DHUBRI, March 6 – The historic Ramrai Kutir Satra situated along the Indo-Bangladesh border at Satrasal in Dhubri district is facing acute financial crisis while carrying out their yearly ceremonial activities.
Ramrai Kutir is a sacred site of the Vaishnavites where the historic marriage of Bir Chilarai was conducted with the daughter of Srimanta Sankaradeva’s cousin brother (Ramrai), Bhubaneswari Devi during the 16th century. After the marriage, Srimanta Sankaradeva established the satra to promote and propagate satriya culture in the area with the aid of Cooch king Naranarayan, who was Bir Chilarai’s elder brother.
However, if the management and the locals of satra are to be believed, this satra with immense cultural, religious and historic significance faces massive financial crunch every year. According to satra management, the satra organises the birth and death anniversaries of Mahapurush Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva with great fervour and enthusiasm along with Rath Yatra, Bhado mahiyanaam, Doul Utsav, Janmastami, Raas Utsav etc., apart from organising music and dance workshops of satriya culture regularly.
However, the satra management is facing problems in recent times as it could not raise enough funds to meet the expectations of the devotees that arrive in hundreds from far-flung areas of the State and from West Bengal, especially during special occasions.
It was also informed that the satra mostly runs with donation money and some fund is also raised from rented houses and from selling betel nuts from the garden and from the leased fishery. “But we always run out of funds. As for celebrating the occasions and for running the daily activities of the satra, we need at least Rs 5 lakh every year, but we cannot raise more than Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh,” said the Satradhikar of the of the satra, Jitendranath Prodhani. He also said that due to such shortage of funds, the ceremonies could not be celebrated properly shattering the hopes of the devotees.
Prodhani also added that since 1957 the satra use to receive a sum of Rs 4395 yearly. “But since a few years we are receiving a sum of Rs 8000 to run our yearly activities,” he said while adding, “Only the electricity bill of the satra comes around Rs 10,000 every year”.
Apart from financial crunch, this religious place also faces the issue of encroachment and connectivity. “What we immediately need is the land patta in the name of the satra, which is still khaas. We also need a direct bus from Guwahati and Siliguri to Satrasal since the devotees face immense problem coming to the satra,” the Satradhikar demanded.
Meanwhile, the locals of Satrasal and members the management also informed that the satra also needs a guest house that can accommodate 40 devotees at a time with appropriate water supply. It may be mentioned here that the devotees visiting the satra face immense difficulties while seeking accommodation.