Monday, February 15, 2010

Bhelaghar....In A Small Assamese Village

This is the concluding part of my series on Bhogali bihu(a winter harvesting festival) of Assam.On the eve of Sankranti(URUKA) a special temporary makeshift cottage or a small house like structure called Bhelaghar is made .This structure is mainly built by the men folk using Bamboo,hay,wood -pieces .After preparing and enjoying a feast inside the bhelaghar,men spend the night there and in the early hours of the next morning lit the bhelaghar down.Its ashes are then spread to the fields and the trees to bring luck for a better harvesting in future .Usually it is a small hut like structure but for the last two years youths of MISAKHOLAHAAT a village 5-6 kms away from our village have started a trend of making it in a grand way.The picture above was clicked from the area where our car was parked.
Last year they made a bhelaghar nearly 40 ft high consisting five floors and because of its uniqueness instead of burning it down the next morning it was retained for a week as the village saw many visitors from the nearby villages and town.This year encouraged by the enthusiasm of the spectators last year the makers of this bhelaghar added another floor which made it approx 44ft high .And if it was not enough they made another small bhelaghar right behind this and attached both the ghars by a bamboo bridge.On asking the villagers told us that for the vertical post they used Tamul tree(betelnut tree) and for the horizontal post i.e. the floor they used Bamboo.The post were tied together by the Tongal(a rope made with the thin shreds of bamboo) and plastic strings too were used to make the structure stronger.The total expenditure was nearly 5000Rs. and it took them more than two weeks to make it.
All my family members climbed the structure except for me and my son .It was fun as i could hear the kids giggle and laugh a lot.As the people climbed i could see the structure shake.My son was very upset with me for not allowing him to accompany his sister,cousins and dad.See the picture below.
The crying went on for quite sometime until one of our neighbour gifted him this small kid(a baby goat)....and it made me wonder how am i going to take care of this one along with two kids of my own and a Labrador .God heard me at that point...my son heard the mother goat looking for him and that really concerned him,he picked the baby goat and kept it near the mom goat and said ..you must stay back with your mom ,otherwise she is going to cry....well.....
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51 comments:

  1. That looks a little scary. I can see why only the men were going to sleep there at night.

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  2. P.S. Cute photo of your son holding the little baby goat

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  3. @Patty...thanks,your first comment made me laugh ..hee!

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  4. Have not seen such a big bhelaghar ... Amazing. Nice post. Thanks.

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  5. That is a mighty impressive structure.

    Kaustub looks so cute with the kid in his hands.

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  6. K, at first I thought the "kid" was a human child, a friend of your son. Then I saw the photo and realized it was a baby goat! haha!

    How ironic of your son to say that. He is so much like you!

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  7. we have something in common-protecting our sons. I wouldn't let my sons play american football-too dangerous instead they played soccer. That's what a mom does...I wouldn't want to climb the structure or have my hubby climb it...lol!

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  8. thats a huge structure and to be built just by bamboo and hay, it must be quite a daunting task to climb it. was it not shaking a lot? Your little boy looks so happy with the baby goat muah!

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  9. @JADU SAIKIA...Thanks,yes more and more villages are coming up with newer ideas now a days..quite interesting.

    @PRIYANKA KHOT...Thanks.My camera batteries gave up ,there were three babies and Kaustubh's continuous patting made all of them sleep on his lap,it was fun to watch.

    @GIGI HAWAII...Thanks.With all the care a pet needs they are not any less than our own kids lol.

    @LIN FLOYD...Thanks.Oh it was very hard to keep my son back with me ,Chandan thinks that i am too protective .Sunday mornings he takes them out minus me because he thinks that kids can't have real fun in my presence..lol.

    @SUJATA..Thanks,yes it was an amazing thing to see.The ghar was shaky but not at all risky ,its just that for a naughty kid who loves running it was not a safe place.Next year i hope to give you all a glimpse from the roof top of bhelaghar.

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  10. As I always, always say on every post of yours...I really wish to visit Assam. I hope it happens...:)

    Just loved the structure. Your son's disappointment at not being able to climb on top of it is justifiable...and how cute he looks with the kid! And how thoughtful of him to tell the baby that it should stay with its mother..totally cute!

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  11. I have never seen anything as unique as a belaghar. It is rather sad that people burn it down.
    The goat kid was very sweet. And your son is very sensitive child. Muah to him.

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  12. Aww its beautiful Kavi. Saw the last yrs too. The idea of connecting the two is really nice :)
    Ur son is sooo understanding :) God bless him! He is sooo cute :)

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  13. Quite an engineering accomplishment!
    Is safety an issue? Do thiese structures ever collapse?

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  14. Nice blog ! LOVE reading it, its very interesting !
    I write for a fashion blog. You should follow me too-enrapturenow.blogspot.com

    p.s-i want to visit this place too !

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  15. Very interesting post. I didn't know about the bhelaghar, it just makes me aware of how vast and diverse India is. Lovely pictures too! And your son is really cute:) Enjoyed reading this post.

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  16. Nice customs you have in Assam. That structure is a real marvel. Back in Kerala, the old Nair households had a structure at the gate called the padipura which was occupied by the men of the house. At the fields, they had another men only outhouse. But tese were all permanent structures.
    Nice pic of your son with the kid. You could have let him go and you too could have checked it out.

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  17. I too might back off if I get a chance to climb such a huge structure .Now I realize how deep is the relationship between the people of Assam and Bamboo , just like that of we Keralites and coconut.Nice pic of your son and the 'kid'.

