Thursday, January 31, 2008

Places to visit in Western Assam -- Barpeta District

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BARPETA

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Barpeta during the pre-Shankardev era enriched by the aphorism of Dak-Purusha, the first Assamese poet, Kavyas and Verses of Kaviratna Saraswati; Pitambar Kavi, and contribution of Purusottam Vidyabagisha etc. Barpeta’s glory reached its zenith at the dawn of 16th Century A.D. and Barpeta became a nerve center (Boikuntha Doloi) of Vaishnavite culture with the divine presence and touch of Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva-Madhabdeva-Harideva, Damodardeva and their disciples. These Baishnave preachers and social reformers lived for long tenure here and transformed Barpeta into most elite and sacred spiritual place.
Sankardeva (1449-1568) lived for six months at Kapla, one year at Chinpora (Chinpura) three months at Ganakkuchi and eighteen years six months at Patbaushi. His chief disciple Madhabdeva (1489-1596) also lived for three years at Baradi, nineteen years at Ganakkuchi, fouteen years six months at Sundardia and seven years six months at Barpeta. Harideva (1426-1566) lived at Bahari Satra. And established there a Satra in1453, he was the first vaishnava preacher to nominate a woman, his daughter Bhubaneswari, as the Satrdhikar of Bahari Satra. Mahapurush Damodardeva (1489-1598) established his Satra at Patbaushi, and lived there for long years. These Vaishnava preachers brought a wave of renaissance to the Assamese society. Satra (Vaishnavite monastery) an unique institutions, was the gift of Gurus to us. Although in the beginning satra were established for propagation of Vaishnavite faith, but with the passage of time such institutions gradually transformed into open Universities and became all-embracing socio-cultural centers covering education, music, dance, sculpture, drama and Fine-art. Barpeta in its present context also, can be termed as the ‘land of satra’ and there are more than 40 such satras situated at various places in the district.
Barpeta is famous for ‘Douljatra’ or ‘Holi’ festival. Although it is primarily a religious festival centering around satriya tradition, it can also be considered a spring festival. People belonging to different walk of life participate in this in this festival of colours . Holi songs are sung on the occasion .
Besides Satriya dances ,another beautiful dance –form of Barpeta is the famous, Bhartal “ dance. This dance –form is an adapted improvised dance-form developed from both the satriya and traditional dance .”Bhortal dance is discovered and initiated by one great satriya artist Late Mahananda Sutradhar , which was first performed in the stage among the people by another great artist Late Narahari Burabhakat of Barpeta also made some refinement of this dance form .
Devadasi , another dance form ,originally performed by the female temple dancers at Dubi Devalaya for amusement of the temple deities. Due to some social reasons this dance form lost its patronages and become extinct.
Barpeta is also famous for Dashavatar (ten incarnation of Vishnu) dance Satriya Ojapali dance and Borgeet ( devotional songs),which are performed in various socio-cultural occasion.
Barpeta is also a treasure house of folk songs and dances which includes-Mahoho-Geet,(song sung to driven out mosquito ), Biya-Nam (wedding song), Dehbicharar Geet, Loka-Geet, Thiya-Nam (songs of Prayer sung standing and Dancing in Group), Nao-Khelar geet (song sung on boat races) etc.
Barpeta’s heritage also includes, traditionally made art-objects, handicrafts, Ivory-wood-Bamboo-Cane-Iron objects, brass and bell –metallic objects, textile, ornaments. Pottery, Puppetry, Fire-crackers and Mobile-theatres.

