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Assam Festival Lifestyle

Koni juj popular ethnic game of the indigenous Assamese people

Koni juj is a popular ethic game of the indigenous Assamese people. It is celebrated during Rongali Bihu.

Time Of Game

It is played during the Rongali Bihu in mid-April. It is played with several other ethnic games like cock fight and bullfight, ‘hati juj’ (elephant fight), ‘kori khel, and archery besides several other interesting games.

Terminology

The Assamese term ‘koni’ means egg while the other term ‘juj’ refers to fight. Therefore, ‘koni juj’ connotes egg fight.

This popular game signifies the basically agrarian spirit of the Assamese community and is linked with the fertility of agricultural land.

The Assamese people dwell in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam.

Occasion

This iconic ethnic game is played on two occasions: on the day of ‘Goru Bihu’ (the agrarian festival of Bihu when the cattle are bathed in natural water sources); and on the day of Bhogali Bihu – celebrated after the lighting of the ‘meji’.

Rongali Bihu is celebrated during both of the three Bihus: one falling in mid-April (before sowing); and the other celebrated in mid-January (after harvesting).

Literature evidence: Several authors have written about this ethnic game. Assamese author Hem Borgohain penned descriptively about this game in his book “Bihu Akou Aahil”. Royals were very fond of this game just as the general citizens were.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

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Assam Festival

Kaziranga Elephant Festival by the Tourism & Forest Department, Assam

The Kaziranga Elephant Festival is an internationally popular event. The event is held in globally known as the National Park of Kaziranga in Assam.

SPONSOR

The Government of Assam sponsors this Festival.

The event is jointly managed by the Tourism and the Forest Department of Assam.

VENUE

This Festival is organised annually.

TRACING THE ROOTS

It was first held in 2002.

TIME

The ‘Kaziranga Elephant Festival’ is generally held in the month of February.

OBJECTIVE

The prime objective behind this Festival is to create awareness about the causes of man-elephant conflict especially in the areas and fringe locations surrounding the National Park.

The tourist attraction fest further focusses on the conservation an protection of the highly endangered and exotic Asiatic elephant.

THE FESTIVAL

Kaziranga Elephant Festival

The yearly elephant festival held in the Kaziranga National Park of Assam has an objective. It is to highlight and find ways to resolve the increasing man-elephant conflicts.

HIGHLIGHTS

The highlight of ‘Kaziranga Elephant Festival’ is the herd of hundreds of Asiatic elephants (domestic). They offer a majestically colorful picture.

Each of them is decked up from head to toe.

These pachyderms joyfully participate in in the mega event. They take part in races, parade, dance, and sports like football.

KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK

The ‘Kaziranga National Park’ is the oldest park of the north-eastern State.

Spread across 430 sq km, the Park is situated across two districts of the Indian State. These are Golaghat and Nagaon.

The extensive National Park meanders along the Brahmaputra River on the northern side and the hills of Karbi Anglong district on the southern direction.

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Assam Festival

The Techxetra a techno-cultural festival held in Tezpur University

‘TechXetra’ is held in Tezpur University, India. It is a national level techno-cultural festival.

TERMINOLOGY

The term ‘TechXetra’ is coined from two words: ‘Tech’ and ‘Xetra’. Therefore, ‘Tech’ points to ‘technology’ while ‘Xetra’ connotes terrain. TechXetra’ is often referred to as ‘Tx’ across the social networking websites.

PURPOSE

It offers a common platform to both non-engineering and engineering students across India to exhibit their intellect, skill and knowledge.

TechXetra is a blend of various management and technical events. The participants also enjoy cultural events during each day of the mega event.

ROOTS

TechXetra was founded in October 1988.

SPONSOR

It is sponsored by the management of Tezpur University.

ORGANISERS

The Techxetra Techno Cultural Festival
Photo Credit Kavya Barnadhya

The non-profit techno-management and cultural annual event is organised entirely by the students of the Central higher educational institution of Tezpur University in Assam – one of the eight north-eastern states if India.

MOTTO

The motto of ‘Expanding the Frontiers of Technology’.

WEBSITE: The official website is techxetra.in

MAJOR EVENTS

The major five events of Techxetra are Robotics, Full Throttle, D’ Colloseum, Impulse, Creation, management events, various workshops, and Nirmaan.

ROBORICS

In Robotics the participants compete to build and design Robots according to laid down norms. They can do so automatically or manually.

D’COLLOSEUM

‘Colloseum’ is a highly solicited gaming event. It features five globally popular PC games.
The participating teams test their skill and mettle against other teams in various gaming events.

