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FAIRS and FESTIVALS ASSAM
FAIRS & FESTIVALS: The perfect fusion of heritage of Assam's numerous races has made this enchanting state the home of the most colourful festivals which are passionate, compelling and mesmerising.
The most important festival of Assam is the Bihu, celebrated with joy and abundance. The most colourful of the three Bihu festivals is the Spring-Festival, Rongali Bihu, celebrated in Mid- April. Essentially a festival marking the beginning of an agricultural season, the festival of merriment comprises of Bihu dance accompanied by wild and lusty beats of dhol (drum), pepa (buffalo hornpipe), gogona (a string reed attached to a bamboo piece at the end), takka (a portion of bamboo split to form a clapper) and the Bihu songs woven round the themes of love and yearning often having distinct erotic overtones. Bihu dances performed by young boys and girls characterised by brisk stepping, flinging and flipping of hands and swaying of hips represents youthful passion, reproductive urge and Joie- De- Vivre.
A tourist to Assam can see Bihu Dances in almost in every nook and corner of the Brahmaputra valley during April- May. Numerous organisations throughout Assam arrange Bihu- Sammelans. Tourists coming during other seasons may also ask their travel agents to organise Bihu Dance for them to see.
Bhogali Bihu, the harvesting festival is celebrated in mid- January by community feast, buffalo fight and such other entertainment etc.
The Boro- Kacharis celebrate Baishagu, at the advent of the New Year. The first day begins with cow- worship. The supreme deity Bathou or Lord Shiva is worshipped on the next day by offering Him chicken and rice- beer. The traditional musical instruments that are used in the Baishagu dance are kham (drum), jotha (manjari), khawbang (taal), gogona (mouth- organ) and siphung (flute) etc. A community prayer is customary at the festival-end.
The most fascinating festival of the Deoris is the Bohaggiyo Bishu. With unrestricted joy and merrymaking, the Deodhani dance is the most significant part of the festival.. Hussori or carol song party is the main attraction.
The Ali-Ai-Ligang is celebrated by the Misings. Ali for root, seed; Ai for fruit; Ligang for sow. The ceremonial sowing of paddy is done on this day. Passionate dances and feasts with fish are an essential part of these festivities.
Jonbeel Mela is held every year during winter at Jonbeel in Jagiroad, 32 kms. away from Guwahati. Few days before the Fair, tribes like Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi, Jaintia etc. come down from hills with their various products. They exchange their products in typical barter manner in the big market held on the occasion. Before the mela, they worship fire. Traditional dance and music make the Fair worth visiting.
Ambubasi Mela is held during monsoon at the famous Kamakhya Temple. It is associated with the legend of menstrual cycle of the Goddess Kamakhya. This is purely a ritual of Tantric cult. During Ambubasi, the temple remains closed for three days and on the fourth day only, devotees are allowed to worship inside. Thousands of devotees from all over India visit this Fair.
Interestingly, the Tea-Gardens in Assam are also characteristically rich in exotic festivals like Tusu Puja, Charak Puja, Karam Puja and captivating dances like Jhumur. Girls and boys together perform this dance, sometimes the girls alone, with precision of footwork while clasping each others waists. A visitor to any tea garden can witness these dances.
DISTRICT : DARRANG
Bhairabkunda: A beautiful picnic spot at the border of Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan.
Pobitora: A small wildlife sanctuary. The animals to be seen here are one horned Rhinoceros, Leopard, Tiger, varieties of Birds etc. The tourists' season is November to April.
Batadrawa: The birthplace of Shri Sankardev. The shrine is held in high veneration by the vaishnavas.
Laokhowa: A wildlife sanctuary, covering an area of 60 sq. kms. It harbours wildlife species like the great Indian one horned Rhinoceros, Wild Buffalo, Swamp Deer, Duck, Cormorant etc.
DISTRICT: NORTH LAKHIMPUR
Pobha: Covering an area of 49 sq kms, Pobha Wildlife Sanctuary is created exclusively for the protection of the magnificent wild water Buffalo.
DISTRICT: KARBI ANGLONG
Garampani: A Hot Spring, the water of which is believed to have medicinal value
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