjacent to the La Lolat Eco Camp. Local guide to explore the Satras of Majuli can be arranged upon prior request.
3| Ygdrasill Bamboo Cottage ~ Majuli Island
Located at the Kerela Gaon of Majuli Island the Ygdrasill Bamboo Cottage offers a unique stay option at traditional Bamboo Cottages to its visitors at the Largest River Island of Majuli. There are individual cottages for guests who choose to stay here. The property overlooks a nearby pond that serves as an ideal location for birdwatching. The entire area is spread across an open field and offers its visitors a unique pollution free atmosphere to stay.
4| Hotel Srimanta Shankardev ~ Majuli Island
Located conveniently at the Garmur Tinali of Majuli Island, the Hotel Srimanta Shankardev is the only Hotel property at Majuli Island. Visitors who prefer to stay in a Hotel environment can choose their accommodation at the Hotel Srimanta Shankardev at Majuli Island.
5| Dutta Guest House ~ Majuli Island
The Dutta Guest House is located at Kamalabari in Majuli Island. The Dutta Guest House is a concrete building structure that offers rooms to travellers on a budget and guests here are attended to the family members of the house. Local travellers prefer this guest house as a choice of stay. Meals offered here are Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
6| Kakoty Guest House ~ Majuli Island
Located conveniently at Garmur in Majuli Island, the Kakoti Guest House at Majuli offers budget lodging for travellers to Majuli Island. Clean rooms equipped with basic facilities are available here at Kakoti Guest House. Although, there is no in house restaurant at this place, it doesn’t pose a problem as there are many restaurants nearby which serve delicious local food of Majuli Island.
7| Eco Camp Me: Po Okum ~ Majuli Island
Me: Po Okum in Mishing translates to Happy House in English. This is an ideal place for travellers who choose to stay at Majuli Island in traditional bamboo cottages. Equipped with toilets and showers each bamboo cottage at Eco Camp Me: Po Okum ensures your comfortable stay at Majuli Island. Each bed is accompanied with a mosquito net to ward out these tiny beasts. Relaxing and quiet, the bamboo huts at Eco Camp Me: Po Okum are on poles where a ladder assists you to reach the rooms here. All meals options of breakfast, lunch and dinner are made available to guests but at specified timings only. A calm and serene location, all your needs are attended to by the family owners of Eco camp Me: Po Okum. You can enjoy your stay in Majuli Island in calm here listening to the chirping on birds and playing with the domesticated cows, chicken and pigs.
8| Dekachang Resort ~ Majuli Island
Based upon promoting Ecotourism across Majuli Island, the Dekachang Resort at Majuli is arguably the finest properties of Majuli Island. The promoters who also run the Dekachang Resort at Sonapur near Guwahati area in Assam, have indeed brought in the concept of modern type resort at Majuli Island. Equipped with honeymoon suites, the Dekachang Resort at Majuli definitely provides its visitors with a warm and unique experience of staying at the largest river island in the World! Located very close to the Brahmaputra one can feel the fresh breeze throughout the day along with the regular chirping of the birds of Majuli Island. The meals served here are among the best in Majuli with farm fresh organic vegetables which are cooked in traditional Assamese style. Choose to stay here if you are not on a budget travel and want a complete experience of Assam’s great tradition.
9| Ayang Okum ~ Majuli Island
The Ayang Okum is another river bank traditional cottage homes at Majuli Island. Located near the River Brahmaputra at Majuli Island, the Ayang Okum provides guests with a complete eco friendly atmosphere surrounded by the yellow mustard fields and a gentle river breeze that keeps blowing across the day. A pioneer in the hospitality industry of Majuli Island, the owners of the Ayang Okum ensure to treat guests as family and assures the best of their hospitality visited by tourists from India and abroad. Ayang Okum provides basic, clean and hygienic facilities to all its guests. Accompanied with a traditional kitchen, Ayang Okum churns out delicious mishing traditional meals from garden fresh vegetables and fresh local fishes of the Brahmaputra in Majuli Island.
10| Okegiga Homes ~ Majuli Island
Okegiga Homes at Majuli Island is another traditional bamboo accommodation facility in the world’s largest River Island. Okegiga Homes has a mix of traditional Bamboo Cottages, Swiss Tents and Camping tents fixed on bamboo platforms. Okegiga Homes also allows its visitors to have an experience of gardening as well as farming where travellers can try their own hand at these village practices. Okegiga Homes is unique as it is the one and only accommodation with three varity of accommodations viz, Bamboo Cottage, Swiss Tents and Camping Tents in Majuli. It has the river Lohit on the front while on the side you can enjoy the lovely woods.
Okegiga Homes is just 1.5 Km away from the small town area Garamur in Majuli. District Administrative office as well as office of the Superintendent of Police are situated in Garamur. At nearly 4 km away there is the famous Uttar Kamalabari Satras and at nearly 3 KM the famous Garamur Satras.
Some of the main Satras of Majuli Island present today are discussed ~
Excerpts taken from: Majuli – A treasure house of heritage by Keshab Kakaty available for purchase at the Sri Sri Auniati Satra Museum – Majuli Island
1| Sri Sri Auniati Satra ~ Majuli Island
Auniati Satra of Majuli Island belongs to the Brahma Sanghati order. It was established in the month of October in the year 1653. After accepting the Hindu religion, the Ahom King Jayadhwaja Singha (1648-1663) established this Satra and Sri Sri Niranjan Dev Goswami became the founder Satradhikar of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island. At the time of the establishment of the Auniati Satra, the surrounding area was full of Aunipan (a kind of betel creeper) and Ati means elevated land. That is why it is called as the Auniati Satra. Due to erosion, this Satra has been shifted to five places and now it is situated in the middle part of Majuli Island just five kilometers away from Kamalabari.
The idol of Lord Govinda is worshipped here. Apart from the main idol another four idols are worshipped namely Banshi Gopal, Madan Mohan and Bhuban Mohan.
Significance of the Auniati Satra ~
The Auniati Satra in Majuli Island follows the Brahma Sanghati sect of Neo Vaishnavism. All devotees (Bhakats) and the Satradhikar follow bachelor’s (Udashin) life. Boys below twelve years are adopted for future training in religious matters. After proper training, gradually they become Bhakats. Usually these boys are adopted from the families of disciples and followers of the Satra.
The Head of the Satra is known as the Satradhikar. The Deka-Satradhikar (2nd in Rank) and the Govind-Puria (3rd in rank) assist the Satradhikar in the smooth functioning of the different activities of the Satra. After the demise of the Satradhikar, the next two in rank are elevated to the higher ranks respectively. The Satradhikar is not only the religious head but also the spiritual guru of the devotees. He solemnizes religious sermons to the devotees of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island by christening with Sarana, Bhajana and Mantra-Daan. Nowadays, there are almost eleven lakhs of disciples here at the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island.
Religious Festivals of Auniati Satra ~
Palnaam: Palnaam is the prime festival of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island which commences from the 25th to the 29th day of the month of Karthika (the middle part of November) as per the Assamese calendar. In this festival of Majuli Island the devotees perform Naa-Kirtan continuously in shifts in the praise of the Lord. This holy festival makes an earnest endeavor to explore the values of the soul, which may bring about ultimate salvation. On the other hand, it is also a kind of get together of the disciples and followers of the Satra.
Raas Leela: Raas Leela festival of Majuli Island commences on the full moon day of the autumn season. The main objective of this celebration is to forge a link between the soul (atma) and the almighty (paramatma). In the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island, the childhood activities and puberty stages of Lord Krishna are dramatically performed in the Raas Leela festival.
Janmashtami: Janmashtami is observed in the month of Bhadra according to the Assamese calendar. It is the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.
Bihu: Bihu is the principal festival of the Assamese people and it is celebrated three times of year namely, the Rongali Bihu or the Bohag Bihu, Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu and the Magh or Bhogali Bihu. During Kati Bihu, Tulsi plant is ceremoniously planted with the lighting of the Akash-Bonti for the whole month of Karthik.
Other festivals of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island are the birth and death anniversaries of Srimanta Sankardeva and Madhabdeva which are celebrated with great pomp and grandeur by performing the Naam, Bhaona (drama), etc. in the premises of the Namghar of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island. Moreover, three Ekadashis (Sayan, Parcha-Paribartan and Utthan), death anniversaries of the past Satradhikar’s are also observed by performing the Naam and Bhaona.
Prayers of the Auniati Satra ~
There is a religious practice of fourteen prayers (Prashanga) sessions in the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island which are performed three times daily. These are – Morning Prayer: Boiragi Naam, Burha Naam, Bar Naam, Bhagwat Byakhya, Gayan Bayan. Afternoon Prayer: Taal Prashanga, Pad Path, Bhagwat Byakhya, Burha Naam, Boiragi Naam. Evening Prayer: Taal Prashanga, Pad Path, Ozha Pali.
Cultural Activities of the Satra ~
The Auniati Satra in Majuli Island draws its lifeline from its total submission to God and leads a life of austere and rigorous routine. At the same time it lends the guidance in the moral, cultural, spiritual and social life of the common mass. The main dances of the Satra are Natua, Apsora, Sutradhar, Ozha Pali, Chali, Zhumura, Raas Nritya, gayan Bayan, Mati Akhora and Sanskrit Dashavatar.
Among different forms of Vaishnava music of Assam: Borgeet, Ankia Geet or songs in Drama, Raja Ghoria Geet, Guruvandana, Gopal Vairaga Geet are still practiced in the Satra. Moreover, Bhaona (drama) in Assamese and Ankia Naat in Brajavali language are practiced here.
2| Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra ~ Majuli Island
Under Ahom patronage of Swargadeo Jayadhwaja Singha, Banamalidev established the Dakhinpat Satra in 1584. It is located in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra. The name “Dakhinpat” is derived from the two words “dakhin” meaning south and “pat” meaning port. From this we can come to a conclusion that the Dakhinpat Satra is situated in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra. This Satra of Majuli Island belongs to the Brahma Sanhati and its Bhakats lead a bachelor’s life. It follows the ideals of Damodar Deva. The idol of Lord Jadhav Rai is worshipped here.
Religious Festivals of the Dakhinpat Satra in Majuli Island ~
Raas Leela: On the full moon day of Karthik or Aghon month, the Raas Leela festival is celebrated. The Raas Leela of Dakhinpat Satra is the oldest in Majuli Island. It is celebrated for 3 days. During the festival the Vrindavan Chandra is worshipped in the Namghar premises.
Phalgutsav: On the full moon day of Phagun or Chaitra this function is observed. The celebration of this function lasts for 3 days.
Besides the above two festivals, other festivals celebrated at the Dakhinpat Satra in Majuli Island are Janmashtami, Rath Yatra, Ekadashi, Bihu, Laxmi Puja, Shivaratri and the death anniversaries of the previous Satradhikars of this Satra are also celebrated here.
Dakhinpat Satra in Majuli Island is a Satra that used to receive patronage from the royal family of Assam. The founder of this Satra is Jayadhwaj Singha. In 1584, Jayadhwaj Singha took initiation by founding this Satra takign Sri Sri Bonomalli Dev there. The idol of Jadabrai, worshipped by Yudhisthir in Mahabharata in Rajsuya Joya is worshipped in the Satra as deity. Apart from the worship of deity, the sequence of fourteen prasangas is also maintained here.
Meaning of the name Dakhinpat: Many stories are found regarding the name Dakhinpat –
- Historically because of being established at the place Dakhinpat, the name of the Satra also became Dakhinpat. But its name was Dakhinpatk before
- As mentioned in the Mahabharata, Bobrubahan, son of Arjuna founded his kingdom near this Satra and because his son Chandrahas’s reign (Pat) to the south, the name of this place became Dakhinpat
- In ancient time, in East India Dakhinpat was an important harbour and business center. Dakhin means the southern direction of Brahmaputra and Pat means a harbour. About its placement it is found that – “Namot Dakhinpat Brahmaputra bahe”(Everyone says its name as Dakhinpat, great Brahmaputra river flows towards North)”
Dakhinpat is of celibacy tradition. Near this Sara, there is a grihasthi Ashrami (married) tradition which is maintained by the original satra.
Due to natural calamity and havoc of flood, this Satra has been shifted many times. But it is at the same place since 1869. The disciples of Dakhinpat Satra are spread all over Assam at present. The area of this Satra is 35,700 Bighas.
Deity Worshipped: Apart from the idol of Jadarbari there is a tradition of worshipping the idols on both the sides – Bridabon Chandra, Baikunthanath, Bhubon-Mohan, Bolubhodra, Kalyanrai, Brozonath, Lakshminath, Achutananda, Modan-Gopal, Basudev and Madhob Rai.
Principal Festivals: Raasleela observed in the autumn season. The first day of three days celebration is Adhibas. On that day Brindaban Chandra is worshipped after making the altar, stage, guards at door concreting twelve Gopal. When Krishna – Boloram Krishna with ‘Pandupacer’. On third day Indravishek Puja, Airawat (the Elephant of Indra), Puja, Guru Mata (cow in the form of Mother) puja and dance takes place. The Raas festival ends after moving around with Brindabon Chandra in the evening. Thousands of vataries gather in this festival where actors participate with utmost righteousness.
Holi Festival: This festival is observed in Dakhinpat Satra with royal grandeur. In three days of this festival Adhibas on the first day, Denodolon, Rajdolon and Manshydolan on the second and third day takes place.
Janmashtami: In this tithi prayer is sung movign around the Kirthanghar in day and Bhaona is presented in the night. Apart from this Rathyatram Sayon, Parshoporiborton, Uttahayan Ekadoshi, offering two thousand. Tulsi in the month of Kati, three bihu, Lakhsmi Puja, Siva Pujam, Shree Panchami, Sidhis of late Satradhikars are observed.
Preserved Resources in the Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra: Silver stick engrafted with the picture of Dasawatar, mortar of stone, Gupti (hidden sword), Jolghonta, sword of lachit, one Kingkhap, Gold and silver bracelet. Apart from this more than 500 scriptures on Sachipatand idol, stone, brass plate, bortap, etc. many things from ahom age are preserved.
3| Sri Sri Bengenaati Satra ~ Majuli Island
Located at a distance of four kilometers towards east of Kamalabari, the Sri Sri Bengenaati Satra of Majuli Island was founded by the grandson of Shankardeva’s stepmother Murulidev in the year 1654. This Satra belongs to Purusha Sanhoti.
Phalgutsav, death anniversaries of the past Satradhikars, Tithis of Sankardeva and Madhavadeva, Janmashtami, Rasotsav are celebrated with traditional pomp and fervor here.
4| Samaguri Satra ~ Majuli Island
Located around 12 kilometers eastwards from Kamalabari, Chakrapanidev, son of Keshabpriya established this Satra in Majuli Island in the year 1663. Afterwards this Satra was divided into another branch namely Notun Samaguri Satra which is now located near the marketplace of Rawanapur. The present Satradhikar of this Satra is Shri Koshakantadev Goswami who is recipient of Sangeet Natak Academy Award of 2003 for traditional art of mask making. Sri Hemchandra Goswami is also a well known artist in the field of mask making. This Satra belongs to Purusha Sanhoti.
Death and birth anniversaries of Sankardeva and Madhabadeva, Janmashtami, Raas Leela are the primary festivals of this Satra of Majuli Island.
5| Bhogpur Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Bhogpur Satra is situated about 5 kilometers eastwards from Kamalabari. It was established in the year 1528. Sri Sri Duttadev Goswami is the present Satradhikar of this Satra.
The various religious festivals celebrated here are birth and death anniversaries of Sankardeva, Madhabadeva and past Satradhikars.
The various dance forms of this Satra in Majuli Island are Chali, Jhumur, Naubbhangi, Sutradhar, Ozha Pali and Bhortaal Nritya.
6| Garamur Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Sri Sri Garamur Satra was established under the patronage of Ahom King Jayadwaja Singha during 1653-1660. The idol of Lord Bonshi Gopal, Achyutananda and Mohan Murari are worshipped here.
The Garamur Satra has richly contributes to Assamese literature. A large number of books have been published by this Satra.
The various festivals celebrated in the Garamur Satra in Majuli Island are three Bihus, death anniversaries of past Satradhikars, Raas Leela, Phalgutsav, Janmashtami, Shivaratri, one day Paalnaam, etc.
Many opinions are available regarding the establishment of Garmur Satra. The scholars think that after establishing the Auniati Satra giving the idol of Govinda taken from Jagannath Puri by Ahom King Jayadhwaj Singha through Sri Sri Niranjan Dev, the Satra was established by King Pratap Singha gets the name Garmur Satra for establishing it at a place named Garmur. Auniati Satra was established in 1653. Therfore it can be assumed that this Satra was established between 1653-60. The area of the original Satra is 66 bighas. Thirteen Satradhikars have carried the base of religion and Sri Sri Horidev Goswami is the fourteenth Satradhikar. In this Satra all are married except Satradhikar Bonsigopal is the chief deity to be worshipped of this Satra under Brahma Samhati. Apart from this the idol of Muhan Murari and Achyutananda are also worshipped. Twelfth Satradhikar Pitambor Dev Goswami joined in the freedom for struggle. In this Satra, the sequence of fourteen prasangas is also maintained. Although there are two satras named Saru Satra and Bor Satra, they are not discussed seperately.
Although the Satra at present is of married tradition (except the Satradhikar) it was celibacy before. It has been turned to married tradition during the days of Sri Sri Pitambor Dev Goswami that is since march 1915. In this Satra, there is a managing committee in the leadership of the Satradhikar and the Satradhikar discusses with the committee whenever it is necessary.
