The 43rd Hundred Drums Wangala Festival began with the Rugala ritual today at the proposed permanent site for the A’chik Heritage Village in Chibagre. The festival is being held in a low-key way due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rugala is performed with an offering of special rice beer along with cooked rice and vegetables, which are given to Misi Saljong, the Great Giver.
Former head of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), Dipul R Marak, was the chief guest on the opening day and thanked the Wangala committee for working to hold the festival this year despite all the challenges. Only three Wangala troupes are performing this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Marak hoped that things would return to normal in subsequent years.
The first Wangala Festival was held in 1976 as an effort to preserve the culture and traditions of the Garo tribe.
Working Chairman of the Wangala committee, Ronald Rikman Sangma, stated that the festival is being held at the proposed site of the heritage village, instead of the traditional venue of Asanang due to the pandemic.
The three dance troupes participating this year are the winners and runners-up from 2019, namely Sadolbra and Gondenggre and the host Chibragre.