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Call to turn Mayong into tourist hub

By SIVASISH THAKUR

MAYONG, Nov 27 � The famed - and often notorious � magic of Mayong is almost a chapter in history now. Nevertheless, its charm as a destination remains intact, and as many locals feel, it can become a tourist hub through sustained promotion.

Once widespread, the practice of magic has plummeted in recent years, and the locals believe that not a single practitioner with �genuine and awesome� magical powers - that could be used to perform miracles � exists today. Even the few remaining practitioners who use their expertise at a much lower scale subscribe to this.

�Mayong�s magic is dead and buried. You won't find a magician or a sorcerer who can perform amazing feats,� Raman Das (55), who hails from a family of magicians, says.

Das who was at the three-day Mayong-Pobitora Festival organised by the Morigaon district administration and Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) that concluded today, attributes the disappearance of magic to modern times and the fact that the much-feared magicians of yesteryear did not pass on their secrets to their descendents and even destroyed the manuscripts containing the sacred inscriptions.

�Times have changed and so has Mayong...and it's all for the better as the magic was often used for evil purposes, which is evident from Mayong's ill-repute as a centre for black magic,� Das says.

Paban Saikia (56), another descendent from a magician's family who still uses his craft on a few odd things, says that the supernatural powers associated with the sorcerers of Mayong required great patience and devotion.

�Often, those involved rituals that were extremely dangerous and difficult. There is also this belief that the descendents of black magic performers suffer a lot. Many sorcerers, therefore, used to destroy their sacred manuscripts,� he adds.

Bijoy Saikia, a local college student, feels that rather than focusing on the dying magic of Mayong, the authorities would do well to promote Mayong as an ideal destination in view of its multiple offers in the spheres of eco-tourism, rural tourism, heritage tourism and river tourism.

Stressing this point, Aruna Rajoria, Deputy Commissioner of Morigaon, says that the objective behind the event is to focus on Mayong�s diverse tourism products and project it as an ideal destination.

�Our aim is to showcase Mayong as a unique destination given its rustic charm, history and heritage,� she says.

Seeped in history and heritage, Mayong is an archaeologist's delight with its abundance of ancient relics. From Asia�s biggest rock inscription which is yet to be deciphered � to age-old shrines and monuments � it has a lot to offer both to the tourist and the researcher.

Together with the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary with a big rhino population in its proximity, Mayong has top tourism potential but unfortunately, this interesting place has not yet enjoyed the required official patronage.

�We believe that Mayong needs a sustained focus from the Government, and festivals like this can contribute towards highlighting its significance as a destination. At the same time, better infrastructure and organised tourism are an urgent need,� Saikia says.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Call to turn Mayong into tourist hub

MAYONG, Nov 27 � The famed - and often notorious � magic of Mayong is almost a chapter in history now. Nevertheless, its charm as a destination remains intact, and as many locals feel, it can become a tourist hub through sustained promotion.

Once widespread, the practice of magic has plummeted in recent years, and the locals believe that not a single practitioner with �genuine and awesome� magical powers - that could be used to perform miracles � exists today. Even the few remaining practitioners who use their expertise at a much lower scale subscribe to this.

�Mayong�s magic is dead and buried. You won't find a magician or a sorcerer who can perform amazing feats,� Raman Das (55), who hails from a family of magicians, says.

Das who was at the three-day Mayong-Pobitora Festival organised by the Morigaon district administration and Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) that concluded today, attributes the disappearance of magic to modern times and the fact that the much-feared magicians of yesteryear did not pass on their secrets to their descendents and even destroyed the manuscripts containing the sacred inscriptions.

�Times have changed and so has Mayong...and it's all for the better as the magic was often used for evil purposes, which is evident from Mayong's ill-repute as a centre for black magic,� Das says.

Paban Saikia (56), another descendent from a magician's family who still uses his craft on a few odd things, says that the supernatural powers associated with the sorcerers of Mayong required great patience and devotion.

�Often, those involved rituals that were extremely dangerous and difficult. There is also this belief that the descendents of black magic performers suffer a lot. Many sorcerers, therefore, used to destroy their sacred manuscripts,� he adds.

Bijoy Saikia, a local college student, feels that rather than focusing on the dying magic of Mayong, the authorities would do well to promote Mayong as an ideal destination in view of its multiple offers in the spheres of eco-tourism, rural tourism, heritage tourism and river tourism.

Stressing this point, Aruna Rajoria, Deputy Commissioner of Morigaon, says that the objective behind the event is to focus on Mayong�s diverse tourism products and project it as an ideal destination.

�Our aim is to showcase Mayong as a unique destination given its rustic charm, history and heritage,� she says.

Seeped in history and heritage, Mayong is an archaeologist's delight with its abundance of ancient relics. From Asia�s biggest rock inscription which is yet to be deciphered � to age-old shrines and monuments � it has a lot to offer both to the tourist and the researcher.

Together with the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary with a big rhino population in its proximity, Mayong has top tourism potential but unfortunately, this interesting place has not yet enjoyed the required official patronage.

�We believe that Mayong needs a sustained focus from the Government, and festivals like this can contribute towards highlighting its significance as a destination. At the same time, better infrastructure and organised tourism are an urgent need,� Saikia says.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)