By Tushar [09-Nov-23] Situated in the western heart of Assam, Barpeta, known as the 'Land of Santras,' stands as a captivating tourist destination. The fusion of Vaishnavite art and culture, catalyzed by the revered saint Shrimanta Sankardeva in the 16th century, gives Barpeta a distinct identity. The nickname 'Land of Santras' originated from 'Bar' meaning larger than and 'Peta' meaning pond, reflecting the city's vibrant cultural heritage.
1. Barpeta Satra: the spiritual heart of Barpeta- At the core of Barpeta lies the Barpeta Satra, established in 1583 AD by Saint Madhabdev. Initially known as Barpetathan, this spiritual haven draws devotees from across the state, particularly during the Dol festival around Holi and the anniversaries of Vaishnava Gurus. The Satra's architectural marvels include the Kirtan Ghar, considered Assam's largest. The intricate structures within the Satra's premises, surrounded by protective walls and entry gates, contribute to its spiritual aura. As a significant pilgrimage site, Barpeta Satra unveils a rich cultural tapestry that resonates with devotees and visitors alike.
2. Marvel upon nature's grandeur at Baghbar Hills- Just 20 km from Barpeta, the town of Baghbar unveils its scenic beauty atop Baghbar Hills. Sri Madhabdeva's Satra stands as a testament to the region's spiritual significance. The historic battleground of Hardira Chowk narrates the tale of the last battle between the Ahom army and Burmese soldiers in 1822. The hill provides a panoramic view of the Brahmaputra River, meandering gracefully from the Majestic Himalayas. Baghbar Hills beckon nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike, offering a captivating blend of landscapes and narratives.
3. Witness the canvas of faith and history at the Dargah of Syed Shahnur Dewan- For those seeking spiritual exploration, the Dargah of Syed Shahnur Dewan in Bhella offers a unique journey into the Islamic heritage of the region. Syed Shahnur Dewan, a disciple of Ajan Fakir, played a pivotal role in spreading Sufi and Islamic philosophies during the medieval period. The Dargah stands as a testament to his healing powers and the gratitude of the Ahom king, commemorated in copper plate inscriptions. Despite the loss of these inscriptions during the Burmese invasion in 1824, the Dargah remains a significant pilgrimage site for Muslims and history enthusiasts.
4. Confront the ancient Temples and Cultural Traditions at Pari Hareswar Devalaya- In Dubi, the Pari Hareswar Devalaya, dedicated to Lord Shiva, echoes with ancient tales. King Shiva Singha's grants of land to the temple and the introduction of Devadasis, temple dancers, add layers to its historical significance. The temple is believed to be the birthplace of Devadasi-Nritya, a renowned dance form. Pari Hareswar Devalaya invites visitors to delve into the cultural heritage of Assam, where spirituality and artistic expression intertwine.
5. The Landing Point of Shrimanta Sankardeva - Chinpara Vithi- Chinpara Vithi, a picturesque destination on the banks of the Palangdi Bori river, marks the landing point of Shrimanta Sankardeva. Here, the saint embarked on a spiritual journey, serving a six-month punishment in the adjacent forest and establishing a Namghar. This serene location attracts thousands of devotees seeking tranquility and spiritual solace.
6. Manas National Park - the haven of wilderness- Concluding the journey through Barpeta leads to the crowned jewel, Manas National Park. Nestled on the Himalayan foothills, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawls over 2837 sq km, earning recognition as a tiger reserve, Manas Elephant Reserve and biosphere reserve. Offering a safe haven for endangered species, including the Indian rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, and Asian elephant, Manas National Park beckons wildlife enthusiasts. The ideal time to explore its diverse fauna through a Jeep safari is from November to April.
Embark on a captivating journey from temples to tigers, exploring the cultural and natural wonders of Barpeta. Whether you seek spiritual enlightenment, historical narratives, or a rendezvous with nature, Barpeta and its environs promise an enriching experience. Plan your visit between October and March to bask in the favorable weather conditions and unravel the treasures of this 'Land of Santras.'