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Barpeta at a glance
The earlier Barpeta subdivision of erstwhile Kamrup District of Assam was declared as a district with Barpeta town as it’s headquarter on 1st July 1983. It is bordered on its south by the Kamrup and the Goalpara districts, on the north by the Baksa district, on the east by the Nalbari district and on the west by the Bongaigaon district. The ancient name of Barpeta is Tatikuchi.
Barpeta is the traditional home of Vaishnavite Art and Culture. The great Assamese renaissance figure and reformer Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva laid the foundation of Assamese culture and heritage in and around the district. He established famous Vaishnavite temple-satra at Patbausi. Mahapurush Shri Madhavdeva established the famous Vaishnavite temple- Barpeta Satra in this town in the 15th century (1583). Subsequently the great saints disciples namely Haridev, Damodardev and their devotees followed the good-works of the great figures.
Barpeta town is known as Satranagari. 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, politics, economy etc. created deep impact 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-culture centers covering numerous subjects including education, music, dance, sculpture, drama, fine-art, ivory-works etc. Some of the important Satras are- Patbaushi, Ganak kuchi, Jania, Sundaridia, Barpeta, Baradi and Kanara.
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 and 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 concretized with big-pillars in 1952 with decorative wall paintings. All the 'bhakats' or 'devotees' discussed all kinds of problems in the 'Jagmohan Ghar'. In the 'Bhajghar' a lamp is continuously burning for more than 400 years that is called "Akhay Banti". Sri Krishna Doul festival is organized at the premise of 'Doul Ghar'. There is a small zoo and small 'rangial' garden. Within the premises, a cultural school, Keli Kadam tree are also located. Constitution formulated by Sri Mathura Das Ata is still in vogue.
Cultural Art Forms:
The Barpeta District is rich in cultural art forms. The great cultural ambassador Srimanta Sankardeva contributed a great deal in creating different art forms that became integral part of Assamese culture.
Devotional songs composed by Shrimanta Sankardeva are still popular in this region.
Shrimanta Sankardeva composed ankia geet for ankiya-nats or plays. These are sung on special occasions like Doul festival, anniversaries of the two gurus and other festivals.
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.
Drama & Theatre:
Sankardeva popularized "Bhaona" or mythological plays that became centre of attraction from the common masses. Colorful dresses are worn on the occasion by the participants. The modern dance form became popular with spreading of dramas. These dramas resulted in formation of 'Mobile Theatre groups' in and around Pathsala region leaving behind an unique cultural legacy. Large numbers of mobile theatre groups enjoy popularity among the people in every nook & corner of Assam. Theatre groups like Nataraj, Kohinoor, Abahan and Aradhana from Pathsala has not only curved out a niche but also revolutionized this medium despite challenge from Cinema Halls and other entertaining mass media.
Handicraft: Decorative items of daily use including furniture, gift items, decoration items etc. are prepared by rural artisans out of cane and bamboo are wide spread in the district.
Bell And Brass Industry: The renowned town of Sarthebari is well-known for the household bell and brass-metal industry. Traditional utensils and fancy items designed by the artisans are found in every Assamese household. Most popular utensils here prepared are Xorai for offering as gift to Namghars and Bota on which paan and betel nuts are served by hosts to guests.
Pottery: Pottery works are popular among the common people. The Hira community is engaged in this profession. Ethnic and traditional items of daily use are prepared by the artisans. Great mathematician Varahmihira is said to have stayed in potter's village of Lehi Dongra (now eroded by river Brahmaputra).
Wooden-craft: Among the various articles preserved in the Satras, the decorative items made out of wood reflects the skilful artistry of the carpenters. The Guru Asana or the pedestral of the guru, various animals and birds figuring in mythology are aesthetically designed by the artisans.
Mask: Bhaona or plays introduced by Shrimanta Sankardeva used masks which are made with tribal art and folk element. These are prepared with materials like terracotta, pith, metal, bamboo, wood etc.
Jewellery: Barpeta is famous centre for preparation of Traditional Assamese ornaments with Gold. The ornaments are still as popular as during the medieval period among the female community.
Paintings: Paintings are tracked back to the medieval period. Paintings available in the Satras reflect the skilful work of the paintings.
Ivory Carving: Materials including Ornaments, Toys, images of Gods and Goddessess, Animals, Comb etc. are made by skilful artisans of Barpeta since the time of Shrimanta Sankardeva.
In 1939, the M.C. College was established in this town and it is the third institution of higher education in Assam.
Barpeta distrit has the the follwoing features
Area : 3,245 sq km. (represeting 4.21 percent of Assam's total area)
Total Population : 16,42,420 (2001 Census)
Population density : 506 per sq. km
Male : 8,48,578
Female : 7,98,623
Sex ratio (M:F) : 1000:941
Literacy rate : Male-65.95%, Female-57.35%
District HQ : Barpeta
Sub Division : Barpeta & Bajali
Mauza : 26 nos.
Revenue Circle : 9 nos.
Municipality : 2 nos.
Town Committee : 6 nos.
Rivers & Tributaries : Brahmaputra, Manah, Nakhanda, Bhelengi, Chawlkhowa, Bekee, Pohumara, Kaldiya, Palla etc.
92% people of Barpeta live in villages and 76.2% peoples are associated with agricultural activities, others are engaged in business, service etc.
The distance of Barpeta to Guwahati is 140 kms by national highway (NH-31) and 93 kms by Hajo-Doulashal state highway. The nearest Railway Station is Barpeta Road which lies at a distance of 21 kms from Barpeta Town. Barpeta Road is connected to all over Assam by National Highway No.31. The nearest airport is LGB International Airport at Barjhar.
Health Institutions in the District
* Civil hospital : 1
* Commuinity Health Centre : 5
* P.H.C. including M.C.H : 9
* Mini PHC : 28
* Dispensary : 8
* T.B. & Chest Clinic Centre : 3
* Leprosy Centre : 6
* Sub-Centre : 264
* Subsidiary Health Centre : 4
Need of A Medical College at Barpeta:
Barpeta was selected as a site for a new medical college to bring advanced and state-of-the-art medical education and tertiary healthcare facilities to Barpeta district and adjoining lower Assam area. Barpeta district with its two sub-divisions at Barpeta and Bajali has more than 1.7 million population. Besides these, the medical college shall also cater to the healthcare needs of the neighbouring districts like Nalbari, Baksa, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri, Dhubri, Goalpara etc. and also benefit patients from neighbouring NE States and Bhutan. The strategic location of Barpeta with connection to the rest of the country by road and rail and also with a neighbouring airport; and it being a centre of trade, education and rich cultural heritage, makes the natural choice for the establishment of a new medical college.