Assam, a state in India’s northeast part is an unexplored paradise. The state is home to 80% of endangered Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Florican, Golden langur and much more such beautiful creatures. It is the only place where pygmy hog survives in the world. The tea that refreshes you every morning may have come from my state Assam as it produces 1/6th of the total tea cultivation in the world. We have the largest inhabited river island, Majuli and we are the proud group of people who has never bowed down to Mughal invasion. If we have the golden silk, Eri, Pat and Muga, we also have our Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park. We have the only dynasty in India that has ruled the region for 600 years without any break. We have the Brahmaputra, the 4th longest river in the world and we have Jatinga too. We have our Bhupen Hazarika and Kamakhya temple, the adobe of tantric Hinduism. We speak the modern Indian language which has the first Ramayana, translated into any modern Indian language. We are proud people with our own culture, festivals, and culinary tradition. We have more than 50 tribes that have agglomerated to make us the Bor Axom, The Greater Assamese Society. Each tribe has their own language, culture, deities, food habits and tradition but the thread that binds us is our language and the love we share with us.
But in spite of so much potentiality, Assam is one of the least explored destinations in India. Most of the tourists which come here go either to Kaziranga/Manas National Park or visit Kamakhya temple. But Assam is more than just two national parks and a temple. It is a place where you can go for angling tourism, culinary tourism, rural tourism, tea tourism, community tourism, river tourism and the list goes on. Unfortunately, three decades of political unrest has turned the grapes sour for our infrastructure and investment. But as the new millennium has turned 17 years old, things have changed for us. Entrepreneurs are coming forward and they are boosting our infrastructure too. Take ShyamKanu Mahanta, the prominent entrepreneur and the work he is doing for our state. He has single handily started the movement to popularize our culture in front of the world so that people can know what is going on in this part of the world. After the successful introduction of Shankardeva Movement and North East Festival in national circuit, he came with the idea to promote Assam as a tourist destination. His dream came true in the shape of Rongali: Destination| Culture| Harmony.
Rongali is the biggest event in the history of Assam that is organized to promote our culture and Assam as a destination. It is a one-stop event where you can witness Assam at its best. It showcases culture, traditions, and food of various ethnic groups of Assam. The festival is the bridge that connects you with some unexplored parts of Assam as a tourist destination.
This year, the third edition of Rongali was grander than its previous editions with more participants and more crowds. With provisions for aero sports, traditional boat race of Assam and a food challenge to promote traditional Assamese food, Rongali was at its best. Let’s have a look at the official trailer of Rongali, 2017
The major attractions of Rongali Festival, 2017, Assam
- Showcase of the culture of various ethnic tribes of Assam
- Live performance of various ethnic dance forms
- Live Ankia Bhaona, the unique drama form of Assam.
- Aero sports at the Brahmaputra river front.
- Traditional sports of Assam
- Display of mukha, the traditional masks from Majuli.
- Traditional boat race at Digholipukhuri.
- Traditional Assamese food challenge.
- Musical events featuring the top DJs, rock bands and singers of India
Here are some of the snapshots of Rongali, 2017. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. So, let go through this one-of-its-kind experience called the Rongali, 2017 with some awesome snaps.
Traditional Assamese Food Challenge at Rongali Festival, 2017, Assam
This year’s Rongali gave me so much to behold. As my regular readers know that I am on a mission to trace my culinary routes and preserve Assamese recipes. And when a place offers you to give glimpse of traditional Assamese food, you cannot miss the opportunity for life! Priyobandhu, a Guwahati-based social welfare society, has come up with the idea to throw a traditional Assamese food challenge where food enthusiasts showcased their culinary skills. The food challenge has three segments which showcased three different aspects of Assamese cuisine. Those segments were Traditional Assamese Sweet Dishes, Traditional Assamese Vegetarian Dishes, and Traditional Assamese NonVegetarian Dishes. The food challenge saw some of the most exquisite Assamese dishes which are often neglected.
According to Archie Borthakur, the chief functionary of Priyobandhu said, “The food challenge is an attempt to bring out the traditional foods of Assam. Recently, we have seen so much fusion of Assamese food which is slowly destroying our culinary traditions. Assamese food is always easy to cook and very healthy. This challenge is an attempt to popularize traditional Assamese recipes among masses and encourage the tourist to try our food.” The challenge was successful in terms of encouraging culinary connoisseurs to bring their best dishes and showcase them in front of an equally enthusiastic crowd. Some of the dishes that made to the food challenge are less known food like naangol dhoa pitha, jeng pitha, mogu dailor bor di thekera tenga, rongalau aru poka teteli di boralir jhol, bhedailotar aanja magur mas di, sandoh r logot hah koni bhoja, posola diya murgi mangsho, various tribal dishes and much more. The food challenge was a treat to foodies who had the fun to try various dishes that signifies Assamese Cuisine.
The food challenge also gave away to discussions among the food critics and enthusiasts about Assamese cuisine and how we can popularize it in front of the world. I love listening people talking about their food and it gave me immense pleasure as a food curator/blogger to learn new dishes from the foodies. Let’s have a look at those culinary wonders!