Assam a land of diverse culture, beautiful landscape is blessed with huge resources. The largest river in India Brahmaputra, World renowned One Horned rhino, One of the biggest river island in the world Majuli, the largest concentration of wild life sanctuaries, highest tea generating region in the world etc. Assam has plenty to offer. Assam and is also the gateway to North East India comprising beautiful States of Meghalaya, Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
With five national parks, two of which are designated World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO, and several wildlife and bird sanctuaries, Assam is a blessed land for wildlife enthusiasts. At the heart of its mind boggling biodiversity is the rich topography of Assam with its lush hills and valleys dissected by the majestic Brahmaputra and its many tributaries. Assam is home to over 180 species of mammals, including rare and endangered species like the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, the royal Bengal tiger, the Golden Langur and Hoolock gibbon, and a spectacular range of avifauna. The state has conserved the one-horned Indian rhinoceros from near extinction, along with the pygmy hog, tiger and various species of birds. It provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian Elephant. The Kaziranga and the Manas National Parks are designated as World heritage sites.
Assam is home to Kamakhya temple, one of the most powerful shrines in India, River Island Majuli is the hub of Sattriya culture initiated by Mahapurush Sankaradeva, the cultural icon of Assam. Sattriya dance is considered the national dance of India. Numerous tribes, colorful celebrations, rich culture of traditional handloom & handicrafts, Assam has it all. Rongali Bihu is the most famous Festival of Assam; springtime the State blooms with Festivity and colors.
However, the State is not being able attract tourists, and as per statistics the inflow of foreign tourists, Assam is 23rd amongst the various states of India. The marketing efforts have been not adequate and the perception about the region outside is not good. But tourism have the potential to create employment to lakhs of Assamese youths.
About Rongali- Celebrating the essence of Assam; first edition
Rongali is a unique project attempted to create awareness about Assam as tourism destination and to build bridges amongst the various communities of Assam. Organized from 3rd-5thApril, 2015 at Veterinary Ground, Khanapara, Guwahati, the first edition of Rongali became a talking point in Assam, with extensive coverage in the regional and national media.
With support from Assam Tourism, Cultural Affairs Deptt, Govt of Assam Rongali was organized by reputed Socio-Cultural Trust Trend MMS, who also organizes the famous North East Festival in Delhi with support from Hotel & Restaurant Association of Assam.
Rongali means confluence of colors. Assam a land of various colorful tribes. Rongali showcased way of life of various communities of Assam, colorful dance forms, ethnic foods, traditional sports, the famous black magic of Assam, traditional fire crackers, jewelries, handicrafts, handloom etc. An Exhibition of Historical trail of Assam showcased the rich history of Assam from historic days up to Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, the song bird of Brahmaputra. The evening cultural programmes was attended by lakhs of people had performances by top musicians of Assam including Zubeen Garg, Papon, Simanta Sekhar, Khagen Gogoi, Manas Robin, Babu, Priyanka Bharali, Mondakini etc. . Top rock band of the country Indian Ocean regaled the audience especially with his jugalbandi with famous Assamese singer Zubeen Garg. One of the top heavy metal band of the country The Girish & the Chronicles also performed
Two ethnic fashion shows showcasing the rich tribal designs of Assam with top designers of the State and Assamese film stars as showstoppers was a major attractions. Ankia Bhaona, Zikir, ethnic dance by around 25 dance forms of various tribes, various other cultural attractions of the State was displayed. Up to 1.30 AM in the morning, people came out and enjoyed this wonderful exhibition of colors. Various tribal councils like Rabha, Dimasa, Karbi, Mishing etc. have presented their way of life.
Historical Trail of Assam, a wonderful journey of Assam’s history starting from Bhaskar Barman, Bhagadutta, Su kaPha, Sankardeva, Azan Pir and up to Bhupen Hazarika was displayed during Rongali to create an awareness about the glorious history of the State.
During Rongali, Assam’s top brains joined in a round table discussion about the “Development Agenda of Assam”. The roundtable was attended by Vice Chancellors of various Universities, top entrepreneurs, cultural icons, media personalities, economists etc. and key suggestions are being documented in the form of book by Guwahati University which would be circulated amongst Governments and policymakers.
The key focus of Rongali was to attract tourist interests. Many travel writers, tour operators, tourists visited Rongali, participated at various traditional games, enjoyed traditional food items. Many members of National media visited Rongali and the programme is extensively highlighted in the national media. Spicejet have promoted Rongali in their Boarding passes and Spice Route magazines across all of their flights, India tourism have promoted Rongali across the world. Rongali became talking point across various national media. Reputed travel writers across the world wrote about their experience in Rongali which became a talking point in the social media.
Rongali 2016- Destination, Culture, Harmony
Rongali has become a brand, a product which defines harmony and development The Second edition of Rongali is planned to be an iconic product which can attract tourists all over the world to visit Assam and the entire North East.
This year Rongali will have the following features;
Destination: To promote Assam and North East as Tourism Destination. Tourists, Tour operators, travel writers of entire country and abroad are invited to visit Rongali.