The erstwhile Barpeta Sub-Division got such elite administrators like Late Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, Dinanath Bezbaruah, Madhab Ch. Bardaloi, Rajani Kanta Bardoloi, Kanak Lal Baruah and Sailadhar Rajkhowa, Dhekiya Phukan was Sadar-Muncif (SDO) in 1852, who wrote his famous report (“A few remarks on Assamese language for the vernacular education in Assam) to the then Commissioner, his superior Sir George Andrew Mofatmills, illustrating the distinctive characters of Assamese language and thus helped in restoring the dignity of Assamese language in the courts and schools of Assam. Late Dinanath Bezbaruah (father of Sahityarathi Late Lakhinath Bezbaruah) was Sadar Muncif on 1864, who also added some literary contributions while serving at Barpeta. Late Madhab Ch. Bardalai (Father of Kamaveer Late Nabin Ch. Bardalai) was Sadar Muncif in 1895, who edited and published Madhab Kandali’s Ramayana and Purushottam Gajapali’s Deepika Chanda’. Late Rajani Kanta Bardoloi was SDC during 1894 to 1897 at Barpeta , he published his first novel “Mirijioree” here and wrote his another famous novel “Manomati” taking Barpeta in its one of the bases,. Bardoloi was designated by the critics as “Uppoinach Samrat” ( emperior of Novel) for his valuable contributions towards Assamese literature. Sailadhar Rajkhowa was S.D.C. at Barpeta, he was also a poet genius, his two famous poems ‘Barpeta’ and Pashan Pratima” based on the glorification of Barpeta’s rich culture and historic past are considered as monumental contributions towards Assamese literature. Late Kanaklal Barua the author of ‘ Early History of Kamrupa” was also Sadar Muncif since 1909 to 1917, he borned at Barpeta in 1872, while his father late Lakhmilal Baruah was also Sadar Muncif. Late Kanaklal Baruah also received his school education at Barpeta itself since 1878 and during his school days he contributed poems in ‘ASSAM-BANDHU’, ‘MOU’ etc, magazines and news papers of this period. While he was serving at Barpeta he wrote one of his famous articles ‘Mahapurushia Sampradayar Dharmamat’ ( Religious belief of Vashnvaite Community) in ‘ Bahi’ edited by Lakhsminath Bezbaruah, philosofer- writer late Rdhanath Phukan and poet late Durgeswar Sharma also served as Government Servant at Barpeta for many years.
Padmabati Devi Phukanani, the first Assamese lady novelist and daughter of late Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, borned at Barpeta in 1853. poet Nalinibala Devi daughter of late Nabin Ch. Bardoloi was also borned at Barpeta in 1897, while her grandfather late Madhab Ch Bardoloi was a Sadar Muncif at Barpeta. Barpeta was also a working place for Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Natasurya Phani Sharma late Satyen Barkakati ex- chairman , APSC also served at Barpeta as S.D.O. late Deakanta Baruah received his school education at Barpeta, Sahityacharya late Atul Ch Hazarika, Ex-Prsident, Asom Sahitya Sabha, also served as teacher at Barpeta.
Barpeta produced her great sons and daughters such as Aai Padmapriya, the first Assamese lady poet (daughter of Sri Gopaldev Ata); Pushpa ram Kahar, leader of famous agrarian revolt (‘ Raij-Mel”) fame held against the British policy of exploitations , Kohiram Das, the Assamese Grammarians , Bakul Kayastha, the Assamese Mathematicians; Padmashree Chandraprava Saikiani, the famous and pioneer lady revolutionary social reformer and freedom fighter ; Braja Sharma, the revolutionary dramatic, who was pioneer in launching female artists first time in Assamese theatre, who was also the leader of the freedom-fighter groups who burnt down the British Airport at Barnagar during the freedom struggle; Asom Keshari Ambikagiri Roy Chaudhuri, the nationalist, poet and freedom-fighter Prasanna Lal Chaudhury the revolutionary poet; Dr. Banikanta Kakati, the great academician and linguistic researcher of high merit, his monumental work “Assamese-its Formation and Development’ helped in establishing Assamese language in distinctive position.
The district also produced Holiram Deka, the first Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court; Dharmananda Das, the first Chief Secretary, Govt. of Assam; Mohendra Pathak and Damba rudhar Pathak, both of them remained Chief Justices of Asssm; Kameswar Das, freedom fighter and great academician; and the first Chairman APSC Hitesh Deka, ex-president, Asom Sahitya Sabha; Sri Harekrishna Deka, Director-General of Police, Assam; Dr. Robin Dev Choudhury, Director-General of National Museum, New Delhi: Dr. Tara Prasad Das, Ex-Chairman, Assam Public Service Commission, and Sri Gajendra Nath Talukdar, Vice-Chancellor, Guwahati University. The district also produced two great martyrs of 1942’s freedom struggle, Swahid Madan and Raota and also Uddhab Das, great martyr of Kargil War. The inventor of Railway train’s vacuum brakes, Col. Guru Prasad Das was also a son of Barpeta.
Barpeta district also produced such politician luminaries like Late Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed, the Fifth President of Indian Union; Late Mohendra Mohan Choudhury, Ex-Chief Minister of Assam and Ex- Governor of Punjab; Late Akhsai Kumar Das reputed political leader etc.


