General Information

 

Accessibility
Jamugurihat, (Sonitpur District) the venue of the Barechaharia Bhowna Mahotsav is 244 km from Guwahati, the capital of Assam, is in North-east part of India. It is accessible by domestic airlines from Kolkata and hopping flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai to Guwahatis Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport Borjhar, Guwahati and Mohanbari Airport at Dibrugarh, from where transport can be arranged by  bus or taxis to Jamugurihat. Road transport from Guwahati to Jamugurihat takes about 5 to 6 hours and from Tezpur Airport about 45 Minutes.

 

Visa
Nationals of all countries require a valid visa issued by the government of India or their embassies. There is no requirement of an inner line permit. For more information on obtaining visa issued by Indian embassies and consulates please visit the website of Indias Ministry of External Affairs that is www.meaindia.nic.in and select missions and posts abroad. For visa, visa extension, visa registration, registration form, etc. please visit the website of Bureau of Immigration under the Ministry of Home Affairs i.e. www.immigrationindia.nic.in.

 

Climate
Jamugurihat has moderate to warm climate in summer and in February one  might require a light pullover or wrap at  night. The temperature during the period would be 18 to 23 degree C.

 

Time Zone
GMT + 5.30
 

Currency
The Indian rupee is the official currency and all foreign currency can be exchanged at the HDFC bank at Tezpur and SBI/HDFC/Axis Banks at Guwahati. Banks are open for transaction from 10.00 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 10 a.m to 12.30 pm. on Saturdays.

 

Language
The languages spoken in Jamugurihat are English, Hindi, and Assamese. The official language of the seminar will be Assamese.

 

Shopping
One can choose from a wide variety of silk   the indigenous golden muga, the shiny white paat and the rough and ready eri. One can also take back home a wood sculpted rhino or a bamboo/cane handicraft. One can also pick up a beautiful japi  -- a decorative bamboo topi -- or a bell metal sarai covered and decorated vessel in brass used in Assamese rituals. Credit/debit cards can be used only in one or two shops at Tezpur.

 

Smoking
Smoking is banned in all public places

 

Medical assistance
Doctors will be available on call during the Festival days.

 

Ethnic Food of Northeast

North East Zone of India consists of seven states. These are popularly called "Seven Sisters of India".

States which come under this zone are: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram. Striking factor of this zone of India is its pristine beauty and relatively much simple way of life. Food culture in this zone is much different from what we see in rest of India. And it is largely the same in these seven states. Inhabitants are basically non-vegetarian. Even if they cook vegetable they will add non-vegetarian to the same. In most parts of this zone, especially Nagaland people eat every available animal and do not waste any part of it.

Fish remains the favourite dish for most. Tripura and Assam, due to their proximity with parts of Bengal shows more love for fish than any other state. Rice is the staple food in this Zone. In Assam people consume rice in variety of forms and flavours. Pitha, a rice based sweet is a popular dish of this region. People put less oil and use mustard oil as the medium of cooking. Dishes prepared from ducks, bamboo shoots etc are very much popular in North-East Zone.

The traditional foods processed and prepared by women of Northeastern region are intimately connected to their socio-cultural, ecological, spiritual life and health. The processing and preparation of ethnic foods not only demonstrate the creativity and treasure of food heritage of tribal women but also their incremental learning to sustain the life and ecosystem as a whole.Looking to the diversities in ethnic foods, an attempt has been made to explore the ethnic foods made of local soybean, bamboo shoot, tree bean, lai patta (leafy mustard) and rai (Brassica juncea (Linn.) Czern. & Coss.) from different selected tribes of Northeast India.

Tribal women of Northeastern region have a wide range of variability in the ethnic foods made of soybean, bamboo shoot, lai patta, tree bean and rai. In each state, the processing method of these foods is somewhat different based on the culture, variability in the materials used in the food, climate and overall knowledge of the processing and preparation. The foods used in the dietary system were found to be nutritionally rich and culturally important in various festivals and ceremonies. Ethnic foods prepared and consumed by women can not be seen in the isolated mode, instead it is a complex dynamics in which nutrition, health, food security, culture, ethics, subsistence economy and ecological sustainability are integral components. A policy framework with clear directives on recognition of traditional foods and associated knowledge systems is urgently needed.