Culture: Rongali would showcase the composite culture of Assam comprising various tribes and communities and culture of various NER States.
Books are a very important part of culture of Assam. During Rongali an Exhibition of literary works of North East and outside is organized along with Book Adda wherein North East book writers would highlight their creations.
Harmony: Rongali means conglomeration of all colors. Our attempt would be to bring people from all tribes, communities, religion to come together to showcase a composite region and to celebrate the togetherness.
This time Rongali would be organized multi venue.. The dates of Rongali would be as follows:
- Sonaram field ground, Bharalumukh, Guwahati
- Brahmaputra Riverfront, Andheru Bali, Bharalumukh
- Discussion Sessions at Hotel Viswaratna and NEDFi conference hall
Dates: 29th-31st January, 2016
The various components would be as follows;
1. Cultural Carnival.
- Ethnic village showcasing the various tribes of Assam including Bodo, Meishing, Karbi, Dimasa etc. Ethnic food village showcasing traditional foods of Assam and North East In
- Traditional drama, Ankia Bhaona, Various dance forms of the region. Cultural performance by various communities of including Marowari, Bengali, Nepali etc.
- Musical performance by emerging musicians, top performers of NER
- Handloom & Handicraft exhibition
- Fashion shows
Sports activities at the Brahmaputra Riverfront
Venue: Brahmaputra riverfront at Bharalumukh.
- Para motoring
- Boat Racing
- Speed Boat
- Beach Volleyball
- Traditional sports like Archery, Tang guti etc.
- International DJ music
- Rock music
Literary Exhibition and Book Adda
Rongali is a platform to highlight the various aspects of Assam and North East. The region is famous for literary talents and a book culture. However, of late, the culture have gone down.
Rongali would aim at promoting the new literary talents of the region and create a book culture. An Exhibition of Books and Book Adda is organized during Rongali which will have the following components;
Literary Exhibition: The creative works of various legendary writers of Assam including Dr. Maheshwar Neog, Dr. Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, Dr. Lakhinandan Bora, Homen Borgohain, Saurabh Chaliha, Kanchan Baruah, and Dr. Rita Choudhury etc. would be displayed. Literary works of various North Eastern writers would also be showcased. National Book Trust and other Publishing Houses would be invited to present books of various authors.
Book Adda: Young writers of North East India (below 40 years of age) would be invited to share their books, book reading would be organized. It would enable young writers to express their minds, interact with the readers.
Publishers/writers interaction: During Rongali, top publishers of the country including NBT, Publications Division, Ministry of I&B, Harper Collins etc. would be invited. An interaction platform would be created wherein the publishers would interact with the young writers of North East. Newer talents would be given opportunity to explore publishing their books country wide and to encourage translation of regional language books to Hindi and English.
Media Interaction: NBT, Publications Division and writers would interact with media editors of North East to create a platform for raising awareness about the young writers in the media and to encourage the writers to create more.
Rongali is also a platform to highlight and discuss the critical issues faced by the region. During Rongali following discussion sessions are organized;
Opportunity for IT Enabled Services in the North East – Issues and Way Forward
During Rongali a discussion sessions are organized at 10 AM on 29th January, 2016 at Viswaratna Hotel, Guwahati. The Session would be chaired by Secretary DoNER and would be attended by top officials of DoT, Govt of India, Ministry of IT, Govt of India, NEDFi, State Govts IT Depts. of NER, Investors, IT Entrepreneurs of the region etc.
The Session would aim at flagging of key issues of connectivity, addressing the issue, highlighting the new ITES policy initiated by Government of India for the North East India, discussing and addressing the various issues of concern of IT entrepreneurs of NER etc.
B2B session on Tourism
During Rongali, plenty of tour operators across India are travelling along with travel writers and they would be visiting various parts of NER. A B2B session on Tourism is organized at 12 noon at Vishwaranta Hotel, Guwahati on 29th January, 2016. The session would be chaired by Secretary, DoNER and would be attended by top officials of India Tourism, Tourism Depts. of NER, national tour operators, travel writers, NER tour operators, media etc.
The session would talk about the tourist networks, circuits, promotional strategies etc. The session would evolve marketing platforms, mechanisms and best practices across the country. It would help in networking and promoting the region as destination.
Key take outs expected from Rongali
- Rongali is expected to make a huge impact on tourist flow to the North East India
- Positive publicity of the region. A good perception would help in attracting investment to Assam and the NER.
- The Literary Exhibition would bring young writers of the North East together and new ideas and project would be generated.
- It would be a platform for the writers to interact with publishers and would give an opportunity understand the recent marketing trends in the literary sector.
- Due to land locked nature and smaller markets, North East writers are not getting exposure, the exhibition would provide a platform to the writers to the outside world.
- New books could be published and marketed countrywide
- Rongali would bring young crowds because of its various cultural and sporting components. Book reading could be imbibed on the young students.
- Extensive media coverage is expected and books and writers would get exposure.