Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, April 12 - The grandeur that Rongali Bihu promises to bring to Guwahati is evident in its markets. A glance at the main thoroughfares and one will spot carefully stacked pieces of the most sought-after articles in white and red. Like every year, Guwahati has become a temporary hub of weavers, small entrepreneurs and self-help groups, without whom the tradition of the Bihuwan and the taste of those mouthwatering delicacies might not be possible.
Women customers buying gamosas from makeshift stalls on a footpath in Guwahati on Wednesday. – UB Photos
The gamosas cover long distances from the handlooms of villages to the markets of Guwahati every year. Coming in different patterns and motifs, the hand-woven gamosas – a cultural symbol and a token of affection – are a must-buy for a traditional Bihu celebration.
The standard size hand-woven gamosa is being sold at the rate of Rs 130-140 in most of the markets of Guwahati.
Weavers’ cooperative ARTFED is offering a ten per cent discount on cotton items including hand-woven gamosas and 20 per cent rebate on silks. But there are traders who are selling powerloom-woven gamosas mixed with synthetic thread, mostly being brought from South India.
Bihu Mela, the special fairs organised to provide all Bihu essentials at one place are also a big crowd-puller, especially with only one day left for the commencement of the main celebrations. Without having to drive all the way to Sarbhog for that scoop of thick curd and the dollops of richly textured cream, one just needs to go to Ambari, Panjabari or Zoo Road and several others melas and haats specially put up to assist the Bihu preparations of Guwahatians. The rate is Rs 140 and Rs 400 per kg for both the items respectively.
Items as rare as the kapou phul, a variety of orchid, multiplying the beauty of nachoni (female Bihu dancer) and inspiring a number of Bihu couplets, are up for grabs for buyers.
But the assurance of brisk business that attracts small traders from as far as Dhola and Sadiya in Upper Assam to the capital city is on the wane. As most of them conceded, the incentive for staying away from family and friends during the festivities is not that lucrative as it used to be a couple of years back.
Cloth markets are doing brisk business as everyone wants a new pair of dress in Bihu. However, the demand for traditional mekhela sadors and kurtas is giving way to other varieties of clothes including western wear.