 

Typical Assamese Food

Rice: Rice is the most important ingredient in this cuisine. The large varieties of rice found in the region has led to speculation that the grain was first domesticated in the Assam- Yunnan region. Both the indica as well as the japonica varieties are grown in Assam. The most popular class of rice is the joha or scented rice. As a staple diet rice is eaten either steam boiled (ukhua) or sundried (aaroi). Some very fine quality of rice namely, Karaballam or kauribadam etc are available in Assam only. Rice is eaten as snack in many different forms: roasted and ground (xandoh), boiled in its husk and flattened (chira), puffed (akhoi). There also grows a variety of rice that can be just soaked and eaten (kumol saul).

Rice is a part of all meals in Assam. A traditional breakfast consists of chira with yogurt and jaggery. Farmers eat cooked rice soaked overnight (poita) garnished with mustard oil, onions, etc. Snacks would be xandoh, kumol saul or bora saul, a sticky variety with milk. For other major meals, rice could be boiled, steamed or wrapped in leaves and roasted.

A special class of rice preparations, called pithas are generally made only on special occasions like the Bihu. Made usually with soaked and ground glutinous rice (bora saul), they could be fried in oil with a sesame filling (xutuli pitha), roasted in young green bamboo over a slow fire (sunga pitha) or baked and rolled over a hot plate with a filling (kholasapori pitha).

Rice is also the primary ingredient for the many rice beers (chulaai) and liquors (lao-pani) made in Assam by different ethnic communities: zou (Bodo), aapong (Mishing), xaj (Ahom, Tiwa), hor (Karbi), photika (Kachari) etc.

 

Fish: The most important ingredient is the fish, harvested from the many rivers, ponds and lakes in the region. There is no traditional ethnic community in Assam that does not eat fish. Most traditional rural households have their own ponds for pisciculture. Some of the most popular big fishes are the Rohu, the Hilsa and the chital (big), khoria(medium) (Chitala chitala), Maagur, Xingi, Borali, Bhokua etc. The small varieties of fish available and eaten in Assam like Puthi, Borolia, Mua, cheniputhi, tengera, lachin, bhagun, pabho etc. is very large. The discerning gourmet would be able to tell which region of Assam is known for which variety of fish. One can look for a variety of fish dishes in Assamese restaurants like "Juti logai kham", Delicacy in Guwahati or at Bajwi at Kokrajhar/Bongaigaon/Paikan.

The most popular dish from Assam, the tenga, is an indispensable part of a proper meal in Assam. The most popular tenga is made with tomatoes, though ones made with kajinemu (thick skinned elongated lemon) and thekera (dried Mangosteen,) are also popular. Another favorite is small fish roasted in banana leaves (paatotdia). Hukuti is a special fish dish prepared from dried small fish (puthi maas) pounded with arum stem and dried and stored in bamboo tubes. Variations of this exist among the ethnic communities of Northeast India in general and Assam in particular, are dried and fermented small fish puthy mas (Ticto barb), three to four in numbers are roasted along with lavish amounts of green chillies, tomatoes, ginger and garlic (all roasted). The ingredients are then pounded in a mortar to make a coarse paste and served with rice.

 

Meat: The Assamese meat & fish dish is characterised by low amount of spices & oil, higher quantity of ginger, norosingho paat (cury leaves) & lemon juice. Meat includes Squab, Duck, Chicken, mutton, venison, turtle although venison and turtle meat are legally prohibited. The combination of duck white gourd and Squab papaya or banana flower is very popular. Meat is curried in spicy gravy.

 

Greens and vegetables: The environs of Assam are rich in vegetation, and green leafy vegetables, called xaak, are an important part of the cuisine. Some of them are grown while others like the dhekia (fern) grows wild. There is a bewildering variety that is eaten and according to custom, one has to have a hundred different xaaks (greens) during Rongali Bihu.

