Mayong: Land of Black Magic

Assam. The land of beautiful hillside and valleys, gardens and scenic landscapes, also hides a secret: a dark secret about black magic and cursed objects. Mayong Central emporium is a collection of such objects and artefacts

WORDS: AMOGH PUROHIT

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On the banks of the Bramhaputra, in the quiet land of Assam, Mayong is a tiny village in the Morigaon district around 40 km from Guwahati. But this tiny village holds huge secrets and is popularly called the Land of Black Magic. Once upon a time it was considered to be the cradle of black magic and dark curses in India.
The name itself, some believe, comes from the Sanskrit word, Maya, which means illusion or magic. Some locals believe the name came from the Dimasa word for an elephant, which is Miyong, while others believe the land to be a part of Mother Shakti herself.

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You can easily find the names Mayong and Pragjyotishpura (the ancient name of Assam) in many mythological epics including Mahabharata. It is said that chief Ghatotkacha of Kachari kingdom took part in the battle of Mahabharata after attaining magical powers from this place.
A walk through the village and a few conversations later you will be familiarised with the folklore and the stories of men disappearing into thin air in certain areas.
Some might even convince you that people can convert into animals or beasts during certain times of the year that can be only magically tamed. The locals insist that sorcery and black magic were traditionally practised and passed down over generations. Some suggest that the great saints and witches of Mayong linger around and live in the forests even today.
Many people believe that magic in Mayong was used for social welfare. One of the magic tricks led to curing an illness from a distance only by cutting a handful of plants while chanting some secret incantations.

Folklore suggest that in the earlier days there lived a sorcerer by the name of Chura Bez in Assam. The word of his magical powers had spread far and wide. Chura Bez was known to be able to disappear into thin air just by muttering the ‘Luki mantra’.
And not so long ago Mayong was infamous for human sacrifices or Narabali as the locals call it. They believed this pleased mother Shakti. Excavators had recently dug up swords and other sharp weapons that resembled tools used for human sacrifice in other parts of the country. This suggested that human sacrifice may have occurred in the Ahom era in Mayong.
Inaugurated in 2002, the Mayong Central Museum and Emporium is viewed as a time capsule of past culture. It appears unassumingly simple from the outside. But as you walk in, you encounter some of the strangest exhibits you’d expect in a museum.
Ancient manuscripts of Black Magic and Ayurveda and various mythological epics line the shelves. Some are even showcased in glass exhibits to point out particular rituals of black magic.

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Crafted stone statues, seashells and old coins and old jewellery like necklaces and rings that have been said to be cursed or worn by black magicians from long ago are neatly arranged in the museum. All of these artefacts were once used in rituals or used by those who would perform them.

It has successfully served as a tourist hub for Assam, which is hardly surprising because it is without a doubt totally intriguing. All those who visit can learn of the origins of tantra and are given demonstrations of ancient rituals by the locals. This is certainly unlike any other museum experience.
Crafted stone statues, seashells and old coins and old jewellery like necklaces and rings that have been said to be cursed or worn by black magicians from long ago are neatly arranged in the museum. All of these artefacts were once used in rituals or used by those who would perform them.
Amongst the many scriptures that have been excavated the museum displays are palm leaves, terracotta and bronze items with archaeological prominence dating back at least a century.
Mayong has an eerie silence that stands in utter contrast with its dark and chaotic history. That is what draws in tourists from around the world to this small village in Assam.
Today, in the days of technology and science, people often dismiss magic as superstition. But there are still many people in Assam who would go to these witch doctors with their troubles and miseries.
Mayong is now a famous tourist and archaeological spot because of its rich wildlife, archaeology, pilgrimage, eco-tourism, adventure and river tourism.
Also close to Mayong is the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which has the highest density of one horned rhinoceros in the world. If you’re 40 km from Guwahati and have an hour to kill, head to the sanctuary. At least, you will go back with a bagful of spooky stories to tell your buddies. With rich wild life, mysterious stories and so much more, Mayong and Assam have a lot to offer. So plan your holiday to Assam, where we’ve heard the tea is really good.