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Majuli gears up to host Raas festival
Staff Correspondent
 JORHAT, Nov 9 - The satras, local organisations and the residents of Majuli island are all set to host one of the island’s top cultural events – Raas from Monday.

 Majuli bursts into festivity on Raas every year since the festival began 178 years ago at the satras. Plays depicting different stages of Lord Krishna’s life are performed at night and continue till dawn.

During Raas, thousands of visitors from across the State, other parts of the country and from abroad throng Majuli, which was upgraded into a district from a civil sub-division of Jorhat in September, 2016.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who represents Majuli in the State Assembly, is scheduled to inaugurate the three-day celebrations at a function to be held at the mini-stadium in Garmur of the Brahmaputra island. Unofficially the festivity continues for about a week.

The Brahmaputra island is now abuzz with colourful activity with the festive mood building up as actors and musicians are busy in daily rehearsals.

The costume designers along with those in charge of light and sound arrangements too are doing their bit to enhance the quality of performances. Artistes at the Samuguri satra, famous for making masks, too are giving the final touches to their works.

A Majuli district administration official told this newspaper that the senior administration officials recently reviewed arrangements for the Raas with officials of several government departments so that locals and those from outside do not face any problem.

The official said that the Inland Water Transport department was asked to increase the frequency of ferry service between Neematighat (Jorhat) and the ghats in Majuli and also on the Majuli-Lakhimpur route.

The department has also been directed to see that passengers on ferry were not overcharged. Safety and security measures have also been reviewed by the administration officials with police and fire brigade staff, the official added.

A traffic management plan will be in place to allow free movement of visitors while the Health department has been directed by the island administration to keep teams ready to deal with medical emergencies. The official further informed that lodges and hotels have been asked to maintain cleanliness and be friendly to tourists.

It may be mentioned here for the benefit of the visitors the administration last week launched a website – which was inaugurated by Sarbananda Sonowal on October 30 from the Janata Bhawan in Dispur via video-conferencing.

The objective of the website is to project Majuli as an epicentre of satra culture and a seat of mythological tourism globally by having all kinds of information on Raas.

Raas will be performed at over 60 places across the island, including outside satras, the official said.

One of the venues of attraction of Raas will be the pandal with two stages at Majuli Kriya Kshetra (Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex) at Kamalabari, organized by Sanmilita Silpi Samaj, Majuli, a leading socio-cultural organization of the river island.

Noted Assamese movie actress Aimee Baruah and Parinita Borthakur along with drama actors Latumoni Saikia and Gitashree Bora will be taking part in the Raas celebrations organized by the Sanmilita Silpi Samaj, Burha Bhakat Prabhat Bora, president of the said organization said.

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