Monday, February 4, 2008
Places to visit in Central Assam - Darrang District
How to Reach Darrang (Mangaldai)
To reach here from outside the state, one has to reach Guwahati (Capital of Assam) by Air, Train, or Bus. There are regular public buses plying from Guwahati to Mangaldai. Taxies etc. are also easily available.
Transport System :
The district is well connected by Road, and Water transport system.
NH 52 is the major road link passing through the district in East-west direction connecting the district with neighbouring Kamrup , Udalguri and Sonitpur districts.
In addition, the district is benefited by the water transport due to its northern boundary being covered by river Brahmaputra. There is Steamer service from Upper Kurua to Guwahati. Moreover, there is Passenger Ferry service from Kadamtali, near Kharupetia
The nearest Airport is at Azara,(Guwahati), at 77 kms. from District HQs., Mangaldai. There is another Airport at Saloni (Tezpur), that is at 110 kms. east of Mangaldai.
Places of Interest:
Gandhi Smriti Park:
Located in the heart of the Mangaldai town & within walking distance from DC's Office, this is a very well maintained & beautiful park.Click Here to see Full View
Patharughat Swaheed Minar:
There is a swaheed minar in a beautiful park in the Jalliwanwalabag of Assam.
Satras are similar to monasteries and unique about Assam. Satras were conceived & founded by Sankardeva and then by his followers. Not only the Bhagawatee Baishnav religion was practiced here, but also many types of art forms were & being nourished, known as the Satriyaa Art - a characteristic stream in Assamese culture.
Thus the Satras can also be defined as State's Cultural Heritage Centers.
There are two satras in Darrang:
Khatara Satra:It is one of the oldest Satras and located at Dipila, 22 kms. from Mangaldai.Click Here to see Full View
Dihing Satra:This satra is located at Kurua, 45 kms. from Mangaldai.
Temples & Devalaya
Kamakshya Devalaya:To the south-west of Kalaigaon, near Lakhimpur village, is this Devalaya. There is a Stone fetish inside the temple with 8 lotus petals on it. Doul Festival - the religious part of the Holy Festival is celebrated here in Spring. It was founded before 12th century AD and favoured by Ahom& Koch Kings.
Thaans are another kind of place of worship. Usually triggered by some fetish e.g., some old tree or stone etc., afterwards often transformed into place of institutional worship.
Mosques are the places of worship for Muslims. There are total seven (7) maszids around Mangaldai town viz. Saru Maszid, Sahitya Nagar Maszid, Islampur Maszid etc.
Bar Maszid:Bar Maszid is one of two oldest mosques in the District, and located at the heart of the Mangaldai Town.
Engil Baba's Mazaar:Engil Baba, or Engil Fakeer's Mazaar is located at Kabarstaan (Graveyard). The architecture it is very beautifully constructed. Hindu & Muslim, both unite here for prayer on every Thursday. Also Urus Mubarak is celebrated here on 5th of February every year.
How to Reach
All these above places are well connected by Road, and can be reached within One & half an hour by Car.
Historic Beels & Ponds
In 1615 AD, Koch Kings took over in Darrang from Bhuyans. It was these two periods where most of these ponds were created. Many large ponds were also created during British rule and post independent period.
Batha Beel:A nice opportunity for bird watchers, thousands of migratory birds come to this beel. It is near Hazarikapara (Sipajhar)
How to Reach
Hazarikapara is touched by NH 52.
There is Inspection Bungalow(built by PWD Deptt.) at Hazarikapara. Also there is one Rest House near it.
Another choice for Bird watchers. Hundreds of migratory birds come to this beel every year.
Located at Baldevpara, west of Sipajhar, is a beel covering 48 Bighaas was created during the reign of King Dharma Narayana. Today, it is serving as Govt. Fishery.
A huge Pond, with an area of 20 Bighaas at Barkaliyajhar village known to be created during the reign of King Jaypal. The water of this pond is crystal clear and stays above ground level!
ORANG NATIONAL PARK
Orang Sanctuary, Also termed as a miniature Kaziranga, is located near Silbori, and on the north bank of river Brahmaputra. It covers an area of 78 sq. km.
One horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Barking Deer, Elephant, Leopard, Sambar and Hogdeer, Pangolin, Civet Cat & Otter.
Both migratory and local birds. viz. Palican, Green Pigeon, Bengal Florican, Cormorant, Greylag Goose, Large Whistling Teal, Great Adjutant Stork, King Vulture.