MANAGEMENT EVENTS

The teams competing during ‘TechXetra’ showcase management brains. The events are ‘Dalal Street’, ‘B-plan’, and ‘Ad vantage’. These prime attractions feature high voltage drama.

The personality test is known as ‘D Hot seat’.

WORKSHOPS

TechXetra features technical workshops. The topics are quite challenging each year.

CREATION

During ‘Creation’ the participants exhibit their creativity in the event christened ‘Digi-shooting’. Here, they use cameras. They can do so by mobile shooting as well. There is also ‘Wrangle’ – the debating event, and imaginative events like the ‘Mirage’ and ‘Wordsmith’.

NIRMAAN’ & ‘CONROLIX’

During ‘Techxetra’, these are the structure maker contests while ‘Circuitrix’ tests software skills, and decoding expertise.

CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA

Techxetra features four cultural nights of cultural events. These are confluence of classical, rock, western and eastern genre of music.

Well-known musicians of the country are invited to participate during these cultural nights. Besides, a ramp show is held where the participants exhibit attires. The icing on the cake is the Dj nite. Award-winning movies are also screened in the auditorium of the Tezpur University during this festival.

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Assam Festival

‘The Guwahati Theatre Festival’ an annual festival by G Plus

‘The Guwahati Theatre Festival’ is held by G Plus – a weekly tabloid news magazine published from Guwahati – the gateway to North-East India.

Objective

The objective of this festival is to give a common platform to various groups involved in theatre.

This opportunity enables the participating performing groups to showcase their talents before the audience in Guwahati and the north-eastern region of India.

Founder

The founder of ‘The ‘Guwahati Theatre Festival’ is Sunit Jain.

Frequency

The fest is held annually. It was inaugurated in 2016.

Venue

Guwahati Theatre Festival

The Festival is held at the Pragjyoti ITA Cultural Complex, Machkhowa.

History

During the inaugural edition on 23 September 2016, ‘The Guwahati Theatre Festival’ had entries from acclaimed dramatist directors like Saurabh Shukla, Kalki Koechlin, Neil Bhoopalam, Rajat Kapoor, Jim Sarbh, Shernaz Patel, and Sadiya Siddiqui.

This edition of the festival further featured globally acclaimed The Vagina Monologues written by written by Eve Ensler and Shakespeare play Hamlet – The Clown Prince, directed by Rajat Kapoor.

Other plays staged in the maiden edition if the festival were The Living Room, 2 to Tango 3 to Jive, The Truth of Womanhood, and One on One.

Life In A Theatre Award

The organisers of this festival further constituted the ‘Life in a Theatre Award’. It was posthumously awarded to noted Assamese dramatists Kulada Kumar Bhattacharjee in 2016 and to Padma Shri Arun Sarma in 2017 and posthumously awarded to Sukracharjya Rabha for his contribution in theatre direction.

Patrons

The primary sponsors of ‘The Guwahati Theatre Festival – 2016′ were the State Bank of India, Ballantine’s, and Audi.

The main sponsors of in the year – 2017′ were the

Indian Oil, Apollo Hospitals, Airtel, and Ballantine’s.

The sponsors for the – 2018’ were

  • the Mahindra & Mahindra,
  • Apollo Hospitals,
  • And the North East Small Finance Bank.
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Assam Festival

Namami Brahmaputra a Festival of gratitude to the River Brahmaputra

Namami Brahmaputra was held to express gratitude to the lifeline of Assam – the Brahmaputra River.

Nomenclature

The Sanskrit term ‘Namami’ means ‘Namaskar’ or a type of praise.

The word ‘Brahmaputra’ connotes the son of Lord Brahma – the three-headed Hindu deity who is deemed to be the creator of the universe.

Significance

Namami Brahmaputra Sarbananda Sonowal

The festival of ‘Namami Brahmaputra’ was organized by the Government of Assam in 2017. The socio-cultural event was held due to the active initiative of the then Chief Minister of the north-eastern State of Assam in India. He was Sarbananda Sonowal. Incidentally, this was the first BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led Ministry in the State.

Mentionably, this was the maiden time when such a mega public event was held to express gratitude to the Brahmaputra.

The Event

Namami Brahmaputra Boat Race

The maiden edition of the ‘Namami’ Brahmaputra’ was organised for five days from 31 March-4 April 2017. The festival was inaugurated by the then President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated the festival.

Venue

The primarily five-day ‘Namami’ Brahmaputra was held on the banks of the River Brahmaputra. The fest was held in all the then 21 district headquarters of Assam. The primary venue was Kacharighat in Guwahati – the gateway to the seven of the eight north-eastern States.

