Sualkuchi Boat Race
The Manchester of Assam, the small town of Sualkuchi is famous for celebrating lots of festival throughout the year. The most famous of these is the boat race which is an annual festival. The festival sees a frenzied crowd which gathers at the bank of the Brahmaputra to support their teams. It has been part of the cultural history of Assam and was revived in 1965, the boat race commemorates the death of the poet saint Srimanta Sankaradev.
Sualkuchi, known as the Manchester of Assam , is already on the map for its extraordinary Muga and Pat clothes . But apart from its Muga-pat , Sualkuchi has another specialty- its naokhels or boat races .This race is organized to commemorate the death anniversary of Srimanta Sankardev.In the year 1965 a rowing competition committee was formed not only to revive this old age tradition but also to strengthen the harmony ,unity and integrity amongst the people belonging to different cast and communities of the area. Both Hindus and Muslims participate in it with equal enthusiasm.
Organised by the Naokhel Pratijogita Samiti, Sualkuchi, the competition is held in three categories ‘ Holong (for 11-member teams), Khel Nao (with 50-60 members on each boat) and one for women (8-11 members on one boat).
The British used to refer to Sualkuchi as the Manchester of the East for its silk industry, which now has an annual turnover of near Rs 200 crore. But the township, with a population of nearly 50,000, is facing uncertainty because of erosion by the Brahmaputra.