PLACES OF TOURIST INTEREST

With the advent of Shrimanta Sankardeva Barpeta region turned into a place of great religious importance. Large number of Satras were established by the disciples of this great Vaishnava saint. Since time immemorial these Satras attracts large number of devotees from all over the state, particularly during festivals and anniversaries. Among the Satras that are regularly visited by outsiders are Barpeta, Patbaushi,Sundaridiya,Sunpura,GanakKuchi,Satra Kanara and Jania.

The town of Barpeta is uniquely divided into 22 Hattis that are inhabited by the devoted followers and families of the Gurus, that are administered by the Satra administration. This unique feature is not found in any other place in Assam.

The traditional handicrafts of Barpeta including ivory carving are popular all over Assam. The indigenous fire cracker industry is also well known in Assam. Brass metal industry of Sarthebari is known all over the world .

Communication

Barpeta can be reached by Bus & Railways. The nearest Railway Station being Barpeta Road which lies at a distance of 21 K.M. from Barpeta Town. Barpeta Road is connected to all over Assam by National Highway No.31, North of the District Head quarter Town of Barpeta. Howly connects Barpeta with the National Highway which lies about 16 K.M. There are regular bus services between Barpeta and Guwahati.

Some of the important places of tourist attractions are:

Barpeta Satra, Barpeta

Pari Hareswar Devalaya, Dubi

Chinpara Vithi, Barpeta

Dargah of Syed Shahnur Dewan, Bhella

Sundaridiya Satra, Barpeta

Gorokhia Gosair Than, Niz Sariha(Sorbhog)

Patbaushi Satra,Patbaushi

Manas National Park, North Barpeta

Ganakkuchi Satra, Barpeta

Brass-metal industry of Sarthebari

Baradi Satra, Baradi

River side views

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

SATRAS:

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

Patbaushi

Ganakkuchi

Jania

Sundaridia

Barpeta

Baradi

Kanara

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PATBAUSHI SATRA:

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The Satra at Patbaushi was established by Shrimanta Sankardeva. His Vaishnava faith was spread by the guru's able disciples Shri Madhav Deva, Shri Damodar Deva and Shri Hari Deva. It was from this satra that Srimanta Sankardeva spread his faith, literature, music art-forms, culture and work-culture to its fullest form. Here the guru spent 18 years of his life with remarkable achievement including completion of the 'Kirtan Ghosa' and composition of 240 number of invaluable Borgeets. Some of the items used by these Gurus and Sachipat puthis are well-preserved here. Shrimanta Sankardeva composed 240 Bargeets, Shastra (literary religio- cultural text) and Ankiya nat (Dramas). The scripts are carefully preserved here. Of late the Govt. has taken steps for preservation of this treasures of Assamese heritage and planning to setup a Shrimanta Sankardeva Museum at the premises of the Satra. The Damodar deva Satra is also located in the same premises. Ahom Ruler Paramatta Singha constructed a Math in memory of the saint. This Satra is located at a distance of about 2 K.M. from Barpeta town.The Satra is located about 2 K.Ms North of the Barpeta town.

linked to it is the Patbaushi Damodar Satra. This Satra was founded by Damodardeva and is situated just near Patbaushi Sankardeva Satra. The Satra got royal patronage from the Ahom King Pramttwa Shingha. Bhattadeve, the chief disciple of Damodardeva, wrote Bhagawat scripture in prose from at this Satra. Besides ‘Katha-Bhagawat’, Guru-Lila, Dron-parva, of Mahabharata in manuscript forms are preserved in this Satra.

