After my recent trip to Bodoland with the Bodoland Ambassador Program S02, I am back with yet again, another story, another adventure and another experience, from a completely unexplored destination in India – BODOLAND! I am opening my Bodoland series with a blog post on one of the coolest festivals in the country – the Dwijing Festival. I hope you like it!
The Dwijing Festival is an annual winter festival hosted on the bank of river ‘Aie’ in the Chirang district of Bodoland, Assam. ‘Dwi’ means ‘river’ and ‘Jing’ means ‘bank’. Thus, the name Dwijing. This festival saw its first ray of light in the year 2016-2017 when the Bodo community themselves organised it under the name “Aie River Winter Festival”. The festival received such a massive response and a huge footfall that it grabbed a spot on the annual celebration calendar of Assam. Today, the Assam Tourism Department and the Bodoland Territorial Council jointly promote the Dwijing Festival as Assam’s biggest annual festival.
Table of Contents
A Concoction of Art, Music, Food and Shopping
The Dwijing Festival is a true reflection of the culture of the Bodo people and the Assamese. It is here where the locals come together to bid goodbye to their woes and start their new year with a festive-like celebration. The festival usually runs for 10 days from the last week of December up until the first week of January. And the size of the river bank shall not be underestimated! Spanning over several acres of land, the festival ground is so vast that it almost seems like it kisses the horizon. It is that big!
When I first entered the Dwijing Festival, I couldn’t help but wonder in awe as I walked on the grey sands of the bed of a river that once kissed the Hagrama Bridge during monsoon. Where was I? What was this vast expanse of grey occasionally studded with colors? How was it possible that a river bed had been turned into a festival ground? All these questions fluttered my mind as I wandered aimlessly like a little girl lost in the woods.
Pic Credits: Soumya Gayatri from https://www.storiesbysoumya.com/
Once I reached the Art Installation section, I saw a few bizarre structures. Some were quite straight forward like the art that honored the martyrs of the Pulwama attack, and the tools used by the Bodo people in their day to day lives. Others were a bit mysterious. So I walked over to each one of them and tried to make sense of the meaning of that art and why it was created in the first place.
Tools Used by the Bodo people
After visiting the Art Installation section, I walked over to the food stalls with my friend. To be honest, I wasn’t comfortable eating at the festival ground because most of the foods were deep-fried and kept in the open. However, luck threw itself my way, when I found a lovely Bodo woman steaming hot rice cakes right in front of her food stall. And, they were vegan! These cakes are called ‘Pitha’ or ‘Bodoland Khek’ and are made from finely pounded rice, black sesame seeds, coconut and sugar. They taste amazing and are quite filling as well.
Raj Kachoris at a Rajasthani Stall
Alrighty, if you are someone who likes to pick an outfit or a souvenir from every place that you travel to, I have some good news for you. The Dwijing Festival is a hub for all the shopaholics who want to indulge in some rich and traditional Bodo designs and take back home something memorable. When I visited the Dwijing Festival, I scoured every stall to find that one perfect crop jacket with the traditional design of the Bodo. And I did! I found my place near the backstage and treated myself to a blue-violet crop jacket with a yellow and red Bodo design.
The Jacket That I Bought
Pic Credits: Jimmy Kamballur at https://www.instagram.com/jimmykamballur/
The Dwijing Festival deserves quite a mention for its stage performances. From traditional dance performances to fashion shows to live music performances by the top artists of the country, this river festival has all of its Bodo people rocking and grooving at their cultural fiesta. The energy soars to an all new high and the crowds go mad in the chilly weather.
Kalpana Patowary Performing on Stage
Dates of the Festival
The Dwijing Festival usually runs from the 27th of December to the 7th or 8th of January, every year. The duration of the festival ranges from 10 – 12 days with new activities and performances planned for each day. For more details about the fest, check out the official Dwijing Fest website.
How to Get There
In order to reach the festival ground, you will have to first arrive at Bongaigaon and then drive to the festival ground. Bongaigaon is a major city of Assam in the Chirang district of BTAD. From Guwahati, there are two ways of arriving at Bongaigaon:
- By Train: The distance from Guwahati to Bongaigaon is approximately 150 km and the journey takes about 2.5 hours. For more details visit the Indian Rail Info website.
- By Car: The distance from Guwahati to Bongaigaon is approximately 184 km and the journey takes about 4 hours. You can either rent a car or drive to the destination.
If you are arriving from other states or cities other than Guwahati, then the best option would be to take a train to Bongaigaon.
Pic Credits: Utkarsh from http://www.thesoultrails.com/
Where to Stay
Here are some of the best hotels to stay at when you’re in Bongaigaon:
- Cygnett Park Meghna: If you’re looking for comfort, luxury and great food, look no further and book this 4-star property in Bongaigaon. It has a swimming pool, a gym, and a spa, and is also quite close to the festival ground. Click here to book Cygnett Park Meghna.
- Hotel Himalaya: This is a 3-star property with good amenities and good reviews on the Booking.com website. Click here to book Hotel Himalaya.
Since Bongaigaon is relatively unexplored, there are very few options for stay. I have recommended only those which have good reviews and where we stayed at when we visited Bongaigaon. If you want to check out other non-reviewed stay options, click here.
This post contains affiliate links to the Booking.com website, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you book the hotel through my website. This will help me travel and keep my blog running at no extra cost to you. I will always be grateful for your support, thank you!