Guwahati: Over 40 lakh tourists from across the state and other parts of the country are making a beeline to witness the 11-day-long ‘Raas Mahotsav’ being held in the Palasbari area on the outskirts of Guwahati in Assam’s Kamrup (rural) district.
The 73rd edition of ‘Palasbari Raas Mahotsav’ that started on November 12 this year will go on for another one week till November 22. To ensure that the footfall lasts till the end, the organisers have lined up a series of special initiatives this time around.
Assam health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also an elected representative from the locality, inaugurated the the celebrations on the opening day.
This year, the organising committee has installed nearly 700 clay idols of Hindu gods and goddesses across 40 stalls depicting stories of Lord Krishna from the Bhagawat Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Purana. Apart from this, the committee has also decorated the venue with sophisticated lighting equipment to give an ethereal experience to the Raas Mahotsav attendees.
The committee has also lined up a cultural evening with popular and upcoming singers of the state performing every night at the Raas Mahotsav.
Speaking with EastMojo, Palasbari Raas Mahotsav Committee president Anil Kalita said that it took nearly three months for them to arrange everything, including idol preparation, fundraising and venue decoration, among others, for the annual celebrations. Kalita further informed that the budget for this year’s Raas Mahotsav celebrations was estimated to be Rs 40 lakh but as of now it is likely to cross the the said amount.
“Over these 73 years, despite many hurdles met in terms of fund management and coordination, among members, the Palasbari Raas Mahotsav committee has been celebrating the annual Raas celebrations successfully,” Kalita added.
Pointing out to the uniqueness of the Raas Mahotsav this year, another official of the Palasbari Raas committee Prafulla Kalita said that apart from the usual programmes, the organising committee, in an exclusive arrangement, is trying to attract people by displaying over 700 idols of Hindu gods and goddesses depicting the story of Lord Krishna in the Hindu religious books of Bhagawat Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Purana.
He also informed that nearly 30 idol-making artisans from Assam and West Bengal worked hard day and night to prepare over 700 idols in a short period of time to make the unique initiative of the Raas Mahotsav successful.
Besides the cultural attractions, the organising committee, in a bid to attract the youths, organised a bike stunt show at the venue. The stunts were performed by a team of professionals called in from West Bengal’s Siliguri district.
Raas is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in the Northeastern state of Assam. It is a religious festival observed by the Hindu community of Assamese society that showcases Bhaona, or traditional dance dramas depicting tales from Hindu mythology. The Raas Mahotsav is observed every year on the full moon night of mid-November, though the exact date changes every year.