The Institution of Satra is a unique feature of Vaishnavism in Assam, founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture.
Satras are basically monasteries which propogate neoVaishnavism. They also became centres for education and dissemination of the art of harmonius living.
In 15th century the first Satra was founded in Majuli. Since then sixty five Satras have come up for the propagation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals. However, at present there are only twenty two Satras in Majuli. The others had to be shifted to safer places due to the devastation of flood and erosion.
The main existing Satras are:
Dakhinpat Satra: Founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the National Festivals of Assam. During Rasotsava several thousand devotees visit these holy Satras every year.
Garamurh Satra: Founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During the end of Autumn, traditional Raasleela (co-acting) is shown with great enthusiasm. Some ancient weapons called "Bortop" (canons) are preserved here.
Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the Satra is famous for "Paalnaam" and Apsara Dance and also its considerable collection of Assamese old utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.
Kamalabari Satra: Founded by Bedulapadma, it is a centre of art, cultural, literature and classical studies. It's branch, Uttar Kamalabari Satra, has showcased the Satria Art in several states of India and abroad.
Bengenaati Satra: It is a storehouse of antiques of cultural importance and an advance centre of performing art. Muraridev, the grand son of Sankardeva's step mother founded this Satra.
The royal robes belonging to the Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, made of gold and an golden umbrella are preserved here.
Shamaguri Satra: The satra is home to famous Mask crafts.
Batadrawa Satra: It is the birthplace of the greatest Vaishnava Saint Srimanta Sankardev,a Shrine and a centre of Vaishnava art and culture. It is about 140 kms. from Guwahati and about 15 kms. from Nagaon town.
Barpeta Satra and Kirtanghar : This famous Shrine and Kirtanghara attracts Vaishanavas from all over India. It was established by Madhadeva, the greatest discipleof Shankardeva.