Ancient World

TRYING A HAND OF DHOPKHEL

This traditional ball game from Assam has been around for years. Matches of the game were traditionally made to observe the spring and New Year festival of Bihu.

WORDS: SANGEETA

SPORTS in India dates back to vedic era. Many of the sports played today are believed to be originated and played in ancient India. Being a vast country with diverse culture one can find diversity in sports too. Apart from a different culture every state in India has its own traditional sports.
The list can be endless but here we are going to talk about a unique game from Assam. Assam is known for various traditional sports like buffalo fight, cock fight etc.

Youth from Assam can be seen playing major sports like football, cricket etc. But at the same time the tribals of the state have tried to keep the traditional sports alive too. Such traditional sports are mostly played during festivals.
So next time when you travel to Assam apart from enjoying the natural beauty of the place don’t forget to watch the local enthusiastic people playing the local traditional games. And if you have the zeal you can also be a part of the game. Watching the traditional games will give you the real feel of the place.

bihu_in_assam
321fa6eff630b1e6d575d08b3dad1b11
bihu-1

An ancient game known as Dhop Khel or Dhoop Khel is another popular indigenous game in Assam. It is a traditional Assamese ball game played by both men and women. The game which tests speed, stamina and acrobatic skills is played between two eleven-member teams. In the game ball is thrown at the opponent to knock them out of the game. This game is usually played during spring and New Year festival of Bihu. The game which was also played to amuse Ahom royalty as a spectator game is not played much in the state these days. In fact it is believed that the game became more popular under the kingdom of Ahom. Efforts are on to revive the lovely ancient culture of the state. Since this sport requires absolute physical fitness, it is closely associated with the development of the state as well.
Apart from showcasing Assam culture these sports can help build fitter citizens. The current generation hardly plays such games and is more involved with gadgets and gizmos. And slowly these lovely traditional games were moving towards extinction. But the general curiosity about culture and heritage has helped in reviving interest in traditional sports. These traditional games are unique and if right efforts are made to popularize these games, we will soon see people’s interest back in such games which can even help build a strong state as these games require good stamina and strength.

THE GAME – DHOP KHEL

Playground – The field is 125 m in length and 80 m in breadth with the central point right in the middle of playing area. Two lines called kai are drawn 12 ft away on each side of the point at the center and four flags are placed at four corners called chukor nishan. The central point which is equidistant from the two halves is surrounded by a circle known as gher.
Players – There are two teams comprising 11 players each and it is played using a rubber ball called Dhop. There are two types of Dhop, one played by men and the other by women.
How it is played – The rubber ball is thrown in the air by one of the players to the playing court of the opponents group. The players throw the ball at the competitors to eliminate them out of the game, while they try to get hold of the ball and dodge other players. If they are able to hit any opponent with the ball, that player has to leave the game. This is how the team tries to oust the opponents.

THE RULES

The play begins with the dhop being thrown in the air, by one of the players.
If the ball fails to land in the opponent’s court, it has to be thrown again.
And if it lands, the dhop has to be caught by the opposition team else the other team gets a chance to throw.
The player who catches the throw gets a chance to stand on the gher of the court and throw the dhop to the opposition’s katoni (one standing on the other gher).
If the katoni is not hit they lose the chance.
If the katoni is hit under the waist, it becomes a kota, and the katoni turns into a hoia or a bondha, and is no longer a ghai – a name initially used for all players at the start of the game.
The bondha then has to move to the opposing team and has to try to stop them from catching the dhop; this strategy is called aulia.
If he is successful in catching the dhop, he can cross over to his team’s side without being touched by any of the opponents. This move is known as hora.
He also has to ensure that he does not go out of the field of play i.e. the kais while attempting to re-cross to his own team. If he does this successfully, he becomes a ghai again.
Suppose a team loses ten ghais i.e. they become a bondha, then the only one left in the team will be named ghai katoni. If the opposition manages to perform a kota on him, then it is a piriutha, which means the team has won the game. If both teams have equal number of ghais, the game ends in a draw.

