Tamulpur, January 12: The sun-kissed morning, nip in the air, sound of the dheki and aroma of pithas – after all, ‘Magh Bihu’ or ‘Bhogali Bihu’ is here. The ‘Magh Bihu’ marks the end of harvesting season and is celebrated in Assam with feasting lasting for a week.
The sweet smell of sugarcane syrup permeates the air as one enters the Narayanpur Gaon. With ‘Bihu’ round the corner, around 30 families of village is busy making jaggery – an essential to ‘Bhogali Bihu’ celebrations.
“Apart from making jaggery, we also prepare pithas (rice cakes) with jaggery. It’s a tradition for all the families in the village. People from Kumarikata, Nagrijuli, Gandhibari, Kawli, Rangia, Nalbari throng to our village to purchase jaggery, sweetmeats, pithas made of jaggery at whole rates,” said a local.
Most of the families in Narayanpur Gaon cultivate sugarcane and own a jaggery-making unit in their houses.
“The jaggery of our village is in very high during Bihu as it is unadulterated and has the real taste intact. It is also the source of livelihood for these families,” added another local.
It is said jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free-radical damage. It also boost resistance against infections.
“We continue to make jaggery despite the tiresome process and market challenges. It’s like a family affair. We set up a small market during ‘Bihu’ without any government assistance. Herd of jumbos damage our sugarcane fields due to which we incur huge losses every year,” said Haren Das, a jaggery unit owner.