JAGIROAD, Jan 17: Jonbeel Mela � perhaps the only fair in the country where barter system still exists � will start in Morigaon district tomorrow.
Jonbeel Mela is a community fair held on the weekend of �Magh Bihu� at a historic place known as Dayang Belguri at Jonbeel.
The Mela is organised every year by the Gova Tiwa Deo-raja Junbeel Mela Samiti and at the direction of the Gova Tiwa Deo-raja at Jonbeel Pathar, four km from Jagiroad in Morigaon district. The fair will conclude on January 20.
Jonbeel Mela is a rare festival where both the tribal and non-tribal people of Assam and Meghalaya practice a barter system for exchanging agricultural products in a festive manner at the end of the Magh Bihu period (Makara Sankranti).
The genealogy of the Mela can be traced back to the 15th century, when the mela began on the banks of the Moon-shaped (Jon) �beel� (water body) with a three-day programme under the auspices of the then Gorbar kingdom with the participation of the Jaintia king of neighbouring Meghalaya.
This traditional barter system of exchanging agricultural products by the tribal people of the hills and the plains of Assam and Meghalaya still continues in the Mela.
On Thursday, Deepsing Deo-raja, the ceremonial �king� of the erstwhile Gobha Kingdom along with his �court members� including other members from the tribe and other communities, will assemble on the Mela ground to attend a community feast in the evening.
Community fishing at Jonbeel, a natural waterbody after which the Mela has been named, is another significant event of the occasion.
On Saturday, a Rajdarbar of the Gobha kingdom will be organised on the Mela ground with Rajdarbar followers and other 18 rajas of different kingdoms of middle Assam to be followed by an open session with the dignitaries from the tribe and other distinguished guests of the State.
Samiti sources informed that programmes like Tiwa musical events, collection of subscriptions from the shops set up on the Mela ground will also be organised.
When contacted, Jursing Bordoloi, secretary of the Mela Samiti, told this correspondent that a number of visitors from abroad will also attend the Mela.
Though the exact origin of the Mela cannot be ascertained, it is held on Thursday after Magh Bihu.