The Telegraph
Saturday , February 1 , 2014
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Three-day Garo cultural fest concludes

Chief minister Mukul Sangma felicitates the artistes and dancers perform at the fest in Betasing on Friday. Pictures by UB Photos

Tura, Jan. 31: The three-day gala event of indigenous music, dance and culture, Rhythm of the Hills, concluded today on a high note at Betasing in South West Garo Hills.

The concluding event saw a rare display of exotic dance forms from various parts of Meghalaya.

The Awe sub-tribe of the Garos displayed gure rodila, a dance that depicts an age-old practice, where the community worships the horse god for wellbeing and prosperity.

A thanksgiving dance, shad sajer, was performed by a sub-tribe of the Khasis from Ri-Bhoi district, while the Garos enthralled with the wangala harvest dance.

The Bodo community showcased a dance of merriment and joy, musaglongnai and the Rabhas performed hamjharnito, a ritual performed before jhum cultivation.

The Koch and the Ruga sub-tribe of the Garos performed the post-funeral dances, hoko and chugan. The latter is on the verge of extinction.

The Hajong community opted for a unique dance called jakhamara, which portrays fishing, a major activity among the tribe.

The overwhelming response prompted chief minister Mukul Sangma to announce the festival an annual event.

He said next January the festival would be held at Betasing on a much bigger scale with cultural troupes being invited from across the Northeast.

He also disclosed that an ambitious plan is being chalked out for branding the state as a major tourism destination in the country.

“Altogether 100 days of activity is being planned to attract tourists from across the globe from October to January, to ensure that Meghalaya is an alternative global destination in winter,” the chief minister said.

Seeking people’s co-operation in this ambitious initiative, he reiterated on the need to harness the potential of Meghalaya’s rich cultural diversity in promoting and attracting tourism, which can be a major source of livelihood.

Meghalaya governor K.K. Paul, who was scheduled for his maiden trip to the Garo hills, could not arrive because of bad weather.