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Assam cancels annual Kamakhya temple fair, largest Hindu event in NE — a first in centuries

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: For the first time in recorded history, the ‘Ambubachi Mela’ in Assam’s Kamakhya temple will not be held this year. The decision has been taken in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mela, considered the largest Hindu religious congregation of eastern India, is held every year from 22-26 June to mark the annual menstruation cycle of the temple’s presiding goddess.

The event draws over 25 lakh people annually from across the country and abroad.

“This is, perhaps, for the first time that we will have the rituals without the congregation of people. Even during the historic Assam Agitation of the early 1980s, we had this Mela although the turnout of devotees was very small,” Mohit Sarma, head priest at the Kamakhya temple, was quoted as saying in a report.

Perched atop the Nilachal hill in Guwahati, the Kamakhya temple is said to have been built by the demon king Narakasura. But records are available only from 1565, which say the temple was rebuilt by Nara Narayan from the Koch dynasty.

Also read: Arunachal girl Niki Lego — from PR executive to US Army officer, and now a social media star

Snake species named after Salazar Slytherin from Harry Potter

Discovered in the dark and deep forests of Arunachal Pradesh, a new species of snakes has been christened after Salazar Slytherin, a character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Salazar Slytherin is the founder of the fictional ‘House of Slytherin’ at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and can speak a snake language called ‘Parseltongue’.

The researchers have called the new snake Trimeresurus salazar or commonly Salazar’s viper pit.

“Childhood experiences largely stay with you. When I was growing up, Rowling was a big part of my childhood, and perhaps everyone else who has read the book. Now what better way to honour and thank her than naming the species after one of her characters?” Zeeshan Mirza has been quoted as saying.

The five-member team of researchers had travelled to Arunachal Pradesh between June and August 2019. The new species was discovered sometime in July last year.

New China map includes Arunachal as part of its territory

The latest version of Sky Map, which is China’s authority on digital maps, shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory.

Chinese authorities have earlier destroyed 30,000 world maps that showed Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and which referred to Taiwan as a ‘country’.

While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Tibet, which it occupied in 1951, India lays its claim to Aksai Chin. Arunachal Pradesh was formally included in India when the McMahon Line was established as the border between India and Tibet in 1938.

Pointing out the ‘anomaly’, Arunachal Pradesh’s Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering has urged the central government to protest China’s move and also “raise the issue at international forums”.

Nagaland vendor’s ‘jar of trust’ win hearts on social media

The Kohima administration in Nagaland has put a stop to street vending in order to minimise public gatherings. But a city vendor has found an ingenious way of earning his livelihood by placing fresh green vegetables outside a closed shop and a jar beside for people to put money.

A handwritten note has also been kept that says Rs 20 for a bunch of the edible greens.

The Kohima administration has allowed only wholesale shops selling perishable goods to remain open at specific locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Manipur villages build bamboo huts as quarantine facilities

Residents of Manipur’s Oinam village have been busy building eco-friendly huts, made of bamboo and wild leaves, in the nearby woods. These e-huts are to be used as quarantine facilities for every incoming resident to the village.

While vegetables and other essentials are to be provided by families of the inmates, fresh water has been sourced from a nearby stream by fixing bamboos — a practice used by the villages’ ancestors.

Not only Oinam, several other interior villages have also built similar facilities, apart from the district-wise quarantine centres in the state.

Also read: Passengers screened, borders closed, tough quarantine — 4 states & a UT halt Covid-19 march


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