Rich artistic and cultural traditions

Kesariya Balam Padharo Mhare Desh, the common welcoming phase of Rajasthan, speaks a thousand words on the culture, heritage and inviting attitude of the people of the state

WORDS: SHIFA MEYAJI

‘Raja’ means king and ‘sthan’ means place, and hence Rajasthan is named after the various kings – the Rajputs, Marathas and even Muslim rulers.
The state has numerous beautiful forts and palaces that still stay upright as a mark of the royal lifestyle of the erstwhile maharajas.
This desert landscaping province, also the largest state of India, has rich artistic and cultural traditions which reflect the ancient Indian way of life.

Rajasthan’s culture is inspired by some of the oldest tribes – Bhils, Minas, Meos, Banjaras, Gadias, and Lohars.
Rajputs form the majority of the population and they have been glorified in numerous texts for their bravery, warfare and administrative prowess.

Some of the main Rajput clans include Chauhans, Sisodias, Solankis, Rathors and Panwars.
The main dialects originating from Rajasthan include Marwari, Malvi, Mevati, Jaipuri / Dhundari; the most famous being the Marwari.

Since many kings have ruled Rajasthan, each region has its own folk culture.
Although most of them are similar due to their geographical confinement, each differs in their unique style.

Manganiyars and Langas are the two prominent groups that contributed to the Rajasthani folk music.
During the pre-monsoon time, they would play ragas to invite the rains.

Many traditional instruments are used by them including sarangi, kamayach, dhols and shehnai. Folk songs were usually for purposes like weddings or birth or were passed to tell a story of bravery or a romantic tale.
They were usually in the form of ballads.

Dance was mainly performed for the entertainment of the people and the king.
They differed from tribe to tribe. Ghoomar, which originally took birth in Udaipur and was performed by Rajput women, has gained popularity and recognition throughout the world.

Some of the popular dance forms of Rajasthan are the Kalbelia dance which is an ancient form practiced by the women of Kalbelia community (snake charmers). Chari dance is another famous dance form that requires a lot of skill and patience as it involves balancing on various sized pots on one’s head.
The architectural style in Rajasthan is also majestic and striking. The Jain temple in Ranakpur and the Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur are a mixture of western Indian architecture style. The Jaisalmer Fort, built in 1156 by Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, contains several gates, Jain temples and Havelis and is included as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Rajasthani staple food is daal-baati-churma. Daal is lentil curry and baati consists of round balls made out of wheat flour and baked in charcoal fire. The churma is a dessert made out of crushed wheat balls, rolled in jaggery sugar, and topped with ghee.
Beautiful carpets, garments and jewelry are handcrafted by the local people.

landscape-nature-sand
red-color-fashion-colorful

Camel leather is widely used to make journals, shoes and bags. The carpets are made from the hand-knitting techniques and are much like Persian carpets; they have a geometric design and borders.
Fairs that take place every year in Bikaner and Pushkar are a festival or celebration of sorts dedicated to camels and their owners. There are various events and competitions which are carried out for fun like camel racing and camel dances. These festivals are usually held for two days.
The people of Rajasthan celebrate ‘Samskaras’, which are events that cause a turning point in one’s life. There are a total of 16 events that they celebrate. They include: Garbandhan (conception), Pumsvan (ceremony performed by those who desire a male child), Seemantonayan (ceremony for the expecting mother to keep her spirits high), Jatakarma (the child is fed mother’s milk for the first time after birth), Namkaran (naming ceremony), Nishkraman (the infant sees the sun and the moon for the first time), Annaprashan (child is given solid food to eat for the first time), Chudakaran (a lock of hair is kept, and the remaining is shaved off), Karna-vedha (ears are pierced), Upanayan-Vedarambha (thread ceremony after which the child begins his studies), Keshanta (hair is cut, and guru dakhshina is given), Samavartan (person returns home after studies are completed), Vivaha (marriage), Vanprastha (retirement), Sanyas (shedding away all responsibilities and relationships) and Antyeshthi (rites done after death).

