Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley- Learning Bihu

May 03, 2014 By:

Table of contents for Brahmaputra Valley

  1. Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley- Learning Bihu
  2. Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley – Nameri National Park
  3. Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley-Nameri & Tezpur

Recently we returned from our unforgettable tour of Bhutan, so a celebration was due by now. And publishing the story of our Bhutan tour in Ghumakkar was just icing on the cake. Then what? Hurrah! “Let’s go again”.

Truly “Fortune comes to those who seek it”. It was precisely inevitable for us too. With the arrival of spring, comes the “Bohag Bihu” or “Rongaali Bihu” in Assam, a festival of music, dance and sowing. This most colourful spring festival of Assam also indicates the beginning of Assamese New Year, which is around April 15. In this festivity, the valley of Brahmaputra comes alive with the rhythms of Bihu songs and dances. The joy and merriments continues for long seven days. So we had weeklong holidays here in Guwahati and we planned for an outing in the valley of mighty Brahmaputra. We decided to watch and enjoy Bihu dances on the first day followed by a visit to the Nameri National Park & Tiger Reserve near Tezpur on the next day.

Bihu Dance of Assam

Bihu Dance of Assam


We flagged on the first day tour and entered into the judges’ field located right on the centre of Guwahati City. AASU, a student union, was organizing Bihu Dance for celebrations in the open field. It is performed in the open field and hence called Mukuli (Open) Bihu. People gathered here in huge number and many had already occupied the chairs kept under sheds circling the field. Others, like us, who reached here late, were trying hard to get a convenient place to watch the jubilant youthful passionate Bihu dance. I found my place in the middle of crowds. But some tall youths, who were blessed by the GOD with such a sterling heights, suddenly came and stood in front of me. They were standing like a monument and my visibility to the field came to an end. I headed back, the last try I must give. I took out my DSLR camera, hanged in the neck, confidently marched forward right through the crowd, a request with certainty “Side Please”, and a show off to convey them, Oh dear! my place was in the front. I do not know why, but it worked, some might have taken me as a reporter, but in the end I found a place right in the front. I, then very carefully choose a place, took a posture with my right knee on the ground, camera on my hands to click.

No, I didn’t have to wait for long. The boys entered into the field powerfully beating the Dhols (drums) accompanied by songs of love and passion, amazingly playing Pepa(Hornpipes) and many other indigenous instruments. The dancers were performing in a circle which gradually gained momentum. Through the performances, boys were inviting the girls to the land of romance. The girls responded to their call very soon and joined them in the dance.

Girls entering into the dance arena

Girls entering into the dance arena

Girls joining the Boys with the beat

Girls joining the Boys with the beat

: A step of Bihu Dance

: A step of Bihu Dance

The girls, added to their beauty and glory, were wearing Assamese Mekhela Chadar. Bihu songs and the graceful dancing built up an atmosphere of love and romance. Expression of joys of the spring and exuberance of youth were present in their dance.

: Joyous Moments

: Joyous Moments

: Graceful Dancing

: Graceful Dancing

The brisk stepping, flinging and flipping of hands and swaying of hips in performing Bihu dance with youthful passion continued.

Brisk Stepping, Flinging and Flipping of Hands

Brisk Stepping, Flinging and Flipping of Hands

Exuberance in Bihu Dance

Exuberance in Bihu Dance

I stood up, looked for my friends. I could not see them. It was not easy to come out from such a crowd, still I managed, and found them waiting for me near the car at the road side parking area. It was time to have a taste of some Assamese cuisine. So we relished our lunch at an ethnic Assamese restaurant and called off the day.

Next day early in the morning we started our journey to Nameri National Park which is located 35 KM away from Tezpur town on the north bank of the River Brahmaputra. Tezpur is well connected with Guwahati and is 186 KM away from it. The location of Tezpur Air Base bears a great significance, because it lies strategically surrounded by China, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh on each side. We were driving reasonably fast and stopped just 12 KM before Tezpur for a small break.
Tezpur and its suburbs are still haunted by the Chinese attack in the Indo China War of 1962. Because during the war, “The PLA penetrated close to the outskirts of Tezpur, Assam, a major frontier town nearly fifty kilometers from the Assam-North-East Frontier Agency border. The local government ordered the evacuation of the civilians in Tezpur to the south of the Brahmaputra River, all prisons were thrown open, and government officials who stayed behind destroyed Tezpur’s currency reserves in anticipation of a Chinese advance” (italic portion quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Indian_War).

