Srimanta Sankaradeva KALAKSHETRA

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1. Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalashetra is a must visit place to understand Assamese culture. It is well laid out, artefacts nicely presented and comprehensive. U see Manikut (wooden structure). Brahma is placed in the Asana in the Manikut. On its top is Guru Sthan where the Bhagawata Purana is kept. Manikut is found inside a Naamghar. Right of pic is HORAI, a traditional souvenir of Assam.

2. Board says it all. Sankaradeva was born in 1449 and died in 1569 A.D. A multifaceted personality, he was an artist, painter, lyricist, social reformer, dancer, sculptor, playwright, composer, philosopher, Sanskrit scholar and a yogi. Visited in November 2018. I got special permission to click pictures of the Kalashetra – express gratitude to the management.

3. Outside office is this huge JAAPI. It is a conical shaped hat with wide brim ie found in Assam. Along with Horai it is a traditional souvenir that I saw was given during all the functions of the Ras Mahotsav. Jaapi “is woven out of cane and tokou (palm) leaves with colourful embellishments added on top.” Hope album does justice to rich Assamese culture.

4. Sankaradeva sought the idea of realizing every human being as an image of Lord Vishnu. Sculpture is NAAM SINGHA. Tortoise symbolises the erth, the singha (lion on top) symbolises PAAPA (sin) and the elephant please tell. Note tortoise, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, found at entrance of temple at Thrissur Temple Kerala where Pooram is held every year.

5. Present pictures as I saw. There are two huge halls containing old manuscripts as seen in pic.

6. A front view of the manuscripts, many of them depict Lord Krishna.

7. Dancing Ganesha. There is a big hall with works of Olaf Van Cleef, a Frenchman. “Often inspired by Ravi Varma, his subjects are Indian inspired drawings which are water-coloured and highlighted with Indian ink. The theme of most paintings is Hindu gods and goddesses”. He also focussed on Bhutanese Buddhism. Collection here also features elephants, rhinos, butterflies and animals found in the natural parks of Assam.

8. A room has collection of real life pictures. This pic is at the entrance of a Naamghar. It shows two disciples with their Gurus.

9. Left low is Naamghar. Above that is a Manikut. On its top is Guru Sthan where the Bhagawata Purana is kept. Right top is also a Manikut. Below are musical instruments – help with names.

10. We now come to the MASKS section. Centre is Ravana. Left is HIRANYAAKHYA. Right is HIRANYAKASIPU.

11. Left is Baanaasur. Right is Kaalisarpa. During Raas Lila get to see these characters. The Raas is the story of the life of Lord Krishna presented in the performing art form and as mentioned in the ‘Bhagawata Purana’.

12. Sutradhar. Before start of any Ras Mahotsav performance a Sutradhar performs.

13. Left is BARAAHA. Right is Narasingha.

14. Left is PUTANA. Right is GAYASUR. When Krishna was 3 months old, Putana entered Gokul to breast feed Krishna with poison. But baby Krishna took the life out of the demon.

15. Stringer Instruments. Left to right 1.Charinda/Chereja 2. Dotara. 3. Ektara. 4. Tokara. 5. Think is Bin. In case of error write back.

16. Types of Wind Instruments.

17. Solid Instruments. 1 is Large Cymbal. 2 is Bihu Tal. 3 is Pati Tal. 4 is Khuti Tal. 5 is Manjira.

18. This is BHOR DOL.

19. Percussion Instruments. 1 is KHOL (Assamese community. 2 is MRIDANGA (Assamese community. 3 is KARBI DHOL (Karbi community).

20. Percussion Instruments. 1 is DUM-DUM (Mishing) 2 is DHOL (Assamese). 3 is KHAAM (Bodo). 4 is BAR DHOL (Assamese). 5 is KHRAM BAR (Tiwa). 6 is KHRAM (Rabha).

21. Percussion Instruments. 1 is Kettle Drum (Assamese). 2 is Nagara (Assamese). 3 is Tumta/Dagara (Tiwa). 4 is Kurkuri (Assamese). 5 is Dagar (Assamese).

22. Overview of the Masks section. Very well laid out and presented.

23. Left low is fox, centre is demon and right is Danab. Top left is Satrajit, right cannot read.

24. JOY. Made of bamboo, mud, cow dung, jute, cloth and colour.

25. BARAAHA.

26. Centre low is Maaris Asur, Tarakka Asur is extreme left, next is Subaahu Asur. Right yellow is Ugrasen, extreme right is Demon. Top looks like tiger.

27. DHAI. Masks basically refer to Puranic characters.

28. DHAI. Masks basically refer to Puranic characters.

29. Now to come replicas of different tribes. Left is DEORI. Right is Mishing community.

30. Left is RABHA. Right is TIWA community.

31. Left to right is Dimasa, Hrangkhal, Himar and Kuki communities.

32. Left is Singpho. Right is VAIPHIE communities.

33. Tai communities.

34. Left to right is Karbi, Khelma, Biate and Jemi, Naga communities.

35. Sattriya GAYAN BAYAN.

36. Musical instrument – looked like a Santoor to me by shape atleast so showing. Help with name.

37. On top of hill is this Naamghar next to the amphitheatre. U see Garuda and Hanuman on either side of the Manikut. One gets a very good view of Guwahati from here.

38. This is the seven level Manikut. Lowest level shows tiger standing on elephant who is standing on the tortoise. Can someone explain the significance of the seven layers of a Manikut and tortoise/elephant etc.

39. Wooden Sculptures. Centre is Lord Vishnu in Matshya Avatar.

40. Terracota on display. Did not know that terracotta made in Assam like I saw in Bastar.

41. Loved this section. Has pictures of the great people of Assam. Centre is ‘Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa’ 1864 to 1938.

42. Some other great men – think they are mostly in the fields of culture, art, literature, poetry etc. Very nice. There is a shop where u can buy Assamese textiles – is a co-operative, nice. Gifted some of the stuff that I bought from here to friends, they loved it.

43. Like to take your leave by offering HORAI, a traditional souvenir of Assam. Pictures of Assam State Museum/Temples of Guwahati/Hajo presented separately. Read about the Teachings of Sankaradeva https://www.esamskriti.com/e/Culture/Indian-Culture/Teachings-of-SANKARADEVA-Assam-1.aspx