The officials of the Satra are – Satradhikar, Borpuzari, Pali Puzari, Naam Logua, Borbayan Bora, Borgayan Bora, Naamghoria, Deuri, Amutkar, Bhorali, etc.
There are branches in the Satra in Purani Gudam Nagaon, Phulguri, middle of North Guwahati, Kuhiarbari and Tukulai Jorhat.
The succession of Satradhikars at the Garmur Satra in Majuli Island are ~
- Joi Haridev
- Lakshmi Narayan Dev
- Jairam Dev
- Boloram Dev
- Krishna Dev
- Raghudev Dev
- Bhadra Krishna Dev
- Jayachandra Dev
- Pitambor Dev
- Krishnachandra Dev
Literary Contribution: Garmur Satra is rich in this field. Pitambor Dev Goswami has enriched the Assamese literature writing the books – spokesmen of Sanaton Dharma, Dharma Siksha, Samaj Raksha, Saran Bhajan, Asomia Lakhimi Bhoral, Prohlad Charitra, Rama Banavas, Judhisthiror Aswamedh yagya, Sunda Upasunda, Laba Kush, Bhagya Pariksha, Saptasuror Utpoti, Kobibhakta Haridas, Bolichlon, Ghosha Yatra, Sri Krishna Raas leela, etc. The young promising poet and novelist Sri Tarun Bora has written many books Bir Hanumanor Kahini,Bhismo Biror Kahini, Mon Jetukar rong, In the same way Lakhindar Daikia’s the drama Simgha Garh Vijoy, Yaga Bichar by Krishna Dutta, ‘Taju Gana Naam’ by Gunamani Nath, etc. many philosophical books have enriched the stock of literature in the Satra. ‘Bhakti Prodeep’ and Sri Krishna Lilamala is also a book published from this Satra.
Historical Resource in Garmur Satra: A large Sarai of brass with the capacity to keep about 40 kg mungo, silver engrafted sarai with a capacity to contain 20 kg mungo, four storied red sarai made of tulsi wood, plate of eight metals, Mayur ghanta (bell), Gaj ghanta (bell), bell metal Doba, Brass Sorai, Bortop and engrafted silver water vessel given by Ahom king. Among the idols made of wood are Garurah, Borah, Motshya, Kurma, Nrisingha, Joy Bijoy, Ananata Sajya, the idol of the act of bringing the mountain Gandhaman by Hanuman and a few materials of ivory are preserved in this Satra.
7| Kamalabari Satra ~ Majuli Island
Badala Padma Ata, one of the chief disciples of Madhabadeva established the Kamalabari Satra in the year 1673. Some people say that the founding place of this Satra was full of oranges (kamala) trees and the name of the owner of the garden was Kamala Mudoi and thus the name Kamalabari was evolved. This Satra belongs to Nika Sanhoti order.
Nowadays, there are three Kamalabari Satras dissolved from the main Kamalabari Satra. The original Kamalabari Satra is now at Mohimari, Titabor. It was shifted there in 1975 due to the erosion of the river Brahmaputra. Subsequently it dissolved into another teo Satras namely Uttar Kamalabari and Natun Kamalabari Satra and both are significant Satras in Majuli Island.
Bodula Ata, one of the favorite disciple of Mahapurush Madhavadeva had established the Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. His real name was Kamalkanta Ata. He got the name ‘Bodola’ for being engaged in propagating the religion in lieu of Madhavadeva.
Many tales are found regarding the foundation of the Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. The traditional opinions are like this –
1. Among the ten names of Bodola Padma Ata, one is Kamakanta. According to the name, the name of the Satra has become Kamalabari
2. There was a large Orange orchard at the place where Bodola Padma Ata founded the Satra; the name of the owner of which orchard was Kamala Mudoi. Therefore the name of the Satra was Kamalabari.
3. According to another mythology, while Sri Krishna was taking Rukmini away from Kundil, a Kamal (lotus) flower was dropped at this place from the hair of Rukmini Devi. Therefore, the name of the Satra became Kamalabari for being founded at this place. With time, the Satra established by Bodola Ata forked into two and one was named the Uttar Kamalabari for being founded towards North (Uttar); the other was called Natun (new) Kamalabari Satra for being founded newly separating from the original Satra established by Bdula Padma Ata. At present, the Satradhikar of the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island is Sri Janardhan Dev Goswami and Natun Kamalabari Satra of Majuli island is Narayana Chandra Goswami.
8| Uttar Kamalabari Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Uttar Kamalabari Satra is situated at a distance of about one kilometer north-east of Kamalabari. The present Satradhikar of this Satra is Sri Sri Janardandev Goswami. Many disciples of this Satra including Paramananda Borbayon, Rosheswar Saikia, Mohiram Dutta Muktiyar and Bapuram Bayon have been awarded the ‘Sangeet Natak Academy’ award.
The sequence of the fourteen Prasangas at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island –
In the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island, altogether fourteen prasangas are observed in the morning, afternoon and evening. In the morning prasanga – Borgeet, Bhotima, Upodesh, Ghosha-Kirtan, in the afternoon prasanaga aagpath, seshpath and upodesh and in the evening prasanga guru bhotima, borgeet, khool-taal prasanga and ghosha path, etc. take place.
Ancient Materials in the premises of the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island –
- More than 300 books on Sachipat
- Sofura (a tray on stand with a cover) of Shankardeva where betel nut was kept
- Jopmala of Madhavadeva
- A pot where Bodola Padma Ata took his meal
- Kusha-Argha (a material used in the ritual of puja) used by Hari Ataoi made of horn of rhino
- Jair of Sanjar-Madhab
- Bhringar (a water pot) made of silver
- A small mortar engrafted with peacock
- Royal massage from Purandar Sinha
Cultural programmes at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island –
The tithi (death and birth anniversary) of Mahapurush is observed for four days in the month of Bhadra at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. The prominent dances of the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island are – Ankia drama, Chali, Jhumura, Nadu bhongi, Borprobeshor Naach, Sutradharam Natua, Ozapali, etc.
Contribution to literature and Culture by the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island –
About five bhakats from Uttar Kamalabari Satra have received government pension as artists. The magical performer of Khol Paramananda Borgayan has received Sangeet Natak Academy National Award. Many learners have been able to receive CCRT Scholarship being benefited through Kola Krishti Sangha of Sri Sri Uttar Kamalabari Satra of Majuli Island. The team of artists at the Satra has been praised by performing dance, song and bhauna in national and international cultural programs.
9| Natun Kamalabari Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Natun Kamalabari Satra is one of the most culturally developed satras of Majuli Island. It is situated around 2 kilometers southeast of Kamalabari. Satradhikar Narayon Chandra Dev Goswami, one of the greatest scholars of Assamese literature is the pride of Majui who was awarded the Sankardev Award by the Government of Assam in 2004 and D. Lit (Doctor of Literature) by Dibrugarh University in 2010 for his precious contribution towards Assamese literature.
Management System: There is no managing committee in Natun Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. The Satradhikar and Vaishnavas manage the Satra with co-operation and discussion. On the other hand the Satra is managed with Guru Kar from disciples, sewa pranam from the visitors and monetary help from various sources.
Ancient Resources at the Natun Kamalabari Satra – Majuli Island
- Altoghether 215 books incuding all the sachipat puthis of the books written by Mahapurusha and books written in later phase are preserved here
- A picturised Bhakti Ratnawali book in ‘Tulapat’
- Dhula Mala Hastakshiri (handwritten) books preserved in the lifetime of Shankardeva
- Jopmala, costume, etc. many related things of Bodola Padmaata are present in the Satra
Religious and Cultural Programmes at the Natun Kamalabari Satra – Majuli Island
In this Satra, the occasional festivals observed according to the tradition. Altogether fourteen Prasangaas take place including morning and evening. Tithis of Sankardeva, Madhabdeva, Bodula, Padma Ata, Raas festival, three bihus, the tithis of Ata-Atois are observed in a festive way. Under the programme of the Satra academic works take place in Majuli Satria College, Natun Kamalabari Satra, Sanskrit Tol amd L.P. School. Music and drama from this Satra are presented outside India. In 1975, with invitation from the President of India of that time late Phakkoruddin Ali Ahmed, Ram Vijoy drama by Sankardeva and dance and music presented in Indonesia.
Moniram Dutta Bayon Atoi in 1963, Bapuram Atoi in 1979 and Ruksheswat Saikia Bayon is awarded with Sangeet Natak Academy award. Apart from this Ghonokanta Borbayan and Gunakanta Borbayan also have brought glory to the Natun Kamalabari of Majuli Island by achieving Sangeet Natak Academy award. Late Ghonokanta Goswami Satradhikar, Dinokanta Goswami Satradhikar, Dinoram Gayan, Debendranath Burhabhakat, Haricharan Saikia and Dimbeshwar Gayon of the Natun Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island have enriched the treasure of dramatic literature by writing many dramas. Masks made by Khogeswar Hazarika Gayan, paintings and masks made by Haricharan Saikia are also preserved in the Natun Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. Present Satradhikar Sri Sri Narayan Chandra Goswami has preserved the tradition of Ankia Bahaona by organizing ‘Ankia Bhaona Samaroh’ at the Natun Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island.
The Satradhikar of the Natun Kamalabari Satra of Majuli Island, Sri Sri Narayan Chandra Goswami has been awarded with Sankardev Award by Assam Government in 2004 and honored with D. Lit. in 2010 from the Dibrugarh University. Apart from this, he has achieved literary pension in 2000, Sahitya Academy language award in 2012, Chandrakanta Hiraprobha trust award in 2002, Makhan Dowarah memorial award in 2004 and the Satra Ratna award in 2005. His contribution to Assamese literature are –
- Satriya Sanskriti Swarnarekha (1884)
- Brazawali Bhaskar Abhidhan (1990)
- Asomot Bhaonar Parampora (1991)
- Kirtan Ghosha and Naamghoshahar Tatwa Samikska (1996)
- Sanskriti Antajal (1974)
- Damodordedevor Guru Kun (1997)
- Asprishyota Barjan (1967)
- Sri Sri Haridev (2005)
- Sankari Sahitya Smiksha
- Satriya Nityar Byakoron
- Brazawali Bhasar Byakoron ar Abhidhan (2nd part)
- Ankia Nator Asomia Bhangoni
- Usha-Anirusha (drama)
- Balmiki Ramayonor Podyanubad
- Kirtan Ghosha and Naamghosha (copy on Sachipat)
- Kirtan hosha and Naam Ghosha (Modern)
- Srimadbhagawat Puran
- Barsua Ankia Naat
- Foujia Naat
- Sankardevor Roconawali
- Sachitra Ankawali
- Sampurna Mahabharat (Assamese)
Apart from this, his precious articles are published in four volumes edited by Dr. Debojit Saikia.
Historical Resources of Natun Kamalabari Satra:
The chief resources presented in Natun Kamalabari Satra are – the dinner pot of Sri Sri Sankardev, Sri Sri Madhava Deva and Bodola Podma Ata, Sari (Height 48cm, width 31cm), engrafted with brass and silver donated by late Dinonath Bezbarua, silver spoon (height 52cm, width 2.5cm) Towa (large pot) of copper (height 42cm, width 1.27mtr), etc.
Many historical resources in Natun Kamalabari Satra are preserved in the residence of the Guru Atoi regarded as principal boha (residence) in the residence of late Dakhinkulia Krishna Atoi, in the residence of late Thogeswar Bayan and many scriptures written on Sachipat are preserved in the treasury of the Satra also. On the other hand more than fifty scriptures written on Sachipat are also preserved in the Natun Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island.
10| Adi Alengi Satra ~ Majuli i Island
Sri Sri Bapu Krishnadeva, who received permission from Purushattam Thakur, is the founder of the Adi Alengi Satra in Majuli Island. The deity worshipped at the Adi Alengi Satra in Majuli Island includes of Purush Sanhati and established in 1538 Saka (year 1616) is Sri Sri Shyamrai. The Satradhikar of the SAtra is a Grihasthi (allowed to marry) traditions Sri Sri Kamal Chandra Goswami.
While searching for the history of the Satra at Majuli Island. it seems that Bapukrishnadeva is one of the twelve propagators of Purush Sanati who are disciples of Purushuttam Thakur. Obeying the words of his guru, Bapu Krishnadeva ascended the position of Dharmadhikar. The Satra got the name Alengi for establishing it on the bank of the Lake Alengi by Bapu Krishnachandra Dev with permission from Purushuttam Dev.
Many new Satras were formed later from the Satra founded with the name Alengi at Majuli Island.. After the demise of Bapukrishnadeva between his two elder son Bapuramdev took the post of Adhikar as per rule. His brother Sankargatidev stayed at Kathpar near Gar Gaon establishing a Stra there with the royal patronage. After Bapuram Sev the eldest among his eleven sons Putonacharandev was coronated on the post of Adhikar. But the possibility of stagnation of propagating the religion by all of them, they decided after discusiion to spreading the Satra to different places and to be engaged in propagating and spreading the religion of devotion. Among these Sawarupananddev restored the chief tradition of the Satra staying at original Adi Alengi at Majuli Island.
From that time onwards the original Alengi Satra is named as Adi Aleni Satra at Majuli Island. Because of burning this Satra twice by Maans under the conspiracy of some evil people during their invasion in Ahom Kingdom, the Satra became known as Purabheta Alengi among people.
Alengi Satra is rich in the cultural side from the past. In order to cast and spread cultural side of the Satra an institution named Satriya Sangeet was established in 1968. A brief overview of the cultural side of the Satra is given below –
Sankirtan: Wishing for well being in the new year by performing Sankirtan (chanting glory of God) in the houses is with Satra tradition is a prominent attraction of the Sri Sri Adi Alengi Satra.
Utha Naam: In the month of Bhadra (fifth month in Assamese Calendar) Uthanaam is presented in the birth festival of Lord Krishna and Raas festival at Majuli Island, where fifty pairs of Bhortaals (a kind of a big cymbal) are used together.
Tini (three ) Kirtaan: The death anniversary of the two preceptors and birth festival of Sri Krishna has been celebrated with the presentation of Nritya (dance) Geet (song) Bhaona with Satriya tradition from ancient times.
Karunamay Ghosha: It is the creation of the Alengi Satra of Majuli Island itself. At present, this gosha is presented in the closing ceremony of Bairagi Naam in the month of Kati in the Satra.
Gayan-Bayan: Gayan Bayan in the Alengi Satra of Majuli Island has been prevailing with the idea in the same way as in the Satra of Bordua and Kamalabari.
Bairagi Naam: It is said that a time of prevalence of disaster the inmates in the SAtra changed Bairagi Naam by taking turns. Every year this Naam is presented in the Adi Alengi Satra in Majuli Island.
Aihokolor Naam: On the occasion of the tithi of the two preceptors, birth anniversaries, pujas, bihu, sankranti (the last day of a month) etc. festivals Ainaam is presented from the first day in the month of Bhadra and towards the end of the month in kati.
Jurioa Kirtan: This kirtan is performed in the public festival of the Satra Prasangia naam.
Ghosha Kirtan: The Gosha kirtan is continued for the whole month of Bhadra in the Adi Alengi Satra of Majuli Island.
The sequence of the eeryday fourteen Prasangas in the Sri Sri Adi Alengi Satra at Majuli Island are –
- Morning Prasanga with Bhortaal
- Morning Naam-Prasanga (four lines gosha, two lines na gosha and kirtan)
- Borgeet Prasanga in the afternoon
- Naam Prasanga (four lines gosha, two lines na-gosha and kirtana by two persons)
- Reading from the Bhagwata
- Prasanga with reading from guru charit
- Evening prasanga with Borgeet
- Evening naam prasanga (four lines)
- Performance of leseri gosha with Bhortaal and evening prasanga with the sound of bell
- Prasanga with reading of Gunamala, Bhotima, Leelamala path
- Prasanga with Borgeet at night
- Naam prasanga at night
- Bhagwata Path (the ending)
Other Naam-Prasangas at the Adi Alengi Satra in Majuli Island
- Naam Prasanga by the Gopini’s in the morning (Borgeet)
- Gopini Naam Prasanga in the ending afternoon
There is a managing committee of Sri Sri Adi Alengi Satra in Majuli Island. This committee is changed every two years.
11| Adi Bihimpur Satra ~ Majuli Island
Existence: With the direction of Chaturbhuj Thakur, grandson of Srimata Shankardeva, Govinda Ata established the Sri Sri Bihimpur Satra on the east bank of Verk Bill in Majuli Island during the reign of King Pratap Singha in 1635.
It is said that at the gate way of the Govinda Ata’s residence, there was a poisonous tree. Because of this tree the place was named as Bisomur (Bish meaning poison), with time it became Biham or Bihimpur instead of Bishom.
At present with the Government permitted land in the name of the Satra is 11 Bigha and 11 lucha and 60 Bighas of land of its own this satra is situated in between the Bengenaati and Potia in Majuli Island.
Sanhati and the deity: The idol of Vishnu is worshipped in the Sri Sri Adi Bihimpur Satra and it comes under Purus Sanhati.
