Janasanyog Assam | Directorate of Information and Public Relations Assam | DIPR Assam

Religion

Assam was once upon a time the original home of Tantricism in India. The Shakti temples like Kamakhya in Guwahati and Kechaikhati near Sadiya are proof to this. While veneration to Shiva largely prevailed in the early period, the mother goddess cult gained ground subsequently. In fact, at one time, Assam came to be identified with Tantrik, Shaktism, especially centering around the Kamakhya temple. Even today, Shiva and the Mother Goddess are venerated in various forms at the folk level in large sections of the Assamese society, both tribal and non-tribal.

Vaishnavism, another form of Hinduism, also had made a fairly early entry into Assam, but in the beginning it was nothing more than a cult. It was Mahapurush Srimanta Sankaradeva who gave a new definition to this cult through his neo-Vaishnavite movement , and this left untouched practically no aspect of Assamese society. So strong was this movement that it has pervaded the entire range of Assamese life and culture, cutting across religious and sectarian beliefs and practices. Sankaradeva’s neo-Vaishnavite bhakti movement was the harbinger of a renaissance with many –sided ramifications- spiritual, social, humanistic, artistic and literary.

The entry of Islam as a religion to Assam came through neighbouring Bengal which already had Muslim rulers a few decades after the Moghul dynasty was established in India, and Islam today is an important religion here. Islamic shrines of the State include Poa-Mecca of Hajo (Poa-meaning one-forth) and the Ajan Pir Dargah near Sibsagar, among others. Buddhism on the other hand first came down from Bhutan in the north, and then from Myanmar in the east. In fact, the small Hayagriba Madhava temple of Hajo is simultaneously a place of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists alike.