Jorhat

Jorhat is an administrative district of Assam, located in the central part of Brahmaputra Valley. The district is bounded by Lakhimpur district on north, Nagaland state on the south, Sivasagar on the east and Golaghat on the west. On the North of the district, the river Brahmaputra forms the largest riverine island of the world. The administrative seat is located at Jorhat town.

Earlier Jorhat was a sub-division of undivided Sibsagar district. In 1983 Jorhat was carved out of Sibsagar District and was made a separate district.

The northern most area of the present district was a part of the Sutiya Kingdom before the Ahom-Sutiya war in the 16th century. In 1794 the Ahom king Gaurinath Singha shifted the capital from Sibsagar (erstwhile ”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 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 vogue in 1839 with an established Police Thana. During the great “Sepoy Mutiny” the anti-British plot hatched by Maniram Dewan and Piyali Barua was sabotaged, and these leaders were hanged in public at this very place in 1858.

In 1885, a narrow-gauge train service (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 headquarters of the undivided Sibsagar district in 1911, which comprised the present Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat and parts of Karbi-Anglong district with Major A. Playfair as the first deputy commissioner.

The modern-day district of Jorhat was created in 1983 when it was split from Sibsagar district.

On the north of the district, the river Brahmaputra forms the largest riverine island of the world, Majuli, spreading over 924.6 km². 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 monasteries headed by Satradhikars preaching and teaching the Vaishnavism which was initiated by Sankardeva (1449–1568). Each Satra has unknown wealth of Vaishnav Scriptures and extensive revenue free lands being cultivated by the “Bhakats” of the Satras.

Jorhat district occupies an area of 2,851 square kilometres (1,101 sq mi), comparatively equivalent to Russia’s Zemlya Georga. Floods frequent the island every year without any exception. The mean annual rainfall of the district is 2029 mm.

There are about 135 tea gardens, including out gardens, and the predominant field crop is rice, with per capita food grain production of 205 kg per annum.

The district has a number of small scale and cottage industries in the field of cane work and bamboo work, silver jewelry, furniture making, brass smithy, umbrella making, soap manufacturing, packaged food manufacturing etc.

The primary language of Jorhat and the entire state of Assam is Assamese. Other languages spoken include Aiton, which with approximately 1500 speakers is closely related to Shan and written in the Burmese script.

The cultural environment which prevails in Jorhat is the result of untiring effort of people to preserve its culture.