MAJULI: The annual Raas Mahotsav is here, and what better place can be than Majuli in Assam to immerse oneself in the bhakti of Lord Krishna. The annual Raas Mahotsav or Raas Leela has started in Assam’s Majuli, the world’s largest inhabited river island.
Majuli is the core of Assamese Neo-Vaishnavism. The district-size river island over the mighty river Brahmaputra has dozens of Vaishnavite monasteries, locally called Satras, and the Raas festival is organised in a grand manner, keeping intact the pure essence of the festival.
Locals perform Bhaona, a traditional form of drama where artists play various mythological characters. Bhaona was started in the fifteenth or sixteenth century by a social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam, Srimanta Sankardeva.
People in thousands witnessed the Raas performed at various monasteries on Monday night. Auniati, Dakhinpat, Uttar Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari, and Garmur satras are some of the big monasteries.
For the past several centuries, it has been the tradition of the Majuli people to pay their obeisance to Lord Krishna by enacting his Raas Leela.
In upper Assam districts, Raas is largely celebrated, where humans dress themselves in various Indian mythological characters. Locally made masks are one of the major features of the dance dramas and represent various mythological creatures.
Whereas, statues of mythological figures are installed for public viewing.
Starting this year, the Assam government, led by Himanta Biswa Sarma, is financially assisting Raas committees. The state government transfers Rs 25,000 each to about 3,000 organisers across the state.
The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government also provides Rs 150,000 and Rs 10,000 to Rongali Bihu and Durga Puja organisers.
“Our commitment to preserving and promoting our culture is of utmost importance. Starting this year, we will be providing a financial grant of Rs 25,000 for celebrating the Rass Festival in 3,000 locations. This initiative aims to support and encourage the celebration of this traditional festival across our region,” said Assam CM recently in an X post.
Later today, CM Sarma is scheduled to visit Majuli to participate in Raas Mahotsav. (ANI)