Jorhat

Jorhat is located between the Brahmaputra on the north and Nagaland on the south at 26 degree 46 minute’s north latitude and 96 degree 16 minute’s longitude in the central part of Brahmaputra Valley.

Established as the new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the decaying and declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat as the name signifies, was just a couple(Jor) of marts (Hut). From these two parallel marts namely Chowkihut and Macharhut, which lay on the eastern and the western banks of the river Bhogdoi. Jorhat today has grown into a thriving cosmopolitan town with a strong sense of character and identity. It is the best laid out town in Upper Assam with broad roads, cutting each other at right angles. The variety of heterogeneity of the town population, specially its business community – comprising of Punjabis, Biharis, Marwaries, Bengalis and even odd South Indian is something commendable. Yet each person, irrespective of his place of origin, who has made Jorhat his home is staunchly loyal to his adopted home and fully identifies with it. Urban, polite and polished behavior is the distinguishing features of an average Jorhat man.

Earlier Jorhat was sub-division of undivided Sibsagar District. In 1983 Jorhat was curved ot of Sibsagar District. The present Jorhat District consists of three (3) Sub-divisions namely Jorhat, Majuli and Titabor. The district is devided into 6 revenue circles and 8 development blocks. The area of the district is 2852 Sq. Km. and population is 1,009,197 (as per 2001 census). The population comprises predominantly Hindus and Muslims. Jorhat is the first fully literate district in Assam.

“JORHAT” or “JOREHAUT” means two hats or mandis-“Macharhat” and “Chowkihat” which existed on the two different banks of the river Bhogdoi during the 18th Century, Jorhat was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom. In the year 1794 the Ahom king Gaurinath shifted the capital from Sibsagar (erst-while ”Rangpur”) to Jorhat. This town was a flourishing and commercial metropolis but completely destroyed after a series of the Burmese invasions since 1817 till the arrival of the British force in the year 1824 under the Stewardship of David Scott and Captain Richard.

The British Rule, though, was not free from rebellions and revolutions, contributed to reemergence of this historical town. From the very first decade of the British rule, the great revolutionists who emerged were Gomdhar Konwar, Jeuram and Piyali, British system of administration, came into vouge in the year 1839 with an established Police Thana. During the great “Sepoy Mutiny” and Piyali Barua was sabotaged and these leader were hanged in public at this very place in 1858.

In 1885,a narrow gauge train services (Jorhat Provincial Railway)had come into operation and ultimately became instrumental in rapid growth of tea industry.

Though, the Civil Sub-division under Sibsagar district at Jorhat was formed in 1869,this great place was declared as administration head quarter of the undivided Sibsagar district in 1911 which comprised of the present Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat and parts of Karbi-Anglong district with Major A. Playfare as the first Deputy Commissioner.

On the North of the district, the river Brahmaputra forms the largest riverine island of the world, MAJULI, spreading over 924.6 sq. Km. with a population of about 1.50 lakh being threatened by the constant erosion by this mighty, unstable river Majuli had been the principal place of pilgrimage of Vaishnavites since the ages of the Ahom rules. There are several Satras resembling medieval monastries headed by Satradhikars preaching and teaching the Vaishnavism which was initiated by Sankardeva (1449-1568). Each Satra has unknown wealth of Vaishnav Scriptures and exensive revenue free lands being cualativated by the “Bhakats” of the Satras.

At Present, the district spreading over 2851 sq. km. with a population of 8.7 lakhs(1991 census)and a density of 306 persons sq. km. The sex ratio is 913. The disrict has SC and ST population of 7.61% and 12.09% respectively of the total population. However,the Majuli Sub-Division has a tribal population of 70% who are primarily “Misings”. Floods frequent the island every year without any exception.The mean annual railfall of the district is 2029 mm.



HISTORY

The name Golaghat ( 'Gola' which means shop and 'Ghat' meaning the landing point of river ferry ) originated from the shops established by the 'Marwari' businessmen during mid part of 20th century AD at the bank of river Dhansiri near present Golaghat town.

Stone inscription of Nagajari Khanikar gaon of Sarupathar, dating back to the 5th century, reveals that there was an independent kingdom in Doyang - Dhansiri valley and relics of ramparts, brick structures, temples, tanks etc. discovered in these area confirms the presence of a kingdom during 9th and 10th century.

The Doyang – Dhansiri valley came under the rule of Ahom's during 16th century. Prior to that, this part was ruled by the Kacharis known as Herombial. During Ahom rule this area was under 'Morongi – Khowa Gohain', an administrative officer.

After British took possession of Assam , Doyang – Dhansiri valley was included under the newly formed Golaghat subdivision of Sibsagar District in 1846. Later, Golaghat was elevated to the position of a full-fledged district of Assam on 15th of August 1987.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Majuli: Majuli is the world’s biggest riverine island and a principal place of pilgrimage for the Vaishnavites of Assam since the Ahom days. There are several Satras of Vaishnava religious creed. Of these holy seats, Auniati, Daksinpath, Garamur and Kamlabari are the four most prominent. What is of special importance is its satra establishment, consisting of separate structures, built for different purposes.

Dakhinpat Satra: Dakhinpat Satra was founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the State festivals of Assam.

Garamurh Satra: This Satra was founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During Autumn end traditional Raasleela is performed with great enthusiasm. Some ancient weapons are also preserved here.

Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, this satra is famous for 'Paalnaam' and Apsara dance and it also has considerable collection of old Assamese utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.

Kamalabari Satra: Kamalabari Satra founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a center of art, culture, literature and classical studies. Its branch Uttar Kamalabari Satra has performed cultural programme of satria art in several states of India and abroad.

Bengenaati Satra: It is a store house of culturally important antiques and an advanced center of performing arts. Muraridev, the grand son of Shankaradeva's step mother, had founded the SSwargadeoatra. The royal robes belong to the Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, made of Gold and an umbrella which is also made of gold, are preserved here.