Bihu Delicacies Exhibited at ‘Bhogali Mela’ Held in Guwahati

The fair named ‘Bor Axom Bhogali Mela’ was inaugurated on January 10 (Tuesday) and will conclude on January 14 (Saturday).
'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati
'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati
Karishmita Saikia

People across Assam are gearing up to celebrate the most loved festival of Assamese society, the Magh Bihu also known as Bhogali Bihu.

People are busy constructing Bhelaghors in various structures. Delicacies including pithas, larus, and various kinds of jolpans are being prepared by women in their respective houses. The markets are also filled with all kinds of bihu delicacies.

On the occasion, various fairs known as ‘Bhogali Melas’ are being organised across Assam where traditional Assamese cuisines are available for people.

Along with the entire state, a Bhogali Mela has been organized in Guwahati's in Dighalipukhuri area. The fair named ‘Bor Axom Bhogali Mela’ was inaugurated on January 10 (Tuesday) and will conclude on January 14 (Saturday).

'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati
'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati

The fair has been set up with the participation of indigenous entrepreneurs and self help groups across state. Items starting from pithas, ladus, cakes, curd, cream, pickles, jagerry (gur) sira, etc are available for people in the fair.

The peak time when the customer rush is the maximum is usually evening time between 3 pm to 9 pm. While speaking to shop owners about the sale, mixed response was received from them.

The owner of a stall named ‘Kohua’ which deals with dairy products including cream, curd, paneer, etc. had come from Ramdia in Kamrup district.

'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati
'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati

He said, “We are happy to set up the stall at the Bhogali Mela here. We come here every year. This time we opened our stall on January 10. We are selling cream and curd, both from Ramdia. The curd Rs 150 per litre and cream is Rs 600 per litre. We are receiving good response from people as most of them are purchasing the products.”

A group called the ‘Siro Seuj’ from Tezpur, founded by four businesswomen is selling varieties of pithas, larus, jolpan, sira, cream and curd and was also witnessing a lot of customers.

Speaking about the stall, the owner said, “We have been putting up stalls at the Bhogali Mela since the last 15 years. We are selling a total of 14 varieties of pithas, three types of sira, and most importantly we have curd and cream from Gorukhuti. Though there is a slight hike in the price of various items, the customer flow has not been affected.”

Meat stalls
Meat stalls

On the other hand, a stall owner from Hajo selling cream and doi expressed his disappointment as the customer flow in his shop has been very minimal.

He said, “This is my first time at the Bhogali Mela. I had opened the stall along with my sister. The response from customers is not up to our expectations. But we still hope that the sale will rise in the last two days.”

A shop owned only by few women based in Guwahati’s Panjabari is selling products made in Majuli, Sivasagar and Golaghat districts.

Speaking about their sale, one member said, “We are selling products made in Majuli, Sivasagar and Golaghat districts. We have cakes, pithas, mustard oil, etc. this is our first venture. Alongside this stall, we also have a stall where we are serving cooked dishes.”

Other than this, there were many organic foods prepared by farmers from various parts of the state, various kinds of pickles and tea stalls which also attracted many customers.

Women at the 'Dheki Xaal'
Women at the 'Dheki Xaal'

Besides, another centre of attraction was women at the ‘dheki xaal’ producing rice. A dheki is an agricultural tool used for threshing, to separate rice grains from their outer husks, while leaving the bran layer, thus producing brown rice. At a time when the use of the dheki has diminished due to the rise of new technologies which eases labour, the showcasing of traditional tool was a sight to behold.

Apart from Bihu delicacies, there were several stalls which served chicken, pork, prawns, silk worms, etc. where people thronged in large numbers.

A shop owner said, “We have come from Nagaon. We are delighted with the number of people visiting our shop. They have also appreciated the foods that we are serving.”

Notably, Magh Bihu is marked by a lot of feasting and rejoicing over sumptuous meals on Uruka. Magh Bihu ‘Uruka’ will be celebrated on January 14 (Saturday). A variety of dishes are prepared with duck, chicken, fishes adding to delicacies. In the greater Assamese consciousness, Bhogali Bihu is associated with the pounding of dheki , the buzz of activities in the household, the aroma of fried and baked delicacies, the frequent trips to the bazaar, and most importantly, the community feast on Uruka and the Meji or the Bhelaghar.

'Bhogali Mela' in Guwahati
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