Jonbeel Mela, which is famous for its barter system started from Thursday at Jagiroad in Morigaon district. It’s a three-day annual indigenous Tiwa community fair held at the weekend of Magh Bihu.
The Jonbeel Mela is the only mela in the northeastern states where items are exchanged among the people rather than to sell.
Rural people descending from the nearby hills exchange their produce like ginger, turmeric, potatoes, chilies, and other herbs with whatever people from the plains have to offer.
Organized under the patronage of the Gobha kingdom since the 15th Century, the titular Gobha king still oversees the arrangements for the fair and conducts a “durbar” on the concluding day of the event. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is likely to attend the event on a concluding day on January 23 and will distribute the Rajbhatta to 18 traditional Rajas.
“We have prayed in the temples today morning. Today’s programme includes flag hoisting and a feast with our kings,” said a member of the organizing committee.
“On Friday, the event will be marked by the traditional barter system, where the people of the hills will exchange their agricultural products with foodstuffs like chira and pitha brought by the people of the plains. On Saturday, the Gobha king will collect token taxes from the people and Mela will come to an end,” an organizer said.
The open fair and cultural functions will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.