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Barpeta Satra and Kirtan Ghar
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Barpeta Satra is one of the largest and powerful satra of Assam. This five hundred years old institution has established a completely distinguished identity among all the vaishnavite satra (monasteries) in Assam.

Mahapurush Madhabdeva was the founder of the Barpeta Satra, known as also "Than" at that time. The great saint stayed in the Satra for eight years establishing center of vashnavite culture in it. He made Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata(1490-1596 AD) as the first Satrdhikar (head of the satra). Madhabdeva, who was the disciple the of the great Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva, left the Satra after deligating the responsibilites to Mathura Das Ata.

The main building of Barpeta Satra and Kirtan Ghar

Mahtura Das was a disciple of Madhabdeva and requested the Mahapursh to come down to Barpeta. He also arranged a buliding for the saint. It was built on the spot where Sankaradeva had the big Vrindavani Vastra woven by Mathuradasa and other weavers. It became the Kirtan-Ghar (prayer hall) of the Saint during his stay in Barpeta. This Kirtan Ghar is the biggest prayer hall among all the Satras of Assam till date. The building was built by Mathura Das with special care. Timber was obtained from selected sites. Three of Madhavadeva’s disciples - Parvatiya Krishnai, Rama Karikar and Vibhisana - worked as carpenters and made ready the required number of posts and beams, and an Asana (holy pedestal). Bamboos were brought from the Bajali pargana; the stronger ones were split into long rods (kami) and the thinner made into whole rods to be reaching from the eaves to the nave (ruwa). These split and whole rods were kept under water for some time in order to give them durability, and were then dyed red.

Walls of the Kirtan Ghar were set up with bamboo and wood, windows (kundraksa-jala) being left in proper places. The posts and walls were studded with mica (balicanda) and tin foils (rangpata). The adhesive substance used for sticking these glittering objects was obtained from ripe bilva (wood-apple) fruits. Chalk (khari-mati) was used for decorating the posts and the walls.

Vibhisana and Krishnai, the carpenters, made floral designs (lata-phul) on the main gateway (pat-dvar), and two wooden representations of Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha. This magnificent and colourful view of the Kirtan Ghar was therefore called rangiyal-ghar (rang=colour).

The beautiful crafting on the walls of the Barpeta Satra

When Madhabdeva was spending his last years in Koc-Behar, the rangiyal-ghar was destroyed by fire. Mathuradasa rebuilt the house on a larger scale with a view to accommodating the increasing number of adherents of the Satra. The original spots on which Madhabdeva and the reader of the Bhagavata (Bhagavati) used to sit were not disturbed, and this is the reason these two seats are behind the Guru-Aasana today.

The Kirtan Ghar is now considered as epitome of medieval Assamese architecture ans sculpture.

Apart from the Kirtan Ghar, the Satra has several other buildings. The front gate is called "Batsora". 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 500 years that is called ‘Akhay banti.Within the premises a cultural school,Shri Shri Mathura Das Burha Ata Library,study-room, office and kitchen,guest house are also located.

Addition to splendid architecture, Barpeta Satra was the first to introduce a democratic system in any assamese institution. It was Mothura Das Burha Ata only who systematised the administration of the Satra leading to development of the institution and the region of Barpeta. The democratic system 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 Thapona inside the Kirtan Ghar

For centuries, the Barpeta Satra has been celebrating yearly festivals that showcase cultural richness and tradition of the region. "Doul Festival" is the most famous among the festivals. It is celebrated always on the "Holi" along with other parts of India. Holi is the festival color in India and one of the most celebrated event in the country. At Barpeta, Mathura Das Bura Ata first celebrated doul festival in the model of vaikuntha(heaven) because doul utsava was first celebrated in heaven. Thereafter, doul festival has been celebrated with satriya parampara (traditionally) till today at Barpeta satra. Barpeta satra is called Ditiya vaikuntha(second heaven) puri also. Doul festival is celebrated three to five days. The three days Doul is called "Burha Doul" and four or five days Doul is called "Deka Doul". According to the tradition four days doul is held in the month of "Fagun purnima" (full moon) and three days Doul is held in the month of "Chot purnima"(full moon).The first day is called gandha or banhutsava. It is an important day on which Vaishnavas bring nal,khagari and ekara for meji.

Other festivals celebrated in the Barpeta Satra are Maghor Domahi (Magh Bihu) and Janmashtami (Lord Krishna's Birthday).

Tourism info:

How to Reach

Barpeta Satra is situated in the Barpeta town. Barpeta is around 100 km west of Guwahati. There are regular Bus services available between Barpeta and Guwahati. Also small cab services ( called cruizer ) also available from Adabari/Hatigaon of Guwahati to Barpeta town. There are also local trains available in from Guwahati to "Barpeta Road" station, which is 18 km from the Satra.

Satellite Map of Barpeta Satra

Where to Stay

Barpeta Satra have own guest house and dormitories for pilgrimage. With approval of administrative office anyone can stay there. Satra accommodation is free of cost. Apart from that there are Hotels available in Barpeta at very low cost. Some Hotels information are below..
Prasanti Tourist Lodge ( Assam Tourism), Nakhanda Road
Plaza Hotel, Barpeta Bazar
Hotel Manas , Barpeta Bazar

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