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Assam Festival Meghalaya

Wanshuwa (Wanshuwa Kham) Festival of The Tiwas community

Wanshuwa is a folk festival of the indigenous Tiwa community of Assam and Meghalaya. They primarily dwell in the two hamlets of Marjong and Amkha in Karbi Anglong District of Assam.

Alternative Name

This festival is also known as Wanshuwa Kham.

Duration

This important socio-religious event is organised after every five years.

Primarily, Wanshuwa commences on a Tuesday and concludes on a Thursday. This festival is organised between June and August.

The Festival

The function of Wanshuwa is performed in the Shangdoloi’s (village bachelor dormitory chief) residence. It is scheduled on Wednesday.

Wanshuwa: The Rituals

The Wanshuwa function follows an elaborate ritual.

Venue

The socio-agricultural rites are performed in the official house of the Shangdoloi – the chief of the boys’ dormitory (meant for only the bachelors) in each village.

Procedures

  • First, the wooden mortars (sham) are prepared.
  • Next, these are buried partially on the ground.
  • Then, the Shangdoloi’s members start pounding the wet rice using the mortar.
  • The pestle made of wood is called ‘lomphor’.
  • The process continues till the were rice is grounded. During this time, they also dance to the rhythmic tunes of the Tiwa musical instruments – khram, thurang and pangsi.
  • Once they complete the Wanshuwa dance, the rice flour sprinkling ceremony starts.

Festival of The Tiwas

Process

When the dance is completed, they mix the flour (prepared after the wet rice is grounded) with a small amount of water.

A portion if the rice flour is mixed with water. Then, the sacred concoction (wankuri) is sprinkled on the gathering.

The remaining portion of the flour is distributed among villagers who prepare steamed rice cake – wanrusa – during the night.

Rice Flour (Wankuri) Sprinkling Ceremony

The following morning they bring the wanrusas to the Shangdoloi’s house. These rice pan cakes are offered to their deities – Maldewa Raja and Sodonga Raja.

The Wanshuwa festival of the Tiwas conclude by late Tuesday evening.

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Assam Festival Meghalaya

Sogra Festival celebrated by Tiwa community of Assam and Meghalaya

The Tiwa community of Assam and Meghalaya (two of the eight northeastern) states of India celebrate the Sogra festival.

Significance of Sogra Festival

This festival marks the commencement of the season of cultivation.

Time of Sogra

The annually celebrated Sogra festival is held in March and April. Generally, the festival starts on a Wednesday and it continues till the next Monday.

The festival continues for several hours during the night.

What Happens

During these six days of the Sogra Spring festival, the youth involve in a number of activities linked with the festival.

Sogra Festival Dance

Where Sogra Celebrated

The socio-religious cultural spirit of this festival is observed in the four Tiwa (also known as Lalung) root villages of Amkha, Amsai, Amri, Marjong and Lumphui.

These four hamlets are situated in the West Karbi Angling District of Assam and Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya In India.

The Procedure

The recitation ritual if the folk agricultural Sogra festival is done by the village priest called ‘Loro’. This rite is known as ‘Mindai lekhewa’.

Rituals

During this annual folk festival, the village priest or Loro, performs a ritual called Mindai lekhewa. While performing this ritual, the Loro repeatedly recites the names of their pantheon of deities. The Loro also recounts the events that had happened in the past.

The ceremony of recitation takes place at the home of the Loro in the middle of the night. The ritual of ‘Mindai lekhewa’ is performed in presence of village elders (Pisai) and the youth group (Panthai Khel).

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Assam Festival

Bohuwa Dance worship of Lord Shiva or Khring Raja Baithow

The Sonowal Kacharis (of the northeastern State of Assam in India) celebrate the Bohuwa Dance.

The event is observed by the Sonowal Kachari community of Bihpuria in Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh districts.

Biennial Dance

It is celebrated every two years.

Significance

The significance of this festival is that it heralds a new beginning by getting rid of evil influence. Its performance welcomes a new society.

Roots

The roots of this festival have been traced to ancient times.

Generations of the Sonowal Kachari community have been religiously performing this dance. Therefore, the Bohuwa dance has immense socio-cultural relevance.

Deity

  • The Bohuwa dance is performed to revere Lord Shiva, also known as ‘Khring Raja Baithow’.
  • The principal deity of the Sonowal Kacharis is ‘Khring Raja Baithow’.
  • The Bathow dance has specific mention in the age-old Hindu treatises like the Bhagavad Gita and also the Puranic texts.
  • The Sonowal Kacharis dance the Bathow dance in praise of the divine powers of the mighty Lord Shiva (‘Khring Raja Baithow’).
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Assam Festival

Bathow Puja, festival of the indigenous Bodo-Kachari of Assam

The Bathow Puja is annually performed by the Bodo-Kachari community. Known in Assamese as the ‘বাথৌ পূজা’, it is an important religious festival of the indigenous Bodo-Kachari community of Assam – a north-eastern State of India.