Festivals and Social Contribution: Four prasangas in the Sri Sri Adi Bihimpur Satra in the naam performed in the month of Bhadra are –
- Reading from Bhagwata
- Reading from Guru Charit
- Naam-Bhaona in Borhabah (congregational prayer)
- Death Anniversary of the perceptors
- Tithi of Purushuttam Thakur
- Tithi of Chaturbhuj Thakur
- Tithi of late Satadhikars
In the three bihus, specilally on the seconf day of Bohag bihu Mahaprabhu is famed on the day celebrating as Gosai Bihu in the presence of the people of the area. The succession of Gurus in the Adi Bihimpur Satra of Majuli Island are as follows:
- Sri Sri Govinda Ata (founder Satradhikar)
- Sri Sri Gobardhan Ata (second Satradhikar)
- Sri Sri Ram Narayan
- Sri Sri Hari Narayan Ata
- Sri Sri Prem Naranayan Ata
- Sri Sri Rup Narayan Ata
- Sri Sri Niranjan Ata
- Sri Sri Bishnuram Ata
- Sri Sri Ghemkana Ata
- Sri Sri Khogokanta Ata
- Sri Sri Jibokanta Ata
- Sri Sri Ananda Ata
- Sri Sri Tilok Chandra Ata
- Sri Sri Thanuchandra Ata
- Sri Sri Ruksheswar Dev Ata
Apart from this there is a managing committee which accomplishes the development works in the Satra.
The materials preserved in the Adi Bihimpur Satra in Majuli Island are:
- A 150 year old Singhasan
- 250 year old idol of Mahaprabhu
- Idoles of Basudevam Bonsi Gopal, Larua Gopal
Books at Adi Bihimpur Satra of Majuli island:
- Na-Ghosha by Sri Sri Purushuttam Thakur
- Two naam-ghosha by Madhavadeva
- The Kirtana by Shankardeva
- The Bhagawatam first Canto
- The play Keliogopal
- The play – Sitahoron
- Gunamala by Sri Sri Sankardeva
- Puthis of Mantras (altogether 41 puthis)
Ancient materials at Adi Bihimpur Satra of Majuli island
- Dokdoki Luta of Bell metal
- Man Sarai
- Bor Sari bell metal
- Silver betel nut tree
- Hati Khujia (large sized) bati (pot) of bell metal
- Silver Team bota (box lije tray)
- Banbati (pot with stand) of bell metal
- Pot to collect flowers made of brass
- Luta made of combination of eight materials
- Bor Joka made of brass
- Bortaal (large cymbal) made of bell metal
- Dula Khat (old traditional vehicles and furniture) made of wood
Other sides of the Adi Bihimpur Satra of Majuli island
- Arrangement is made for Saran Bhajan (initiation) of the disciples of the Satra, specially it is done regularly for the people of the Mishing tribes of Majuli Island
- Training of Gayan Bayan the people in the area are used
- Tradition of the Mahapurusha s continues is Sattriya Dance and Song at the Adi Bihimpur Satra of Majuli island
12| Sarjan Na Satra ~ Majuli Island
In 1671 with the initiative of founder Satradhikar Krishna Atoi, Sri Sri Na-Satra was established. Away from the sub district headquarter of Garmur and Kamalabari in Majuli Island, the Satradhikar of the this Satra near Morituni is Sri Sri Narayan Chandra Goswami.
Management: Apart from the Satradhikar, there is a managing committee for the improvement of internal infrastructure and management.
Festivals Sri Sri Sarjan Na-Satra – Majuli Island:
- Fourteen programs are performed in the morning and evening here
- Janmotsav of Sankardeva, Madhavadeva and Bodula Ati are observed
- Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Phakua (holi) festival, Paalnaam and Borhobah Bhaona and Gorokhiya (cowherd) Bhaona Sobah organized
- Gopini Naam, Phakua (holi) festival and three bihus
- Tithis of Satradhika, Ata and Atoi
Resources of the Sri Sri Sarjan Na-Satra – Majuli Island
- Two scriptures written on Sachipat written by the two gurus’
- Twelve Scriptures on Sachipat of later time
- Sixty dramas
- Land, Kirtanghar, Monikut, Guest House, Residence, Cultivating Land, et
Social Contributions Sri Sri Sarjan Na-Satra – Majuli Island:
Service to the society is given preference following ideology of the preceptors. It has contribution in bringing the tribal people of the main stream preventing their changing of religion.
13| Madhya Majuli Kamalabari Satra ~ Majuli Island
The founder of the ancient Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island is Bodola Padmaata. The Satradhikars after Bodola Padmaata are –
- Gurukarunamoy Ata
- Kinaram Ata
- Parasuram Ata
- Aldhara Govind Ata
- Sotyo Ata
- Krishnakanta Ata
- Lakshyakanta Ata
- Chandrakanta Ata
- Chandradas Ata
After Chandradas Ata during the time of Sri Bhobokanta Dev Goswami, affected by the wrath of Brahmaputra some Bhakats went to Titabor Mohima Kamalabari Satra and some Bhakats established another Satra named Madhya Majuli Sri Sri Kamalabari Satra.
After establishing this Madhya Majuli Kamalabari Satra, Sri Hemkanata Goswami became the Satradhikar of this Satra in Majuli Island. In this Satra with 69 bighas of Land in front of Deudiati village and Hazarkia village under Garmur Thana, a governing body and the Satradhikar gives importance to the development of the Satra.
Festival at the Madhya Majuli Sri Sri Kamalabari Satra:
- Observation of the tithis of the late Satradhikars from the time of its foundation
- Observation of the tithis of two percetors
- Janmastomi, Holi
- Other Socio-cultural functions drama, meeting, etc. are organized
Resources at the Madhya Majuli Sri Sri Kamalabari Satra:
- Chandrataap – 100 nos.
- Cloth for altar – 100 nos.
- Costume for Nritya
- Costume of Bhaona – 300 nos.
- 4 pairs of anklets
- 2 pairs of gold earrings (kundal)
- 4 pairs of silver bracelet (gamkharu)
- 50 silver flowers
- 2 gold flowers
c. Copper Materials
- 10 small and large plates
- 2 boxes
- 2 pairs of Kusha Argha (used in Puja)
- Three idols of Hanuman (stone and bell metal)
- Three idols of Mahaprabhu
e. Podsila: 1 nos.
f. Wooden materials:
- seven storied singhasan
- three storied singhasan
- five stories singhasan
- ten khols
- two almirah
- 20 boxes (pera)
- 4 cane boxes (petari)
g. Bell materials
- 10 pairs of cymbals for namlogua (head singer)
- fifteen pairs of cymbals for gayan bayan
- kusha argha – 4 pairs
- 4 bells
- Bota (tray with a stand) 5 nos.
- Dol tema (box with lid)
- Ban bati – 20 nos
- Luta – 20 nos
- Five ban luta
- 10 nos Majari cymbal
- Paitaal – 10 pairs
h. Incense stick stand with the shape of lion 2 nos.
- 10 Sarai
- 10 luta
- 8 bantula
- 15 small and big pots
- 20 joka thali
- Continuing the Satriya tradition
- Strengthening the bondage through the medium not initiating to religion
- Arousing brotherhood with the people of Mishing community in the nearby area maintaining good relationship
- Training of handicraft along with Satria culture
- Sending Simhasan from this Satra to various places like Guwahati, Delhi, Bhopal, etc. (Simhasan – place to keep the deity)
14| Notun Samaguri Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Notun or the New Samaguri Satra is one of the most visited Satras in Majuli Island and is renowned across the World for its art of traditional Mask Making. The Samaguri Satra is of Grihasthi Parampora (married tradition). From that day of its foundation some inmates along with Satradhikar are giving importance in making mask. The name of Saisab Chandra Dev Goswami and Rudrakanta Goswami is worth mentioned. These sons of Rudrakanta Goswami Dharmakanta Goswami, Hemchandra Goswami and Krishna Goswami have continued the practice of craft of mask making. The present Satradhikar of this Satra Kushkanta Dev Goswami has received Sangeet Natak Academy Award 2002 in 30th November, 2003 bringing this culture to the National level. The expert artisan Hemchandra Goswami also has organized workshop on mask-making along with giving a new dimension to it.
Religious and Cultural Programme: Holi, Raas, Naam in the month of Bhadra, Tithis, three Bihus, the Tithis of the late Satradhikars are observed in the Satra.
Social Contribution: Establishing post office, Samaguri Satra Rawnapar Higher Secondary School, Primary School and public auditorium in cooperation of people in the ara are its social contribution.
- Book written on Sachipat
- Guru Podsila
- Ankia Dramas
- Sari donated by King
- Many gold and silver materials given by King Chakradwaj Singha
- Copper plate
- Copper and silver engrafted Sarai given by Chakradhaj Singha
15| Doloni Samaguri Satra ~ Majuli Island
Sri Sri Doloni Samaguri Satra is founded by Satradhikar late Bhairab Chandra Goswami in 1890. Now it is situated at the corner between Bonia Samaguri and Mudoichuk. It is named as Doloni Samaguri Satra for being established in an environment surrounded by field with doloni (dol – a kind of moss). It is a Satra of Grihasthi (married) tradition with Namghar, Monikut, Korapat (the gate). The Satra surrounded by 5000 disciples has been continued the ancient traditional under the care of a complete managing committee Sri Sri Girinda Mahanta. At present the property of the Satra is increased with eighteen residences and 120 bhakats.
Samhati and Deity worshipped: Sri Sri Doloni Samaguri Satra falls under Purush Samhati. The idol of Bal Gopal (child Krishna) is worshipped in the Satra as its deity. Apart from this the worship of the idol is done in Sankardeva’s Podshila. Specially with the process of initiation the relation is being maintained between Bhakats and common people.
Founder: Late Chakrapani
The Satradhikars: Late Dharmanarayan, Late Bishnudas, Late Kardam Dev, Late Holikanta, Late Rotneswar, Late Bhairab Chandra, Late Uttam Chandra, Late Premokonta, Gopal Chandra and Girindra Dev (present Satradhikar)
Festivals: Annual Naam-Bhaona, Janmashtami, Tithis of Satradhikars, Tithis of two perceptors are observed in this Satra. Paalnaam is specially observed in the month of Bhadra. The tradition of daily four Prasangas is observed.
Livelihood and Management: Thorough economically not sound, the Satra is running with the blessings of the public.
Distribution of responsibilities: In order to run the Satra and take part in various works in the Satra Deuri, Naamlogua, Hatimota, Medhi, Bhorali, etc. duties are alloted.
Social and Cultural Directions: The Naam, songs, etc of this Satra are given preference in order to spread the essence of Satria culture. The Satra is providing education in song, dance, Bhaona and Naam Prasanga among the people in the nearby area.
- Gold idol of Balgopal
- Important Podsila of Shankardeva
- Four armed idol of stone
- Singhasan with idol of Balgopal
- Gosa (lamp stand), wooden Koroni used in service of guru
- Boxes made of wood and bamboo
- Brass plate
- Water vessel (ghote) of Brass
- Sachipat, Tulipat
Special Attractions: Podsila of Sankardeva being related to an anecdote is kept in the Doloni Samaguri Satra as spiritual property. In ancient times, the founder came to know about the Podsila amidst a heap of earth at Kalia gaon (now Mishing area) and with a Mishing cowherd took it to Doloni Samaguri with hospitality following the tradition of the Satra and spiritualism and till now it is kept carefully by the authority of the Satra in Majuli Island. But it is felt that if provision of preservation of such precious things or museums is arranged by the authority then the people among the Satra will be benefitted.
16| Bhugpur Satra ~ Majuli Island
Mahapurush Sankardeva founded the Bhugpur Satra in 1450. Following the history it is seen that the old name of Bhugpur was Dinapur. While taking rest in Dinapur coming by the river BasistaGanga (Tuni river at present); the perceptor offered the Bhog (prasad) to God given by the disciples along with Denanath, lighting an earthen lamp and announced the name of the place as Bhogpur instead of Dinapur. Apart from this he announced that the responsibility of the bhugbanti (the lighten lamp with bhog) will be taken by a devout vaishnav in time. Later, during the reign of King Sukafa, Kaupatia Bhorali Baruah made Boruah Damodar Ata the Satradhikar giving responsibility of the bhugbonti. From that time onwards 13 Dharmathya have become Satradikars. At present, the fourteenth Satradhikar is Sri Sri Dutta Dev Goswami. It is Udasin (unmarried tradition) Satra in Majuli Island. The Satra has not yet changed its place. It has 600 bighas of land with of four hatis and 120 bhakats.
Festivals: Janmotsav of Srimanata Shankardeva and Holi for one day, Raas for two days, the death anniversary of Sankardeva and Madhavadeva for four days, death anniversary of Burha Damodar Deva for three days, the tithis of Satradhakars are observed for one day. The prominent Nritya of this Satra of Majuli Island are – Cha Nritiya, Jhumura Nritya, Nadubhongi, Sutradhar, Ozapali. This Satra has been presenting the Straia act and culture in various places of India with the initiative of the culture minsitry.
Many books are published of Satradhikar Sri Sri Dutta Dev Goswami. They are – Adhyatmik Tatwa Darshan, Gupta Mohini Vidya, Srimadbhagawat Gita (Prashana Satuttaram), Naamghar Adhyatmik Tatwa, Dugdho Voila Mohagitamitro, Sri Modbhagawata, Adhyatamik Tatwa (first and 2nd Canto), Srimodbhagawata Adhyatmik Tatwa (eleventh and twelfth canto), etc.
Historical resources in Bhogpur Satra: Two idols of Lord Vishnu, One plate (Bera Kahi), Bortama (large box)of bell metal, Banbati of bell metal (4 kilos of weight two engrafted Sarai made of bell metal, Sarai of brass given by King, Two Bor (large), Doba (similar to drum), eight pairs of cymbal of bell metal, large Bambati (one), kingkhap cloth (one), mortar to break nut (one), five idols of bass.
Apart from this about 44 scriptures written on sachipat are found.
17| Owa Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Owa Satra is situated at Kerela Gaon in Kamalabari circle in Majuli. The deity of the this Satra of Brahmasamhati established bu Sri Sri Joyhoridev is Sri Sri Shymrai and Gopal Bigroh (idol of Gopal) sent by Bonsi Gopal Dev keping on it Bhagwata written in Sachipat. This Satra became Owa for founding i by cutting the wood of Ow-Tenga (elephant apple). Apart from the regular worship of the idol, Naam Kirtan (prayer), religious teachings also regularly take place in the Satra. The number of disciples in this Satra are about 1 lakh.
Annual Palnaam, Falgutsav (Holi), the tithis of the late Satradhikars, tithis of Sankardeva and Madhavdev, Janmasthami, three Bihus, Naam prasanga in the month of Bhadra are the principal festival in this Satra of Majuli Island. Idol of Lord Vishnu, brass doba, Borkah (an instrument like a bell), Borkahi (large dinner plate made with a combination of eight metals), Mayurghanta (bell), brass Sarai, Bhagjora, Merdhari (mat) of bamboo (400 years old), etc. things are there in the Owa Satra in Majuli Island.
In the devastating earthquake of 1950, a large area of cultivated land of this Satra turned into a wasteland. Again from the floods in 1962, the economic condition of the Satra gradually degraded. At that time, most of its valuable properties were destroyed. At present, the Shankarjyoti high school is situated near the Satra on its own land in Majuli Island.
The succession of Satradhikars is like this ~
- Late Jai Hari Dev
- Late Gopinath Dev
- Late Porashuram Dev
- Late Krishnakanta Dev
- Late Krishnakuti Dev
- Late Sambhunath Dev
- Late Jai Dev
- Late Jagannath Dev
- Late Ramdev
- Late Jolodhar Dev
- Late Thulodhar Dev
- Late Keshav Chandra Dev
- Bipin Chandra Dev
- Sri Sarat Chandra Dev Goswami – Present Satradhikar
The premise of the Satra is not preserved. On the other hand a scientifically built room is necessary for preserving the ancient wealth, scriptures on Sachipat, etc. These can be preserved with the assistance of government aid.
18| Sri Sri Bihimpur Satra ~ Majuli Island
Existence and essence: Bihimpur Satra of Majuli is one of the most prominent Satras patronized by Sankardeva’s grandson Chaturbhuj Purush Thakur. Chaturbhuj Purush Thakur gave Sri Sri Govinda Ata the title Dharmacharya. The Satra got the name Bikhimpur and later Bihimpur Satra established by Gobinda Ata according to the name of his successor Bikhom Ata.
The present Satradhikar of the Sri Sri Bihimpur Satra founded by Govinda Dev in 1614 is Deben Chandra Mahanta. The Bihimpur Satra in Majuli island is situated between Rawnapar and Totoya at Bongaon Path towards east of Kamalabari which is the central place of Majuli Island.
Deity and Management system of the Samhati: The Satra is situated in a surrounding of family environment falling under Purush Samhati. The deity of this Satra is Vishnu. There are two hundred families of Bhakats of the Satra surrounded by 50,000 disciples.
The Satradhikar acts as the owner of the Satra with the land area of 4 bighas and 3 kathas and there is a managing committee. A healthy environment is created in the Satra by distributing the duties like Naam-loua, Deuri, Barik, etc. Apart from this with the presentation of Ankia Bhaona, contribution of Devotees and disciples this Satra is running smoothly.
Festivals: Raas Festival, Falgutsav (Holi) are celebrated in inter district basis. Sarana, Bhajana, Ankia song and drama are made. Gosa (lamp stand) made in the Satra is donated to Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manab Sangrahalaya. Apart from this, bag made from Kuhila (foam), Koth (Mat) to Jorhat museum and mask to Nagaon museum is donated. The tithis of the late Satradhikhars, naam in the month of Bhadra, Fakua, Raas, etc. prominent festivals are celebrated in this Satra of Majuli Island.
Ancient resources in the Satra:
- There are more than 700 ancient books and scriptures written on Sachipat including Kirtan, Dasam, Naamghosha, drama, etc.
