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ASSAM                                              General Information of Assam

The land corresponds a world of contrast and excitement, something celestial and amazing. It is a Magic Land, a Green Paradise. It combines so many and such varied passions and beauties that one has to take a pause at least for its praise. Spread beneath the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Assam has a history dating back to the Vedic ages. During Mahabharata age, it was known as Pragjyotish (Land of Eastern Light).In the Puranas and Tantras, Assam was referred to as Kamrupa- the land where Kamadeva, the God of Love, was reborn.

Pelicans at  Kaziranga

It was during the Varmana dynasty that Assam was chronicled in the SI-YUKI, the famed travelogue of Hiuen-Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim. After the 600 years’ Ahom-Kingdom, Assam became part of British India in 1826 and then a constituent state of Independent India.

LIFE STYLE: colours and moods
People: Assam has been a melting pot of various racial stocks, viz. Indo-Burmese, Mongoloid, Austro-Asiatic, Aryan, Dravidian etc. The state is peopled by a large number of tribal groups; major among them being the Boro-Kacharis, the Deori, the Misings, the Dimassas, the Karbis, the Lalungs, the Rabhas etc. Ahkhomiya or Assamese is the lingua- franca of Assam.The state has a reputation for warm hospitality. People are homely, charming and openhearted.

The small and serene hilly villages shelter the lovely people, warm and fascinating and as colourful as the land itself. They robe themselves in the choicest cloths, which are blended on their tiny looms.

       ART AND CRAFT/DRESS AND DESIGN/PASSION

ART and CRAFT/ DRESS and DESIGN:                                   The magic of art of Assamese craftsmen is a common passion evoking the deep senses with its’ primitive simplicity and elegance. The colourful Assamese Japi (headgear), terracotta of Gauripur, cane furniture, bamboo mug, table light and various decorative items bear witness to the craftsmanship of this land.Assam Handloom is indeed praiseworthy offering a myriad of colours and contours with lyrical motifs and designs.The Eri, Muga (Assamese silk dresses) and typical tribal attires are a treat to the eye.

People here use a vast range of hand-woven fabrics with intricate designs. Local silk occupies a prominent place in the Assamese society. Traditional garments (Churia for men and Mekhela- Chador for women) are used for social and religious events.

PASSION and RHYTHM
Dances
: Usha, the daughter of King Banasura was the first lasya (classic) dancer of the earth, says Abhinaya Darpan, a Sanskrit treatise written in about second century AD. King Bana ruled Sonitpur (now Tezpur) around the time of Mahabharata. Even today a tourist may see the Bhomoraguri Hill near Tezpur which is said to be the Natakasailya where Usha first practised the lasya dance.

The Oja leads Ojapali, a dance of chorus singers. He starts the singing and then starts expressing the meaning of the song with hand gestures supported by eye movements and body postures. The role of the Palis (associates) is limited to giving an affirmative nod to the core meaning of the song with very simple one line or often one word utterance and very simple dance movement. This dance can be seen in and around Barpeta, Nalbari, Mangaldoi, Guwahati (during festive season), Kamalabari Satra in Majuli and in Narayanpur in Lakhimpur district.

One of the finest dance forms of India is Satriya, the fifteenth century discovery of Mahapurush Sankardev, the great Vaishnavite saint. His disciple Mahapurush Madhavdev enhanced the classic quality of this dance form. These two gurus created four principal dance systems within the Satriya repertoire. Tourists visiting Assam during the later part of August and the early part of September can see these dances at Kamalabari near Jorhat. The Dhemalis produced by this Satra is the best and its aesthetic quality is something a tourist cannot find in any other part of India except Manipur. The connoisseurs might opt to forsake sleep to see a late night’s Ghosa Dhemali, where classic Hastas are displayed by the Bayans as they play the khol. Satriya dance can also be seen in a dozen of Satras of Majuli. Ras Nritya of Garmur Satra is also impressive. Tourists visiting during winter may make a trip to the Institutions in Guwahati where this dance form is getting its rhythm. Tourists may also find out whether their tour plan coincides with any of the Dance Festivals, organised by institutions like Puspanjali Cultural Academy.

The Bodos have many folk dances to boastof. Among them the most important and attractive is the Bagrumba Dance. This is mainly a formation dance with slow steps and outstretched hands. About a score of girls dressed in  colourful attire perform this dance to the accompaniment of Bodo traditional musical instruments. Tourists can see this dance in the Bodo inhabited areas of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur districts.

There are other folk dances, which indeed are part of some delightful festivals


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