Chunbîl Melâ (Jonbeel Mela)
(Indigenous Tiwa community fair)
Location(s)Dayang Belguri, Morigaon, Assam
Inaugurated15th-century AD

Jonbeel Mela (pron:ˈʤɒnˌbi:l ˈmeɪlə) (Tiwa: Chunbîl Melâ) is a three-day annual indigenous Tiwa Community fair held the weekend of Magh Bihu at a historic place known as Dayang Belguri at Joonbeel. It is 3 km from Jagiroad in Morigaon district of Assam[4][5][6][7] and 65 km from Guwahati. The National Highway connecting the mela is NH 37.[5][7] The Joonbeel (Joon and Beel are Assamese terms for the Moon and a wetland respectively) is so called because a large natural water body is shaped like a crescent moon.[4]


The mela is said to have begun not later than 15th-century AD.[4] It was first organized ago by the Tiwa (Lalung) to discuss the prevailing political situations.[citation needed]

Exchange of products through barter system

Barter system

An indigenous Assamese woman belonging to the Tiwa community

During the occasion a huge bazaar is held. A few days before the mela starts, indigenous tribal communities of Assam Hills and neighborhood like Hills Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi, and Jayantia of the northeast come down from the hills with products and interchange their merchandise with the native indigenous Assamese people in a barter system.[5][6][7] It is said to be a hi-tech age barter system and perhaps the only fair in India where barter system is still alive.[4][6][7]

A Tiwa woman preparing food at the mela


Before the mela takes place, an Agni Puja (fire worship) is performed for the well-being of the mankind[5][6][7] The mela starts with community fishing in the Chunbîl (Joonbeel) wetland.

An indigenous Assamese lady with her child at Joonbeel Fair

The theme of the mela is harmony and brotherhood among the indigenous Assamese communities and tribes scattered in the Northeast India. The Gobha King (Kobâ rajâ alias Gobha raja) along with his courtiers visits the mela and collects taxes from his subjects.[6][7] People perform their traditional dance and music, making the atmosphere one of joy and fun.[5][7]

Royal allowance

On 17 January 2009 the Government of Assam announced an "Annual Royal Allowance" for the 19 customary kings from communities under the Gobha Kingdom that includes parts of three districts of present Assam: Morigaon, Nagaon and Kamrup. The Education Minister of Assam, Gautam Bora, distributing the bank cheques among the kings, said that the monetary assistance will be something between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 10,000 depending on the population count under them.[8]


Expressing their great delight at the initiative taken by the government the kings welcomed the move.[8]

In fiction

There is an elaborate references of the mela in Rita Chowdhury's Sahitya Akademy Award-winning novel Deo Langkhui.[9]


  1. ^ "639 Identifier Documentation: aho – ISO 639-3". SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics). SIL International. Retrieved 29 June 2019. Ahom [aho]
  2. ^ "Population by Religious Communities". Census India – 2001. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 1 July 2019. Census Data Finder/C Series/Population by Religious Communities
  3. ^ "Population by religion community – 2011". Census of India, 2011. The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. 2011census/C-01/DDW00C-01 MDDS.XLS
  4. ^ a b c d Borthakur, Dibya Jyoti (January 19, 2008). "Jonbeel Mela drawing a large number of visitors". Assam Times. Archived from the original on January 8, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Jonbeel Mela". Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Assam Fairs & Festivals". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Joonbeel Mela – Assam". Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  8. ^ a b Sharma, Anup (18 January 2009). "JONBEEL FAIR - Royal allowance for Kings of Assam". Retrieved 23 October 2009.[dead link]
  9. ^ Saikia, Samiran. "Between the lines". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2009.