- There is an Asana which is over 250 years old
- There is a Namghar and Monikut built in ancient Sattriya tradition
- Ancient brass doba about two feet wide, brass negera, bell metal borpera (box), etc.
- There are betel nut knife, betel nut box, 100 year old almirah, sankha, ghanta, ancient iron gosa, etc.
- Toll joka, Sarai (ancient), etc.
Religious and Cultural works:
- Sri Sri Krishna Raasleela is observed
- Fakua (Holi) festival is observed for three days
- Ankia drama is performed
- Provision of training of Borgeet, Khol, naam prasanga, gayan bayan, etc.
- Provision of Saran Bhajan is made
- Nri-Singha Yatra, Rawan Bodh, etc. drama are organized using mask with Satriya tradition
- Sri Sri Govinda Ata
- Karunamoy Ata
- Komal Lochan Ata
- Jogmohan Ata
- Jaihari Ata
- Ramdhan Ata
- Ramhari Ata – elder son:Sivanath Ata – Majuli Bihimpur, 2nd son Godaram Ata – Nagaon, Bihimpur, 3rd son Premanarayan at present Rajabari, 4th son Rupnaayan – Kechamotia Lakimpur
- Ramahari Ata, Son
- Sivanath Ata, Son
- Jairam Ata, Son
- Dayaram Ata, Son
- Sadaran Ata, Son
- Sundarnath Ata, Son
- Purnakanta Ata, Son
- Bapukanta Ata, Son
- Gopal Ata, brother
- Devokanta Ata, cousin
- Sri Sri Deben Chandra Mahanata – present Satradhikar
Future Plan of the Satra:
- Provision of training of Ankia Bhaona
- Provision of publicity and spread of art of mask making
- Spread of Borgeet, Nritya and musical instrument
- Organization of workshop of Gosa Kuhila
19| Adhar Mahara Satra ~ Majuli Island
Adahar Mahara Satra was established by Kamalakanta Dev, 4th son of Jadumoni Dev. Jadumoni Dev established satras in four places through his son. In this way Bormahara Satra by Achyutananda Dev, Jagadananda Dev Dukhurmukh hamora Satra, Purnananda Dev Potiyori Satra and Kamalakanta Dev established Adhar Manara Satra.
Ancient resources: 1. Ancient idol and crystal Shivalinga 2. Ancient Ghonta (bell) 3. Brass bordoba 4. Borkah 5. Bortaal 6. Scripture on Sachipat 7. A golden logun (ritualistic thread) of gold donated by King Sivasingha
Religious and Cultural Programmes: 1. Tithis of founder Gurus 2. Tithi of Sankardeva and Madhavdev 3. Sankar Janmotsav 4. Palnaam in the month of Magh 5. Janmashtami of Sri Krishna 6. Fakua 7. Ritual of giving Tulsi in Raas 8. Three Bihus.
20| Sri Sri Bor Alengi Satra ~ Balichapori ~ Majuli Island
Boralengi Satra of Majuli Island is one of the prominent bearers of culture in ancient cultural heritage site of Majuli. Sri Sri Boralengi Satra has been established in Borachuk, Majuli in the year 1752 and 1674 sakas and with time it is founded at its present place Balichapori, Majuli in the year 1845 and 1767 saka. The ancestors of the Satra till the time of Sunbor Deo, had their Satra at Da Gaon of Biswanath Chariali near today’s Charikrishna thana. At the time of Sankar Deo due to family and natural causes, he established the Satra at Borachuck at Kamalabari in 1752 on the banks of the Alengi Beel (wetland) and later it became famous as Bor Alengi Satra. Because of the death of the Satradhikar along with many people and disciples due to tubosis and diarrhoea at Borachuck on the banks of Alengi Beel, his son Madendra Dev founded the Satra at Balichapori Kamalabari in Majuli shifting from Borachuk in 1845. From that time it is at Balichapori with the name Boralengi.
Management: The Satradhikar primarily carries on the duty of management of the Satra and a Satra development committee is also involved with it. There are eleven members in the committee.
Members: In any kind of development work, the members acts as the medium. They are bestowed with the names likeBora, Deuri, Barikm Tamuli, Naamlogua, etc. The ancestor of this Satra is Satananda Deo and present Satradhikar Sri Jugendra Dev Mahanta.
Deity: The deity of Boralengi Satra is idol of Krishna and there are are also five stories Simhasan and two small simhasans. A bansibadan Krishnamurti (an idle of flute playing Krishna) and a small idol and one four armed wooden idol is also worshipped.
Sattriya Dance: In presenting Krishna Nritya, Dasawater Nritya, Sutradhar Nritya, the Satra has is own characteristic. The traditional Satriya rules are followed.
Chief Festival: Janmashtami as well as tithis of two gurus and holi festival is celebrated in the Satra as chief festivals.
Provision of the Prasanga: The worship and essential rituals are performed with four prasangas in the Satras in the morning, noon, evening and afternoon.
Literary Contribution: From the time of establishment Ram Vijoy Drama, Charit Puthi of the Satradhikars and the two perceptors are therein the Satra. Apart from this Jamini Goswami, wife of contribution towards social and literary field. “Aghunor Sonali Suvas” is a book of poetry. “Hindudharmat Narir Probhab” etc. books are published by Jamini Goswami. Apart from the Parijat Horon, Rukmini Horon, etc. dramas Mahabharatm Ramayana, Kirtan-Dasam, Ghosha, Gunmala, Ratnawali, etc. are found.
Resource in the Satra: 1. Brass Doba – 2 nos. 2. Brass osa (lemp stand) – 6 nos. 3. Sarai to keep scripture – 2 nos. 4. 2 Dinner plates made of bell metal 5. 6 Khols 6. Iron Gosa – 6 nos. 7. Large and small 12 cymbals 8. Brass plate used in Puja 9. Pot etc. materials 10. 2 bells (bell metal and brass) 11. Sankha (Cronch) 2 nos. 12. Thoga (a cross shapped stand) 3 nos. 13. Wooden Sari 2 nos. 14. Brass Sarai 8 nos. 15. Large Brass tou (a kind of round pot) 16. Brass Joka 17. Choria 6 nos.
21| Sri Sri Alengi Moderguri Satra ~ Majuli Island
Historical Background: In 1556, Sri Sri Ramanandadev founded it at South Ahotguri in Majuli. The Satra is shifted for eight times for having submerged most of the part of Ahotguri Circle of historical Majuli Sub-Division in the Brahmaputra. At present the Satra is at Kokila Gaon, South Majuli.
Resources: 1. Kirtanghar 2. Monikut 3. Brass Bordoba 4. Bor Kah 5. Brass Bor Sarai 6. Sankha 7. Khol 8. Taal 9. Simghasan 10. Ghanta (beel)
Festivals: 1. Death Anniversary of Sankardev and Majuli Madhabdev and Janmastov 2. Ankia drama in the tithi of the perceptor 3. Culture is preserved although Naam Bhaona
22. Sri Sri Majuli Alengi Satra ~ Majuli Island
Sri Sri Majuli Bor Alengi Satra falls under Purush Samhati. The founder of the Satra is Sotanandadev. Satanandadeva founded the Satra in 1588 at Potigaon near Biswanath Chariali. The Satra in Majuli since 1962 became known among the disciples as Sri Sri Majuli Boralengi Satra.
The Chief deity of the Satra is Gopal. In Spite of decreasing the number of inhabitants in the Satra, the present Satradhikar Sri Bhobananda Dev Goswami has been trying to preserve the Satriya culture and the heritage of the Satra. The present address of the Satra is Sri Sri Majuli Bor Alengi Satra, P.O. Garmur, Majuli.
The Satra is run by a managing committee taking Satradhikar as the president. The tithis of the two perceptors are observed. The Satra is trying to establish a good relationship by giving Sarana (initiation) and religious teachings. The source of earning of the Satra is donation of the disciples and cultivation.
List of ancient resources in the Satra: 1. Dasan written on Sachipat kept in guru asana 2. Rantwali written on sachipat 3. Bhojar Behar play written on Sachipat 4. Gunamala on sachipat 5. Borgeet on sachipat 6. one silver box 7. One betel nut box of bell metal 8. Man Banbati (pot on a stand) 9. Brass glass betel nut tray 10. 2 large flower of bell metal 11. Brass sarai 2 nos 12. Brass box to keep scripture
23| Sri Sri Molual Bor Alengi Satra ~ Majuli Island
One glorious Satra waiting at the face of extinction from the heritage of Majuli and about to be lost from the map of Majuli is the Sri Sri Molual Bor Alengi Satra. Being disrupted in the floods of the Brahmaputra, now it has been difficult for the Satra to get land. Having no intention to be shifted from Majuli and being deprived a land from the govt, the local people have established the Satra now at an auditorium near the Korotipar high school. This is the present address of this Satra.
Sri Sri Sonaram Dev founded the present Molual Bor Alengi Satra is Karatipar, Kamalabari circle in the year 1850. The deity of this Satra belongs to Purus Sanghati in four armed Baikuntha Nath. The present Satradhikar is Tirtha Mahanta.
The progenitors of the Satra were at Charikrishna than near Biswanath Charali. Later due to family and natural causes came to Majuli and established the Satra at Borachuk near Alengi Beel. After the death of Satradhikar Na-Deo, his brother Chandrakanta Deo with his cousin Lakminath Deo shifted the Satra to Majuli. Later Chandrakanta Dev acquiring celibacy went to Majuli Kamalabari Satra giving responsibility of the Satra to Lakhikanta Dev.
Festivals Celebrated: Every year the tithis of the two perceptors and Sri Sri Krishna Janmashtami is observed in Sri Sri Molual Bor Alengi Satra. It was compulsory to perform the Bhaona Bhojan Beha in guru tithi. But now it is hindered due to migration of people to different places due to erosion. Every year, Nandutsav, Pachoti, etc. are celebrated in a very simple way. Regular Naam-Prasanga takes place in the month of Bhadra. Effort is made in the Satra to spread Satriya culture.Every year, the tithis of the Satradhikars are observed. Here relatives, local people and the people of the mishing tribes also participate.
Ancient Resources: 1. Singhasana 2. One Singhasana to keep the idol 3. One idol of Bonsibadon 4. One four armed idol made of wood – The idol is of Padma wood, cutting the crown on the head, wearing garland of flower around the neck, dhuti, seleng and lotus everything in a single piece of without using any gum or nail 5. Scriptures in Sachipat – 6 nos the Kirtan, Ratnawali, Kanshbodh play, Rukmini horon play, Borgeet, Mantras 6. Other books in the Satra – the Bhagwata, Dasam 2 nos, the Kirtana 2 nos, 1 Ratnawali, Guru Charit 2 nos, Krishna Gita, Srimos Bhagwata 4 nos, Naam Ghosha 6 nos. 7. One brass bordoba, Kah 2 nos, brass flower pot, 1 borcheria, tou 8 nos, brass sarai 8 nos 8. wooden Sarai, koroni, borpera 9. Different musical instruments 10. Dula, Merdhora, etc.
Now there is the scarcity of income and land. If donation is not received from different sources, it will be helpful to spread Sankari culture reconstructing this Satra.
24| Alengi Sri Sri Tokoubari Satra ~ Majuli Island
It was established by Sri Sri Bapukrishna Dev in 1621. The Satra became known as Tokoubari for establishing at a place surrounded by Tokou tree. At present the Satra is at Sri Ram Chapori Mudoi Beel.
System of Management of the Satra: The Satra is managed by Medhi, Muktiar, Bayon, Pasoni, Aldhora, Hatimota, Barik and disciples along with the Satradhikar.
Ancient Resources: 1. 21 scriptures on Sachipat (named and without name) 2. Copper and brass pots used in worship 3. Gold Krishnamala 4. Dobakh, Sanha, Ghanta (musical instruments used in auspicious occasions and rituals, brass Sarai, etc.
Cultural works: Performance of four prasangas Naam kirtana, Sarana bhajana, following topics of the idea of the two perceptors, discussion on religious topics, bhaona, congregational prayer (sobha), gayan bayan, religious dances and songs, instruments, practice of Ankia plays, establishing educational institutes, practice of ankia plays, establishing educational institutes for development and stability through observation of religious and cultural festivals, giving aid to social institutions, etc. are worth mentioned functions of this Sata. The ancestor of this Satra is Sri Sri Satananda Dev (Vaishnava follower of Sankardeva). Present Satradhikar is Bipin Chandra Dev.
25| Sri Sri Alengi Bahjengoni Satra ~ Majuli Island
It was founded by Swarupananda Dev is the year 1774. This Satra became famous as Bahjengoni for being founded by cleaning Kutwa Bahoni (Bamboo). At present the land area of the Satra at Kathonia village at Bhokoti Duar is 70 Bighas.
Management System of the Satra: The Satra is run by a managing committee constructed with Satradhikar, Dekaadhikar, Medhi, Muktiram Gayan Bayan and responsible people in the Satra.
Ancient resources: 1. 3 idols made of metal (Basudev, Bonsibadon Krishna, Larua Gopal) 2. Picturised sinhasana 3. Kusham Argha, plate, luta of copper 4. Musical instruments doba, cymbal, sankha, ghanta, khol, negera, etc. 5. 35 scriptures on sachipat including picturised dasam 6. 250 year old 6 wooden masks 7. Copper Borpira (a flat piece with stand used for sitting), Borsarai 8. Bankahi (dinner plate with stand, bhogjara, bortema, borbota, kordoisiria bota) 9. Silver Box 10. Brass borsorai, bortula chunga (a instrument used in weaving) 11. Borpera (box), chanduk (box), Phulam Jopa (box engrafted with flower) and Borpeera made of pine wood. 12. Kingkhap and majankari cloth, ivory comb, stone plate, ancient patidhora (mat), moirdhora (mat), etc.
Cultural Works: Naam kirtan and fourteen prasangas are observed in the Satra following the tradition showed by the Mahapurusa. Bishnupuja, daily naam prasanga in the morning, noon, afternoon, evening and at night are observed. Before naam prasanga t night, khol prasanga is done. Additional prasangas are organized in the Naam Kirtan in the month of Bhadra. In the month of Bhadra, along with khol prasanga regular palnaam, uthanaam, dihanaam and naam kirtan of the Aai (lady bhakats) are performed. The death anniversary of the preceptors and Sri Sri Krishna Janmashtami is observed with enthusiasm. Bhaona and Ankia Bhaona are organized in the certain Tithis and festivals of the Satra. On the occasion of tithi Bhaona, Gayan Bayan and Sutradhar Nritya is preseneted with different dhemalis. In this way the cultural activities in the Satra are observed.
Construction of Society: The Satra has relations with nearly people of different tribes specially Mishing, Deuri and Kochari. There is cooperation of the local people in Saran-Bhajan (initiation), tithis, bhaona, etc. apart from this the residents in the Satra co-operate in the Borhabah, Paalnaam, Bhaona, etc. organized in the nearby villages. The residents of the Satra also have to cooperate in educational cultural programs. The Satra has also played a very important role in spreading the religion and culture of Mahapurush Srimanta Shankardeva.
26| Alengi Narasingha Satra ~ Majuli Island
The Satra of Alengi group belongs to Purush Samhati and is situated at Bhaktiduar of Sriram village panchayat. Sri Sri Narasimgha Dev founded the Satra in the year 1745. According his name, the Satra became Narasingha Satra. The idol worshipped is kalia Gosai (Mahaprabhu Basudev). The number of families of resident bhakats are 33. Number of disciples are 7000.
Management System of the Satra: The Satra is run by a managing committee constructing with Satradhikar, Deka Satradhikar, inmates in the Satra, Medhi, Muktiar, Khatoniar, Gayan Bayon, Hatimota, etc.
Ancient Resources: 1. Sixteen angled silver engrafted copper Sarai belonging to the royal family 2. Silver Box 3. Kekura Dila Dekhor 4. Wooden Dola with design of a peacock 5. Stone idol of Mahapurusha Kalia Gosai 6. 4 Metal Idol 7. One seven storied Singhasan 8. Two three stories Singhasana 9. 97 scriptures on Sachipat 10. 2 books given by an army general 11. Brass Dunori 12. Jari 13. Borkah belonging to the royal family 14. Cymbals of different sizes 15. Plate of bell metal with stand 16. Brass Gagori (water vessel) 17. 100 year old mask 18. Brass Negera
Cultural Activities: Along with regular four prasangas in the Satra, fourteen prasangas and Palnaam in the month of Bhadra along with tradition of Mahapurushasa, Ankia dramas, Nandutsav, Uthanaam at night in the month of Bhadra, Naam by Gopini are performed. Apart from this training in Ankia geet (songs in Ankia dramas) and Borgeet based on raga is given.
On the other hand, along with maintaining regular relationship with Deuri, Mishing, etc. tribes living in nearby areas apart from different communities, training in gayan-bayan and Ankia bhaona is also provided. Many rare resources have destroyed during the invasion of Man. Again many things were destroyed in the mighty earthquake in 1950. One mask of a tiger donated to Jorhat district Museum.
27| Sri Sri Dikhowmukhia Bor Alengi Satra ~ Majuli Island
Date of foundation of management system: Sri Sri Dikhowmukhia Boralengi Satra was founded by late Boluram Dev Goswami towards the end of the 16th century. The Satradhikar of the Dikhomukhia at Ratnapur belongs to Majuli Jengraimukh thana is Sri Sri Somokanta Dev Goswami.
The essential activities of the Satra are performed by a managing committee and Naamlogua, gayan-Bayan, Khatonier, Hatimota, Pasoni, Muktiar, etc. along with the Satradhikar. The Satra is run with the property of 9 Bighas of land and donation to Guru by the disciples.
