Bhogali Bihu: A Photo Essay

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A series of photographs clicked by Guwahati-based photojournalist Manash Das, which shows the various aspects and fervours of Bhogali Bihu.

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Community Fishing

Bhogali Bihu is an important festival for the people of Assam. Also called as Magh Bihu, it is a harvest festival celebrated widely in the state. It marks the end of harvesting season in the month of Maagh (January–February).

The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires and young people erect makeshift huts, known as Meji and Bhelaghar, from bamboo, leaves and thatch, and in Bhelaghar they eat the food prepared for the feast and then burn the huts the next morning.

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Bhelaghar

The celebrations also feature traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting. The Supreme Court, however, has put a ban in this traditional sport.

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Buffalo fight

During Magh Bihu people of Assam make cakes of rice with various names such as Shunga Pitha, Til Pitha etc. and some other sweets of coconut called Laru.

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Preparation of Sunga Pitha- an Assamese delicacy, a sort of ‘pancake’
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People buying traditional Assamese delicacies to be consumed during Bhogali bihu

Magh Bihu celebrations start on the last day of the previous month, the month of “Pooh”, usually the 29th of Pooh and usually 14 January, and is the only day of Magh Bihu in modern times (earlier, the festival would last for the whole month of Magh, and so the name Magh Bihu).

The night before is “Uruka” (28th of Pooh), when people gather around a bonfire, cook dinner, and make merry.

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