Young women in military training during India-China war, Nov.1962

Young women in military training during India-China war, Nov.1962

Photo Source: http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/military-multimedia/43476-1962-india-china-war-memories-photos.html

We saw Girls performing beautiful Bihu dance in Guwahati but when it was needed, they were not behind in taking up arms to fight out the Chinese Army.
It is almost 52 years old by now, but the region has not yet forgotten Nehru’s speech in November 1962 on All India Radio following the fall of Bomdila (in Arunachal Pradesh, about 150KM from Tezpur) when he said, “My Heart Goes Out To The People of Assam”. Yes, we were only 12 KM away from Tezpur which was virtually given up by the then Prime Minister of India.

And the drive continues

And the drive continues

…….. to be continued

About Anupam Chakraborty

Anupam Chakraborty has written 19 posts at Ghumakkar.

A fresh dream and a new place; a plan again and a move on; then a little pause and out again.......... travelling is what I dare to dream.

17 Responses to “Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley- Learning Bihu”


  1. Prasanth says:

    Your snaps itself say lot about “bihu” dance and I wonder how people and culture differ from place to place in India.

    • Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Hi Prasanth,

      India, 7th largest country in the world, with a total land area of 3,166,414 square kilometers, and population exceeding 100 crores. It measures 3,214 km from north to south and 2,933 km from east to west.

      We have Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity and twenty two constitutionally recognized languages (there are many dialects). The diversity is also in patterns of living, life styles, festivals etc etc. But we are still united, and see how beautiful your thought was about Bihu dance. Thank you for liking it.

      I am proud to be an Indian.

  2. MUNESH MISHRA says:

    Hi Anupam,
    Your post and pictures of the Bihu Dance gives fragrance of North-East of Vibrant India…

  3. AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Anupam,
    An excellent post with so many Bihu steps. Just loved that. My grudge, the story was too short and ended exactly when the excitement was too high. Only request, just post the remaining portion asap. Cant wait to read unto finish.

    Great job, keep it up. Your narration is impressive, learning and may copy in my forthcoming logs.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

    • Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Dear Ajay,

      Your grudge is well accepted as a nice compliment, and it is indeed nice to get such a compliment from you. I hope your excitement will be continued until I come soon with the continuing part.

      I too will wait for your next log to publish soon.

      Keep browsing and keep reading.

      Thanks

  4. Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Dear Nandan & the members of Editorial Board,

    Thank you for all the support in publishing the story with a little modification in the Title – adding “Learning Biuhu” and naming the last photo as ”And the drive continues”.

    @ Nandan, Thank you for accepting the story with the prologue “Bihu Dance”. I thank you for supporting the theme.

    Regards

    Anupam

  5. Kamal Krishna Das says:

    ThanX Anupam 4 uploading this article since I give up writing diary. Keep it up

  6. Ashok Sharma says:

    very good post.beautiful Bihu is worth witnessing.nice people-nice dance.keep it up.

  7. Nandan Jha says:

    So the SLR worked :-). Good.

    As a underlying rule, we do not try to change or edit things unless it is a regular spelling mistake or if the sentence-formation is not great across the story (then our editors rewrite it for the first time and later it is left for the Author to get it better). This is as per design since we do not want to be some kind of ‘approving’ layer, rather we only curate, just a little bit. For this, we kind of broke it and thought that having ‘Bihu’ in the title would do good (from SEO as well as readability).

    I am also waiting for next one to get published.

  8. Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Yes Nandan! It took me in the front. :-) :-) :-).

    I will be back with my next post soon.

  9. silentsoul says:

    Beautiful post thanx for sharing

    • Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thanks for making out time to read the post and also for your praiseworthy comment.

  10. Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Anupam,

    A pretty dance and nice photos! Just few days before I was in AP/Kar where Gudi Padwa and Ugadi was being celebrated.

    Just like a SUV cuts through traffic, even as we carwalas hate that, a DSLR will cut through a crowd of onlookers!

    Keep writing and waiting for the Tezpur post.

  11. Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Hi Nirdesh,

    I think it is called Ugadi in AP and Gudipadava in Maharastha.

    It is called Bihu in Assam and I think it is known as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Naba Barsha in Bengal. All are festive of New Year (as pe Luni Solar Calender) celebration.

    It was my first SLR experience and I am yet to learn more about it.

    Thanks for your encouragement.


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