The Deities

During the Bathow Puja, the faithful offer obeisance to a deity. The deity is addressed by several names: the Damra, Gila, Sri Brai (Shib bwrai), Khuria Bwrai, and Bathow Bwrai among several other nomenclatures.

Forms of Bathow Puja

The various forms of this Bodo-Kachari festival are Kherai, Garja and Marai. Among these fests, the Kherai is the principal form.

Pre-Puja Performances

Bathow Puja Performance

The pre-Bathow puja ritual that is performed is the ‘Garja’. Accordingly, the Bodo villagers decide the date to perform the Kherai Puja.

Kherai Puja

In this Kherai Puja, the ‘Bwrai Bathow’ or cactus is encircled with a small boundary of bamboo offered Flowers, some cereals and fruits are offered. Various leaves of mango and tulsi besides a special grass are dipped in a pot full of water. This pot is placed nearby. Incense and Dhuna (coconut peel) are burnt in a small hardened burnt clay holder. The burnt incense and dhuna emanate fragrance.

Bathow Puja Festival Assam

The ‘Doudini’

While performing this puja, the oracle popularly known as the ‘Doudini’, is possessed by the deities. The ‘Doudini’ performs the principal role. Then enchanted with the mantras by the priest (Deuri), the ‘Doudini’ starts performing the Kherai dance in front of the cactus known as the ‘Bwrai Bathow’. The oracle music is accompanied by the music performed by men from a distance.

Musical Beat

Bathow Puja Festival Bodo-People

The musical best follow the precise rhythm initiated by the Doudini or the oracle. The Bodo community deem the cactus as the holy symbol of Lord Shiva and call the plant ‘Bathow Bwrai’.

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Assam Festival

Barechahariya Bhaona, drama festival of Assam

The Barechahariya Bhaona (spelt in Assamese as বাৰেচহৰীয়া ভাওনা) is an drama festival. It celebrates the 200-year-old legacy of theatre.

Time of The Festival

The Barechahariya Bhaona is organised at the duration of five to six years. This theatre fest is held at the usually nondescript township of Jamugurihat in the Sonitpur District of Assam.

History

The original concept of ‘Barechahariya Bhaona’ is credited to Hukai Dekagiri. He held it at the paddy field known as Raghudoloni-Pothar in the Pasigaon Village know known as Jamugurihat in Assam way back in 1797.

The Present Format

The present format of the Barechaharia Bhaona’ has undergone a massive transformation during the span of the last 220 years. when

Duration

The ‘Barechaharia Bhaona’ is held every five years on the full moon day of the Assamese lunar month of ‘Chot’. This period coincides with the Gregorian or English solar calendar that usually falls in March or April).

The Present Diversion

Notably of late, the local residents decided to celebrate this popular theatre event on the full moon day of the Assamese lunar month of ‘Fagun’ that generally falls in the Gregorian calendar duration spread across February or March).

The Logic

This diversion has been decided upon to ensure that the ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’ does not conflict with the annual thunderstorm known as the ‘Bordoichila’ (“thunderstorm”) in April.

Significance

The ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’ is widely known for the depiction of a culture wedded to religion.

In fact, this rich convergence has rendered this theatre festival a vibrant fabric and this religio-cultural pillar has enabled the ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’ to prosper over the summers.

The other significant aspect is that down the years this rich Assamese theatre tradition has been retaining its typical storytelling feature.

The Typical Aspect

The neo-Vaushnavite form of ‘Bhaona’ represents the story dramatization from the Indian epics — the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, as well as the ancient Hindu Puranas.

The Present Genre

The present day format of the ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’ follows the style initiated by the Assamese Vaishnavite saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev. The bhaonas depicted with Bhakti Rasa are in the form of various Raga and Tala.

Mahapurusha’s Purpose

The prime purpose of the Mahapurush to go for the innovation was to wed the multicultural Assamese social milieu with the spirit of entertainment. The effort had gone a long way to promote the neo-Vaishnavism ethos as preached by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva.

The Present Format

The present innovative form of ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’ was first organised in 1797-98.

The bhaona is led by Gayan and Bayan and it resonates to the sounds of Doba, Kanh, Bhortal, and Khol. This musical parade amidst the audience signals the commencement of the ‘Barechaharia Bhaona’.

Tracing the Roots

The roots of this innovative and varied theatre tradition can be traced to two centuries. Mentionably, during the ‘Baresahariya Bhaona’, the otherwise sleepy Assamese township of Jamugurihat livens up.