Guwahati (Assam) , Feb. 13 : Adventure sports in the riverfront of the mighty river Brahmaputra, accompanied by traditional mask making, dance, music and lip-smacking food from the north eastern states marked the gala opening of the much-awaited third edition of the 'Rongali festival', being held in Guwahati.
The festival aimed to bring forth the rich cultural heritage of Assam and promote the state as one of the most influential tourist destinations in the country.
India's Northeast region witnessed the biggest ever celebration of 'Rongali 2017'- Destination, Culture, and Harmony held in Assam's Guwahati city.
Adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing, para-motoring and traditional boat racing at the riverbank of the mighty river Brahmaputra were the major highlights of the festival, attracting tourists from the nook and corner of the region.
The Dikhalipukhuri Lake in the heart of Guwahati city came alive with traditional boat racing, where thousands thronged to catch a glimpse of the boats surging ahead.
"This is basically another attempt to promote the tourism destination of Assam. Boat race can be one of the most significant activities of the festival. This is the first beginning and we are trying to make it nationally as a calendar event where tourists can come from all over the country to see the traditional boat race of Assam," said Shyamkanu Mahanta, chief organizer.
Colourful dance forms like the Sattriya classical dance, mask presentation by Samaguri Sattra of Majuli, the Kaliya Daman Ankiya Bhaona directed by Sattriya exponent Dr Nirupoma Mahanta, Bihu workshops, etc, were a treat for visitors.
The 'Bhortal Nritya', a type of dance developed by the Great saint and social reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva, was well depicted during the festival and enthralled the crowd.
The three-day long festival aimed at promoting Assam as a hot tourist destination. The state is endowed with rich natural resources.
"The facets of Assam are very well represented here and all the communities have gathered here to represent Assam. It is all about unity and integrity among various communities and this is our efforts to bring united everyone. All the councils have gathered in one platform," Mahanta added.
The traditional 'Taat Xaal' (handlooms) of Assam was the major attraction during the festival as it is one of the rarest sights people could witness in today's city life.
Thatched huts of Assam were set up at the festival, giving a homely feeling to the visitors and serving as an overview of the traditional lifestyles and ways of Assam.
The premises of Veterinary Ground, Khanapara came alive with 'Bor Axom', where colourful tribes of Assam including Bodo, Mising, Karbi, Dimasa, Rabha, Tiwa, Sonowal Kachari, Singphoh etc displayed their ways of life, food, liquor, traditional handloom products and vibrant dance forms.
Imported, exotic and locally-grown vegetables and fruits were on display that drew large numbers at the event.
For gastronomes, ethnic food and the indigenous 'Rice beer' of the region was a delightful treat.
Such an endeavour will go a long way in preserving the culture and customs of the state and place Assam in the calendar map as one of the best tourist destinations.