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Saurath Sabha or Sabha Gachchi

Saurath is a village situated six Kilometers north east of Madhubani town (100km away from Patna) in Madhubani District of Bihar. It is famous for being the place where thousands of Maithil Brahaman converged to fix marriage during marriage season. The people gathered at Saurath Sabha Gachchhi (Sabha means congregation and Gachchhi mean orchard in Maithili). This gathering is an annual event held in the Hindu calendar months of Jyestha-Aasadh (June-July) for fixing marriages.

The Sabha Gachhi takes place in an area comprising 22 orchards, dozens of banyan trees, mango trees, a ramshackle Shiva temple, a few large Dharmashalas and two ponds; which were gifted by the then king at the time .

Original name of the village, as mentioned in Tithi Nirnaya is Saurashtra. This village was originally named Saurastra, literally a cultural and intellectual centre of sau-rastra, nations associated with Janaka, the ancient king of Mithila. Janak is mention in the Ramayana epic as father of Sita. Tradition has it that the svayambara (self-chosen form of marriage) of Janakas daughter, Sita, took place in this village.

The presiding God of this village is Somanath or Shiva. There is an interesting story which links Saurath to Somnath Temple In Dwarka, Gujarat. According to folk tradition, in AD 1025, Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the famous temple of Somnath, looted the fabulous wealth of the temple, and destroyed it completely. It is believed that Lord Somnath appeared in the dream of the two Maithil Brahman brothers, Bhagirathdutta Sharma and Gangadutta Sharma, and asked them to take His lingam away. The two brothers, following Gods instruction, went to Dwarka and brought the lingam to Saurath and kept the lingam in hiding for a long time. Later the lingam was duly enshrined. Somanath temple at Dwarka is situated in a region known as Saurashtra.

In the 18th century a Maithil king constructed here the temple of Somnath. This story is mentioned in the introductory chapter of the official District Gazeteer of Darbhanga (1964, when Madhubani district was part of Darbhanga) by Roy Choudahary, available in all major libraries of India.

Mithila King Harisinghdeva (1310–1324) introduced Panji Prabandh in Maithila. This applied to Brahimins and Kayasthas. Panji Praband gave rise to an elaborate system of genealogical records, which is known as Panji. This was considered a major social reform at that time and was enforced through royal patronage and supervision.

It was proposed that to facilitate marriage and to curb evil practices associated with the fixing of marriages, the marriage people should be allowed to meet father as well as the prospective grooms so that the marriage could be fixed in front of everyone. The Maharaja of Mithila once again sanctioned this idea and accordingly 14 villages were identified to hold such sabhas: Saurath, Khamgadi, Partapur, Sheohar, Govindpur, Fattepur, Sajhaul, Sukhasaina, Akhrarhi, Hemnagar, Balua, Baruali, Samsaul, and Sahsaula. While Saurath maintains the tradition, all other villages have discontinued holding such Sabha.

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