Sattriya Nritya, one of the eight classical dance forms of India, originates from Assam. It has remained a living tradition since its creation by the Assamese Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th century to accompany hisAnkiya Naat (a form of self-devised one-act plays).
The core of Sattriya Nritya is to use the artistic and enjoyable form of dance to pass on mythological stories and teachings to its audience. Traditionally performed only by bhokots (male monks) in monasteries as part of their daily rituals or at special festivals, today it is also performed on stage by men and women who are not members of the sattras (religious institutions) and can have themes other than mythology too. Over the years it has divided into many genres.
Sattriya Nritya is accompanied by musical compositions called borgeets (some composed by Sankardeva himself) and which are based on classical ragas (a series of five or more musical notes depicting emotional expressions). The instruments traditionally used are khols (drums), taals (cymbals) and the flute but now other instruments have also been added like the violin and harmonium. The dresses are usually made of pat, a type of silk produced in Assam woven with intricate local motifs. The ornaments are also based on traditional Assamese designs.
The Sattriya culture is the basis of the religious and cultural fabric of Assam.