Doul festival is a famous festival in India. Apart from the rest of the country it is also a colourfully celebrated by the people of Assam, specially it is the tremendous occasion for the people of Barpeta.During the “doul utsava” the hearts of Barpetians are overwhelmed with festivity and joy. It is a festival of colour and happiness. Doul festival is a great source of happiness among the people of Barpeta. During this festival the people of Barpeta forget their sorrows and agonies and celebrate this festival with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm. Doul utsava is also called ‘holi’ or ‘rang’.In the month of “phagun” and “Chot” the spring comes, the world is filled with the green leaves of the trees, the flowers bloom, birds used to sin sweet songs, the gentle wind blows with fragrance and everything of this world changed into a different one. And it this sweet moment when Doul Utsava of Barpeta celebrated.
Holigeets of Barpeta are remarkably popular which enthralls the heart of every Assamese. These holigeets are the exquisite compositions in praise of Lord Krishna. People from different places visit Barpeta Xatra with a view to see this doul utsava.
Doul utsava was started by Mahapurush Sankardeva after his great work chihnajatra and wrote some holigeets too ---
“Range phagu khele chaitanya banamali
Duhate phagur gunda sichanta murari.
At Barpeta, Mathura Das Bura Ata first celebrated doul festival in the model of vaikuntha(heaven) because doul utsava was first celebrated in heaven. Thereafter, doul festival has been celebrated with satriya parampara (traditionally) till today at Barpeta satra. Barpeta satra is called Ditiya vaikuntha(second heaven) puri also.
Doul festival is celebrated three to five days. The three days Doul is called “Deka Doul” and four or five days Doul is called “Bura Doul”. According to the tradition four days doul is held in the month of “Phagun purnim,a” (full moon) and three days Doul is held in the month of’Chot purnima”(full moon).The first day is called gandha or banhutsava. It is an important day on which Vaishnavas bring nal,khagari and ekara for meji. That evening Mahaprabhu Doul Govinda and Kalia Thakur are brought out from manikut ghar to mathar chotal with gayan bayan. Mahaprabhu is then brought near the meji and after alighting the meji, mahaprabhu takes seven rounds around it. It is called meji puoa or magh puoa.atachbaji or phanuch are the main attraction of gandha.people of Barpeta dance with colourful joy and gaiety during this festival.
Mahaprabhu is brought to jagmohan ghar after meji puoa and in asacred moment at night mahaprabhu is brought to doul ghar walking around the seven steps(sapta thak) and then the people of Barpeta sing the holigeeets with great enthusiasm –
Phagu khele karunamay
devara durlava keli
phagur bihar. (Madhabdev)
The second day is called bhar doul. The Vaisanavas have naam-prasanga at jagmohan ghar. On that day after completing the morning song ojapali and gayan-bayan is held. Dhuliya nritya is also a memorable show which is held during these days.
The last day is called phakua or suweri.in the morning mahaprabhu is brought out from jagmohan ghar and is placed in the former place inside the kirtan ghar. At noon Kaliya Thakur and Mahaprabhu are again brought to mathar chatal, and the people of Barpeta showers phakuguri with joy. Holigeets and its echoes are spread all over Barpeta-
“Aji range range akakar
aaha bhai khelo sabe
mili prane pran
aaji Barpeta bardhame chouishe phagu ure
abir chandan badanate
aaji basanti kino rang dhaliche
parane parane naba siharan jagiche.
In this memorable day mahaprabhu and kaliya thakur are seated on a beautiful dola and as soon as mahaprabhu gosain reaches from Baradi satra, the Vaishnavas bring three mahaprabhu to kanara satra with a view to have heketa. In this jatra many people assemble and sing holigeets-
Aaji khele holi
gopa gopi sabe nache
Mahaprabhu returns from kanara satra. As Lord Krishna is not premited to come in by Lakshmi after his return from the house of Ghunucha a mahaprabhu is to prevented by the Vaishnavas with four bamboos with four bamboos in front of Kirtan ghar. These four bamboos are divided among three haties-uttarhati-two bamboos, nahati-one bamboo and dakhinhati-bamboo. After breaking these four bamboos Mahaprabhu walks around kirtan ghar seven times. Thus, after seven days with Ghunucha, Lord Krishna returns to Lakshmi. Lakshmi defeats Lord Krishna and after being defeat by Lakshmi Lord Krishna gives Rs 300 and then is admitted into Kirtanghar. Like this, the bhaktas of mahaprabhu fine him of Rs 300 and brings kalia thakur to bhaj gha.r
“Sandhya samayat karia anek utsava
Doular bhitar goiya pailanta Madhava.”Aand thus ends this famous doul festival of Barpeta.