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  18. @DESTINY'S CHILD...Thanks,hope your dream comes true very soon.Next year when he is four and hopefully little less naughtier ...both of us are going to climb the bhelaghar.I am very protective toward kids and my husband thinks that kids can never have real fun in my presence.Every Sunday morning he takes them on outing WITHOUT ME.sulk..

    @B.K.CHOWLA....Thanks,it was a baby goat.

    @APARNA...Thanks.Even i had never seen anything like this before .It is burnt only to be rebuilt with a newer idea and renewed enthusiasm .

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  19. Happy Valentines Day to you.
    Lovely post. Wonderful description. Your son is very sweet.

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  20. et tu kavi? i thght i ll be receiving a mobile from u via courier..but bahhh:) u ditched me..hehhe

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  21. This is an art, making 44ft high structure with bamboos and joining them with another hut. I have never heard about this. It looks unique. How many people do they allow at a time to climb up? It must be a bit scary with gaps in between. Still it looks beautiful, Kavita.

    Your son is a soft-hearted baby! The goat is adorable. Feel like hugging both your son and the baby goat too!

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  22. That's superb. I didn't know there were yet so many things to know about Assam. Thank you for sharing Kavita.

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  23. too bad haven't seen one... mur sabo mon goise etiya :)
    very informative post :)

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  24. Its amazing to know about Assam, its rituals, traditions, places, festivals et al through your eyes and words!!
    They are so vivid and beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing with us! :)

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  25. When I first looked at the structure I thought it was made out of bricks. Then I realized that it is hay bales I saw! It looks like everyone had fun - in their own way. The photo of your son with the "kid" is sooooo cute! It made me smile with him.

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  26. I don't blame you for not letting him climb it, it does look scary. Nice pictures, I like the ones of your son, he is so cute and he must have a kind soul to let the baby goat stay with the mom goat. Have a nice week.

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  27. Good night Kavita,
    I enjoyed reading the post and enjoy such beautiful photos and fantastic construction. I understand that has not left his boy up, is still very small, and now want to tell you that besides it's a beautiful baby, already have noble feelings.

    Kisses, Ana Martins

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  28. @KSHAMA...Thanks.

    @RAMESH...Hi !!

    @SWARAM...Thanks.My husband told me that to walk on that connecting bridge was tricky ,you need to be little careful.Being made of bamboo this structure is in a way can be considered as an earthquake proof house.Thanks for checking the last year's post too.Your blessings for my son means a lot to me.

    @167DAD...Thanks Synder.I agree it was amazing.No,there were no safety issues,it was shaky because of bamboo being very light but at the same time strong enough to carry all that load of climbing people.It saw approx 300-400 people daily.

    @THE PANORAMA...Thanks.I am glad to see you here.

    @NAINA SETHI...Welcome.I visited your blog,it is great.

    @THE HOLY LAMA...Thanks.I would love to know more about Padipura.My son loves to run and secondly the stairs connecting one floor to another was made by the pieces of bamboo ...to balance on those cylindrical steps is little tough for a three year old.

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  29. @BHAVYA B..Thanks.Both bamboo and the coconut tree is used for various purposes out here.

    @BABLI...Thanks for your Valentine wishes.

    @SANDHYA...Thanks.It was shaky but not risky,the guys took all the measures to prevent any .When i was writing the post i knew you are going to love that baby goat..i am well aware of your love for animals.

    @NISHANT NISCHAL.Thanks.There is so much to learn,every day i learn something new here.

    @RAJLAKSHMI...Thanks.Oha bosor aaheeba ,dekhuwai deem aur laroo,pitha khuwaam.

    @SHILPA GARG...Thanks .I am glad you liked it.

    @CLYTIE...Thanks.Oh thanks to that baby goat ...made my son smile at last,he was really upset.

    @MARGARET CLOUD...Thanks.My son really loves animal,i am sure that he might choose to work on that field in future.

    @ANA MARTINS...Thanks.Very kind thoughts..i am touched.

    @

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  30. nice post...n....nice pics.....thnx

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  31. Giant structure, that too man made with bamboo sticks, should be applauded!! Your son with cute goat, thats lovely.

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  32. my heart is strong hehe kavita...can accommodate many more such sisters...:)

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  33. Lovely machan.
    It must have been thrilling.

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  34. Its amazing Kavita. Anything related to assam brings smile on my face bcoz i grew up in Jorhat while i was a kid!

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  35. Oh, I loved seeing that sweet photo of your son with the baby goat ...precious!

    Wonderful post, Kavita.

    Margie:)

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  36. awwwww Good boy your son is then.. and you shud have let him go :) he proved he is good.. ah well maybe next time then :)

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  37. Hmmmm... that's really an amazing structure but looks a little bit scary to climb on. You had a good escape from having to bring home and care for a goat. Oh my! Your son is just adorable.

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  38. What a wonderful post.
    Best wishes for a happy Holi to all of you.:)

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  39. I don't see you anywhere, Kavita. Hope you are well.

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  40. Thanks Kavitha, Wish you all the best on your kids exams!!

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  41. Well written. Amazing. Nice pictures. Enjoyed.

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  42. kavi kavi kavi..waiting 2 c d next post...impatient ya..cheer up, take a break from your "grinding" routine..and come back to our blog world...wishes always to u n fmly...:)

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  43. Very very very nice you have created.. I feel that my blog is only a 1% of Your blog..
    i have just started blogging.. Please tell how can i make it better..

    Your's is very nice one.....

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