Although he was illiterate, Sukhrungphaa was famous for creating a coalition of rulers for forming a composite army to fight against the Mughal dynasty. His death occurred on the eve of proceeding west from Guwahati. Sukhrungphaa's father escaped persecution by the former Ahom kings while his mother, Joymoti Konwari was executed in royal custody. He later set up his capital at Rangpur.
Political Works of Sukhrungphaa
Illiteracy of Sukhrungphaa could never hinder his political vision which was extremely progressive and expansive. He had captured the kingdoms of Jaintia and Dimasa. The Mughal rule was completely eliminated from Assam by his father, while Sukhrungphaa planned to expand the boundaries of his kingdom up to the Karatoya River which was the traditional western boundary of the former Kamarupa kingdom. He formed alliance with different other kingdoms and stationed himself at Guwahati for proceeding for the expeditions against Dimasa-Kacharis, the Jaintiyas, and the Daflas. However, following his death, the succeeding kings did not continue with his plans.
Administration of Sukhrungphaa
Sukhrungphaa freed the Vaishnava sastras from the persecutions of Gadadhar Singha and reinstalled them, including Chaturbhujdeva the Satradhikari of Mayamara xatra, in their former positions. But the king was greatly influenced by the royal preceptor, the gosain of Auniati xatra, and thus restrained the Sudra Satradhikars from initiating Brahmins and forbade the Brahmins from visiting the monasteries of Sudras.
Sukhrungphaa greatly encouraged the exchange of ambassadors with other kingdoms throughout the country. He formed certain official positions or "khels", namely Kakoti, Doloi, Bairagi, Kotoki and Khaund, especially for diplomacy. He also contributed in art and culture by sending Brahman boys to Gurukuls for Sanskrit and Vedic studies and other men to Delhi for learning music. Architects were also brought from outside the kingdom for the building of the palace and other buildings at Rangpur, his new capital. Attires of Mughal styles were also introduced by him in the courts. He also encouraged dance and local folk music and also appointed officers called Gayan Baruas. Sukhrungphaa was the first king to celebrate Bihu in the palace courtyard.
With age, Sukhrungphaa gradually grew fond of Saktism and later became a Sakta. But he died before the completion of his initiation. He had also given his sons the instruction to invite Krishna Ram Bhattacharyya, a Bengali priest, as their religious guide.
Civil Works of Sukhrungphaa
Sukhrungphaa had constructed the Joysagar Tank; the largest man made tank of the country, in the honour of his mother, Joymoti Konwari. In the year 1703 he also constructed the Ranganath (Shiva) Temple for worshipping Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed near Borduar, on the way to Joysagar Tank. In 1703 to 04, a pyramid shaped temple was constructed before the Ranganath Dol. This was also built in the memory of his mother was marked as the Maidam of Joymoti. A number of architectural monuments were also structured during the reign of Sukhrungphaa, which included the Kharikatia Ali and the Namdang stone bridge of Gaurisagar.