The birth of a child is celebrated by beating copper plates together when it is born along with a celebratory gunfire to announce the birth.
The child is named 11 days after he or she is born. This is called ‘Namkaran’. Another interesting custom is ‘Mundan’, in which the hair of the child is shaved completely as it is a common belief that the hair carries negativity from the child’s past life. The women wear sarees with the dupatta or ‘odhni’ covering their head as a sign of respect. The men wear dhotis and kurtas with a headgear called paghri or safah (to protect them from the strong desert heat).
The designs on their clothing are either embroidered or dotted. The material is usually cotton and even silk for women.
Rajasthan is a land of sand dunes and jungles, of camels and wild tigers, of glittering jewels, vivid colours, and vibrant culture. There are enough festivals in Rajasthan to fill a calendar and an artist’s and a traveller’s palette, and the sights and cuisine are nothing short of spectacular.
The glory of royal Rajasthan is enticing enough to make an ardent traveler return to explore the mysteries of this majestic state again and again to engulf themselves into the startling, thought-provoking, and ultimately unforgettable attractions.

town-building-palace

KHAJURAHO TEMPLES IN MADHYA PRADESH

Popular for its detailed erotic art and stone carvings, the Khajuraho temples are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in India

WORDS: SHIFA MEYAJI

one-of
devi_jagdambi_temple

LOCATED in Madhya Pradesh, the ‘heart of India,’ the Khajuraho temples were commissioned when the Chandelas ruled between AD 900 and 1130.
They were dedicated to two Indian religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a culture of acceptance and respect for differing religious identities.
In a space of about 20 sq kms in Khajuraho, 85 temples were built by successive Chandela rulers. This period was considered the golden age for central India.
The ancient transcripts list 85 temples in Khajuraho out of which only 25 could survive after various stages of preservation and care.
No mortar was used in building the walls and most work was left to gravity. The architecture of the temples was symbolic to the central Hindu beliefs and was based on designs of mandala principle of squares and circles.

INTRICATELY CARVED STATUES
The temples have a wide array of intricately carved statues and the art work depicts the daily life and symbolic values in ancient Indian culture.
The temples also depict the many different manifestations of Shakti and Shiva, the female and male divine principles.
Under the patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of central India, the temples of Khajuraho were grouped into three complexes based on their geographic locations – east, west and south.
The western group of temples are the best preserved, mainly because they were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The most significant in the complex is Lakshamana temple whose walls are filled with innumerable idols and images of almost 600 Hindu gods, animals and sensuous couples.

kandariya-mahadeva-temple

The surprising element is that even though Khajuraho temples are known worldwide for their erotic sculptures, the sexual themes cover less than 10 per cent of the sculpture.

Much has been written about the enthralling architecture and masterful sculpting, but little is known for certain about the intent of the sexual imagery.

Some believe that the depiction of sexual activities in temples is a good omen because they signify new beginnings and represent new life.
However, it is widely believed that the temples were meant to celebrate all aspects of human life including sex.
Sexual pleasure was considered an art form and the Kama Sutra to be practiced and perfected by both genders.
“Hinduism has traditionally considered sex an essential part of life, which could be why the carvings are casually interspersed between others that potray activities as varied as prayer and war,” wrote Charukesi Ramadurai in BBC

Travel in October 2015. “The fact that they are set in plain view and not tucked away in an obscure corner seems to suggest that their creators meant for them to be seen by all.”
The difference is especially striking considering how conservative Indian society has grown over the last few centuries.

