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Guwahati Festivals

Bihu is the ‘National Festival’ of Assam that is celebrated all over the state by all the Assamese people with unsurpassed vigor and enthusiasm. The Bihu Festival comprises three principal Bihus namely; Rongali Bihu, Kongali Bihu and Bhogali Bihu, Rongali Bihu being the premier one. Rongali Bihu, also known as ‘Bohag Bihu’ is celebrated in mid April to commemorate the Assamese New Year. This seven days long festival involves feasting and merrymaking. The deities and the cows are worshipped and wishes for a joyful and prosperous new year are made. The folk songs called Bihu Geets are sung and young women dance to the tunes of these folk songs to celebrate their fertility. Bihu is also the festival of mating which brings young men and women together through the sensuous Bihu Dances. The seven days of Rongali Bihu are named; Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Hat Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Maiki Bihu, Rongali Bihu and Sera Bihu. Kongali Bihu (Kati Bihu) celebrated in the month of October is associated with September Equinox while the Bhogali Bihu (Magh Bihu) celebrated in the month of January is associated with January Solstice.
Durga Puja
Durga Puja is the most important and extravagant socio cultural festival of Guwahati that is celebrated at the Kamakhya Temple with tremendous fervor and gusto. During the nine days of the Navaratri Utsav which falls in the month of September or October, the Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati is cram packed with thousands of devotees and pilgrims alighted here from all corners of Assam. Huge pandals are erected at the Kamakhya Temple where grand idols of Goddess Durga are enshrined and offered special pujas and ritualistic ceremonies for nine consecutive days. The Goddess is offered goat sacrifice by the devotees who receive the blessings of the Goddess in return. The Durga Puja Festival is prevalent in Assam since the dominion of the Ahom Kings.
Manasa Festival
Manasa Festival, also referred to as the ‘Debaddhani Festival’ is celebrated at the Goddess Kamakhya Temple in the month of September in the honor of the Snake Goddess Manasa, also worshipped as the Goddess ‘Visahari’ i.e. the eliminator of poison. Goddess Manasa is the Goddess of Epidemics who relieves her devotees from all the diseases and ailments. During the five days of the Manasa Festival, the blessings of the Goddess are invoked by making offerings and ritualistic dressing and dancing. The Manasa or the Debaddhani Festival is one of the most popular religious fiestas of Guwahati.
Ambubachi Mela
Ambubachi Mela; the most prominent and unique fair of Guwahati also happens to be the biggest carnival celebrated all over the Assam. Organized at the Kamakhya Temple in the month of June during the rainy season, this festival commemorates the legendary belief that this is the period when Goddess Kamakhya undergoes her annual menstrual cycle. During the Ambubachi Mela Festival, the doors of the Kamakhya Devi Temple are closed for three days and any kind of worship, religious performances or offerings are not made here. Even the agricultural works are ceased at that time. On the forth day when the doors of the temple are reopened, the temple premises receive hordes of devotees deluging from far and wide to seek the blessings of the Goddess. It is believed that the Goddess attains fertility at the end of the Ambubachi Mela and blesses the land with productiveness and abundant crop. Symbolic red cloth is distributed among the devotees at the time of the Ambubachi Mela.
Jonbeel Mela
The Jonbeel Mela is celebrated during winter at ‘Jagiroad’ that is sited approximately 32 kilometers away from Guwahati. During this Mela different ethnic tribes of Assam and other Northeast regions assemble at Jagiroad with distinct varieties of Jungle products. An Agni Puja i.e. the worship of the Fire God is performed which marks the beginning of the Jonbeel Mela and also invokes the blessings of the deity for the wealth and well being of entire mankind. The peculiarity of the Jonbeel Mela is its ancient barter system wherein the tribal communities exchange their natural products with the local people. The sole aim of this fair is to uphold the tribal communities and connect them with the urban people. Traditional dance and music performances comprise the additional attraction of the Jonbeel Mela.
Rangoli Utsav
The Rongali Utsav, one of the most important festivals of Guwahati is celebrated at the Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra in the month of April in correspondence with the Bohag Bihu Festival. Exclusively celebrated by the tribal communities and the citizens of Guwahati, the Rongali Utsav commemorates the beginning of the agricultural season. The Rongali Utsav presents an extraordinary platform for the local artists to showcase their talents as well as to preserve and propagate the diverse ethnic cultures of Assam. Ahar Mela is the foremost attraction of the Rongali Utsav where different varieties of cuisines belonging to various regions of India are served.
Brahmaputra Beach Festival
The Brahmaputra Beach Festival is an annual gala of Guwahati that is held during the spring season along the sand filled beaches of the sacred Brahmaputra River. Organized by Assam Tourism Development Authorities in collaboration with the Assam Boat Racing & Rowing Association, the Brahmaputra Beach Festival continues for three days when an assortment of cultural events, dancing, crafts, water sports and other trendy water activities are arranged. The thrilling and exciting water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, para-dropping, rafting, hot air ballooning etc. in the scintillating waters of the Brahmaputra River comprise the chief draw of the Brahmaputra Beach Festival. Moreover, kite flying competitions and elephant races are some other proceedings those add immense fun and enjoyment to the carnival. The Brahmaputra Beach Festival popularizes and promulgates the aboriginal culture, crafts and traditional sports of Assam. Various stalls put up along the river banks at the time of the fair exhibit and sell indigenous traditional art and craft items.