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· GANAKKUCHI SATRA:

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

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· JANIA SATRA:

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

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· SUNDARIDIYA SATRA:

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The Satra was established by Shri Madhab Deva after leaving Ganakkuchi Satra. The first satradhikar of Barpeta Satra Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata initially come to this Satra and became a disciple of Shri Madhab Deva. It was here that Paal Nam and Beer Nam or Thiya Nam was created by sri Madhab Deva. Shri Madhabdeva composed the "Bhakti Ratnakar" and "Namghosa" here in the original Vithi of the Satra.The great saint during his sojourn here dug a Well preserved till today and water of the well is considered holy.Three Guru Asanas are placed in the name of Shri Sankardeva,Shri Madhavdeva and Shri Badula Ata.
A large number of items used by the guru including Sachipat-puthis are preserved here.

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BARPETA SATRA:

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Sri Madhab Deva founded the Barpeta Satra and stayed here for 8 long years. Here he appointed Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata as the first Satradhikar of the Satra. It was Burha Ata who systematised the administration of the Satra leading to development of the institution and the region of Barpeta. A democratic system was introduced which is effective till today. Large number of followers came to Barpeta & accepted the Vaishnava faith irrespective of their caste high or low that created an egalitarian Society. A new work culture developed among the followers. The Satra has several buildings. The front gate is called 'Batsora'. The main 'Kirtanghar' is where prayers or 'Nam Kirtan' are performed is an architectural splendour. Earlier built as a Kutcha house was concretised with big-pillars in 1952 with decorative wall paintings. All the 'bhakats' or 'devotees' discussed all kinds of problems in the Jagmohan Ghar. In the 'Bhajghar' a lamp is continously burning for more than 400 years that is called 'Akhay Banti'. Sri Krishna Doul festival is organised at the premises of Doul ghar. There is a small zoo and small 'rangial' garden. Within the premises a cultural school, Keli kadam tree,Shri Shri Mathura Das Burha Ata Library, study-room, office and kitchen are also located. The buildings within the Satra premise are architectural achievements in its own right.The Kirtan Ghar is considered to be the largest in Assam. The Three Guru Asanas are placed in this buildings in honour of Shrimanta Sankardeva, Shri Madhavdeva and Shri Badula Ata. The two Satradhikars sit behind the Asanas to hold Nam-Prasangas regularly. Numerous buildings are located within the premise covering an area of 20 Bighas. Constitution formulated by Sri Mathura Das Ata is still in vogue. The Satra located at the heart of the City attracts devotees from all over the State particularly during Holi when Doul festival is organised and annivarsaries of various Vaishnava Gurus. BARADI SATA:
This satra was also established by Sri Madhab Deva and stayed here for a very short period.The Sankarite culture spread far and wide from Baradi making it a centre for learning. The place is located about 2.K.M. east of Barpeta town.

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BARADI SATRA

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This Satra was established by Shri Madhabdeva. The common people were greatly influenced by the preachings of this great scholar. This Satra became an important centre of learning.

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SATRA KANARA:

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

other satras are:

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Akaya Satra:

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Akaya Satra is the big satra in Bajali Sub-Division, Situated at Akaya village at a distance of 6 K.M. towards north from Patacharkuchi.

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Guwagacha Satra:

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Ramcharan Thakur founded this Satra, the Satra is situated at a distance of 8 K.M. towards north from Simlaguri.

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Gomura Satra:

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This Satra was founded by Madhabdeva and is situated at a distance of 27 K.M. towards east from Barpeta Town near Sarthebari.

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Bhawanipur Satra:

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This Satra is founded by Gopaldev Ata at old Bhawanipur and is situated at a distance of 26 K.M. towards north from Barpeta town.