 

Spices: Among spices there are ginger, garlic, onion, cumin seed, black cumin, black pepper, chilli, turmeric, coriander seed, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, fenugreek seed, white mustard seed, aniseed, Malabar leaf etc.

 

Khar: The khar is a signature class of preparations made with a key ingredient, also called khar. The traditional ingredient is made by filtering water through the ashes of a banana tree, which is then called kola khar (The name derived from the locale term of Banana , Kol or Kola). A traditional meal invariably begins with a khar dish, made of raw papaya, pulses or any other main ingredient. Xkta: Its severely bitter type of preparation. Its prepared with dry jute leaf, urad bean and khar. But the combination of Khar and Tenga is not recommended.
 

Tenga: The tenga is a light and sour fish dish, another signature class of preparations. The souring ingredient could be mangosteen, lemon etc., but the most popular is that made with tomatoes. Fish dishes made with fermented bamboo shoot are generally sour, but they are not called tengas. Fish is fried in mustard oil or curried with bottle gourd or spinach. Another tenga dish is prepared with matimah (urad bean) and outenga (elephant apple). Bottle gourd also can be added to it. Tengamora or noltenga and lentil is also a distinct tenga curry.
 

Poitabhat: Poitabhat is a favourite dish in Assam during the summer season. Cooked rice is soaked overnight in order to prepare poitabhat and served the next day garnished with mustard oil, onion, chilli, pickles, pitika (smashes) etc.
 

Pitika: Side dishes called pitika (mashes) is very popular. The most popular is aloo pitika (mashed potatoes) garnished with raw onions, mustard oil, green chillies and sometimes boiled eggs. khorisa tenga is mashed fermented bamboo shoot, sometimes pickled in mustard oil and spices. Kharoli is fermented mashed mustard (Brassica campestris var. toria) seed. Pitikas are also made from roasted or steamed vegetables (tomatoes and eggplants being very popular) and fish. Another favorite side dish is Patotdia. Small fishes, asiatic pennywort, matikaduri, tengamora leaves, heartleaf, drn (Leucus longifolia) etc. are roasted separately wrapped with banana leaves and smashed into pitika along with mustard oil, salt, chilli etc. to prepare various patotdia. This item is so called since banana leave is used in it and the Assamese term for "leaf" is Paat.
 

Bor-a: 'Bor' is equivalent to 'Tikki' in Hindi. It may contain other local 'Xaak' (Shaags) within it and it is best while served with 'Teteli' (Tamarind) pickle.

 

Snacks & Cakes
Jolpan
: Jolpan (snacks) in Assamese is what is breakfast although it is not always served as breakfast in Assamese cuisine. The items served in Bihu, marriage or any special occasions are called Jolpan. Some Jolpan are Bora saul, Komal Saul, Xandoh, Chira, Muri, Akhoi etc. along with curd, jaggery, yogurt. Probably, these are some of the earliest form of what we called "Cereals". Assamese pleople have been eating mainly as breakfast for many centuries.

 

Pitha: Pitha (rice cake) is a special class of rice preparation generally made only on special occasions like Bihu in Assam. Made usually with soaked and ground rice, they could be fried in oil, roasted over a slow fire or baked and rolled over a hot plate. Some pithas are- Til Pitha, Ghila Pitha, Xutuli Pitha, Sunga Pitha, Bhapotdiya Pitha, Lakhimi Pitha, Tora Pitha, Tekeli Pitha, Deksi Pitha, Muthiya Pitha, Kholasapori Pitha etc.
 

Ladu: Different types of laddus like Laskara, Tilor laru are seen in Assamese cuisine.


Tea: Tea (Saah in Assamese) is an indispensable part of Assamese cuisine. It is served in form of Black tea, Milk tea, Spiced tea, Lemon tea (adding lemon juice to black tea) etc.
 

Tamul: An Assamese meal is generally concluded with Tamol. It is a routine item after every meal.

   
 
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