Festivals and Social Aspects: In cooperation of the organizations of the nearby tribes and Satra the festivals and rituals are observed, Training on ancient art and culture is organized, Tithis of late Satradhikars , tithis of the two perceptors, Janmashtami, Namm Bhaona are observed.
Ancient Resources: 3 brass bordoba, 3 kaah, 2 brass borchoria, 3 bortow, 4 brass sorai, 1 bhogjora, 3 iron gosa, 2 brass gosa, 1 pair of brass negera, 5 idols, Dinner plates of copper, brass and bell metal and many books.
28| Sri Sri Belsiddhia Satra ~ Majuli Island
Existence: One of the prominent Satras preserving the cultural traditional Satra society is the Sri Sri Bele Siddhia Satra of Majuli Island. The Satra is surrounded by Mohkina, Borbari, Bortika, Dhekiajuli, etc. villages was founded in between the year 1580-1615. The founder of the Satra is Sri Sri Nityananda Deva a follower of Sri Sri Bonsi Gopal Dev. This Satra is existed on 12 Bighas of land.
Management of the Satra: Along with the Satradhikar, Dekadhikar and a management committee through one worshipper, Deuri, Naam logua, Kul Puruhit, Bora, Medhi, Naam Gharia, Borali, the development of the Satra is planned. It falls under Brahma Samhati. The ido of Sri Sri Gopal Dev (combined idol) is worshipped in the Satra.
The Festivals observed: Bihu, Janmashtami, Sivaratri, Phakua, Gopini Naam, Bhaona, Tithis of perceptors, Damodar Dev and late Satradhikars are also observed.
The resources of the Satra: Dula 4 nos, Borjka 3 nos, Borhanta, Bortaal, Borkah, Rangali Sorai (wooden), Sarai made of Kah, Betel nut try, Scriptures on Sachipat 10 nos, Brass doba, Baorakahi, Brass Borgossa, 2 Metallic idol
Sri Sri Belsiddhia Satra: Other Direction
The Satra is contributing restoring social bondae of integrity through propagating Vaishnava religion in the Mishing village in Majuli. Other backward tribes, Ahom, etc. communities in Sivasagar.
It has contributed to usher a cultural environment among the backward classes with dance, song, acting, etc.
Light of education is provided through establishing Namghar, schools.
Disputes and social problems among the disciples of near the areas of the Satra and the villages are solved through jurisdiction.
29| Sri Sri Dakhinpat Grihashromi Satra ~ Majuli Island
There was a need of establishment of a grihashromi Satra (married tradition) after the establishment of the historically famous Satra of Assam Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra in 1654 in order to ascend the post of Satradhikar. The tradition of coronation of any one as Satradhikar belongs to a Gosai family in the Grihashrami Satra is continued. At present the Satradhikar of this grihashrami Satra founded by late Banalami Dev in 1876 saka is Sri Sri Jonardan Dev Goswami.
Position: The Dakhinpat Grihashrami Satra is now situated at Nausali Gaon under Dakhinpat gram panchayat, majuli. The shape of the SAtra is of Grihasthi (house) with 40 houses and 200 bhakats.
Deity worshipped: Sri Sri Jadobari is worshipped in Sri Sri Dakhinpat Grihashrami Satra The Satra is under Brahma Samhati.
Social Status – Gurukul School: A model school under Purbanchal Vriugiri Panchakanga Veda Vidyalaya under Ujjayini Veda Vidya Vigyan is established in Sri Sri Dakhinpat Grihashrami Satra in initiation of Indian Govt. Sombodha Veda Bigyan Kendra with the name Sri Sri Ramananda Dev Ponchakanya Veda Vidyalaya in 2012. There is the permission of imparting modern education in an environment of Gurukul of ancient days to 40 children under care of Pradhan Acharyya Sri Sri Jonardan Dev Goswami and Veda Acharyya of Ujjayani Badrinath Pandey. Here there is a provision of imparting knowledge of english, mathematics, science, social science, hindi, knowledge of Veda and sanskrit conversation.
Literary Contribution: From his childhood Satradhikar Jonardon Dev has been publishing many books for Assamese literature, writing poems, articles, stories and novels. His only epic is Gunjan and his writings are published in Rodali, Gangotri, etc. magazines and the paper ‘The Khobor’. Apart from this the Bhakats contribute to the pride of the Satra with expertise in work acting, direction of plays, dance and service of correspondence and teacher.
Pottery: The Satrashikar of Grihashrami Satra himself has special talent in making idol of Krishna, Humans and other Gods. These idols are now have become very attractive to tourists visiting Majuli Island from India and abroad as well.
Special attraction: The special attraction of this Satra is an ancient Gurukul Ashram along with a school with the combination of modern education with ancient education system which is unique in upper Assam. One feels at peace while entering the Ashram. There is a possibility of attraction for the tourists because of such an environment.
30| Sri Sri Ananta Kalsila Satra ~ Majuli Island
Establishment, Importance and Management System: The place Naag Gosai was very dangerous from the days of King Arimotta of Ahom Kingdom. It was a place of tigers, dangerous animals and supernatural elements. Many nearby villages were destroyed because of this.
The Deka Satradhikar of Kalsila Satra of Nagaon Devokanta mahanta came to the village with his disciples in 1952. Feeling his amazing capacity, his disciples requested him to make the place safe. The Satradhikar returned to Nagaon with the promise to find a branch of the original Kaalsila Satra after having seen Jur Pukhuri (tank) and Phakual Dol entering into the jungle with the villagers. Among these in 1954, his youngest brother Sri Mukhyeswar Dev Mahanta founded the Satra in the village according to the promise of the Satradhikar cutting the wood with the help of villagers in 1955 after listening to the description. At present Satradhikar Sri Sri Dulal Krishna Mahanta is managing the Satra with a managing committee at Nikinikhua Gosaibari village under Gengrai police station Majuli with 7 bighas, 1 kotha and 9 lochas of land.
Festivals, Social contribution: Four prasangas, yearly falgutsav (holi), Paalnaam, the bhagwata, the gita, tithi, bhaona, congregational prayers, etc. are observed. Many times based on cultural, social and moral sides are organized keeping relation with nearby villages. Saran bhajan and training of Borgeet, nritya, khol, sattriya nritya, etc. are organized.
Resources: Naamghar, Monikut, Idol, Bhagwata, Kirtana, Dasam, Singhasana, Cymbal, Khol, Doba, Kah, materials used in puja, bronze idols of bonsibadan, idols of devi and lion, copperplate, the books Sri Raas Kirtan, Bhakti Premlota, etc. are given in Sri Guru Pres to translate into mother tongue in 1954-55 and many ancient resources in the society are destroyed in the fire in 1962.
Earning resources of the Satra: The Satra is run with agriculture and minimum donation from its disciples.
31| Sri Sri Anhotguri Bor Satra ~ Majuli Island
Establishment and existence: The present Satradhikar of Sri Sri Anhotguri Borsatra founded by Sri Sri Rama Ata Dev in 1643 is Sri Sri Bhuban Narayan Dev Goswami. The Satra is surrounded with 10 bighas of land in Phakua (Chechuguri Chapori) at Anhatguri circle.
There is a managing committee in this Satra also. It is notable that suddenly this satra burnt in fire in 1987. Many ancient resources were burnt in this fire. Again in the year 1990 it was destroyed a second time due to erosion by the Brahmaputra.
Festivals in the Satra: The ancient idol of Sri Sri Basudev is worshipped in the morning. Naam Prasanga is performed in the afternoon and evening. In the evening lamp is lighted and Arati is done. Other tithis along with the two preceptors are observed.
The Satra in social side: The Satra has contributed to social and cultural field. Apart from this it has contributed to the nearby area and society through the custom of Sarana-Bhajana. From the beginning the disciples have been coronated the elder son of the Satradhikar from the beginning of this satra. The name of this Satra is kept Bor Satra because of this rule.
The Resources in the Satra: Preserved scriptures – 1. Bhagwata Bhabartha Dipika – Jogodish Mitra, 2. The Kirtan – Naranarayan, 3. Books on Astrology, 4. Jyotish Jugansi, 5. Dasam, 6. Sankardeva Charit, 7. Keligopal, 8. Naamghosha Ratnawali, 9. Sisuleela Pod, 10. Patniprasad, 11. Anadi Paton, 12. Brahman Kriyasar, 13. Rukmini Horon, 14. Subhodra Horon, 15. Kans Bodh Drama, 16. Bokasur Bodh Play, 17. Sahashrarjun Bodh play
32| Sri Sri Chokola Satra ~ Ahatguri ~ Majuli Island
Establishment and existence of the Satra: Among the three circles of Majuli Sub Division, the circle mostly affected by erosion is Anhatguri Mauza. One of the most important Satra of Assam belongs to this circle is Sri Sri Chokola Satra. Sri Sri Narayan Deo, follower of Sri Sri Gopal Ata established Sri Sri Chokola Satra in 1554. Since the time of establishment apart from facing different problems and critical condition the Anhatguri circle is about to be extinct due to erosion by the Brahmaputra. In Spite of that present Satradhikar Bhuban Chandra Mahanta has carried on the tradition.
There is a managing committee along with the Satradhikar in the Satra near Kalia gaon under Majuli Sub-divisional police station for maintaining the pride of the Satra. At present the Satra is situated at Dakhin Majuli on the way connecting Degaon in Jorhat district. Another Satra as New Chokola or Soru Sokola is found for being established separately in 1941.
The resources in this Satra: 1. Namghar 2. Monikut 3. Doba 4. Cymbal 5. Sankha 6. Khol 7. Sachipat 8. Tou 9. Heta 10. Combined idol 11. Singhasana 12. Sarai 13. Picturised Bhagawata
Festivals celebrated: 1. Sri Sri Krishna Raas tsav 2. Doul Yatra 3. Tithis of the preceptors
Social Contribution: There is a provision of Saran Bhajana keeping relation with the people of Mishing tribes and contributing in social festivals, drama and training
33| Sri Sri Sakupura Satra ~ Majuli Island
The root of the Satra was at Lakhimpur. One branch is shifted due to natural calamity. The name of the Satra became Sakupuria for coming here by a Saku (bamboo bridge). At present, the Satra is at Uparkatoni village.
34| Sri Sri Punia Satra ~ Majuli Island
Sri Sri Punia Satra falls under Purush Samhati. The name of the Satra became Punia for establishing it on the bank of the Punia Beel by Parasuram Dev in 1558. The Satra got royal patronage in the days of the Ahom king Jayadhwaj Singha. This Satra is also known as Punia Bor Satra.
35| More details on Sri Sri Auniati Satra ~ Majuli Island
Source and place of development of Vaishnavite culture of Assam, the Satras are the heart of Assamese society. Chief bearer of Bhaktism, these Satras have made adorable contribution to the national unity. The Auniati Satra is one of the prominent Satras among the Satras taking an important role in Assamese social life as center of culture. The Auniati Satra of Majuli Island was established in 1653 by Ahom King Jayadhwaj Singha taking Bhagawata Pathak (reader of Bhagwata) Niranjan Pathak from Kuruabahi Satra. Analysis of the formation of the word Auniati shows that Auni means betel leaf and ati means a higher place. It shows that it was established at a higher land where aunipan (a kind of betel leaf) was available.
The deity of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island, falling under Brahma Sanghati, is Govinda Mahaprabhu. Apart from the Namghar, Monikut, Gurugriha (Residence of the Satradhikar), four hatis of bhakats, treasury, store house of rice, karapat, many other specific parts are there in the Satra. Among them Rongali Chora (auditorium), Museum, Guest House, Sanskrit Tol, Press, Open Auditorium are the prominent parts. Satradhikar is the head of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island. All works of the Satra are done under his supervision. In the absence of the Satradhikar, Deka Satradhikar looks after the Satra. Apart from the Satradhikar and Deka Satradhikar, there is another position in the Satra as Govind Puria. Since its establishment, sixteen Adhikars have ascended the post of Satradhikar of Auniati Satra at Majuli Island. They are –
- Sri Sri Niranjan Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Keshaba Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Ramchandra Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Haridev Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Pranahari Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Lakshminath Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Keshaba Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Padmapani Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Lakshiram Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Kushram Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Devadutta Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Kamalchandra Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Lilakanta Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Hemchandra Dev Goswami
- Sri Sri Bishnu Chandra Dev Goswami
The present Satradhikar is Dr. Sri Sri Pitambor Dev Goswami.
All the Adhikars and Bhakats in the Satra are celibacy. At present 400 bhakats are there in the Auniati Satra at Majuli Island. In real sense, the Bhakats are the chief people who manage the Satra. The Satradhikar chooses people to manage the Satra. The Satradhikar chooses people to manage the Satra among the bhakats and the bhakats also engage themselves in various works of maintaining the Satra obeying the orders of the Satradhikar.
Everyday, Caudhya Prasanga (fourteen prasanga) takes place at the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island. Apart from these fourteen prasangas, some of the usual festivals are –
1| Paalnaam: A chief festival if the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island is the Paalnaam. Every year this takes place from the 25th month of Kartik. Prayer is sung keeping Bhagwata (a religious book) in front of Naam (prayer) in the form of a boat. Irrespective of caste-creed or religion, everyone can join it. It is regarded as the symbol of brotherhood.
2| Festival of taking Nirmali or coronation ceremony: Another festival observed in the Auniati Satra at Majuli Island is the coronation ceremony of the Satradhikar. On the occasion of accepting the seat of Satradhikar by the new Satradhikar, this festival is celebrated. In the this ceremony, the Satradhikars of other three Raj Satras (Satras founded under patronage of Ahom Kings) – Kuruabhai, Dakhinpat and Garmur gives Nirmali to the new Satradhikar.
3| Kati Bihu: Another prominent festival observed in the Auniati Satra at Majuli Island is Kati Bihu. In this festival, 21 pairs of Akashbanti (earthen lamps on stand) are lighted.
4| Raas Utsav: On the day of the Raas festival Puja (worship) is observed an drama of the Raasleela is presented, which on the second day is again staged in the auditorium.
5| Guru Tithi: Guru Tithi is one of the other prominent festivals of the Auniati Satra. Apart from the gurus including Shankardeva, Madhava Deva, Domodar deva, Bonsi gopal eva, the tithis of preceding Satradhikars are also observed.
On the occasion of all the prominent festivals, Bahona is presented. Dance is also practiced in the Satra. The prominent dance forms in the Auniati Satra are – Natua, Apsara, Sutradhar, Ozapali, Chali, Jhumura, Nadubhongi, Dasawatar, Mati Akhora, Krishna Gopi Nritya, Gayan-Bayan, etc. The treasury of songs in the Auniati Satra is enriched with Gayan Geet, Gopal Bairagya Geet, Rajaghariya Geet, Guru Bandana, Dev Bandana, Nator major geet (song in drama), etc. Some prominent Naam or Bhakti geet (devotional songs) prevailing in the Satra are – Hiyanaam, Diha Naam, Bairagi Naam, Naam Mangal, Gosha Mangal, Raj Mangal, etc. With all these Auniati Satra made adorable contribution to the cultural field of Assam. It has enriched our culture.
Writing drama is an old tradition in the Auniati Satra. In the Satra, Satradhikar Niranjan Dev Goswami started this tradition of writing one Ankia drama “Mohamoh Nat”. Among the later Satradhikars, eleventh Satradhikar Sri Dutta Dev Goswami started a new dramatic tradition in Assam writing drama in mother tongue following the idea of Assamese drama. He wrote altogether 13 dramas. Following his way successive Satradhikar Sri Sri Kamal Dev Goswami wrote 5, Sri Sri Lilakanta Dev 2, Sri Sri Hemchandra Dev 21, Sri Sri Bishnu Chandra Dev Goswami 27, present Satradhikar 7 and Deka Satradhikar Sri Sri Devananda Dev Goswami has written one drama. Like Satradhikars, Vaishnavas in the Satra have also contributed much to the field of literature in Assam.
Satradhikar of the Auniati Satra Sri Sri Dutta Dev Goswami took the revolutionary step of bringing a printing machine from Calcutta. Naming the press as Dharmaprakash in 1871, he published the second Assamese newspaper ‘Assam Bilasini’. Apart from ‘Assam Bilasini’ other two magazines printed out from ‘Dharmaprakash’ are ‘Assam Dipika’ and ‘Assam Tora’. The present magazine ‘Sanskriti Pallab’ has contributed to the glory of literature and culture.
In 2004, on the occasion of completion of 350 years since the establishment of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island, ‘Santa Samaroh’ was organized on 27th and 29th March, 2010. Lakhs of people gathered in the celebration. Different dimensions of Vaishnavism were explored in the samaroh. Bringing Satradhikar of many Satras together on the same stage, Auniati Satra carried a profound duty. For the welfare of all the people, to remove differences and hatredness from society to spread lucid verses sung in the praise of God and to create oneness and brotherhood among various castes and tribes an all “Assam-Naam-Samaroh” was organized. The Sri Sri Auniati Satra has established its branches for frequent communication with the disciples. At present it has 14 branches. Apart from the main Satra in Majuli, a Satra is permanently established in Kaliapani, Teok and a special branch is also there in North Guwahati.
In the field of establishing school – library also Auniati Satra has set examples. It has donated money to many institutions. Auniati Satra has been working wholeheartedly for the welfare of the society.
