Bihu
Photos
 
Brief

One of the most prominent festivals that is celebrated in Assam, a northeastern state in India, Bihu is actually marked by three different set of celebrations spaced out each year. The three Bihus are held at different times, marking the beginning of a different season, mainly the Bohag or Rongali (Baisakhi), Kaati (Kartik) and Maagh, which are the mid April, October or November and early January respectively.

The lush green paddy fields of Assam turn a shade brihgter during this time of the year. The maniured tea gardens are geared up to produce their first flush of the year.

It is believed that the term Bihu originted from the language of the Dimasas, one of the Assams many tribal communities. The word Bi (to ask) and Shu (peace and prosperity in the world make for Bihu which roughly translates to a celebration meant for the entire state.

An interesting aspect of this festival is its detachment from religious and case boundaries. People across the state celebrate Bohag Bihu irrespective of their social status.

Assamese and Bodo is the official language in Assam.

 

 
Travel Tips

If interested to enjoy and view the festival it is important to visit during those times only. The best way to find out the timings is by reading. The hotels might always be booked during the season, making pre booking an essential thing. Lastly, the Bihu does not have any loud noise, it is therefore imperative to enjoy while it still lasts.



When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Cold
  • 23.4° Max
  • 11.0° Min
  • 16.7 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen.
 
Things to do

India is a country rich in culture and each state celebrates their heritage in a different way. While festivals like Onam and Durga Puja has taken the help of commercialization and become famous, it is whole gamut of others like Bihu and the Chhat Puja that is slowly vanishing from India and being replaced by the more hip and happening.  This has made it extremely important to look forward and encourage to people that indigenous festivals can attain the same level if wanted to. Bihu is one such festival and Assam is desperately trying to show case its simplicity and beauty to the world.

As will all other states of the country, the state of Assam is also rich in culture and heritage. The Bihu is one of their major ones and since it is also an agricultural state, the year is marked with festivals that herald the growth and harvest of crops. With green paddy fields as the dominant crop of the state, the festival too is celebrated with the seeding of the paddy (Bohaag), sowing of the paddy (Kaati) and culminating with the harvesting. (Maagh).

As with all other festivals in India, Bihu too marks the celebrations of agriculture. However, it just doesn’t end there, they also have the Kaati Bihu or the Kongaali Bihu which is the Bihu of the poor. Despite it being an agricultural festivity, what will mesmerize you is the simplicity that it celebrates. It is both secular and non religious in nature and marks the arrival of Spring. The festival abounds in songs and dances that lasts for several days and the young men and women move about the village in circles dancing, singing and merry making. What is strange here is that all Assamese are well aware of the Bihu songs despite it being changed in each generation.

The songs in Bihu have a different beat in it and words are usually couplets that impart a different emotion. The distinctive dance of Bihu is accompanied with it and you as the traveler is surrounded by the a sequence that enthralls your mind and your soul. The style of Bihu is however simple, clear, and suggestive and the songs are not preachy or overloaded with Sanskrit, the ancient language of most songs and scriptures.

A great influence on the Assamese literature, even the normal Hindu scriptures like the Mahabharata and Ramayana has their influence in them. However, as is with all culture, the Bihu too, is slowly withering away and thereby has limited itself to the only certain parts of state where commercialization and modernization is yet to reach. The  Mukoli Bihu is one thing that cannot be seen anymore.

The state has realized this and therefore holding several fairs where amateurs and professionals come together to perform. Earning the prestigious title of Bihu Kunwori, the fairs are held to promote the popularity of the dance and thereby let other people also know about the heritage of Assam.

To make the dance festival more musical, the musicians also use of the following:

  • Dhol (Drum)
  • Taal
  • Pepa (An instrument made of buffalo horn)
  • Toka
  • Baanhi (Flute)
  • Xutuli
  • Gogona

The Bihu festival is something that is culpable because each generation has influenced it in some way or the other. How it will change in this century is yet to see, and we just hope its always for the best, and for the more musical.

 
Getting Around

The only viable option to travel around the city is tuk tuk locally called Auto.

 
Places to Stay

Since the place is yet to be commercialized, the hotels and lodging options found here are cheap and pocket friendly. However, for most cheap transpires as inefficient, however, for the hotels in Assam are not so. Furthermore, if interested to view only the festival, it is advised to pre book the hotels well in advance.

Guwahatis cosmopolitan nature also reflects in the cities restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines. 

 
How to Reach

  • The closest airport is Guwahati and it is about 18kms away. The airport has flights from all over India and it is also connected to smaller airports like Tezpur, Itanagar, Shillong, Tawang and Agartala. From the airport, prepaid and post paid taxis can be taken. They usually charge about Rs 300 for the journey.
  • The closest railway station to Dispur is Guwahati which is well connected to all major cities in India. Since trains are frequently available, they are the most ideal forms of transport and the tickets are also cheap.
  • Both state owned and private buses are available from Guwahati to Dispur. Used extensively by the perfect mode of transport, the buses depart from various points of the city during the day. All the tickets are cheap and cost sometimes as less as Rs 50.

 
Surrounding Attractions

It is already been said that Bihu is a festival of farming communities and whose livelihood greatly depends on agriculture. However, the festival is celebrated by one and by all irrespective of money owned or even caste. If interested to view any of the nearby places, there are designated tours and packages that are available. The Bihu is a subtle celebration and does not contain the humdrum of loud music. It is important to be prepared for it.

Every household follows the rituals of serving jolpan to begin the day's festivities. Though the revelries arry on for almost a month, the first day of the festival is devoted to the cattle of the state and goes by the name of Goru (meaning cow) Bihu.

Rongali comes from the word rong or colour and signifies the joy and happiness that this festivals brings with it. The joy is best expressed in the form of the famous Bihu dance, songs and the general air of merriment that accompany it.

 

 
Emergency No.

Police: 100

Fire brigade: 101

Hospital: 102