Colourful end to Wangala Fest

CM for traditional, moral values preservation to promote tourism

From Our Correspondent

 TURA: It was a grand finale to the three-day Hundred Drums Wangala festival that came to a colourful close with the beating of a 100 drums echoing through the surrounding hills of Asanang village, 18 kms from Tura, on Saturday evening.

Thousands of people from the far reaches of Garo Hills and beyond the borders of the State came down to Asanang to catch a glimpse of this mega event.

Giving due importance to the preservation of the rich traditional and moral values for development of tourism in Meghalaya, particularly to Garo Hills, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said “preservation of our values is a must for promotion of tourism.”

The concluding day of the festival was witnessed by several political bigwigs of the State including Urban Affairs Minister Ms Ampareen Lyngdoh, Power Minister AT Mondal, Parliamentary Secretary Francis Pondit Sangma besides other dignitaries, tourists, researchers and media persons from the State and outside.

The Chief Minister was all praise for the Hundred Drums Wangala Committee members for their efforts at preserving the tradition and culture of the Garos through dances, etc and said that the famous Rio Carnival which started in the same way in 1940 has now become one of the biggest festivals in the world.

As such, he said that Wangala festival can also be promoted in a grand scale if one can market it properly. The Chief Minister was dismayed over the fast eroding traditional and moral values among the people today.

“Stress on the need to preserve and follow the traditional and good moral values of our ancestors because culture and tradition do not confine only to songs and dances. We must strive to make Garo Hills known for good and not for the wrong reasons,” he added.

On the morning of the grand finale to the Hundred Drums Wangala festival the Sa’sat so’a ceremony was performed by the Nokma of Sadolpara village followed by Dani Doka before the Wangala festivities began.

As in previous years, 10 dancing troupes from various parts of Garo Hills took part while a special troupe from neighbouring Bangladesh displayed their version of the Wangala dance celebrated back home.

This year, the Wangala troupe from Gonda Chibolgre village of Tikrikilla block, the first-time participants in the 100-Drums Wangala Festival were adjudged the winner of the Wangala dance competition and walked away with Rs 15,000 cash prize, while the Sadolpara troupe from Dadenggre sub-division and Agisimgre troupe from Rongram Block were declared the first and second runners-up, respectively. The cash prizes were sponsored by Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, who also put up a skit to create mass awareness on HIV/AIDS during the Festival.

Earlier in the morning, the Chief Minister also inaugurated the Rongram Multi-Facility Centre contructed under RSVY scheme, close to the Festival venue at Asanang.

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