GUWAHATI, April 12: The streets of the city are teeming with people ahead of one of the biggest festivals of Assam – Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu – which marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
In keeping with the tradition of wearing new clothes on New Year’s Day, people are seen thronging the markets to look for the cheapest and best deals, with some returning disappointed due to high prices.
Customers of all ages – from children to the aged – are seen flocking mainly the garment stores and outlets dealing in edible items. Several malls of the city are also attracting the Bihu shoppers by putting up attractive discounts and offers on display.
In several localities, Bihu fairs are being organised by self-help groups from different parts of the State selling readymade delicacies and other Bihu essentials. The fairs are facilitating availability of special Bihu items from all corners of the State under one roof, thus helping the people maintain traditional practices - albeit in a different manner.
Even as the skyrocketing prices of foodstuff have cast a shadow over the festivities for a considerable segment of the people already hit by the pandemic, people in their hordes are seen thronging the markets looking for the best of foodstuff including milk, curd, cream, bora rice, joha rice, chira (flattened rice), etc.
Each packet of varieties of pitha sold for Rs 50-Rs 60 at the fairs on Monday. A gamusa sold for Rs 150-Rs 500 depending on the design. Bora rice and joha rice sold for Rs 70-Rs 90 per kg and molasses sold for Rs 80-Rs 100 a kilo.
A woman from Tinsukia has been doing brisk business with kopou phool (orchid) at a fair currently on at Ambari. She is selling orchids at prices ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000 apiece.
Temporary markets have also come up at Machkhowa, Chandmari, Khanapara, Ganeshguri and other locations of Guwahati. Vendors are also selling Bihu items like teel laru, narikol laru, pitha, curd, komal chaul, joha chira, etc., on the roadside.
Moreover, traders dealing in dhol, pepa and other Bihu-specific musical instruments, said that they are doing good business this time. “Due to the lockdown last year, we had faced heavy losses, but this time we are getting a good number of buyers,” a seller at Bharalumukh said.