It is hard to miss how much the town has changed and developed. A number of tourists, both national and international, visit Khajuraho to experience the legends about the Kama Sutra temples.
Khajuraho, which was known for its ornate temples, artistic creativity, magnificent architectural work and carvings of eroticism, now receives financial aid from the UNESCO along with heap loads of tourists including researchers, historians and art enthusiasts.

It is also a major symbol of ancient and religious tolerance that India holds for its monuments and ancient practices.

Arunachal Pradesh land of majestic mountains

One of the most linguistically diverse states in India, where food preparations vary from district to district and where travellers find their haven in the lap of the Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh is a land of majestic mountains, breathtaking greenery and vivid tribes.

WORDS: SHIFA MEYAJI

ancient

IT is one of the last remaining regions where a number of primitive tribes still exist and maintain a harmonious balance with each other and with nature.
Arunachal Pradesh is in north-eastern India and is popularly known as ‘the land of the Rising Sun’. The culture and lifestyle of this state has been heavily influenced by the tribes residing there.

They are divided into three groups, according to their socio – religious beliefs. The Monpas and Sherdukpens of Tawang and West Kameng districts are followers of the Lamaistic ethics of Mahayana Buddhism and worship in temples known as ‘gompas’.
Tribes like Adis, Akas, Apatanis, Mijis and Thongsas worship the Sun and the Moon.

There are also tribes like Noctes and Wanchos which follow Vaishnavism.
Apart from being famous for its tranquility and scenic beauty, Arunachal Pradesh is also known for its colourful festivals. The tribal people find reason to celebrate, be it religious, socio-cultural or agricultural.
Festivals here are like an occasion for people of different communites and regions to come together and celebrate.

ancient_one
ancient_three

Rice is the staple food of Arunachal Pradesh and it is eaten in various forms. One is by wrapping it in leaves and boiling them. Thukpa, a noodle soup and Apong, a refreshing drink, are also quite popular here.
The main occupation of its people differs from tribe to tribe. While some are involved in bamboo handicrafts, weaving or pottery, others are more into jewellery-making or herding. Agriculture is still the most common and popular occupation.
Most people have adopted their rituals and traditions from the tribal customs. Any event, whether it’s a marriage or feast or auspicious, is incomplete without singing the Ja-Jin-Ja song. The Adis, one of the most prominent tribes, migrated to Arunachal with the gradual spread of Buddhism across Tibet in the 17th century.

They follow a tribal religion known as Donyi-Polo and worship gods who represent various elements found in nature.
Young women and men get introduced to each other through the prevalence of dormitories in the Adi tribe. Men can visit women’s dormitories but they aren’t allowed to stay overnight. However, if there is a mutual liking between two people, they can ask their family’s permission and get married after their approval.
The girl is still supposed to live at her parent’s house until the first child is born so that the boy gets ample time to get independent and build their own house.

Adi tribe
In the Adi tribe, descent is traced through the father only. There are some in the tribe who make political and social decisions and settle disputes.

They are known as Kebangs. Depending upon their position, they are named as Bane, Atek and Bango.
An interesting characteristic of the locals are their costumes. They wear the most vibrant colours with distinguished patterns. The womenfolk wear silver jewellery adorned with bamboo bits or turquoise beads.
The women also paint broad blue lines from their foreheads to the tip of the nose and five vertical lines drawn below the lower lip along the chin. The men also beautify their bodies with various tattoos and designs.
It is indeed beautiful how Arunachal Pradesh has successfully preserved its ancient heritage and culture in a westernising world. It is a proud state adorned with customs of primitive tribes, the evergreen beauty and solitude of the Himalayas, the rejuvenating and bountiful grace of nature and the overall mystical and mythical vibe of the north east.

Dynasties of MAGADHA—II

Two of the largest empires of India—the Mauryan and the Gupta—had ruledover Magadha, which proved to be the centre in which art, religion, mathematics, and astronomy flourished

WORDS: MADHURI. Y

asia_800ad

THE emergence of ‘zero’ and decimal notation, and the discovery that the Earth revolves around the Sun occurred during the Golden Age of the Gupta period. In addition, the Magadha dynasties supported art, architecture and sculpture, leaving behind many stupas and statues as proof of their patronage. Learning centres like Nalanda flourished, and Buddhism and Jainism gained royal support.

