Jorhat, March 17: In the early nineteenth century, the Patiaphokola Sorola Beel, a waterbody on the bank of the Brahmaputra here, was used by the Ahom army to train its naval fleet. Today, the historical beel and many other waterbodies along the river are home to hundreds of migratory birds.
To preserve these waterbodies and protect the migratory birds, villagers at Kokilamukh have organised a three-day Kokilamukh festival, which began yesterday.
The Central Committee for Protection and Preservation of Historic Sites, Assam, has taken the initiative to organise the festival.
The festival also aims at making the villagers aware of the potential of developing Kokilamukh as a vegetable garden of Jorhat.
Raktim Ranjan Saikia, the general secretary of the organising committee, said the main aim of organising the festival is to promote the village as a haven for migratory birds and to protect and preserve the historical sites in and around Kokilamukh.
He said Patiaphokola Sorola Beel, the waterbody where the Ahom army used to train its naval fleet during the rule of Chandra Kanta Singha, has turned into a heaven for migratory and other water birds today.
“This particular beel was then deep and large but has turned shallow after the great earthquake in 1950. Today, the beel and numerous other waterbodies near it are home to several species of birds,” he said.
The idea to host the festival struck the organisers after the largescale killing of migratory birds by villagers recently.
“The only way to prevent these killings is to make Kokilamukh a tourist destination. If tourists visit these waterbodies to watch birds, then the people will earn revenue. If the birds become a source of income for them, they will definitely stop killing these birds,” he said.
He said it was not only these waterbodies that Kokilamukh is famous for.
It was at this particular place where the last battle between the Ahoms and the invading Burmese army took place in 1822.
Saikia said apart from tourism, Kokilamukh has a tremendous potential to be developed into the vegetable garden of Jorhat town.
“The bulk of vegetable supply to Jorhat market comes from Kokilamukh but there is scope to produce more vegetables in this fertile alluvial soil. The festival will also make the villagers aware of methods of vegetable cultivation in a more scientific manner,” he said.
He said several seminars have also been organised during the festival where villagers would be trained by experts on the scientific method of cultivation.