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CHINPARA-VITHI:

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Chinpara-Vithi is the place where Srimanta Sankardeva landed from his boat at Barpeta on banks of Palangdi Bori; which is presently called Palangdihati. The Saint stayed here for six months to propogate his faith. This place is located about 1/2 K.M. North of Barpeta Satra. The Namghar established by the Guru still exist.

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PARI HARESWAR DEVALAYA, DUBI:

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This Shiva Temple was founded back in the ancient period.Located at Dubi near Pathsala of Bajali Sub-Division Ahom King Shiva Singha made land grants measuring about 760 Puras recorded in Copper-Plate inscriptions and donated an image of Goddesses Durga. There is a legend that Queen Fuleswari, wife of Shiva Singha, was instrumental in bringing "Devadasis" or Temple dancers from Upper Assam to perform dances for amusement of the deities of this Temple. The famous dance form "Devadasi-Nritya" is said to have originated in this Temple.

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Dokreswar Devalaya:

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It is an also ancient Shiva Temple situated at Dokreswar Model village under Gomaphulbari Dev. Block, at a distance of 4 K.M. towards south from Bhella. This Develaya also received royal patronage from the Ahom King Shiva Shingh in the form of land-grants.

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Bhogeswar Devalaya:

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Although there is no record of concrete historic origin about this temple (also known as ‘Than’), the Bhogeswar develaya at Ulua village, situated on the western river bank of Kaldia river about 8 K.M. towards north from Patacharkuchi, was established by Vaishnava devotees which was more than 500 years old.

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DARGAH OF SYED SHAHNUR DEWAN, BHELLA:

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A disciple of Muslim Sufi-Saint Ajan Fakir of Upper Assam Syed Shahnur Dewan came and stayed at Bhella region to spread the Sufi Philosophy of Islamic brotherhood back in the medeival period. This mystic is said to have divine healing power and cured a maternity problem of Queen Fuleswari, wife of Ahom King Shiva Singha. On curing the Queen, the King issued land grants and other patronages to the Fakir. Ahom King Chandra Kanta Singha also offered land through issue of Copper-Plate inscriptions which has been lost during the Burmese invasions of 1824.

GOROKHIA GOSAIR THAN,NIZ SARIHA(SORBHOG):

Shri Narayan Das Thakur Ata, a disciple of Shrimanta Sankardeva came to offer his devotion that was said to be founded by some cow herds (Gorokhia). The building of this Than has a close resemblance of the Kirtanghar of Barpeta Satra. The Than covers an area of 25 Bighas where Doul festival is organised annually with great pomp and splendour.

MANAS NATIONAL PARK :

Declared as a national park in 1990 Manas National park is located at Himalayan foothills where its having an unique bio diversity and scenic landscapes. It is one of the first reserves included in the tiger reserve network under project tiger in 1973. Covering an area of 2837 Sq.KM. Manas river flows through the park with unique blending of dense jungles and grass-land, harbours the largest number of protected species of India including tiger, leopard, civet, elephants, buffalo, pygmy hog, golden langoor, Assam roof turtle, and the Bengal florican. This park is included as a site of international importance under UNESCO's world heritage convention in 1988 as well as Biosphere Reserve in 1989. There are as many as 60 species of mammals,312 birds, 42 reptiles,7 amphibia,54 fishes and more than 100 species of insects The place can be reached by road from Barpeta Road(20KM) connecting National highway No-31 that connects rest of India. The railways connects Barpeta Road with rest of the country and Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati is nearly 160 KM from Barpeta Road town. The forest lodges are situated inside the park at Mathanguri which lies at a distance of40 K.Ms from Barpeta Road. Visitors are to obtain necessary permission for entry into park at the office of Field Director Manas Tiger Reserve, Barpeta Road.

BRASS METAL INDUSTRY OF SARTHEBARI :

Sarthebari town is located in the easternmost corner of the district famous for the household brass metal industry. Large number households carry out this industry that expertises in making Sarais, Bota, Ban-Batis,Thals,glasses etc. that are traditionally used by the Assamese people. These utensils are unique contribution towards Assamese tradition and culture carried for long period of time. Due to increasing cost of raw materials that is to be imported from other state, the artisans are finding it economically difficult to continue the industry.