NANDA DYNASTY
The Nanda rulers might have remained a tiny footnote in the history of India’s dynasties, if it wasn’t for Chandragupta Maurya overthrowing Dhana Nandaunder Chanakya’s guidance.
Mahapadma Nanda ascended the throne after killing his father, Mahanandin, the Shishunaga king, establishing the Nanda dynasty which ruled briefly from 345 to 321 BC.
He built a powerful army and expanded the Magadha empire towards Punjab in the west and towards the Deccan Plateau in the south. Kalinga (present-day Odisha) was part of the Nanda empire, but broke free later, only to be reconquered by Ashoka of the Maurya dynasty.
Ruling with the aid of ministers, the Nandas built irrigation projects and introduced standard measures, easing trade activity within the empire. Yet, they were known for their cruelty and extortion, which paved the way for the rise of Chandragupta Maurya.

samudraguptacoin

MAURYA DYNASTY
One of the largest empires of the world of its time, the Mauryan empire ruled over Magadha for nearly a century and a half, up to 180 BC. With efficient administrative, economic and security systems set in place under Chanakya’s advice, the empire expanded and thrived.

samudraguptacoin_one

While Chandragupta Maurya expanded his empire towards Persia, it was during his grandson Ashoka’s reign that the empire encompassed nearly all of India and beyond. Its boundaries extended from Assam in the east towards Afghanistan in the west and included parts of Southern India. After Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire went into a total decline.

PALA EMPIRE
After a brief rule by the Gauda kings, Shashanka and Manava, the Palas came into power with Gopala as the king. They were a Buddhist dynasty that followed the Mahayana and Tantric schools and ruled for nearly four centuries from the 8th to 12th centuries.
With a large elephant unit and navy, the Palas were a strong military power, yet they were diplomats too. Philosophy, literature, painting and sculpture gained importance during this period. The Somapura Mahavihara was built by the Palas who also lent their patronage to the Nalanda and Vikramashila universities.
With expanded trade between the Pala Empire and the Middle East, Islam made its appearance. In turn, Baghdad learnt India’s mathematical and astronomical discoveries.
Ramapala was the last strong Pala king and the weakened empire fell to the Sena dynasty during the 11th or 12th century.
Although smaller kingdoms ruled after the Pala dynasty, the region would eventually come under Muslim rule.

