Rongali fest to showcase composite culture of Assam (Curtain raiser)

Guwahati, Jan 27 (IANS) The second edition of Rongali – Destination, Culture, Harmony – a festival of Assam, is set to entertain people here starting Friday.

Sports activities have been planned near the mighty Brahmaputra river, along with Assamese mask making, fashion shows, lip-smacking food items from the northeast and performances by musicians like sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and “Moh moh ke dhaage” hitmaker Papon.

As many as two lakh people attended the festival last year and the chief organiser of Rongali, Shyamkanu Mahanta, hopes the number goes up this time as there are lots of interesting activities lined up for the three-day fest.

“This time it will be much bigger. We are trying to promote Brahmaputra as a destination. There will be aero sports. Tourists can enjoy flying over Brahmaputra. We are arranging some joy rides. It would cost them between Rs.1000 and Rs.2000,” Mahanta, who also shared that the fest will offer parasailing, paramotoring and boat racing, told IANS.

To be held at Sonaram field ground, Bharalumukh, Guwahati, Brahmaputra riverfront, Andheru Bali, Bharalumukh, and Hotel Ashoka Brahmaputra, the fest will host other types of sports as well like wrestling and kho kho.

Not a sports fanatic? You can check out various exhibitions – on organic vegetables, handicraft, movies and more.

“Assam has a vibrant film industry. So, the history of Assamese film industry will be presented. Some of the Assamese films will be showcased as well,” he said.

Music and fashion also form a major part of the fest.

“Legendary Amjad Ali Khan will perform with his sons. Parikrama and Papon will also perform. Zubeen Garg (Assam’s popular musician) will take part in a drama and he will sing live too. DJ Nucleya will also help to pull in the crowds.

“There will be fashion shows and mask making as well. Experts will display how masks are made and with their traditional masks on, they will do plays,” he said about the fest, which is being organised by a socio-cultural trust of Assam Trend MMS in association with Hotel & Restaurants Association of Assam, Assam Tourism, department of cultural affairs, government of Assam, and Ministry of Youth Affairs, government of India.

The organisers also want to promote Assam as a film shooting destination.

“We are working on making Assam an ideal location for filmmakers too. We are in touch with some of the filmmakers for the same,” he said.

Some of the publishers of the country have also been invited to interact with writers from the northeast region.

“We have invited a few travel writers from Europe as well,” he said.

There will be a session on IT services in the northeast.

“We want to encourage IT in a big way. Some of the outstanding entrepreneurs of the northeast will be felicitated during the festival,” he said.

(The writer’s visit has been sponsored by the festival’s organisers. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at natalia.n@ians.in)

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