Magical Mayong

Flanked by hills and the River Brahmaputra, Mayong was once known as the land of the Asuras and until recently, the land of black magic. Today, it is an eclectic mix of ancient tradition, archaeology, birding, river dolphin, rhino sighting, and miles of beautiful green fields. About 40 kms from Guwahati, Mayong is where many would once go, to be cured of diseases through herbal medicines and chanting of mantras by bejs and ojhas. But now, as confided by a local, the number of  knowledgeable bejs/ojhas have come down considerably, as have practitioners of tantra-mantra.

Walking around the archaeological remains of rock-cut sculptures and temples in Burha-Mayong and Mayong, one is taken back to the early and late medieval period when it would have been a seat of an esoteric mystical and ritualistic religious tradition. A community museum –Mayong Village Museum and Research Centre at Raja-Mayong, is the repository of interesting finds by villagers—cannon stone balls, terracotta sculptures, manuscripts on tantra-mantra, coins and more.

Given its historicity, Mayong is filled with stories and legends. One such legend is that of its ‘ritualistic’ king. It is said that centuries ago, the first king settled in Borbheti in Burha-Mayong. Later, the tenth king shifted to the present village. Shri Tarani Kantha Singha, the current king, 40th in line, is a retired school teacher who was chosen in 1995. Every year, in the later part of April, Mayong livens up with a three-day festival ‘Gohain Uliuwa Mela’ held as per 350 years old tradition and the guidance of ceremonial king of Mayong.

And, after monsoons, until November-December, Mayong is a fine place to sight the river dolphins, a highly endangered Schedule I species. In fact, the year round, Mayong and adjacent Pobitora are a paradise for resident and migratory birds, archaeology, village visits, agriculture and flood, as off-season months can sometimes let you experience things you can’t experience in other months. And, of course, Pobitora also has the highest density of Assam’s famous one-horned rhino.

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