(12) RIVER SIDE VIEW :

The main rivers of Barpeta namely Manas, Beki and Brahmaputra present scenic beauty that would bring appreciation from environmentalists and tourists alike. View from the bridges on National highway No-31 over Beki and Manas provide panoramic view of natural beauty. A visit to Baghbar hills also provide a scenic overview of the mighty Brahmaputra. But infrastructural facilities has to be developed to attract tourists.

DISTANCE OF VARIOUS SATRAS FROM BARPETA

SATRA

ESTABLISHED BY

DISTANCE (in K.M.)

Barpeta

Shri Madhab Deva

0

Sinpara

Shri Sankar Deva

1

Kamarkuchi Than

Shri Sankar Deva

1.5

Patbaushi

Shri Sankar Deva

2

Ganak kuchi

Shri Madhab Deva

0.75

Sundaridiya

Shri Madhab Deva

2

Baradi

Shri Madhab Deva

2

Kapla

Shri Madhab Deva

20

Gumura

Shri Madhab Deva

24

Guagacha

Shri Madhab Deva

21

Bhabanipur

Shri Gopal Ata

28

Kanara

Narayan Das Ata

8

Bhatkuchi

Keshav Charan Ata

2

TOURIST LODGE AND INFORMATION CENTRE

Tourist lodge with information centre is located at Barpeta Road. The deptt. of tourism have a forest lodge also. The directorate of tourism organises conduct tours to the Manas National park. The best time to visit the park is between November and April.


DISTANCES OF PLACES FROM BARPETA TOWN

PLACE

DISTANCE(KM)

Howly

12

Barpeta Road

21

Manas Ntl. Park

52

Sorbhog

27

Bongaigaon

69

Cooch Bihar

259

Siliguri

432

Guwahati

140

Bhella

8

Nagaon

13

Sarthebari

27


CULTURAL ART FORMS:

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

BORGEET:

Devotional songs composed by Shrimanta Sankardeva are still popular in this region.

ANKIYA GEET:

Shrimanta Sankardeva composed ankiyageet for ankiya-nats or plays. These are sung on special occessions like Doul festival,anniverseries of the two gurus and other festivals.

HOLI GEET:

Holigeet are the unique form of chorus songs that originated in Barpeta satra and spread throughout the state. These are sung during the Doul festival.

LOKA GEET:

Kamrupi Loka geet is popular form of folk music that expresses thoughts and emotion of the common people. These songs are sung from time immemorial by various people of earstwhile undivided Kamrup district. Beside this various forms of songs linking the day to day activites are also popular like biya(marriage) geet,now khelor(boat race) geet, maha-kheda (mosquito driveout)geet, lora-dhemalir(child's play)geet, boroshibowa (fishing) geet, nisukoni (lallabye)geet and various forms of bihu geet.

DANCES:

Devadasi nritya was performed at Pari Hareswar Devalaya in Bajali. Deodhani nritya is another form that was popular during middle ages. Shrimanta Sankdardeva popularised the Satriya nritya among the common people. Other dance form that the guru popularised are Krishna nritya, Kalidaman nritya, Dasavatara nritya, Jhumura nritya, Sali nritya, Sutradhari nritya, Gopi nritya Raja Nritya, Rani nritya etc. which were performed in the Satras. Ojapali is a popular dance form among the people.

DRAMA & THEATRE:

Sankardeva popularised 'Bhaona' or mythological plays that became centre of attraction from the common masses. Colourful dresses were worn on the occassion by the participants. The modern dance form became popular with spreading of dramas. These dramas resulted in formation of professional theatre groups in and around Pathsala region leaving behind an unique cultural legacy. Large number of professional theatre group enjoy popularity among the people in every hook & corner of Assam. Theatre groups like Nataraj, Kohinoor, Abahan, and Aradhana from Pathsala has not only carved out a niche but also revolutionised this medium despite challange from Cinema Halls.