RELIGIONS OF MAURYAN EMPERORS
Chandragupta Maurya turned towards Jainism and renounced the throne during his later years, retiring to Shravanabelagola in Karnataka and living the rest of his years as an ascetic.
Ashoka embraced Buddhism, spreading the message of peace and non-violence after the brutal Kalinga war. He built many Buddhist viharas and stupas, some of which held Buddha’s relics. He sent his daughter Sanghamitra and son Mahindra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism.
LATER DYNASTIES
Brihadratha, the last Mauryan king was killed by the commander-in-chief of his guard, Pushyamitra Shunga, who established the Shunga Empire.
Buddhism and Jainism, which had flourished under the Mauryan kings, suffered suppression under Pushyamitra’srule. His descendants though offered their support and were instrumental in expanding the great Sanchistupa.
After the death of Agnimitra, the second Shunga king, the Magadha Empire shrunk to central and eastern parts of India, although the Shungas continued to rule for over a century up to 75 BC.
Devabhuti, the last Shunga ruler, was defeated by Vasudeva who established the Kanva dynasty, while the Shungas continued to rule in a much smaller region.The Kanvas ruled for barely 45 years before they were overthrown by the Satavahanas.
GUPTA EMPIRE
Putting an end to the nearly 500 years of splintering of the Magadha, the Gupta Empire rose to prominence in 320 BC. It ruled up to 550 or 600 CE with Pataliputra as the capital.
While Sri Gupta is recognised as the first Gupta king when he ruled over lands offered by the Murundas of Odisha, it is Chandragupta-I who is credited with expanding and stabilising the Gupta Empire. With Chandragupta marrying the Lichchavi princess Kumaradevi, he gained iron ore mines. Combined with Magadha’s advanced techniques of metallurgy, the iron ore enabled them to build iron instruments, which became a valuable trade commodity that added to Magadha’s wealth.
Chandragupta’s son, Samudra Gupta, went on successful military campaigns, extending his reign from Brahmaputra in the East to portions of Afghanistan, and from the Himalayas to the river Narmada.
Samudra Gupta’s son, Chandragupta-II, also known as Chandragupta Vikramaditya, expanded the Magadha boundaries by defeating the foreign kingdoms of the Hunas and Kambojas, Kinnaras, Kiratas, Sakas, Mlechchas, Yavanas, Tusharas, and the Parasikas, among others.
After the death of Skandagupta, Chandragupta-II’s grandson, the empire went into decline. It began disintegrating under Huna incursions deep into their territory. Attacks from the Vakatakas and Yashodharman of Malwa aided the decline.
THE GOLDEN AGE—GUPTA EMPIRE
Despite the constant battles and expansion, the Gupta rule is also known for advancing art, literature and sculpture. Great advances in mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy were made.
Aryabhatta, who is credited with the introduction of zero, bringing the decimal notation into place, lived during this period. Aryabhatta had also stated that the Earth revolves around the Sun and had studied solar and lunar eclipses. It was also the period when Varahamihira, the astronomer, astrologer, mathematician produced PanchaSiddhantika, BrihatSamhita and BrihatJataka. SushrutaSamhita, the basis of India’s traditional medicinal knowledge, ayurveda too belonged to the Gupta period.
It was in the court of Chandragupta-II that the navaratnas (nine jewels)– renowned personalities – were present, including Kalidasa who had written the Abhijnanashakuntala, Raghuvamsha and Meghaduta.Vatsyayana had written the Kamasutra during this period.
Stone carvings of deities, including those of Hinds, of Buddha, and of the Jain tirthankaras came about during this period with Mathura and Gandhara emerging as centres. Fa Hien, the Chinese traveller visited India during the reign of Chandragupta-II and described many of these achievements.
THE GOLDEN AGE (GUPTA ERA)
Aryabhatta
Introduces ‘zero’, pi, trigonometry and quadratic equations.
Heliocentric model of solar system, moon’s reflection of sunlight, earth’s circumference, solar and lunar eclipses.
Length of sidereal year
Varamihira
Composes Pancha Siddhantika, Brihat Samhita, Brihat Jataka
Sushruta
Writes Sushruta Samhita – foundation of ayurveda
Kalidasa
Composes Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Raghuvamsha, Meghaduta
Vatsyayana
Composes Kamasutra

Multicultural Assam Rich heritage, ancient practices

A state that is home to innumerable tribes, languages, castes and cultures, Assam boasts about its beauty and elegance with its rich heritage and ancient practices. The state is a part of ‘Seven Sisters’ Northeastern states

WORDS: SHIFA MEYAJI

bihu-women-dancing
guwahati-assam

THE Assamese are noted for the assimilation of various cultures and ethnicities. Their festivals, clothing and food preparation are inspired by various past dynasties such as the Pala, Koch, Kachari, Chutiya, Ahom and even the British. However, the Kamarupa kingdom played a crucial role in carving much of the culture, as they were settled in Assam for nearly 700 years.
Assam is a place where the cultural elements of the tribals and others have been absorbed intimately. It is also a collection of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, and there isn’t much distinction among the people and their way of life.
There are, however, two important cultural and religious institutions that influence Assam: the Satras, who have been in existence for over 400 years and the Naamghar, the house of prayers.