How to Reach
Orang is at a distance of 140 kms. from Guwahati, 32 kms. from Tezpur and 68 kms. from Mangaldai, the district HQ by road. It would take One and half hour to reach from Mangaldai. The nearest railhead is Rongapara and the nearest airport is Saloni (Tezpur).Public buses & rental cars are available from Guwahati, the State Capital or Mangaldai.
There are two(2) Inspection Bunglows inside the park. One is at Silbori and the other at Satsimlu inside the forest. One Tourist Lodge is coming up at Nalbari (Tourist Department).
In addition, there is a Government Tourist Lodge, a Circuit House and other private hotels of moderate rates at Tezpur. Also there are hotels and lodges in Mangaldai and Rowta.
DFO, Western Assam Wildlife Division, Tezpur (for accommodation at IB).
Deputy Director, Tourism, Govt. of Assam, Tezpur (for accommodation at Govt. CH)
Range Officer, Orang Wildlife Sanctuary, Orang, P.O. Silbori (Pin-784114) Darrang (for visit).
Boating at Brahmaputra, Orang
Darrang has a population representing diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic communities which have rich cultural heritage and social customs. Some of the prominent art forms of the Darrang are:
This art form is performed by men (Dhuliyas) in groups of 10 or more. Dhuliyas play Bardhol which is a cylindrical percussion instrument measuring about 1 mtr. in length & 1/2 mtr. in diameter. The Bardhuliyas speciallise in exhibition of rhythmic somersaults while playing the Bardhol. Bardhuliyas perform in religious occasions such as Deul in spring, the Mothenee in Kati (Nov. in Julian calendar) month, Durga festival (mid. of Oct.) or other ceremonies.
Bardhol Sequence,(301 kB)
Ojapali is one of the unique form of arts of Darrang which involves three art forms - Song, Dance and Drama. It is performed by a group of 4 or 5 men of whom the chief performer is called Oja who is supported by 3 to 4 Palis, and hence the name Ojapali.. The only instrument played by Ojapali is Khutitaal (palm sized Cymbal). The performers wear long sleeved white gowns, silver jewelry etc. and Nupur (bundle of tiny metallic percussions played by body vibrations).
Ojapali can be divided into 2 forms basing on the occasion & style: Byah and Sukananni. As the history goes, there were two very talented singers named Barbyahu & Sarubyahu during Koch Kingdom. They were often invited by Kings to sing various mythological & religious rhymes. With time, their style got popular among people of the area.
The central subject of this Byah Ojapali are the epics - Ramayana & Mahabharata. Unlike other Ojapali forms, the story is sung in pure classical style involving Ragas. A noticeable element of this form is the different Mudras (Gestures of hands & fingers). Dance is another key part of the performance. To make the presentation interesting & make people understand, they perform humorous dialogues & narrations in between.
Click Here to See Full ViewSukananni Ojapali aims at presenting the tragic story of Behulaa-Lakhindar from Padma Purana among the masses. The easy yet high standard rhyme is accompanied by pleasant rhythm, tune and dance. Different Mudras are remarkable part of this form also. The team dances here too. This art is performed normally during Manasa Puja (Worship of Goddess of Serpents). The Ojapalis first praise various gods & goddesses and then gradually move to the epic of Behula-Lakhindar. Though the presentation is targeted for the mass, it maintains high dignity & standard.
Lalit Oja of Sipajhar area of the district has been awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy award for his expertise in Sukananni Ojapali and for contribution in popularising this traditional folk art form.
Part of Sukananni Ojapali,(239 kB)
Siyan Geet (Songs)
This form of folk song was introduced by followers of Sri Sankaradeva. It is almost similar to the common Assamese Lokageet or folk-song. The content of these songs is mostly Hindu mythology.
Part of a Siyan Folk-Song,(145 kB)
A full Siyan Folk-Song (low quality, 301 kB)
Dehbichaar Geet( Songs)
Another kind of folk song, often called Mangaldaiya folksong, perhaps introduced in post Sankaradeva period, and follows this culture. The content is spiritual & mystic, rather than religious, hence similar to Baul songs of West-Bengal. The instruments used are Khanjari (A tiny hand held leather percussion, open at one end, with some metal discs attached), Dotara (string instrument), Tokaaree (uni-string instrument, the chamber made of matured water-gourd etc.
Deodhani dance is performed solo or in group of 3 or 4 females essentially on the occasion of worship of Devi Manasa (or Maroi). As per mythology, Behulaa had to dance before the goddess Manasa to get back her husband's (Lakhindar) life. The dancer wear Mekhela in Muga, red blouse, different traditional jewelry and leave their hair open. The dance to the tune of Jaidhol (specific cylindrical percussion instrument) & Khutitaal, played by Palis.
