Jonbeel Mela 2024 | Barter System of India

Jonbeel Mela - Barter System of India 2024
Jonbeel Mela - Barter System of India 

Jonbeel Mela is the oldest traditional festival of Assam, India. Jonbeel Mela is a 3-day annual barter system festival observed at the first weekend of Magh Bihu by the Tiwa Community or Tiwa tribe of Assam. This is a highly popular festival of Assam that started in the 15th century AD.

Jonbeel Mela 2024 will start from 19th January 2024 to 21st January 2024. 

What is Jonbeel Mela?

Jonbeel Mela Assam - Barter System of India 2024
Jonbeel Mela Assam - Barter System of India 2024

Jonbeel Mela is an annual festival or fair celebrated at a historic place known as Dayang Belguri at Joonbeel near Jagiroad in Morigaon district, Assam. The word Jonbeel derives from the native Assamese language. Jon means 'moon' and beel means 'wetland or lake'.

Jonbeel Festival is three days socio-cultural exhibition organised by Tiwa (Lalung) tribe of Assam. It is popular because of the barter system. People trade in a barter system for 3 days, which has become extinct all over the world. 

History of Jonbeel Mela

Community Fishing Jonbeel Mela
Community Fishing Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel Mela was first started before the 15th century AD. According to ancient scholars, it was organised by the Tiwa (Lalung) tribes of Assam to discuss the predominant political situations of Assam. 

Jonbeel Mela is celebrated on the first weekend of Magh Bihu (January). It was held at Dayang Belguri near the banks of Jonbeel Lake, Assam.  

Barter System

In this era of technology and money, the barter system has vanished from the world but it is still alive at Jonbeel Festival, Assam. Since ancient times during the festival, a huge bazaar or market is held. Indigenous tribal communities of Assam like Tiwa, Karbi, Jayantia and Khasi come down from the hills of Assam and Meghalaya with their own traditional and homemade products and they interchange their products with the native Assamese people in a barter system.

In simple words, native Assamese people and tribal communities exchange vegetables, poultry, fruits, drinks, etc. 

Community Fishing

Native Assamese people along with native tribal people perform fishing in the Jonbeel wetland. It is full of joy and enjoyment. 

What is the meaning of Jonbeel?

Jonbeel Mela 2024
Jonbeel Mela 2024

The word Jonbeel derives from the native Assamese language. Jon means 'moon' and beel means 'wetland or lake'. It is called Jonbeel because the shape of Jonbeeel Lake is like a crescent moon. One can see the crescent moon from an aerial view. 

Significance of Jonbeel Mela 

On the first day, before the start of the festival or mela people perform Agni Puja i.e., worship the God of Fire. Then the festival starts with community fishing.

Jonbeel Mela represents peace, harmony and brotherhood among the indigenous Assamese communities and tribes scattered in Northeast India. The Gobha King alongside his retainers visits the mela and gathers taxes on his subjects. People of different tribes perform traditional dance, music and games which makes the place full of joy.

Events at Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel Mela Events
Jonbeel Mela Events

1. Community Fishing

2. Traditional Dance

3. Traditional Music  

4. Tribal and ethnic food festival

5. Cock Fighting, Egg Fighting, etc

6. Traditional dress market

7. Magic Show

8. Buy Things Without Money

Some Facts About Jonbeel Mela

1. Kings of ten tribal communities inaugurate the Jonbeel Mela.

2. Ancient barter system is still alive only at Jonbeel Mela, Assam (India)

3. Govt. of Assam announced 'Annual Royal Allowance' to the 19 kings of the Gobha Kingdom in 2009.

4. The Ancient Gobha Kingdom includes the present districts of Assam namely Morigaon, Nagaon and Kamrup.

5. One episode of Nat Geo CoverShot was also shot in Jonbeel Mela.

Where is the location of Jonbeel Mela?

Bazaar of Jonbeel Mela
Bazaar of Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel Mela is held at a place called Dayang Belguri, Mayong near Jagiroad in Morigaon district, Assam. It is around 5 kilometres away from Jagiroad.

Location: Dayang Belguri, Mayong
                 P.O: Dayang Beloguri 
                 District: Morigaon
                 State: Assam
                 PIN: 782410

By Road: Just 5 kilometres away from the National Highway 37 at Jagiroad, Assam.
                Just 32 kilometres away from Guwahati.

By Train: Both Jagiroad and Guwahati have a railway station.

By Air: The nearest airport is Lok Priya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, Assam.

Where to stay?

Barter system - Dried fish
Barter system - Dried fish

Prashanti Tourist Lodge: Best lodge for a night stay.

Pobitora Restaurant: Natun Gaon, Jagiroad, Assam 782410. Ph no: 097070 80029 Timings: 8am to 10pm

Raj Hotel and restaurant: Morigaon Rd, Jagiroad, Assam 782410, Ph No: 081359 19191

My Final Words

Jonbeel Mela is one of the oldest festivals in India. You can see and experience the barter system in this age of money and technology. 

I believe you will experience immense pleasure and learn more about the barter system and tribes of Assam. So, do visit with your friends and family. 

Post a Comment