Historical Resources of the Auniati Satra:
Ivory Mat, Sri Hosta Muktawali, Gagendra Chintamoni, Borkah (a kind of bell metal), Bor Taal, Dish and pot used by Godadhar Singha, Silver flower vase, Silver Bota (a kind of tray on a stand), Ivory chair and desk, Ivory hand and Lakhuti (stick), Ivory chess, Pinewood fan, fan made from cane, Maan Safura (a kind of tray on stand with lid), brass khorahi (a kind of pot), pinewood khorom (a kind of chappal), Ivory chappal, wooden maihang (a kind of pot), Barkahi (a dish on stand), savings box decorated with ivory, ivory decorated Jopa (a kind of box), decorated silver dish, brass bhortal (a heavy dish made of silver and brass), Soki Luta, Lou Luta (a water pot of different shape), Man Tema, Man Safura (a tray in a stand with lid), Kiris, Nagaalathi (big stick), Naga da (a big knife), Kahi, Rangoli Sorai, Khanti Da, Hengdang, Ow Bakholia Bota, Outola Bhaona Arhi (sample of toy bhaona), Betor Bota, Jori, Maihang of silver, Silver luta, Amita Thasor Luta, Barkahi, Kerengi taal, Paalnaam Nouka (boat used during paalnaam), etc.
Sattriya Shilpa (Art forms practiced at the Satras of Majuli Island) ~
1| Mask Making
The Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island is renowned across the world for the traditional art of Mask making. Perhaps the common people are making mask as a tradition from times immemorial. Cultivators are making man-shaped scarecrows to protect their crops from insects, birds and animals. Hence in the fourteenth century the luminary of Assamese life Shankardeva established mask making as a prestigious art form in drama.
Apart from the Samaguri Satra, few artists of Alengi Satra, Bihimpur, Adi Bihimpur, Natun Kamalabari have continued this traditional of mask making. It is a matter to rejoice that many artists have been able to be self-dependant through making of mask along with fulfilling the need of the theatres.
The heritage of Mask making started with the cultivation centric civilization. It is an ancient tradition of the people engaged in cultivation facing much hardship to keep a pot or the shell of a long guard by applying limestone upon it to drive away insects, birds or other animals. Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva gave it the form of mask making himself. Although mask is made with the shell of long guard earthen pot bark of betel nut tree wood etc. the beauty of the mask made from bamboo stick is incomparable.
The raw materials for mask making are bottle-gourd, pot and bark of betel nut. Using Laxmi Sutra (formula) with bamboo sticks, the base of the mask is made. Three types of masks are made namely:
It consists of two parts. One is the facial part and the other is the middle part of the body. On the lower part of the body actors wear Mekhela, ghori, ghagra according to the need of the role. Usually the height of such types of mask is around 6-8 feet like Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Moi Danava, Narakasur, Narasingha, etc.
It is smaller than Su Mukha. It also consists of two parts but the person who wears this mask can move their organs. Actors like Putona, Sankhachur, Taroka wear such masks.
This type of mask contains only the face of the character (above neck). Actors like Aghasura, Bakasur, Dhenukasura wear such masks.
2| Fan made of Cane
This is a much sought after Sattriya culture. Generally the Auniati Satra is traditionally known for cane fan. Afterwards, a few Bhakats of the Kamalabari Satra learnt the art of fan making. The process involved in fan making is illustrated below:
Prastuti Parva: This is the preliminary stage of fan making. After cutting the cane into pieces of 14 inches, it is kept in a water bucket for 30 minutes, after it is let out in the Sun to dry.
Skill of stick making: During this stage, the already pieced cane are made into thin sticks with the help of a sharp knife. To prepare a fan maximum four hundred smooth and soft sticks are needed.
Making the base of a fan: The fan without decoration is called “Lati”. A Ghila (round seed), a bamboo stick and water are essential for this work. With the help of the bamboo stick the artist weave it and by putting water and pressing with the Ghila gives the fan a brighter look.
Finishing Stage: A handle (betel nut stick decorated with hengul-hiatal, traditional Assamese color), soft clothes and a few decorative items are necessary for a good looking fan. With the help of these things the artist ties the Lati to the hanle with a cotton rope. Thus a beautiful fan is prepared in approximately eight days. The demand of this type of decorative fans have been increased with a value in the International market nearing INR 1500.
The fan made of cane has been made in the Auniati Satra since the 18th century. In the beginning, the circles made in it were small pieces of cloth and the handle was made with the bark of the Sewa tree using hengul-heital. Later the fan was made with the handle of bamboo. But realizing the resistance of those, the stem of betel nut tree was started to be used and continued till now. It is known that an artist of Auniati Satra late Nabin Bayon presented Lord Mountbatten with a fan in his honor on his visit to Majuli in 1943. The same artist also presented a fan made of ivory to Mahatma Gandhi. It can be said that these Cane fans of Majuli have received a royal status. One such cane fan is also put up on display at the London Museum.
Art of Boat making: Boat is the chief support for the people of Majuli troubled by floods especially in the rainy season of Assam. Realizing this, the people of Majuli start thinking of the boats before the arrival of monsoons making a rise in demand for boats among the people of Majuli Island. But due to a few number of craftsmen, the demand is much more than supply. Apart from Salmara village, people engaged in boat making at Majuli Island are found at the Auniati Satra, Bhogpur Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Natun Kamalabari Satra, etc.
Bamboo and Cane industry: The decorative art of bamboo and cane made by the people of Satras in Majuli Island attract tourists from across the World.Wooden Sorai, Singhasana, boxes of cane, etc. colored with Hengul-haital are prominent among these.
Making Sachipat and Writing:
The artists of the Satras of Majuli Island are expert in the making and writing on Sachipat. Sachipat is a leaf on which hymns and verses are written. The Satradhikars of the Satras of Majuli Island have worked on many workshops that train people on how to make and write on the Sachipat. The artists and Satradhikars have taken steps on preservation on this art form of Majuli Island.
Making Mats of Gogol:
Mat of Gogol is an integral practice of the Satras of Majuli Island. Generally there is no tradition of sitting on high seats in the Satras. This type of mat is essential in serving guests, place of Satradhikars and cottages of Bhakats of the Satras of Majuli Island. The mat of gogol is made by cutting Gogol grass and binding them in a special way after drying in the sun. This mat, made across all the Satras of Majuli Island is very attractive and adorable.
Prominent Festivals of Majuli Island
1| Sri Sri Krishna Raas Leela Festival ~ Majuli Island
The festival of Raas Leela is observed on the full moon night in the Autumn season (October – November) across Majuli Island and is the most prominent festival of joy for the people of Majuli. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that although the festival of Raas Leela, primarily having spiritual significance, is observed in various places f Assam, the vigorous observation in Majuli Island has obtained special characteristics.
Assimilation of Bhakti Raas is the sole demonstration of the Raas Leela festival of Majuli Island. The activities demonstrate the fun and frolic of Lord Krishna in order to fulfill the wish of Gopis in dissolving them in love on the full moon night of Autumn season is the basic theme presented in the Raas Leela festival of Majuli. But the inherent meaning of this festival is the union of human soul with the eternal soul.
It can be said that the place of Mahanta’s heart of Sattriya culture of Majuli is the golden platform to present the Raas Leela festival. At the end of the rainy season, after being shaken by the havoc of the floods here, the people of Majuli begin their preparation to observe Raas Leela with a new enthusiasm and inspiration. Starting the rehearsal from the day of the Lakshmi Purnima (the full moon night when Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped) it is observed for three days at the end of the month. Puja of Brindabon Chandra Mahaprabhu is observed in parallel with dramatization of Raas Leela which denotes a spiritual dimension of the environment of the Satra of Majuli Island. In the Sri Sri Auniati Satra of Majuli, Puja and Raas Leela both are observed. In this Satra, in the drama of the Raas Leela, deeds of Sri Krishna as a cow herd and Maharas is presented. In the Samaguri Satra of Majuli Island, Raas Leela is celebrated in a propitious environment with the worship of Brindaban Chandra Mahaprabhu and dramatization of Raas Leela. Amusing technique of using mask is a special characteristic of this Satra of Majuli Island. In the Sri Sri Bengenaati Satra of Majuli, Raas Leela is celebrated with the hierarchical worship of the idol of Govind (deity worshipped in the Satra). One cannot be deprived of watching Raas Leela in the Garamur Satra presented making appropriate resemblance to modern stage if previously not connected. Expert authors, attractive settings of stage and music composition are reasons of such attraction. The audience are mesmerized at the attractiveness of Raas Leela festival across fifty stages of Majuli Island including Uttar Kamalabari Satra and Natun Kamalabari Satra. Arrival of tourists from other parts of the country and abroad creates a heavenly atmosphere in Majuli Island.
2| Falgutsav (Holi Festival) ~ Majuli Island
Expression of the activities with fun and frolic of Lord Krishna with the Gopis is the festival of Holi celebrated across India and Majuli Island. According to the belief of the people, it is a great luck for human life for their body to be colored with the colors used in the worship of the lord. Following this belief, the Holi festival is observed on the fourteenth day of the lunar month in the month of Fagun (11th month of the Assamese Calendar). It is known as ‘Holi Utsav’ all across the country. This festival is also celebrated vigorously across the Satras of Majuli Island. In the Bengenati Satra it is celebrated for four days and in the Garamur and Dakhinpat Satra for three days. The four days of celebration in Bengenati Satra of Majuli Island are called Adhibas (ritual before worship), Mahapuja (main part of worship of the deity), Bisarjan (end of worship), Phuroni (strolling). In the Dakhinpat Satra, the three days of celebrations are known as Adhibas on the first day and Devdulan, Rajdolan and Manushhyadolan on the 2nd and 3rd day.
3| Paalnaam Festival ~ Majuli Island
Paalnaam means succession of prayers in a continuous sequel. Though Paalnaam is performed with individual tradition in historically famous Garmur Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Majuli, Natun Kamalabari Satra, Bengenaati Satra, Bihimpur SAtra, etc. the Paalnaam in the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island has a special characteristic. This auspicious festival of Majuli Island is celebrated on the 25th to 29th of the month of Karthik (the 7th month of the Assamese Calendar). This tradition of Paalnaam, introduced by Srimanta Shankardeva has been observed in the Auniati Satra from the days of the 2nd Satradhikar Keshab Dev. The resource in the Paalnaam of the Satra is the Ghosha (prayer) by Madhavdev. The Vaishnava’s from East, West and North Hatis sing prayers in turns in these five days of observation of Paalnaam. The three turns are set as Brahmapaal, Rudrapaal and Bishnupaal. The prayer is sung keeping Bhagwata (the religious book) in front of a boat representing naam (prayer). Naam in the form of a boat is the only way to cross the vast sea of trouble of life and the great Bhagwata (symbolizing Lord Krishna) is imagined as the helmsman. During the five days of observance of Paalnaam, the Auniati Satra becomes the place of pilgrimage with the congregation of Bhakats and Vaishnavas.
4| Janmashtami Festival ~ Majuli Island
The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated on the Asomi Tithi (8th day of the lunar month) of the month of Bhadra (5th month of Assamese year). This festival is celebrated in every village and Satra of Majuli Island. In the Janmashtami festival of Majuli Island, prayers are sung in the Namghars across the whole month of Bhadra. It is known as ‘Bhadomihia Naam’ (prayers sung in the month of Bhadra). Tithis of Shankardeva and Madhavadeva is also observed along with it. In some Satras of Majuli Island, it is observed for oen day and in some others for two days. In the Garmur Satra of Majuli Island, it happens to be a gorgeous ceremony and the in the Auniati Satra it is observed with the enactment of stories of Janmashtami.
5| Bihu Festival ~ Majuli Island
Bihu is the State festival of Assam. All the people of Assam observe it in the same way. But in the Satras of Majuli Island, the inherent spiritual touch has given Bihu an altogether new dimension. Except the usual rituals of Kirtan, Hiyanam, Dihanam, Sattriya Dance, Gayan Bayan, Ozpali are presented. Akashbanti (earthen lamp lit of stands) is lighted during the Kati Bihu and this has a different significance. In the Dakhinpat, Garamur, Belsiddhia, Auniati Satras of Majuli Island, from one to twenty one pairs of ‘Akashbanti’ are lighted. In the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island, the ‘Akashbanti’ is lighted on the occasion of Kati Bihu in an awesome, attractive and auspicious environment.
6| Gurukirtan Festival ~ Majuli Island
The rituals observed on the occasion of the death anniversary of the two preceptors Srimanta Shankardeva and Madhavadeva is known as Gurukirtan. In the Satras of Majuli Island viz. the Kamalabari and Bhugpur, ‘Gurukirtan’ is observed for four days with grandeur. Though it is observed Satras too, the different characteristic of observance in the above mentioned Satras has given a different dimension to this ritual.
7| Ali Ai Ligang Festival ~ Majuli Island
Considering the first Wednesday of the month of Magha (the 10th month of the Assamese year) as the day of Goddess Lakshmi, the Mishing tribes of Majuli Island observe this festival starting with the sowing of seeds. The agriculturist Mishing people of Majuli observe this festival with their own traditional customs and rituals.
How to Reach Majuli Island
Majuli is the World’s largest river island and is the holy place of Vaishnavite religion and culture, the place of assimilation of different tribes and races is Majuli. The geographical location, natural environment, richness in archaeological wealth and biodiversity denotes Majuli Island a unique identity. Majuli Island is also a district of Assam and is the only river island district of India. Towards the north of Majuli Island the towns of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji are located, Jorhat and Golaghat towns are located in the south, Sivasagar is located on the east of Majuli and towards west is the town of Tezpur.
Majuli occupies an important place in cultural field. It is called the center of cultural practice because of its compact richness in different cultures. Majuli’s, incomparable expertise of the artists of Majuli can be guessed from the things prepared from ivory, large bowl made of brass sticks and other hand made things. It is not an exaggeration to say that this architectures, art of mask making, boat making and cultural heritage of the different tribes have always adorned Majuli Island. Like the people of from all over Assam, the people of Majuli Island also have tried to establish the Bhauna tradition the world over to make it more attractive. Majuli observes many festivals across the Satras and villages in various occasions and it is said as “thirteen in twelve month” finest acting talents have emerged from Majuli as the culture innovated by Srimanta Shankardeva is also nourished. Sri Sri Krishna Raasleela, symbolizing the union of soul (atma) and the Almighty (paramatma) is a prominent festival of Majuli Island. People from the country and abroad gather in Majuli to enjoy Raas Leela festival observed in various places across Majuli. With the observation of Raas Leela with its own tradition in the Satras of Dakhinpat, Auniati, Samaguri, Benganaati, Garmur, etc. Raas Leela is also observed with great pomp and show in more than fifty stages including the Natun Kamalabari, Uttar Kamalabari and Bogpur Satras of Majuli Island.
The role of some institutions and the Satras of Majuli are important in promotion of Sattriya Nritya. Many people call Satras of Majuli Island as ‘School of culture’. Technical training through Mati Akhara (a kind of dance form of Majuli) from childhood, training of playing ‘Khol’ (drum) to be bayan (expert in playing khol) etc. are a daily routine for the residents of the Satras of Majuli. Sounds of Khol-Taal (taal cymbal), practice of Raaga by gayan-ozaah (title of players of khol and cymbal and singers) in the Satra premises echoes in the society of Satras still now. With the national recognition of the Sattriya dance form of Majuli Island, this dance form has now come out of the Satra premises. Many trainers have been imparting training of sattriya dance form outside of Majuli island. At present, the increasing number of Sattriya dance experts have contributed to the glory of Majuli Island. The handicrafts of Majuli too have contributed a lot in preserving the glories of the tradition of Majuli. Making various idols, fine arts, carving books on the bark of Sasi tree, making of Gosa (lamp stand), khundana (mortar), thoga (stand to keep book) the artists of Majuli are expert. The hand fan of cane of Auniati Satra work of coloring with hengul hiatal (colors), mask making of samaguri satra – these are preserving the heritage. Pottery industry of salmora village is also representing a heritage of the Majuli Island.
Majuli in Summer
In such situations, for being unable o save any property, the people of Majuli seem to face poverty. In the summer season, people of Majuli need a boat but due to poverty, it becomes impossible to get one for many people. Because ‘Anna Chinta Chamatkari’ – to think about food is most necessary, how can one manage to get a boat? Still the people of Majuli are ready to fight against flood. But its is not unexpected to become outwitted against such a situation. For the last few years Majulisans have been losing everything due to erosion. The Satras of Majuli have also been affected due to erosion, If it is continuously affected by erosion, it won’t take much time for Majuli to be vanished from the World map. Majuli needs a safety cover. ‘Save majuli’ slogan has become very important to the people of Assam and administration has to adopt proper measures to save the rich culture and heritage of Majuli Island.
Majuli in Autumn
During this time, they forget the woes in summer at least for a few moments. Here, this type of festive environment starts from the Kati Bihu. It seems as if the Akashbani removes troubles in the form of darkness bringing joy in the form of light. On the occasion of Kati Bihu 21 pairs of Akash Banti are lighted in the Auniati Satra and is continuously followed for the whole month of Kartik. In other Satras also the Akashbani is lighted. Apart from the Raasleela festival, Paalnaam in the Auniati Satra of Majuli is also a special festival for the people of Majuli. Lakhs of devotees gather during the five days of Paalnaam. In these five days, Paalnaam starts after the regular prayers in Satras (prasangas) and ends before the prayer in the evening. But on the fifth day prayer continues across the whole day and night.
