On our visit to Majuli Island, we also visited Dakhinpat Satra of Majuli, which is one of the prominent Satras in the island. It is open to the public from 6 am to 6 pm. The Satra preserves the traditions of Vaishnav culture. I had read about it in one of the history books that collected and was looking forward to visiting the place and learn a few things about the Vaishnav culture and tradition. As time was running short, we were in a hurry to finish our tour and get back.
As we reached the Satra, I saw that there were many people getting inside, and we too joined them. The entrance itself was very impressive and highly ornate with figures animals, flowers and symbols. Inside too it was richly decorated and beautiful. Other than spreading the Vaishnav culture, it is also the centre of many dance forms, which were the contributions of Sri Sankardeva. Borgeet, Matiakara, Chali, Jumora, Sutradhar, Apsara, Dasavtar and Satria Krishna are some among them.
We were told that the Satra was established by the Satradhikar Sri Vanamali Dev, and was a disciple of Vamshigopal in 1584. The Ahom ruler Jayadhvaj Singh gave full support to him in the construction and also gave away many gifts for the Satra. The idol of Mahaprabhu Jadavrai is worshipped in the Satra.
The Satradhikar is in charge of the Satra and the monks called Bhakats are under the supervisuion of the Satradhikari. There are about 100 bhakats in the Satra presently. To become a Satradhikar you have to get training from your teenage itself. The boy chosen to become the Satradhikar is given training on philosophy, life and the Vaishnav religion and is called ‘Deka-Adhikar’. Once the training is completed, he becomes the Satradhikar.
The annual festival of Ras Leela is conducted here when thousands of devotees come to offer their prayers. The Sattriya dance form developed in the Satra is now regarded as one of the eight classical dances in India.
The visit to Dakhinpat Satra of Majuli was very enlightening and we started back taking fond memories of the visit.