Villagers generally associate on the basis of membership of a local centre of devotional worship called Naamghar. Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims represent the largest minorities, followed by Nepalis.
From the linguistic point of view, Assam fosters more than 14 languages. It has proved to be one of the greatest examples of unity in diversity where every ethnic group practices its own culture with pride and fervour.
The most prominent languages in the state are Assamese (an Indo-Aryan language, which is the official language of the state), Tibeto-Burman languages and Khasi.

Mysterious land
A mysterious land, Assam has a lot of ancient cultural practices and rituals that have formed the basis of its modern culture.

One gets mesmerised by the rites and rituals of the people and their determination to stick to them.
Perhaps the way the people still adhere to these customs has helped in the success of the flourishing Assamese culture. They have beautiful customs relating to marriages, births, celebration of festivals, or even for the simplest of things like eating together or decorating their homes.

Let’s take a look at some of the most incredulous customs:
Bhekuli-Biya: It is an old ritual of marrying two frogs during the monsoon to please the rain god and bring in more rains and bless the crops. Bhekuli means ‘frog’ and Biya is ‘marriage;’ it is a ritual where people catch two frogs, decorate them and then perform their wedding.
They invite guests, arrange a feast, chant the Shlokas and sing the Assamese wedding songs and enjoy themselves.

guwahati-assam_one
assam-cakes

After the frogs are married, they put them in a rafter and float them in a river.
Me-Dam-Me-Phi: Me means ‘offering, Dam or Dum means ‘ancestors’ and Phi means ‘God’. The name clearly signifies that it is sacrificial ritual in which offerings are made to the dead and to gods. It started during the time when Ahom kings prayed to the dead after victories in wars.
It is a socio-religious festival of the Tai-Ahom and its significance goes deeper than its literal sense. It’s not merely an offering to the dead but a way of remembering ancestors and their contributions and shedding light on the ideas of life beyond earthly desires.
It started some 2,000 years ago when Lengdon, known as the lord of heaven and also the first progenitor of Tai–Ahom, sent down two of his grandsons to worship him and keep the idea of their rule alive among the masses.
In the modern era, this festival is celebrated on January 31 every year by the Ahoms; it is observed as a public holiday in the state.
Assamese Biya: The wedding ceremony is one the most vivid and beautiful. It has various rituals and practices. The wedding ceremony involves rituals like Daiyan–Diya and Nau-Purush Shardha.
The former is a traditional ceremony wherein a bowl of curd is sent to the bride’s home from the groom’s side on the morning of the wedding day. The bride eats half of it and sends it back to the groom.
Nau–Purush Shardha is a ceremony in which the groom’s father and mother send invitations for the wedding. The arrival of the groom is a pompous ceremony and their side is not given entry to the bride’s home till they pay a heavy price.

The bride is carried to the Mandap (the place of the main wedding ceremony) on the shoulders of her brother. Conch shells are blown by the ladies and Biya songs are sung along with a tune made by the ladies by rolling their tongues.
The marriage is consummated by the bride and groom taking their vows in front of the sacred fire and moving together into the groom’s house where the mother performs the traditional aarti and welcomes the couple.

Bihu: It is the most popular and oldest folk dance of Assam. The dance is joyously performed by young boys and girls during the Bihu festivities which represent youthful passion.

It is characterised by brisk dance steps and elegant hand movements and is accompanied by musical instruments like dhol (dholak), penpa, gagana and banhi (flute).
The dance outfits are colourful Assamese clothing with elaborate decorations. The first Bihu dance was when Ahom king Rudra Singha invited dancers to perform at the Ranghar fields in 1694 on the occasion of Rongali Bihu.
There are some vivid and noteworthy traditions and ancient practices prevalent in Assam and these add to its beauty by making it an attraction for people from all over the world.

tourist-spots