Problems of Majuli
Endangered people of Majuli with the threat of existence have no end of problems. As the problems of the World’s largest river island, center of Satriya culture are not created in a short term, in the same way they cannot be expected to sort out in an instance. In Spite of some opinions being presented with the hope to solve them by drawing attention of Assam as well as central government by presenting them with useful suggestions. Known as the largest river island, Majuli has lost a lot of crop field and habitation in the Brahmaputra. Therefore, a threat has emerged to the existence of Majuli. If it cannot be saved from this threat, it won’t take much time to turn the phrase ‘Center of Sattriya culture’ and history. Is is important to provide geographical safety to Majuli Island.
Every year one third of paddy fields of Majuli is lost to floods. Many a times the destruction of paddy fields in floods just after completion of cultivation creates problems for the agricultural centric people of Majuli. Communication is disturbed due to destruction of roadways in flood prone Majuli. In many cases such destructions are caused due to flow of water from one side to the other. Therefore it can expected that binding the roadways increasing the height then they are at present and construction concrete bridges can provide relief to the people of Majuli in this aspect.
Paalnaam of Majuli – Its History and Tradition’
Paalnaam is one of the prominent festivals of Majuli which arouses spiritual feeling in the heart of people. Succession of prayers performed continuously in turn is called Paalnaam. Its primary aim is to arouse pure religious feeling among people.
Following the history, searching for ancient idea of Paalnaam mentioned in various Puranas, it is seen that continuous chanting of Brahma-mantra by Lord Shiva to achieve Brahmonic essence in Satrayug (The first division of time among the four – Satrayug, Tretayug, Dwapar yug and Koli yug) enchanting continuously Shiva’s Saptanaam by Brahma by bringing down to clear his sins, enchanting Krishna- Mantra by Basudev-Deviki with other Gopa’s and Gopi’s to get rid of the serpent Kalia lake can be assumed as the idea of Paalnaam.
Paalnaam was introduced in Assamese religious tradition by Srimanta Shankardeva. Wishing well being of Madhavdeva and Hari Juai in captivity of King Suhungmung Dihingia, Paalnaam wa organized continuously for seven days. From that time Paaalnaam has become a tradition in many places of Assam and in the Satra.
Paalnaam is the chief yearly festival of Auniati Satra of Majuli island. There is a story behind starting paalnaam in this Satra. According to the story the Vaishnava’s in the Satra arranged non-stop paalnaam for definite time wishing well being of the Satradhikar Kushadev Goswami who was hiding on the Bank of the river Kundil in Sadia to save himself from the torture of King Gadadhar Singha. Only when the wrath of the king was calm down and the Satradhikar entered the Satra , the paalnaam was ended. It was beginning of paalnaam in Auniati Satra of Majuli Island. From that time, the tradition of paalnaam at the end of prasanga at a day time was begun.
From the days of the fifth Satradhikar Hari Dev Goswami, the tradition of Paalnaam took the form of festival. In those days the paalnaam was observed monthly. The Vaishnava’s of four Hati’s say prayers in turn in every five days of the month. Later in the days, keeping in view of the convenience, the tradition of observing this festival is changed to yearly observance on 25th to 29th of the month of Kartik. According to a religious belief of the people of Majuli, the month of Kartik is regarded as a very sacred month an the benefit observed from 25th to 29th ends in the morning of the 30th day of the month. On the starting day of the naam of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island, Bornaamlogua (main singer), Ashirbodia (the person who sounds the blessings) with 6 other Vaishnava’s take ordinance taking permission from the Satradhikar to carry on the responsibility of the naam. After taking ordinance in the prayer room of the Satradhikar of Majuli Island. Ashirbodia sounds the blessings for the good beginning of the observation. The Vaishnavas including the chief naam logua having imagined the Monikut as the Vaikunth (heaven) bring prayer from that place in the form of a prominent prasanga (prayer) and establish it at the place defined for it with auspicious sounds. On the other hand the Vaishnava’s of Majuli Island sing prayers establishing Sri Modbhagwata in front of Hari Naam in the form of a noted that in this prayer clap and cymbal is not used. Only verses from Naamghosha by the Madhabdeva is sung in regular interval for a few moments. After continuous enchantment of prayers in a day and night on the month, the festival ends with Hiyanaam, Dihanaam and Gayan-Bayan after regular prayers of the day in Majuli Island. A festive environment is created at the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island during the days of the Paalnaam. The inmates at the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island regard the work of looking after the guests as holy duty and enjoy it. Manusha yogya (serving human being) falls under the five great yagyas and is completely projected by the members of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island.
It is tradition to donate salt with lighting earth lamp and a tryful of offerings by the people of Majuli Island during the days of Paalnaam festival. It may be due to the strong belief that donating salt is equal to donating gold. On the other hand when Hari Joai and Madhabdev were imprisoned due to the wrath of the king ther act of donating salt and rice after coming back as directed by Sankardeva beings the importance of donating salt during the Paalnaam festival of Majuli Island.
In the Paalnaam of Sri Sri Auniati Satra prayer is said for three times in a day. Vaishnavas from east, west and north hatis sing prayers for three times a day in turns everyday. Paalnaam is of three types – Brahmapaal, Bishnupaal and Rudrapaal. In Satyuga, the continuous enchantment of the Brahma mantra by Lord Shiva to achieve Brahmatwa is known as Brahmapaal. To get rid of sin continuous enchantment of saptanaam of Lord Shiva by Brahmadeva by bringing it down is known as Rudranaam. The Vishnumantra chanted by Basudev Devki along with the Gopa’s and Gopi’s in Brindabona to get rid of the Serpent Kalia in Kalia Lake is known as Bishnu Paalnaam. It is not an exaggeration that the idea of Tripal in Auniati Satra of Majuli Island is representing these ideas.
Apart from the Auniati Satra, in Dakhinpat Satra, Udayasta Paalnaam (from the rising upto the setting of sun) is observed. Well being of everyone is the primary aim of this. It is known as Udayasta Paalnaam because it starts with the rising of the sun and continues till sunset. Here, there is provision of offering Paalnaam of definite time limit by any devotee to Majuli Island.
In the Garamur Satra in Majuli Island, paalnaam is observed for one day. Here one thousand verses of Madhavadeva is enchanted. In the Bengenaati Satra of Majuli Island, Paalnaam is observed for the complete month of Vadra. The characteristic of Paalnaam of Bihimpur Satra observed for one day is that the beginning of Namacharya (chief singer) explains the origin of Paalnaam of Majuli Island. In the prominent Satra of Kamalavari also Paalnaam is observed for one to seven days.
History of Raasleela and Majuli Island
The fun, frolic and deeds of Lord Krishna in the Vrindavan during the full moon night of the autumn season to fulfill the wish of the entirely devoted Gopis inundated by love is known as Raasleela. This means a union of human soul with the eternal being is the Raasleela. Raasleela is the most prominent festival of the cultural center of Majuli Island. Many tourists from the country and abroad come to enjoy the festival of Raasleela in Majuli Island which is observed for three days in the autumn season. The festival becomes an auspicious occassion in the assilmilation of the elements of Vedic rituals and dramatic presentation. Majuli Island turns to Baikunth (dwelling place of Lord Vishnu) during the days of the Raasleela festival.
God takes incarnation in different times in order to dominate the evils and sustaining good. The sequence of incarnations are – Ansa awoter, Ansans awoter, Awesa awoter, Kala awoter, Purna awoter, Poripurna awoter and poripurnatwam Awotar. Sri Krishna in complete form resides in Guluk Baikuntha. When Lord Krishna decided to come on Earth considering the degradation of religion and rising of evil in order to decrease the load on earth, the Gopis prayed to him. Lord Krishna allowed them to come with him and the deeds of Lord Krishna prevailed in the World.
In the Satras of Majuli Island, Raasleela is observed with vedic rituals and dramatic presentation. Among the Satras, Dakinpat Satra boasts of being the oldest in Vedic traditions and dramatization. It is said that late Sri Sri Basudev Goswami wrote the drama of Raasleela including song and dance as an order from God in his dream. Later it was made popular across the Satras of Majuli Island with dramatization of devotional dramas.
The Raasleela of Majuli Island is popularized with stage enactment of the new-age by late Satradhikar of Garamur Satra Sri Sri Pitambar Dev Goswami. The chief duty in the Raas utsav of Sri Sri Auniati Satra of Majuli Island is the Raas Puja. On the day of Raasleela, combined statue of Radha Krishna is worshipped by establishing on the tetragonal altar in an auspicious environment. On that day, apart from the Naam Prasanga, Dihanaam, Hiyanaam, Gayan-Bayan, Natua and Ujapali, drama of Raasleela performed in the Namghar parallel to the Puja.
In the Raasleela of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island apart from the first days of observations, Raasleela is presented on the next two days also. The women are however not allowed to take part in the first days observation due to take place in the main Namghar. Considering many people are deprived of watching the Raasleela inside the premises of the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island, with the cooperation of Auniati Satra Sewa Samiti Stage enactment of Raasleela was initiated by late Satradhikar Sri Sri Bishnu Chandra Dev Goswami. Apart from the presentation of Raasleela in the main Namghar, the scene of the Gokuldham (Heaven) is a prominent contribution in this regards.
Raasleela is observed in the Samaguri Satra of Majuli Island for two days. A festive environment takes place with the Awahan kirtan, thionaam, naam prasanga, borgeet, songs of play keli-gopal, ujapali, etc. Use of wonderful masks is a special characteristic of the Samaguri Satra of Majuli Island.
In the Sri Sri Bengenaati Satra of Majuli Island, Raasleela is observed attractively in the Naamghar. In this Raasleela performance without co-acting and separate shows, a lot of people from Majuli Island, gather to watch it.
The Raasleela in the Garmur Satra in Majuli Island is one of the most famous presentations where all tickets are booked a month ahead. Wonderful techniques of presentation gives it a special dimension. In Garmur Satra, Sankardev Krishti Sangha has been presenting the the Raas since 1960.
It is mentioned above that in Majuli Island, two different types of Raasleela is presented in different places. One is presented with vedic tradition in an open space and the other one is presented on stage. In the Satras like Uttar Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari no co-acting is allowed in the stage presentation also. Still it is wonderful. Apart from it, wonderful and incredible Raas presented in more than twenty stages across Majuli Island and a lot of people come to watch it. Thus a huge gathering takes place in large numbers in the open enactment with vedic traditions and without co-acting in the same way Raas in the stages also have much popularity in Majuli Island.
Holi Utsav – Its History and Traditional in Majuli Island
Holi is an ancient festival of India. In various places in India this festival is observed with a lot of fun and merriment. It is a festival of colors and joy. At the advent of the spring season on the full moon day in the month of Fagun (9th month of the Assamese calendar) or Chaitra (10th month of the Assmese year) this festival of colors or Fakua is observed which is also called as holi. It is said that Sri Krishna wanted to know from his mother Josoda that why he has such dark complexion and Radha has fairer. Mother Jasoda suggested that if color is applied on the face of Radha, the color of her skin would be changed. Therefore, Krishna smeared color on the face of Radha and the other Gopis with a clyster. Anyway, holi is the first fun filled festival between Sri Krishna and the Gopis. Sankardeva has mentioned in the 2nd chapter of Bhagawata –
“Jato Lakshmi Manohar Muratik Dhori, Krishnar Utsav yatra koronta sodori
Krishnak kolat kotu Dolasono Tuli, Mukhe Krishna guno ganto Anondote Duli
Dondo chotro chamor dhoria bhoktochoyo, Joyo joyo Krishna buli Falgu Sinchoroyo”
Holi is known as Dolutsav. There is the wonderful description of holi in Madhabdeva’s Borgeet also –
“Fagupori Shyam Tanu Kore Tirimiri, Robir kirone jeno morokot Giri
Korpuro kumkume adi suwasito, Gopo gopi some khele huya anandito”
Srimanta Shankardeva started this holi festival in Bordua and Barpeta and later it spread to various places. This festival is celebrated in Dakhinpat, Bengenaati Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari, Garamur Satras of Majuli Island. It is however not celebrated in the Auniati Satra of Majuli Island. In Spite of the differences in celebration, it is mainly celebrated for three days. The first day Meshdah, the Second day “Fakua Puja” and the third day after Puja ‘Mahaprabhu Poribhraman’ (moving around with the idol of Mahaprabhu) is done. In historically famous Bengenaati Satra of Majuli Island, this festival is celebrated for four days. In Kamalabari group of Satras ‘Meshdah Yagya’ is not organized.
Majuli Island in Assam is the Largest River Island in the World. In addition, Majuli is also the only River Island district of India. A calm and pristine environment, far away from the hustle and bustle of a city life surrounds you when you visit the Majuli Island. Inhabited by the Mishing Tribes of Assam, Majuli has become one of the most sought after destinations for Ecotourism in India. A wetland, Majuli is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harboring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season. The River Brahmaputra surrounds the Majuli Island serving a life-line for the people of Majuli as Agriculture and Fishing are the primary occupation of Majuli Island. Handloom is a major occupation among the population of the villages of Majuli. Weaving is exquisite and intricate with the use of a variety of colors and textures of cotton and silk, especially Muga silk here at Majuli Island.
Majuli Island covers a total area of around 1,250 sq. km. and spreads across a population of over 150,000 individuals belonging to both tribal and non tribal communities of Assam. The tribal communities inhabiting Majuli Island are the Mishings, the Deoris and the Sonowal Kachari tribes of Assam. Majuli Island has a total of 144 villages within the premises of the World’s largest River Island. The primary occupation of the people of these villages of Majuli Island is agriculture viz. primarily the cultivation of rice. Other forms of income at Majuli is from fishing, dairying, pottery, handloom, mask making and boat making.
Majuli Island in Assam has been the cultural capital and cradle of the Assamese civilization for the past several hundred years. The Abode of the Neo-Vaishnavite cult of Assam, the Satras of Majuli Island preserve antiques like weapons, utensils, jewellery and other items of cultural significance from the Neo Vaishnavite movement. Some prominent Satras of Majuli Island are the Auniati Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Garamur Satra and the Kamalabari Satra of Majuli. These Satras of Majuli Island are a treasure house of Borget, Matiakhara, Jumora dance, Nande Vringee, Sutradhar, Apsara Dance, Satriya Krishna dance, etc. which were contributed by the Holy Guru and Great reformer Shri Shri Srimanta Shankardeva.
During the late sixteenth century, the great scholar and reformer Srimanta Sankardeva met with Sri Madhavadeva at Dhowahat Belguri in Majuli. That famous meeting is known as ‘Monikanchan Union’. Sankardeva and his disciples laid the foundation of Satra culture in Majuli Island. 65 Satras have now been established in majuli. However, due to erosion the number of Satras at Majuli Island have now been reduced.
Majuli Island is the hub of Neo-Vaishnavite cult of Assam. Founded and propagated by the great Guru Srimanta Shankardeva and his disciple Sri Sri Madhavadeva, the Neo Vaishnavite cult of Majuli Island is based on the principle of Bhakti – a One-God cult. Srimanta Shankardeva, spearheaded the Neo-Vaishnava Bhakti movement in Assam and its neighborhood, was the harbinger of an extra-ordinary resurgence in the life of this region. The movement had simple ramifications – spiritual, social, cultural, literary and artistic. Saint and visionary, poet and dramatist, musician and painter – Srimanta Sankardeva was a many-splendored personality.
Srimanta Sankardeva’s preaching s were simple as the cult of Bhakti was monotheistic. It was a One-God cult. During Sankardeva’s time the tribal communities practiced Saivism where animal sacrifice was essential. Sankardeva’s Bhakti worship however entailed congregation in a simple prayer hall without elaborate rituals. Its message was that anyone, irrespective of birth, caste or status, could attain salvation by taking refuge in God. Devotion was to Vishnu alone, excluding all other gods, their temples, and idol worship. The Sarana ceremony was the formal spiritual initiation of the proselyte, who totally surrendered to the spiritual guide (Guru) and a tithe (Guru-kar) was paid. This entitled the nearby villagers to contribute foodstuff according to their capacity. Those working in different places would visit the Satra once a year with contributions mainly from their garden-land produce. The resident Bhakats were required as a rule to work with their own hands and do the necessary cooking, washing and miscellaneous maintenance work themselves. The Bhakats would collect firewood, husk paddy and may have worked in the paddy fields.
The practice of Neo-Vaishnavism is prevalent in the Satras of Majuli Island where Men, at a very young age, join these Religious Institutions and dedicate their life towards serving God and practice Neo-Vaishnavism.
Majuli Island, has a very rich heritage and has been the abode of Assamese Vaishnavite culture with tremendous option for spiritual and Ecotourism. A wetland, Mājuli Island is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harboring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season. Located by the banks of the River Brahmaputra, Majuli island is gifted with all requisites of Mother Nature to enthrall an Ecotourist.
While at Majuli Island ~
- Visit the Neo-Vaishnava Satras founded by Sankardeva at Majuli
- Visit the colorful culture of the tribes at Majuli
- Sight Migratory birds by the Brahmaputra River at Majuli
- Visit the Traditional Ali-Ai-Ligang festival of the Mishing Tribes at Majuli
- Learn the art of Pottery making at Majuli
- Revisit the Lost Art of Traditional Mask making at Majuli
- Visit the Raas Leela in November at Majuli
- Savor Traditional Tribal Food and Local Wine at Majuli
- Cycle across the Calm and Pristine Island of Majuli
- Enjoy the beauty of sunset in winter by the Banks of Brahmaputra at Majuli
- Witness the Exotic homespun Handicrafts and Handlooms at Majuli
- Enjoy the natural beauty of the Largest River Island in the World at Majuli
Exploring Majuli Island ~ a Road Trip from Guwahati to Majuli and back…..
