– Gameness til the End
From our Correspondent
KOKRAJHAR, April 12: The 5th Baokhungri Festival at the historic Baokhungri hills situated near Kokrajhar got under way from Wednesday with colorful programmes. The ethnic food festival, hill trekking, cultural showcase and indigenous games were the centres of attraction for the visitors and people. The BTC administration aims at making Boakhungri and Chakrasilla Wildlife Sanctuary a world tourist destination.
The deputy chief of BTC, Kampa Borgoyary inaugurated the main gate and cultural event of the festival while BTC Principal Secretary BC Phukan hoisted the flag of the organizing committee. The arena of traditional game competitions was inaugurated by BTC EM Rajib Brahma while the deputy chief of BTC along with EM Rajib Brahma also inaugurated the Ghila and live cock fight competition. Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Bibekananda Choudhury inaugurated the ethnic food festival. Superintendent of Police Rajen Singh will flag off the hill trekking competition on Thursday morning at 8 am.
There are 50 stalls for ethnic food festival where cuisines of Bodo, Garo, Dimasa, Rabha, Adivasi, Karbi and Mishing communitiesand even from Bhutan are available. The visitors were seen looking for special locally prepared cook items and rice beer. The roasted pork and pigeon were much in demand.
In the traditional games, over 250 competitors from four BTC districts, including Sonitpur and Goalpara, took part while around 200 participants have reportedly registered for hill trekking competition. Besides, cultural troupes from various communities and noted artistes are performing in the mega festival of the region.
The hill trekking competition is organized separately for male and female. The winners of both categories will carry a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh while the second and third prize winners will be given Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 respectively and Rs. 5,000 to each winner from fourth to tenth position will be given as the consolation prize. Similarly, the champion of Gila Gelenai will receive Rs. 20,000 while second and third position holders will receive Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 5,000 respectively. In Khomlainai, which will be conducted in five categories, will be given Rs. 10,000 for each champion while the second and third rank holders will get Rs. 5,000 and Rs 3,000 respectively. The live cock fight will also carry a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 while the runners-up will get Rs. 10,000.
The auspicious day of Sankranti is most eagerly awaited by many to climb the hill top of Baokhungri hill every year and feel the divine touch of Sibrai (Lord Shiva). A Bodo legend has it that Baokhungri hill is the sacred dwelling of Sibrai and other deities. The traditional folklore depicts that Princess Deeplai, the daughter of King Daokha sacrificed her life in Baokhungri peak when she received the tragic news of the demise of her beloved prince of the neighbouring kingdom. In Bodo, Bao means to offer or propitiate and Khungri means Princess. Therefore, Baokhungri means a princess who offered herself to god in the name of her beloved. There is also a belief that if someone climbs the hill top thrice consecutively every year on the day of Sankranti, he will be blessed with success in love and conjugal bliss.
Baokhungri hill perched at 1,491 feet above the sea level is about 10 km south east of Kokrajhar town which is also situated in the famous Chakrasilla Wildlife Sanctuary in the north-eastern region of India that is the home for the rarest and most endangered species – the Golden Languor (Presbytis Gee). Baokhungri is a place pregnant with myths, legends and folklore. It was declared as a protected site in 1994. The Chakrasilla Wildlife Sanctuary has an area of 45.56 sq. km. The sanctuary has a tourist bungalow for the tourist in a beautiful place with sal trees around it.