Ankia Nat or Bhowna

At the advent of 16th century the great saint and Guru Srimanta Sankaradeva created the drama form of Ankiya Nat and performance of the Ankiya Nat was popularly known as Bhowna which literally means drama. Theological ideas on religion, philosophy, faith and feelings relating are the basic ingredients incorporated in Bhowna. The theme propagated by Him is based on 'Ek Saran Nam Dharma' interalia 'monotheism'. Episodes of the great epics Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavat Puran etc. constituted the story telling drama in Bhowna form.

The agrarian society were swayed and enthralled by watching the drama performance depicting Lord Sri Krishna, Sri Ramchandra and other divine souls and triumph of truth over evils. Great Mahapurush Sankaradeva kept the medieval society away from social evils and moral corruption and brought together the people of the then fragmented Assamese society. He exercised to preach and propagate His Vaishnavite ideology through the medium of the drama form of storytelling, enacted in the Ankiya Nat in 'Brajawali' language.

To popularise Bhowna He had complemented the performance with Gayan Bayan Gayan means Singer and Bayan means player of musical assortments) before beginning of the show. This ritual is called 'Purva ranga', the concept of which is found in ancient Indian Natyashashtra. The Sutradhar plays the pivotal role of being the anchorin running the drama colloquially by reciting Sanskrit slokas, prose and poetries covering the story of the drama. For general appreciation and easy understanding of the spectators the Mahants and disciples of Great Guru Mahapurush Sankaradeva has authored numerous dramas in vernacular language. The Naamghar (community prayer hall) and the Sattra (monastery like institution) were the hub not only to practise the philosophy of the Saint but also to perform the va rious devotional music, dance and the Ankiya Bhowna.