On the day of October 21st, 2018 two of my friends had called me and told me that they wanted to explore Majuli Island. As I own and operate a Backpacker focussed Eco Camp – the “La Lolat Eco Camp” at Majuli and also after having conducted various tours to Majuli with foreign as well as Indian guests they believed that no one could guide them around Majuli better then me from Guwahati. I did not have any plan on visiting Majuli until November 2018 for the annual Raas Leela Festival (to look after the workings at my camp and to welcome our visitors) but still they continued to request me to take them over and I finally agreed to take them out exploring Majuli Island from Guwahati on October 28th, 2018 as I had some earlier tasks scheduled on the next couple of days. As winter season was approaching and night time at Majuli Island could get quite cold so I asked them to pack few warm clothes along with them.
It was the morning of October 28th and we started at 7 AM from Guwahati to Majuli Island. I took my own car as we were only three of us travelling to Majuli. It is always better to start on your drive from Guwahati to Majuli as there is a ferry to be boarded to cross the Brahmaputra river to reach Majuli and the last government operated ferry that plies from Neemati Ghat near Jorhat to Majuli is at 3.30 PM and it is advisable to reach by 2 PM to have sufficient time to board the ferry and cross over to reach Majuli. The roads are good upto Nagaon as it is a four lane highway and we continued on our drive. We halted at Sonapur to fill petrol in the car and after checking the tyre pressure we started again on our drive. Our very next stop was at Jagiroad to have breakfast. We stopped at the very old Jain hotel at Jagiroad. About a 50 year old hotel, the Jain Hotel at Jagiroad serves delicious hot puri sabji to its guests. It was a short break for about 20 minutes and then we started on out drive again.
We did not make any further halts and continued on our drive to Kaziranga National Park after crossing Nagaon, Amoni and Jakhalabandha. We reached Kaziranga National Park at around 10.45 AM and continued our drive crossing Bagori safari range to reach the view point midway between Bagori and Kohora safari range. We parked our car and got down to sight the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros of Kaziranga National Park. From the viewpoint we could see around 4 adult rhinoceros grazing on the grasslands. Along rhinoceros there were asiatic wild water buffaloes, deers, wild boars, sambars and various species of birds located at slight distance. There were young boys renting out binoculars to visitors to get a better glimpse of these magnificent animals. After 15 minutes we started on our drive to Majuli again. After crossing Kaziranga National Park we reached Bokakhat.
After Bokakhat driving further we reached the town of Numaligarh. Famous for a fort constructed here during the reign of the Ahom kings we halted at Numaligarh for lunch at the Numaligarh dhaba. One of the most popular food joints on National Highway 37, the Numaligarh dhaba serves authentic Assamese cuisine. We ordered for Assamese Veg thali and fish curry for us. The food was amazing and after paying our bills we headed out again on our drive. We crossed Dergaon and Jorhat to reach the Neemati Ghat at 1.45 PM. We were on schedule and as there was not much rush we successfully boarded our vehicle on the government ferry boat that was scheduled to depart at 2.30 PM to Kamalabari ghat in Majuli Island. The ferry boat started and we began to cross the mighty Brahmaputra river on our way to the Largest River Island in the World – Majuli Island. By the time we reached Kamalabari Ghat is was 3.30 PM. Slowly we started to offload the car from the ferry boat and continued on our drive to Garamur in Majuli after crossing the Kamalabari township in Majuli Island. Our stay was arranged at my camp – the La Lolat Eco Camp at Majuli and we had a bamboo cottage and a swiss tent booked for us with attached bathroom facilities. There were four other guests at our camp 2 from Bangalore and 2 from Israel and they were staying at the Chang cottage in our camp. All of them were backpackers and as they wanted a budget option to stay, they choose to halt at the Chang Ghar with bamboo cottages that have a shared bathroom option at nominal rates of INR 400 per night per cottage.
The caretaker of my camp Anil greeted us and allotted us our rooms. I had called my local friends from Majuli who informed that they would come over shortly and we would go out to a nearby village where a local family had invited us over for evening snacks. I asked Anil to go to a nearby market and get some fish and fresh vegetables to be cooked for dinner for everyone. By around 5.15 my two friends from Majuli came over and I introduced them to my friends from Guwahati and we headed out to explore the nearby village. We reached by 6 and the family welcomed us into their home. We gathered at their kitchen and we could see the wife cooking pork for us over fire. Pork is a delicacy here in Majuli Island and guests are offered pork along with the traditional local rice beer “Apong”. We sat down on the bamboo floor and were served apong with a special black dal to begin with. Slowly the pork was being roasted and the owner was telling us about the preparations going on for the upcoming Raas Leela festival. My friends from Guwahati immediately fell in love with Majuli with the people and culture here. In sometime the pork was served and it was simply lip-smacking! Roasted to perfection it was mixed with freshly cut onions, green chillies and coriander leaves and fresh lemon juice was squeezed over it.
After finishing the rice beer and pork we thanked the host for this wonderful evening and headed back to our camp. It was 7.30 and Anil was preparing dinner back at the camp. We sat down by the fire and discussed how beautiful Majuli island was and planned our visit to the various Satras of Majuli along with other local villages. A short while later we were joined by the other guests. We discussed how they felt being here in Majuli island and they all loved the place as well. They had been staying here for more than 3 days and were exploring the various parts of the island on bicycles we had rented them out. Dinner was served at 8.30 and it was a simple meal of rice, dal, fish curry with gourd and brinjal roasted on fire along with salad and papad. It was a sumptuous meal. After dinner we spoek for a while and then retired to bed.
The next morning I was up by 5AM and I went out to take a short walk around. My friends were not yet up and so I went out alone. It was surprising to see here that people get up very early in the morning. By around 5.30 AM everybody was out at the local market and people were busy setting up their shops here. The meat shops already opened and people were busy buying pork from the vendor. It seems that the pork stocks gets over by 7 AM everyday. The fish stock had also arrived and so did the chicken. The tea shops had opened and I went in to have a cup of black tea. People were busy discussing about their day and I silently listened to their conversations. I decided to head back to the camp to get ready for our day of exploring Majuli Island. Everybody was up and ready and Anil was preparing tea for everyone. I sat down chatting with the guys from Israel who told me that they wanted to check out the Sattriya Nritya dance performance at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli. As they didn’t know whom to approach I informed them that the performance is arranged only upon prior request and an amount has to be paid to witness the Sattriya Nritya performance in person. As we too had planned to see this dance performance in Majuli we all agreed to split the cost of the performance and I told them that we could go to watch the performance in the evening today.
My friends were up and ready for the day. As there was some left over rice from the previous night I asked Anil to cut vegetables and prepare fried rice for all of us for breakfast. At around 9 AM we set out to explore our first destination for the day here in Majuli island – the Auniati Satra. One of the most renowned Satras of Majuli Island the Auniati Satra is famous for the Paalnam festival and the Raas Leela festival. We reached the Satra entrance where we had to remove our shoes before going inside. We bought a thali with puja offerings to be offered at the Namghar here. The prayer hall area at the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island is a big area and monks keep reciting prayers throughout the day here. We lit incense sticks and dia and seeked blessings here. Next we came to see the huge tree trunk of a tulsi tree kept inside the premises of the Auniati Satra. Next we came to visit the Museum of the Auniati Satra. Various ancient relics from the time of the Ahom kingdom is kept in this museum. We saw various artefacts made of ivory and costumes of the Ahom kings. We even saw the sword which was used by the brave Ahom general Lachit Borphukan kept here. After a while we left the Auniati Satra to go to the Samaguri Satra.
We reached the Samaguri Satra after about half an hour. The Samaguri Satra is renowned across the World for its practice of traditional mask making of Majuli Island. Exquisite masks all made from bamboo, cloth and clay are demonstrated here at the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island. The members of this Satra have travelled the world displaying this heritage art form. Also visitors from various countries come to the Samaguri Satra to witness and learn the art of mask making. The Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island is located 12 kilometers eastwards from Kamalabari. Chakrapanidev, son of Keshabpriya, daughter of Purushottam Thakur and Niranjan Gabhaugiri alias Petphala Ata (her husband) established this Satra in the year 1663. Afterwards this Satra was divided into another branch namely Notun Chamaguri Satra which is now located near the marketplace of Rawanapur. This Satra belongs to Purusha Sanhoti and the present Satradhikar is Dr. Hemchandra Goswami. Once we entered the Satra we could see various artists preparing the traditional masks. The Satradhikar Dr. Hemchandra Goswami was also present. We were then guided to the room where a monk demonstrated us the use of these traditional masks. It was a wonderful experience witnessing it. After paying our contribution towards the development of the Satra, we bid goodbye to the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island.
After the Samaguri Satra we headed to visit the Dakhinpat Satra. The Dakhinpat Satra was built under the Ahom patronage of Swargadeo Jayadhwaja Singha and Banamalidev established the Dakhinpat Satra in 1584. The Dakhinpat Satra in Majuli Island is located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra river. The name ‘Dakhinpat’ is derived from two words ‘Dakhin’ meaning South and ‘Pat’ means a port. From this we can come to a conclusion that the Dakhinpat Satra is situated on the south bank of the Brahmaputra river. This Satra of Majuli Island belongs to the Brahma Samiti and its Bhakats lead a bachelor’s life. It follows the ideals of Damodhar Deva. The idol of Lord Jadav Rai is worshipped here. As we entered the Dakhinpat Satra a sense of calm and peace filled our minds. The fresh breeze from the Brahmaputra river kept flowing and we took a little time to relax on the lawn area here. We explored the area around the Satra and took time to visit the Namghar of the Dakhinpat Satra. After offering our prayers we took leave from the Dakhinpat Satra.
Later we went to the local village of Salmora which is famous for the dying art of pottery making here in Majuli Island. One of the local boys here who was my friend had invited us over to his house for lunch and we could also get an opportunity to witness pottery making at one of the local homes here. My friend at Salmora village asked one of his aunts to show us the art of pottery making while his mother was cooking our lunch. It was interesting to see how the lady used the special clay to create a very interesting art work of pottery. An interesting part of the pottery making of Salmora village in Majuli Island is that the people do not use a pottery wheel and instead they shape the pots with their hands and later dry them out in the sun and the pots are finally ready for the markets. We thanked the lady for allowing us to witness this art form of pottery making here in Majuli Island. Lunch was ready and it was already 3 PM. It was really surprising how we spent 6 hours without realizing how time passed away. Lunch was simple yet very delicious. We had rice, black dal, local chicken curry and local ferns sabji with potato. It was really very delicious and healthy too! We thanked the family for all the trouble taken for us and offered them some money for the pottery demonstration which they refused to accept and we bid them goodbye.
By the time we arrived at the camp it was 4.30 PM and we were scheduled to go to the Uttar Kamalabari Satra at 7 PM to witness the Sattriya Nritya performance. After having a cup of tea all of us went to the Satra. The monks were reciting their evening prayers at the Satra premises inside the Namghar area. The Uttar Kamalabari Satra is located near the Kerela gaon area of Majuli Island and is renowned across the World for its practice of keeping alive the tradition of the Sattriya Nritya of Majuli Island. The Sattriya Nritya is one of the eight classical dance forms of India and is performed by the Male members of the Uttar Kamalabari Satra and they perform unique dance movements to the beating of the Drum and the Khol. We watched the performance with a lot of enthusiasm. The performance lasted for 20 minutes and the young boys put up a brilliant performance of the Sattriya Nritya dance form here in Majuli Island. We thanked all the boys and then offered our contribution to the Uttar Kamalabari Satra that would help them to sustain and keep this dance form alive.
At around 8 PM we returned back to our camp. Anil was doing the final preparations for dinner and I asked my friend to get some rice beer for everyone. There is a home in the nearby village where they brew fresh rice beer and of good quality. They also keep a stock of smoked pork which is available for purchase. My friend arrived back shortly with the rice beer a little amount of pork that we put up in front of the fire in skewers to roast for around 15 minutes. I served the rice beer to everyone and it was quite good to drink. We discussed the evening with our guests from Israel and bangalore about heri future plans in North East India. They were leaving tomorrow morning and heading towards Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh where they would spend the next couple of days and then head back home. At around 9.30 Anil served dinner to everyone. He had prepared rice, dal, mixed vegetable sabji, soya bean curry, roasted fish, tomato chutney and all this was served with a traditional Mishing chutney called as ‘Namsing’. The food was simply amazing and I take pride in saying that it was one of the most flavorful meals I had ever had across all of Assam. We thanked Anil for the wonderful dinner and later retired to bed.
The next morning I was up again at 5 AM and today my friends were up too. We headed for a short walk around the camp. We had a cup of black tea each at the nearby shop and then headed back to our camp to bid goodbye to our guests. I bought Maggi noodles and eggs to be served for breakfast and asked Anil to prepare it quickly as our guests were getting ready. By 7 AM breakfast was served and the guests were ready with their backpacks. After a quick breakfast we bid them goodbye. Today there were another four guests checking into our camp. Two of them were from germany and two from France. Today we had planned our day to visit the nearby Luit river and spend some time fishing there with a few local boys. We left our camp at 8.30 to reach the bank of the Luti river in Majuli Island at 9 AM. Our local friends were already there with a boat and they tied it to the river bank and we set up our equipment for a day of fishing. The river luit of Majuli island is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra river and it is a major source of fish supply to the people of Majuli Island. We started fishing with traditional fishing rods here in Majuli. After about 30 minutes one of my friends got lucky and he caught his first fish. It was a small catfish and we all were very excited. We released the fish back into the river. We continued fishing until afternoon at around 12 Pm and then we decided to call it a day and returned back to our camp.
We went and got fresh at the camp and later headed out to my friend Rupam’s house for lunch. He had ordered for fresh cut pork for us in the morning and he had also caught fish from a pond near his home so he had invited us over to his home for lunch. We reached his home at Phutuki village in Majuli at around 1 PM. I met some of my other friends from Majuli here and they took us out to explore the nearby village. We saw the lush green paddy fields, the various local Mishing homes constructed using bamboo. At one of the local homes we saw a Mishing lady weaving exquisite handlooms. It was an interesting sight to watch them weave out such beautiful and colorful hand woven clothes. At 2 PM we returned to Mr. Rupam’s home and lunch was ready. His wife served us with a different local wine this time called as ‘Sai Mod’. This is made by brewing of a local black rice grain and has a smokey flavor to it. It was very interesting to watch it being brewed freshly in front of your eyes and there was also a traditional Mishing rice wrapped up in banana leaves called as ‘Purang Apin’.
Normally these Mishing dishes are prepared only during the Mishing traditional festival of Ali Ai Ligang which is celebrated every year in the month of February. But since we were their guests Mr. Rupam had arranged for this special meal for us. There was roasted pork and pork cooked with ‘Lai Xaak’ – a special green leafy vegetable. There was also ‘Dhekia Xaak’ – another local jungle fern that was fried with potato, roasted brinjal over fire with potato chutney. Perhaps the best part about Majuli is the food. Everything is grown organically and freshly plucked and cooked which makes it so very delicious! The meal was a perfect blend of taste and nutrition and we thanked the entire family for making this elaborate arrangement for us.
After finishing lunch we explored the village a little more and went to drink tea at another friends home. Here we got to witness how they prepare rice beer – ‘Apong’. Also we visited a local granary called ‘Bhoral’ where the people of Majuli store their rice harvest. It was really very interesting to witness rural life after spending your life in the city. You come to know how people lead a simple life not in the greed of money just living a healthy and peaceful life away from the city noise and pollution. By the time we finished exploring the village it was almost dark. We thanked everyone for their wonderful hospitality during our stay here in Majuli Island and headed back to our camp. Anil was at the camp with our guests who had arrived in the early evening. They were already in their rooms by the time we had arrived and they had asked Anil for an early dinner by 7.30 PM. Anil was busy with the dinner preparation and as they were all preferring a vegetarian meal we had bought vegetables for them with soya bean. We went inside the cottages to welcome everyone and all of us gathered at the kitchen area of our camp by the fire as evenings in Majuli starts to feel a little cold during this time of the year. They told us about their stories of travel across India and how they visited various hill stations and covered various destinations across the entire country. They expressed their interest for tasting the rice beer and so I asked one of my friends to get it for them from the nearby village home.
The rice beer arrived shortly and I serve everyone with the rice beer along with freshly cut tomato and cucumber salad and some fried potatoes. We continues with our discussion as Anil cooked dinner for us. We were scheduled to return back to Guwahati from Majuli the next morning and so I guided the guests on how to explore the island. At 7.30 PM dinner was served that had rice, dal, soya bean with potatoes and peas curry, mixed vegetables sabji, potato fry, roasted tomato chutney, pickle and papad. food was again simple yet very delicious and our guests enjoyed it. We spend a little more time discussing and then returned to bed.
The next morning we were scheduled to catch the 8.30 AM ferry so we left the camp at 7.30 after bidding goodbye to our guests and Anil. We reached the Kamalabari ghat in Majuli island at 8AM and boarded the 8.30 AM government ferry boat. The journey upstream the river Brahmaputra from Majuli Majuli to Neemati ghat takes 1 hour and 45 minutes as we go against the river current. We reached Neemati ghat at 10.15 AM and then started on our drive back to Guwahati. At Bokakhat we halted to have puri and sabji very famous in Assam. Next we crossed Kaziranga National Park, Jalukbari, Amoni and reached Nagaon where we halted for lunch. By the time we arrived at Guwahati it was 5 PM. I dropped my friends at their home at Khanapara and then reached home with beautiful memories from the Largest River Island in the World – Majuli Island!