What is Manas Spring Festival?
Manas Spring Festival is the celebration of culture with supra-added fun, which takes place in the fringe village of Manas National Park. As the name suggests, it happens in the mid of spring, when surroundings of Manas use to be ready to tell you a different story with nature. The festival is hosted by Indian Weavers’ Alliance in association with WWF with the help of local people to create alternative livelihood by any means of their entirely different lifestyle. It’s a three days festival, where you are exposed to core vicinity of Bodo tribe, their culture, their lifestyle, their artistic persona, their rich delicacy and what not.
It’s an attempt to get blended with people, whose community is still seen with skeptical eyes due to political chaos happened a long ago. Moreover, it’s also for generating endowment for those local people, after exposing their own world to other people. The people living in that area are totally away from the normal world and life, that we see as different vision but maybe they have the best life. Everyone should be inspired by their way of living, as they are defining their human status with definite survival capacity. They do not depend on money to do everything like us, they work for every basic thing, they earn it and they use it as they live in their houses created by their own hands, they use to have a food produced by the result of their own sweat and also they wear clothes made by their own handlooms. In short, from the basic need of a human: roti, kapada and makan, they own it after doing bodily work, not by just throwing money.
A cultural richness seeker must attend this tiny yet enormously productive festival, as nothing could be better than get acquainted with prosperous culture with joy.
Three things were the centres of attraction; their food, their handlooms and their culture which was perfectly depicted there in the premises of festival.
Let’s have a glimpse of festival.
A different kind of prayer
You must be thinking, why people here are praying a god without an idol or something. Let me tell you a story behind this “pooja” of Bodo community. The plant-like object whom they are praying is called “Sijou”. People of bodo community are basically Hindu, but they follow their own religion differently. Three types of different religions they use to follow, Bathou, Brahma and Christian. So this is related to Bathou as it’s a symbol of Bathou religion. They do pray nature, regarding to five elements of nature: Water, Air, Land, Sun, Fire. This is the reflection of their life as they are totally depended on these basic sources for their life.
Apart from these main attractions, so many other things we had there. As a tourist, you are provided many activities to do. Like village cycle tour, elephant safari, jeep safari, elephant bathing. Not only in days, but all the cultural events go continuously on night too. There are many famous resorts too nearby, which can quench a thirst of your travelling urge, to do something new. In short, with nature and offered such activities, one couldn’t find himself secluded as environ of Manas National Park too has a lot of things to offer.
All you need to know about Manas National Park
Situated in the eddies of Bhutan-Himalayan mountain range, Manas National Park is one of the rare wildlife sanctuary which serves as a reserve of many endangered species. Manas name actually derived from a snake goddess “Manasa”, a belief of local people with that Hindu deity and also from the river which flows from its’ heart as like through west side. It’s a part of Brahmaputra river, which splits into Beki and Bholkaduma river respectively. The best part of Manas is; it serves as an international border for India-Bhutan territory. The part of Manas situated in the Bhutan called “Royal Manas National Park”.
Manas National Park is UNESCO world heritage site. During the time of conflicts of Bodo people to reclaim their own country-Bodoland, the heavy terrorist activities and poaching led it to be declared as “world heritage site in danger” in 1992. But later in 2011, it was removed from the world heritage site in danger and the main attractive activities started off from that time. Today the people who have been working as security guards of Manas National Park are none other than those old time’s brainwashed, turned terrorists, who did surender of themselves and settled there as they had been rangers of forest. Who can know better than them of any part of forest? It was a part of little mental rehabilitation, as engaged in working, now their minds have been changed completely and they are serving passionately too now.
Now being a tiger reserve, elephant reserve and plinth of many endangered species like one horned rhinos, golden langures, golden cats, hispid hares, swamp deer, gaur and clouded leopards( listed under schedule-1 of India’s National Wildlife Protection Act-1972), the WWF has to concern about the persistence of surroundings in proper way. Though developmental, forest poaching, hunting, cultivating, grazing is not allowed in the area, the heads are trying to generate an income for local people, so dependence on forest part could be avoided( as I said earlier, from wood to any little thing, they need forest to be source of that). This festival is one of those attempts to create an alternative livelihood, after taking care of proper situations of Manas National Park, which has been becoming a popular tourist destination. Because Manas National Park is not only rare for such amazing wildlife in its sling, but also for its beauriful landscapes, the eye-sparkling greeneey and appeasing environment.
How to get there?
The Manas National Park is situated mainly in Chirag and Baksa district of Lower Assam. The nearest railway station is Barpeta Road- 30 kms and nearest airport is Guwahati- 165 kms far away from the venue.
So, here it is. As a visitor of this kind of things for the first time, I got change to meet some amazing personalities there. It’s a fair of so many travelers, riders, seekers and adventures too. So next time, keep everything aside and go there to have a different cultural savoir with elation as you also will indirectly will be contributed to betterment of that place and people as well.