The Festival Of A 100 Drums

The Festival Of A 100 Drums
Different kinds of dances are performed during Wangala , Photo Credit: M J Amal / Shutterstock.com

Stop by for this festival in Meghalaya if you want to experience a taste of Garo culture

Upasya Bhowal
June 28 , 2020
04 Min Read

If you are planning a visit to Meghalaya this November, make sure you sync your dates with the Wangala Festival happening there around the same time. Celebrated as a post-harvest festival by the Garo tribes in the region, it is also considered to be a thanksgiving of sorts to the Sun God or Misi Saljong.

This festival is considered to be an integral step towards preserving the ancient Garo heritage and exposing its future generation to the rich culture that is a part of its legacy. Celebrated for the first time ever in December of 1976, it has slowly gained popularity and attracts hundreds of tourists every year. 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tura, Meghalaya (@turameghalaya) on Sep 15, 2019 at 9:55pm PDT

While Tura in Meghalaya is the center of these festivities, if you want to see it celebrated in the traditional style, you can head over to Sadolpara in the West Garo Hills. On the first day of the festival, the priest performs rituals like ‘Rugala’ (pouring of rice beer) and ‘Cha-Chat So-a’(incense burning). People dress up in vibrant colourful garments and wear their traditional headgear made out of feathers. 

Men and women in traditional costumes

The girls in the village perform different kinds of dances during this festival. Drums and bamboo flutes are played to the tunes of various folk songs in the region. This traditional dance to the sound of drums is known as the ‘Dama Gogota’. This is the reason why Wangala is also known as ‘The Festival of Hundred Drums’.

While the festival is actually three days long, celebrations can sometimes last a whole week. The dances performed during Wangala signify the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

However, music and dance is not all, the villagers also set up stalls to sell their local handicrafts during this time. Usually, two or three villages come together at one place to celebrate this festival. It is also seen as a great time to socialise and get to know other members of the community. Performers for the event are sometimes called from Tripura, Assam and even Bangladesh. In fact, competitions are often held among visiting dance troupes and the winner is entitled to a sizeable prize money. 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shalini Siva Prasad (@orka.photography) on May 20, 2020 at 11:13pm PDT

Different villages often set up varying dates for the occasion so that they don’t clash. While these dates span over the months of September and November, an official date is also announced as a public holiday. In 2020, Wangala is supposed to be celebrated on November 13, so if you have plans to visit the North-east that time, make sure you do not miss this extravaganza of dance, music and culture. 


Related Articles

Heritage of the Common...

Darshan Dudhoria May 22 , 2020

Remembering Five Indian...

Uttara Gangopadhyay May 21 , 2020

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
Got a question?Ask Marco
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe