Baresahariya Bhaona

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Barechahariya Bhaona
Entrance of Barechahariya Bhaona Mahotsav.jpg
Entrance of Barechahariya Bhaona Mahotsav
Status Active
Genre Hindu festival
Location(s) Jamugurihat, Sonitpur, Assam
Country India
Inaugurated 1797-98
Organized by People of Jamugurihat

Barechahariya Bhaona (Assamese: বাৰেচহৰীয়া ভাওনা) is a 200-year-old drama festival held every 5–6 years at Jamugurihat, a small town in Sonitpur District, Assam.[1] The festival was first held in 1797-98. Led by Gayan Bora and sounds of Doba, Kanh, Bhortal and Khol resonates amidst the audience to signal the start of the Barechaharia Bhaowna. This tradition that dates back two centuries, livens up the small town of Jamugurihat.


Barechaharia Bhaona has changed a lot in the 220 years since its inception when Hukai Dekagiri first organised it at Raghudoloni-Pothar (paddy field) of the village Pasigaon in present day Jamugurihat, sonitpur district of Assam in 1797. This festival is celebrated every five years on the full moon day of Chot (usually in March or April) as per the Assamese Calendar. Recently however, locals have agreed to celebrate this event on the full moon day of Fagoon (usually in February or March) to avoid conflict with the April Bordoichila ("thunderstorm"). The convergence of religion and culture has given this festival a strong fabric to survive over the years while retaining its quality of storytelling. Typically the Bhaona is a dramatization of stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas. However, in this style created by the Mahapurush Sankardev, a Vaishnavite saint is depicted with Bhakti Rasa in the form of different Raga & Tala. The main target of the saint was to unite the diverse society with the spirit of entertainment and promote the vaishnavism preached by Him.

Bhaona customs[edit]

The Bhaona is held in a Namghar, the traditional prayer house of a village unit called Khel, and also in Sattras, a monastery-like institution promoting the Sankari culture, founded by Sankardev. In the traditional Bhaona, there are a group singers and drummers who begin the orchestra (Jora) in Sankari style followed by the entry of Sutradhar who recites slokas and narrates the entire story of the drama to be performed. The director, known as Gayanbora, lets other performers know when to make their entry onto the stage. Nam prasanga meanskirtana also is an integral part of the Bhaona. Brajabuli is used to script the dialogues. The concept of Barechaharia Bhaona is derived from the traditional Bhaona and in this festival, unlike other Bhaona, it is performed simultaneously by teams from the different villages of the region on several stages with the holy altar in the center.[2]


  1. ^ TI Trade (2012-11-08). "The Assam Tribune Online". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  2. ^ "Dance-drama extravaganza in Assam with 2,500 actors". 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 


  • Sarma, Madan M.; Dutta, Parasmoni (2009), "Baresahariya Bhaona: Community Drama Festival of Assam: A Living Tradition", Asian Theatre Journal, 26 (2): 303–319, doi:10.1353/atj.0.0040