Srimanta Sankardev first pioneered the concept of drama in Assamese language. Although there were some drama-induced performing art, but they were not regarded as pure dramas. During his stay in Bardowa, Srimanta Sankardeva wrote and staged the first drama,’Chinhajatra’ in 1468. This incident is regarded as the milestone in Assamese culture as Chinhajatra is the first drama to be written in any Indian Regional language. Ankia Nats can be termed as musical dramas, which contain the elements of Vaktirasa. The ankia-nats at the beginning not only served as the medium of religious propaganda but also came to be a source of pleasure and recreation. The tradition was later followed by Sri Madhabdeva in Barpeta Satra where he wrote several dramas and staged them there. He along with his disciples practised, developed and performed drama in the Rangial Griha of Barpeta Satra. From that point onward, Barpeta Satra has been maintaining the tradition of performing various ankia nats and jhumura nats.
Chronology of performance of ankia nats in Barpeta Satra:
• Kalidaman and Rambijoy by Srimanta Sankardeva on the Death anniversary of Srimanta Sankardeva.
• Rukmini- haran and Parijat-haran by Srimanta Sankardeva on the Death anniversary of Sri Madhabdeva.
• Nrisinha-badh by Doitari Thakur and Kangsa-badh by Ramcharan Thakur on the Death anniversary of MathuraDas Burha Aata.
• Janmajatra by Gopal Aata on Lord Krishna’s Birth anniversary.
All these dramas are staged inside the Rangial Griha. Moreover, on domahi of Bahag Bihu and Doul utasav, 6 religious dramas and 2/3 mythological dramas are staged in the main courtyard (Tupor Sotal) of the Satra respectively.