Explore Assam- The “Shangri-La” of India

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Posts Tagged ‘Sanchi’

Interesting Facts of Assam

Posted by assamexplore on April 8, 2009

The Chronicle of Assam started way back in the past when Alexander invaded Punjab, the Greeks had came across to the Indian tradition of using inner barks of trees and well-beaten cotton cloth as writing material. The Greeks were aware of the Sanchipat (Manuscript) tradition of Assam. The sanchipats were made from the inner barks of sanchi (aloe) tree. It was believed that the sanchipats were made in a complex and time consuming way at that time, i am talking about 7th Century AD.

Aloe tree can still be found in many parts of Assam. The famous oil AGARU, is the extracted oil from this sanchi trees and exported to West Asia. The famous historian Sir Edward Gait wrote about the skill of preparing manuscripts from the sanchi tree in A History of Assam.

Some of very interesting facts about Assamese Manuscripts came to light when Mr. Samiran Baruah, a painter and curator of Assam State Museum Guwahati did an in-depth study of thirty four manuscripts comprising of more than 3000 paintings.  From the study it was found that the Assamese Manuscripts were a pre-mughal phenomenon. According to Mr. Baruah in the other parts of india the skill of manuscript writing took serious effect only from the 18th century under the Mughal influence. But Assamese calligraphy was famous among the local people way back than the Mughal period.

Following are some great institutions where you can study the Assamese Manuscripts ,

  • The Assam State Museum
  • The Kamrupa Anusadhana Samiti
  • The Department of Historical and Antiquarian Studies Assam

These 3 institution has a very good collection of Assamese Manuscripts and The British Library in London also has some collection of Assamese Manuscripts. Lots of Assamese Manuscripts are still in the private hands and in the staras of Assam. As those were not preserved in a proper way and because of its exposer to the vegeries of the weather the manuscripts are on the brink of getting lost. Unless these are collected, documented and preserve, a treasure of Assamese Culture will be lost with time.

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