Morning at Deka Cheng
We went for a morning stroll along the stream that is just in front of Deka Cheng. After coming back about an hour, we had to wait patiently for breakfast as service was super BAD. As mentioned earlier while there was only other guest who is supposed to be a big Government Babu the whole attention of the whole staff was with him only. At the end we felt so frustrated that we gave our peace of mind to the so-called property manager. With that episode that was no point of staying another night with this property.
We saw a board for Ananda and straight went there to enquire about availability. And lucky for us they had one room free and we booked the same.
After booking room for the night we started our Satras exploration. We have a long list of Satras to cover.
- Shamaguri Satra
- Kamalabari Satra
- Auniati Satra
- Garamurh Satra
Srimanta Sankaradeva, the great 16th-entury saint-reformer of Assam established the satra / (Vaishnavite monasteries) here. And soon Majuli became the epic center of Assamese music, literature, culture and dance forms, Ahom Kings were the patrons. It is like a university by itself, imparting general education as well as cultural and spiritual knowledge and skills to hundreds of monks and who have dedicated their vies to these unique institutions.
There are about 30 of them now as several had to shift to the mainland due to river-bank erosion and floods. Each Satra, headed by a learned scholar, is also a living museum that preserves and propagates the centuries-old art forms alongside spiritualism and bhakti in the manner Srimanta Sankardeva had set rolling.
The satras consist of a large prayer hall facing a simple shrine, surrounded by dormitories for monks. The satras also offer guest accommodation where devotees and visitors not only take part in worship of Vishnu and Krishna, but also watch traditional performances.
Satras fall under two major categories. Those where monks(bhakat) lead celibate lives are called udasin satras. Those where the followers (bhakats) are not celibate and enter domestic life are called grihasti (domestic) satras.
Auniati Satra - Our first stop of the morning, occupied the highest position amongst the various Satras of Assam in the eyes of the Ahom Kings. It follows udasin vaishnavs.
Natun Kamalabari Satra - Our second stop, again we drove towards to the ferry point side. There we saw beautiful doors hand painted where devotes and visitors stay.
Dakhinpat Satra - It was little long drive to reach this one. And at the time of our travel there was lots of road construction going within Majuli it felt like a long road. Thus satra close to the watercourse Brahmaputra.
Samaguri Satra - A small satra famous worldwide for it’s Mask-making tradition. Hemchandra Goswami is an award-winning craftsman who is responsible for developing this craft in recent times. The entire family practices this craft and we were very lucky to sit down with him and he explained the complete mask making process to us.
Uttar Kamlabari Satra - our last satra on the list. By this time, we were little bored with satras.
In between we stopped for sunset point and bought some handmade stuff from Rengam Women Co-operative.
In the evening we moved out luggage from Deka Cheng to La Maison De Ananda, as the name suggest it has a French connection as one of the founding owner is French and main brain behind these eco-friendly home-stay.
The dinner was one the best of the whole trip. Wife of Mr.Monjit Resong (manager of the property) cooked us famous Mising dishes. We stepped in to the kitchen-dinning area little early and we could see the preparation & cooking with our own eyes. We had lots of fresh fish, chicken and vegetables and rice, we were told the pork dishes and home made beer is their specialty.
I am not a foodie but can just take another trip to Majuli just for the food and hospitability of Mr. Monjit.