This dance form depicts the process of worship of Devi Manasa. A striking moments of this dance is dancing with Daa (sharp weapon used for sacrifice), and the rotating of dancers' head in rapid circular motion, with open tresses.
It is believed that Deodhanis get possessed by the Goddess in course of the dance.
Part of Ranachandi Song (Deodhani),(278 kB)
Yet another unique traditional folk art of Darrang. Here, 2 to 4 performers play the Dhepadhol which is specially made so as to generate a unique thud, and accompanied by 4 to 6 persons playing Taals (Cymbal). The team dances while playing the instruments. Dhepadhol is a cylindrical drum of 1.5 mtr. length with a tapered left end. The Dhol is covered at both ends with animal skins like Jaidhol and Bardhol but what makes the Dhepadhol different is that the covering of the right end is double layered and has a small whole on the outer layer. Water is put into the gap between the layers so as to get the thud, and hence the name. Another unique feature of Dhepa Dhuliyas is their vibrant & colourful shirt & gown having prominence of red, green and blue colour.
Dhepadhuliyas perform in wedding ceremony or other such social occasions.
Part of Dhepa Dhol Sequence,(129 kB)
This ancient music form is at the verge of extinction. Similar to Shahnai of West-India, the Kaali is a beautiful bronze instrument and about 1'6" long. It is wide towards one end and the musician puts a mouthpiece on the other, narrower end to okay it. It was very popular in local wedding ceremonies.
Nangelee songs are unique to Darrang which are couplets of very informal colloquial words, sung by Garakhiyaas (cowboys). While singing Nangelee songs, the cowboys get divided into 2 groups and enact a conflict between them over silly issues which soon reaches climax leading to physical assault, intervention/ negotiation by the senior cowboy.
Nangelee (Starting),(149 kB)
Nangelee (Negotiation),(141 kB)
Seon Chapori Naam
Another unique folk form of Darrang. It is variant of Naam, somewhat similar to Ojapali as this is also targeted to describe religious and mythological stories in religious or other occasions. The word Chapori(=clapping) points to the prominence of claps during the performance. The team comprises of one Pathak (leader), a few followers, 2 Taal players, one Nagara (set of 2 or three small leather percussions, with leather on top) player. They also include short drama in between their performance to kill monotony. A very enjoyable ingredient of this performance is their Saraki dance (crossing each other in zigzag fashion) and Khedaa dance.
Seon Chapori (Starting),(129 kB)
Seon Chapari,(Middle:Claps,Nagara & Taal),(79 kB)
Seon Chapori (Climax),(110 kB)
Bodos are scattered in the northern part of the district. Hence, best place for viewing their arts could be Niz-udalguri, Chandana Badi Village, Bagari Guri, Golamatha, Balisita Harishinga, Khairabari, Bhergaon etc. Khudiram Basumatary is one prominent Bodo folk artist in Darrang. Among the new generation, Binay Daimary,Naren Bodo, Kulen Bodo etc. are worth mentioning.
This dance is a vital part of Bodo culture and depicts the beauty of nature. Now-a-days, it has got 2 varieties: Natural Bagurumba, which is performed with no song, and the Royal Bagurumba, which is accompanied by songs.
This is the dance of Spring, similar to Bihu dance in theme. It is performed during Bohaag (April) Month, by young boys & girls.
Kherai (=to bow down in prayer) is a bodo religious dance and is essential part of Bathow worship. Bathow is actually the Shiva, the tribal God in actuality. Usually villagers celebrate the Bathow worship once in a year where Kherai is performed in 5 stages. First, the place is made sacred for dancing. Then, sweeping & mopping, water with Tulashee leaves is scattered over the place. Tender Banana leaf is kept over the place as a symbol of welcome. Finally the dancers dance covering the place and praise the Gods.
It is another reputed Bodo dance. It depicts the might of Goddess Water & Air.
This is a spectacular war dance of Bodos.
Rabha tribe lives around Udalguri area of the district and some part South part of Goalpara district.
It is a very ancient rabha dance. It is performed to bring peace for soul of the deceased, by descendants and others during the ritual.
This is the dance of romance, and performed in Spring, by young boys & girls..
Performed by Male during Spring to satisfy the Gods.
It is closely attached to agriculture. This dance is performed by villagers at the beginning of Jeth (last of May) month for better crops.
Jhumur Dance: This dance belong to Tea Tribe (Adibashi) community.