Wangala festival is also popularly known as the “Festival of the Hundred Drums”. It is one of the most important festivals of the Garo tribe of Meghalaya, India, which attract many domestic and international tourists. It is an annual harvest festival, celebrated around November, and the best possible time to visit the Garo Hills. The festival is held at Asanang village near Tura. The venue is about 200 km from Guwahati.
The performers for the festival are invited from all over the Garo hills and even from Karbi Anglong, Tripura, and Bangladesh which have a sizeable number of Garo inhabitants.
The festival attracts local, national, and international tourists every year. At the festival, you will see the colorful attires worn by the Garos.
About the festival:
The Wangala festival is a harvest festival held in honor of their deity Saljong. The festival marks the end of toil in the field and also signifies the onset of winter. This is the most popular festival of the Garo Hills and is held in November, the precise date being fixed by the headman.
The festival usually lasts for about two days, but sometimes it can continue for as long as a week. The festival in its purest form can be experienced in the remote Songsarek (animistic) villages such as Sadolpara, where the people still practice their old way of life, rejecting modernism.
The festival was officially commenced at a commercial level when it became a state-sponsored annual event from the year 1976 celebrated at Asanang. Therefore, if you want to experience the more hyped-up and more commercialized variant of the festival, you have to visit Asanang in the West Garo Hills. Here you will get to experience the food and sport and art activities.
Attractions of the Wangala Festival
The dance and music are the main attractions of the festival. It is celebrated with different forms of dance in colorful traditional attires. These dances are performed to the tunes of traditional folk songs that are played on long drums and flutes. The dance form is known as Dama Dagota.
The social aspect of the Wangala festival goes on in the villages for a number of days, with eating, drinking and merrymaking.
Procedures for the festival
The festival starts with a ceremony known as the Ragula performed by the village chief. Then it is followed by Kakkat. On this day, people young and old dressed in beautiful traditional attires dance to the tune of music played over long oval-shaped drums. The festival culminates with a grand show.