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Government Of Assam Finance Assam Infrastructure Financing Authority

Srimanta Sankardev Museum in Guwahati

Mahapurush Srimanta Sankaradeva

Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1568) saint-scholar, playwright, social-religious reformer, is a colossal figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam. He is credited with providing a thread of unity to Assam straddling two major kingdoms (Ahom and Koch Kingdoms), building on past literary activities to provide the bedrock of Assamese culture, and creating a religion that gave shape to a set of new values and social synthesis. Srimanta Sankaradeva had not only reformed the entire Assamese Society but also laid the foundation of Assamese culture with his contributions in the field of literature, dance, drama, music, painting etc. His literary and artistic contributions are living traditions in Assam today. The sect of religion he preached is practised by a large population and Sattras (monasteries) that he and his followers established continue to flourish and sustain his legacy. 

As a mark of deep respect for his personality, teachings and oeuvre, he was named Mahapurush, the “Great Man”.

The project for construction of Mahapurush Srimanta Sankaradeva Museum at Srimata Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati with an estimated project cost of  Rs. 50 crore is sanctioned under funding from the Assam Infrastructure Financing Authority in May 2018 under Cultural Affairs Department.

Aims and objectives:

  • To create and establish an Institution to capture and understand the life and works of Srimanta Sankaradeva in the best possible way. This will support the government’s policy to promote Srimanta Sankaradeva at all school levels across the Nation. 
  • The Museum will work as a preservation, restoration and research place on the life and works of Srimanta Sankaradeva with ample facilities for research scholars who wish to be a resident here for some period of time.
  • To highlight the efforts of Sankaradeva who wished to integrate Assam with the rest of India. This will boost up a better sense of National Integration for the new generation. The Museum is going to carry a great educational, cultural and moral value of national integration.
  • This Museum or Centre of Art will provide the students and teachers with a clearer picture of the life of this Great Saint for an easy understanding. This will definitely help to make the efforts of Government more effective and practical in highlighting the contributions of Sankaradeva.

Project Narrative

There is no such type of an organized museum in operation at present in this part of the Nation, displaying life and works of this Great Saint. The present Museum in ‘Sankaradeva Kalakshetra’ lacks sufficient, organized and well-planned space, lack of modern technology to display articles, non-application of safety and security systems to protect the components, study materials etc.

The proposed Museum is going to incorporate all facilities and amenities of a modern Museum with characteristics and architectural features in the buildings that will resemble those of a ‘Naamghar or Kirtan Ghar’. This will depict the life of Sankaradeva as an artist and architect. Studies and research work reveals that the Architectural characters of Kirtan Ghar of Tembuwani were like those developed in the Western World in the 20th century about 400 years ago. The architectural floor plans of the building will be based on an ellipse, which will be achieved from smoothening the edges of a “Khol or Mridanga”. Visitors will be encouraged to go to the individual floors by staircase and lifts from the ground floor towards upstairs. The exit will be at the 4th-floor from where the visitors will take the way out through a wider ramp down with a very gentle slope. Various works of Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples will be architecturally displayed with landscaping and sitting arrangements throughout the walkway down to the ground floor, entering into a Souvenir Shop and then the final exit from the core building.

Proposed Activities inside the Museum Campus :

The main Attraction of the Museum will be a lifetime memorable journey on a wheeled boat shaped cabin, through a fully air-conditioned tunnel mode fibre boards, where the guests will be able to see and experience the phases of life and contributions of Sankaradeva right from birth till death. This will be executed by dramatic effects of light, sound and working models using world-class modern technology and technical experts.

Other major components of the Museum Building will be :

  • Treasures of contributions of Srimanta Sankaradeva towards the society building.
  • Activities explaining the relationship of Sankaradeva with some of the great contemporary people of his time from various parts of the country, whom he made acquaintance with when he had visited those places during his pilgrimage. This will create an impact on visitors who belong to those particular places who will be interested to understand the moral values of Sankaradeva in a better way.
  • An Auditorium to stage the dramas, acts, plays (Bhaona) scripted and directed by Sankaradeva. This will also have the facility of cinematographic display or show.
  • The central auditorium with skylight will be used as an open stage for performance visible from all floors.
  • An art and photography gallery with illustrations on the life of Srimanta Sankaradeva.
  • A big Library Hall with modern conference room facilities for video conferencing, teleconferencing and projectors etc. The library could be used by research scholars for their studies on Srimanta Sankaradeva. This will also help to promote Srimanta Sankaradeva globally. The library will be treated as an e-library.
  • A Meditation and Yoga centre will be put in the building to show Sankaradev’s contribution to the field of yoga in the form of “Mati Akhara” and other activities.
  • A large collection of souvenir items used by Sankaradeva will be kept for display in the Souvenir Shop and the same will be termed as “Memory Shop”.

List of Galleries to be Displayed :

a. Sankaradeva’s First pilgrimage.

b. Sankaradeva as a Worshipper of man.

c. Sankaradeva’s Missionary work.

d. Sankaradeva as a Master painter or artist (“Sapta Baikuntha Painting”)

e. Sankaradeva as a poet.

f. Sankaradeva in the world of drama/ Ankiya Nat.

g. Sankaradeva as a creator of “Vrindavabi Vastra”

h. Sankaradeva as an author.

i. Sankaradeva’s contemporary.

j. Sankaradeva’s unique creation such as Naamghar, Kirtan Ghar, Satra institution.

k. Sankaradeva’s Borgeet as a performing art.

l. As a National Integrator, the role of Sankaradeva Movement for Cause of National Integration.

m. Musical instruments, Bhaona Materials, Dress materials etc.

n. Different Sattriya dances.

o. Mati Akhora (Sattriya Exercise)