Chandubi – Nature's Cradle
Soak in the serene ambience of Chandubi on your next vacation
Chandubihas have been a very popular destination for picnics and day trips for many years now. But recently it has grown into a favourite destination for night stays. With multiple resorts and campsites, Chandubi is now a happening place, especially in the winter. People can visit the lake and engage in several sports on the banks of the lake during the day. As the night falls, campfires and music light up the otherwise silent and serene locality.
What is your ideal weekend getaway? My answer will definitely be some serene place in the lap of nature. And if you have the same ideas, Chandubi Lake is a must-visit destination for you.
Located around sixty kilometres from the heart of Guwahati city is the pristine lake called Chandubi. It is a natural lake formed when a large area sank due to a major earthquake and water flowing from the neighbouring hills gradually filled up the depression. Due to the unique way it was created, Chandubi Lake has a unique and pristine bio-diversity. This makes it a very popular area among researchers, environmentalists and nature enthusiasts.
Boat rides on the serene lake are another popular activity that one must definitely try out. Crossing the lake takes you to a small village on the foothills, sitting on the bank of the lake. One can try out the local cuisine and beverages in this village. But it is always advisable to make preparations beforehand as everything one wishes for may not be available at the location.
Chandubi has been a very popular destination for picnics and day trips for many years now. But recently it has grown into a favourite destination for night stays. With multiple resorts and campsites, Chandubi is now a happening place, especially in the winter. People can visit the lake and engage in several sports on the banks of the lake during the day. As the night falls, campfires and music light up the otherwise silent and serene locality. Tourists can choose from a variety of accommodations ranging from tents, ethnic cottages, and resorts in the region.
Apart from the lake itself, there are several beautiful waterfalls near the lake. Although they are open throughout the day, it is advisable to visit these waterfalls in the morning hours to avoid the crowds, especially during the winter months. The Kulsi river also flows a few kilometres away from the lake itself and creates several beautiful spots where people can set up their picnic tents. The river is very shallow at this point and the slow current makes the Ranikhamar region a very popular destination for picnics.
Visitors can also buy a variety of local products when they visit the region. A variety of organically grown as well as wild fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries are available according to the season. Other products available in the region include pickles, honey and local beverages.
The Chandubi Festival was started as a tourism event to attract more tourists to this picturesque location. Another key idea was to spread knowledge about the Rabha community and their culture and traditions to the rest of the world.
The Chandubi Festival is generally celebrated for a duration of five days from January 1 to January 5. But due to the Covid pandemic, the previous edition was shortened to a mere four-day affair. On the morning of the first day, organisers, guests, local leaders, and seniors open the event formally for the guests. A memorial magazine is also published every year to commemorate the event. It has stories related to the tribe, the beautiful villages, the people, and their lifestyle by the Chandubi lake.
The event has three main arenas in the event venue. One is a common marketplace, where people can buy and sell a range of items These include food products, clothes, furniture, local produce, and gift items Second is a museum and exhibition which showcases the way of life of the local people. Dresses, cooking styles, traditional ingredients and cuisines are part of this temporary museum. The third is the open stage where the local people showcase their traditions. Music and dance, seminars and discussions are all carried out from this stage.
One of the key points of the event is the use of eco-friendly materials. All stages, stalls, barricades, and the rest of the necessary infrastructure are made from locally available bamboo, wood, and thatch. Minimal use of single-use plastic ensures that the area is not filled with non-biodegradable garbage. In this way, almost all the infrastructure decomposes naturally within a month or two. Also, the bamboo and wood used during the festival days become firewood for the local people.
The closing function of the Chandubi Festival is one of the best parts of the celebration. The event starts at sundown with the priests and seniors of the tribe leading a short procession to the site of the campfire. The chief priest leads as everyone prays to the local deity. The prayers are followed by offerings being made to the gods for good weather and thanking them for the good harvests and lighting of the campfire. Distribution of prasadam is done after the prayers are completed.
As the night falls and the chills start to set in, the religious celebration makes way for cultural celebrations. The dance and music are started by the seniors and leaders of the community. As they go around the huge campfire maintaining the beats of the traditional musical instruments and steps of the tribe's own dance form, more and more people join in. And soon it becomes a huge crowd dancing rhythmically around the fire. Some people take a break to grab a glass of the traditional beverage that is served in bamboo tumblers when they are tired and then go back into the dance. This continues for more than an hour before the crowds start to disperse slowly and after about three to four hours, the festival ground bears a deserted look.
The organising committee itself looks after the overall management of the event right from the cleaning before setting up the infrastructure to the cleaning of the grounds after the event is over. With the eco-friendly bamboo woven dustbins located every few meters, cleanliness is a very clear message that goes out from the Chundubi Festival year after year.
Also Read: The Grim Deforestation Scene