About Sualkuchi

By , July 23, 2009 12:26 am

Sualkuchi, a village in the Kamrup district has been developed over the years as a major centre for commercial production of these indigenous fabrics especially the Pat and Muga silk. Sualkuchi is famous as the ‘Manchester of Assam’ and was established by Momai Tamuli Barbarua, a great administrator of the Ahom kingdom during the reign of Swargadeo Pratap Singha (1603-1641). Shri Barbarua set up this weaver’s village by shifting a large number of master-weavers from all over the region to that village. This patronage led to the advancement and development of sericulture in Assam.

This picturesque village on the banks of the river Brahmaputra is about 32 kms from Guwahati. Sualkuchi has a population of nearly 50,000 people, most of who are engaged in weaving magic on their looms. This village has an estimated 25,000 handlooms and produces nearly six million metres of white and golden Assam silk annually.

Sualkuchi in History

Sualkuchi an ancient craft village-having silk-rearing and weaving communities, potters, goldsmiths and oil pressures. While silk-rearing vanished long time ago, the gani industry perished during the early the part of the last century as the ‘Mudois’ of Sualkuchi used to sell mustered seeds to the mill of Guwahati. Pottery and gold-smithy have also vanished and the ‘Kumars’ and goldsmiths have undertaken more income yielding weaving besides other professions. The history of Sualkuchi was traced elsewhere by this writer to the 4th century BC on the basis of Kautilya’s reference to Suvarnakudya of ancient Kamrupa where the best quality of Patrorna (pat) was produced. This Suvarnakudya of Arthasastra was probably known later on as Swarnakuchi- a village naow in the bed of the Brahmaputra after the angle like bent of the river at Agiathuri was straightened towards Hatimura by Chilarai in 1562 (and the river by side of Hajo gradually dried up) and the name Sualkuchi /Soalkuchi is guessed to be derived from Swarnakuchi which in turn might have been derived from Suvarnakudya mentioned by Kautilya. The antiquity of Sualkuchi is also proved by the Asam Buranji by Gunabhiram Barua according to which the Basarioya (Basattar Gharia) Brahmins of Sualkuchi were granted land by one king Dharmapal probably of the 10th century AD. Three chronicles also testify that three was a Tanti community who were weaving silk cloth and Momai Tamuli Bezbarua and some other Ahom officials were punished by the Ahom King Pratap Singha for removing some Tanti families in 1636 to other places during the second phase of the Ahom-Mughal war.

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