Spectators enjoy the traditional boat race competition held on the occasion of Laxmi Puja Photo courtesy: Kulendu Kalita

Kulshi: Thousands gathered at the Kulsi riverside in South Kamrup‘s Kulsi area on the auspicious occasion of Lakhi Puja to witness the traditional Boat Race competition, a tradition upheld since 1973. The Kulshi River, often considered the lifeline for the Rabha ethnic group, came alive with excitement and anticipation.

Organised by the Kulshi Youth Club, the event attracted attendees from various regions, including Palashbari, Chhaygaon, Boko, and even neighbouring Meghalaya.

“This year marks the Golden Jubilee of our beloved boating competition,” said Pradeep Rabha, President of the Welcoming Committee and a renowned social worker in the area, during the inauguration. Kulshi Youth Club Advisor Badal Rabha gracefully conducted the memorial service.

As the competition commenced at 3 p.m. on the banks of the Kulshi River, organisers were thrilled to see an overwhelming turnout. “While the number of teams participating has declined over the years, our commitment to preserving this tradition remains unwavering,” shared an organiser.

Photo: Kulendu Kalita

This year’s competition saw ten teams from various parts of South Kamrup vying for the top spot. The Jonbai team clinched the first prize, followed by the Jontora team in second place, and the Jai Shree Ram team securing third. The top three teams were awarded trophies and cash prizes of Rs 20,001, Rs 15,001, and Rs 10,001, respectively.

Reflecting on the event’s significance, Pradeep Rabhai Rabhi of the Golden Jubilee Welcoming Committee remarked, “Such traditional games have been pivotal in fostering harmony among the diverse ethnic groups in the Kulshi area.”

Photo: Kulendu Kalita

He fondly recalled the inaugural boating competition on the Kulshi River in 1973, praising the Kulshi Youth Club for its dedication to continuing this legacy.

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The day’s festivities extended beyond the race. Himanshu Shekhar Vaishya, Joint Secretary of the Assam Football Association, inaugurated the cultural stage. The subsequent cultural program saw the presence of esteemed guests like Rabha-Hasong Autonomous Council Vice-Chairman Ramakant Rabha, Executive Members Dilip Kumar Rabha, Nripen Rabha, Rashmibala Rabha, and a vast audience, all coming together to celebrate the rich heritage of the region.

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