The fairs in Assam are generally associated with religious functions
in temples the most celebrated of which is in the temple of Kamakhya
on the Niluchal hill near Guwahati. A great fair takes place in the precincts
of the temple on the Ambubachi days in June-July, when thousands of people
visit the temple from all parts of India.
On the Asokastami day in March-April
fairs are held at various places.
The most spectacular being those at
Sualkuchi and Silghat. Sualkuchi is
32km away from Guwahati on the northern bank of the river Brahmaputra. Often known as the Manchester of the
East, it is one of world's largest silk weaving villages. Sualkuchi is famed for its
'muga' silk, i.e the natural golden silk (not dyed) of Assam which is not
produced anywhere else in the world. Other varieties like 'Endi' or 'tassar'
and pat silks are also woven here.
Of the secular fairs unconnected with any temple or religious festival
is the Daranga mela. It is in fact a big bazaar held annually for about
a month, held about thirty miles from Rangiya in northern Kamarupa.
From the start of autumn till spring is over, dried-up Daranga becomes
an international trade centre. Bhutanese who used to come down for this fair take
their agricultural produce like oranges, Kasturi, butter, cloth, cattle,
horses, and dogs. They take back kerosene, coconut-oil, salt, yarn, utensils
etc. The Bhutanese through this fair have established friendly contact
with the local people.
Large fairs are held in connection with Shivaratri
at Umananda of Guwahati, Mahabhairav, Singeri, Viswanath and Nagsakar
temples of the Tezpur sub-division and Siva Dol of Sibsagar town.