Sualkuchi: Festive Fervour

Sualkuchi is a place you can visit any time of the year. You can walk through its narrow lanes, pop into any of its numerous karkhanas, and simply stand awed as artisans weave intricate patterns on golden muga. You can also be part of the merriment of its Doul Utsav or the ceremonies of Guru-jayanti, Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev’s birth anniversary.

Sualkuchi’s famed Dol Utsav is in fact an experience of a lifetime and is celebrated at the Sri Sri Iswar Hati Satra of Sualkuchi over three days. On the first day, each of the Hari Satra branches carries its ‘gosain’ to Hati Satra, to be ensconced there for the celebrations. On the way, the processions carrying the ‘gosains’ traverse all major lanes of the town before circumambulating the temple seven times. On the second day, people offer fakua, the colours of Holi to the Lord, and also apply to others. There are cultural programmes and competitions and also the distribution of Krishna Bhog, the sacred prasada. On the third day, the bah bhanga or bamboo breaking competition takes place, in which a bamboo pole of the strong bholuka bah variety is rubbed with mustard oil before being held up on shoulders at both ends, and effort is made to break it in the middle with bare hands.

Sri Sri Iswar Hati Satra is also the venue for celebrating Guru-jayanti in the most unique of ways. The entire town wears a festive look and street theatres or bhaonas are held at different places on the day of Navami. Banana saplings are planted at the entrance gates of each household, which are illuminated with earthen lamps in the evening. The next day, the Dasami, dharma-dhwaja, the flag of the faith, is hoisted sharp at 8:30 a.m., followed by naam-kirtana across the entire town. Number of groups can be seen chanting and singing religious songs on the streets themselves. Large gatherings also can be seen at both the Sankardev Mandir (naamghar) and the Sankardev Dham. Both festivities exude a bonhomie that is quintessentially Assam and a spirit as colorful as the state. Neither can be missed.

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