Places to visit in towns:

Barpeta:

Barpeta, originally also known as ‘Tantikuchi’ and Barpat, is the district headquarter town of Barpeta district. Barpeta town has 12 wards under more than 100 years old Municipal Board. Besides, Satriya heritage, Barpeta was famous for ivory-works, fire-crackers works, Doul Festival, Rowing of Boat competition, Satrya dance, Bhortal Dance, traditional folk-culture etc. Growth of transport business is the prominent economic character. Mathuradas Bura Ata established an unique ;Hati-system to arrange the human habitants centering around Barpeta Satra and placed the inhabitants into four row of villages or hati’s. At present there are 22 hati’s. Bura Ata also developed village banking system to help the poor businessman and the needy people by extending marginal loan in nominal or without interest.

SARTHEBARI
Sarthebari is a small town situated at a distance of 27 K.M. towards east-north from Barpeta Town, is famous for its brass and bell-metallic utensils and art-objects manufacturing industries build up on cottage and corporate sector. The use of Bell-metallic art objects and utensils have been reported from Sarthebari since 7th Century A.D., when Kamrupa king Kumar Bhaskar Varman offered bell-metallic utensils made in Sarthebari to his ally King Harshavardhana of Kanouj (Northern India) as a token of friendship between the two kingdoms. Ahom king Shiva Shingha also honoured Jewadhan Kahar of Sarthebari for his skill and craftsmanship in bell-metallic works. Sarthebari also became famous during agrarian revolt in 1869, when the peasants in large number revolted against the then British Government’s policy of sudden increase of land revenue. People gathered in large number and revolted in their open meeting (‘Raij-Mel’) not to pay revenue to the Government. Sarthebari is now a township with four wards.

PATHSALA
Pathsala, often describes as the Hollywood of Assam for its big mobile theatre groups and regular performances of drama and other cultural activities round the year, is a sadar town of Bajali Sub-Division. Pathsala is situated at a distance of 37 K.M. towards north-east from Barpeta Town. Pathsala and its surrounding places became famous during the Freedom-Struggle, when people from those places had joined in the movement. And Bajali sub-division produced two great martyrs of 1942, Swahid Raota and Madan and also the martyr of Kargil war of 1999, Uddhab Das.

BARPETA ROAD
Barpeta Road is a busy industrial market town in the district, situated at a distance of 23 K.M. towards west from Barpeta Town. Barpeta Road is connected to all over Assam by National Highway No. 31. A railway station is also situated at Barpeta Road. This municipal town of ten wards houses some important Government Offices, including the Field Director’s Office of Manas Tiger Project.

BAGHBAR
Baghbar is situated at a distance of 20 K.M. towards south from Barpeta town. Baghbar hill believed to be volcanic origin houses a satra (Boithaputa Ghat) founded by Madhabdeva, and Bagheswari Than. Baghbar has a mixed population comprising of the caste Hindu, the Bodos, Bengali Hindus and Muslims. The birth place of legendary ‘Dak Purusha’ of 8th century fame “lehidongora’ and the battle ground of the last battle between the Ahom and the Burmese soldiers in 1822 (‘Hardira Chowk’) are situated near Baghbar.

OTHER PLACES:

Besides, Bahari, and Howly are big market places. Bahari is situated near the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, a somewhat sleepy village waiting to receive town status in the near future, also houses an old satra founded by Harideva. Howly is also a notified town comprising of 4 wards, is connected with NH 31, thus receives opportunities for exposure. Sarbhog is a railway station and a command area of agricultural produces. Sarupeta is another railway station and also an agricultural area. Patacharkuchi a growing small township although waiting for attaining notified town status, can claimed to be heart of Bajali Sub-Division also forward in academic exposure. Kalgachia is the block headquarter and Rupshi is a mafasal town inhabited mostly by Muslim people. Same is the case with Mandia, the block headquarter of Mandia Dev. Block and a market place of local produces. Bhawanipur, that houses an old satra founded by Gopaldeva Ata is situated almost at the middle of Barpeta, Barpeta Road, Sarupeta, Pathsala near the N.H. 31.

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