The lilting beats of drums and the mellifluous notes of the bamboo flute, accompanied by the graceful movement of Bihu dancers, is reverberating across the hills of Assam as the state celebrates Bohag Bihu or the Assamese new year on Saturday.
"Bihu is the time for rejoicing and merry making and let us all hope the new year brings in good luck and ushers in peace to the state," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
But Bihu this time round is being celebrated in a rather subdued manner with Assam's main separatist group, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), calling for 'low-key' celebrations.
The ULFA, a rebel group fighting for an independent Assamese homeland since 1979, has in a statement asked the people of the state to sympathise with the wives of five rebel leaders who are on indefinite hunger strike seeking information about their missing husbands from the government.
"The celebrations are a little subdued this time, but no one can take away the sheen of the Bihu festivities from the Assamese people," said Runimala Das, a young Bihu dancer who is preparing to perform on stage later Saturday as part of a cultural show in Guwahati.
As the Bihu season unfolds, it is boom time for hundreds of artistes in Assam who set out with vigour to entertain audiences across the state with songs and other forms of recreation.
The stage shows in Assam during the Bihu season is something that people generally look forward to - away from the killing fields and the frequent incidents of violence that the state has been witnessing over the decades.
"The mood is one of festivity and now everybody wants to forget about the killings and bombings. We want to break free," said a group of college students attired in trendy dresses at one of the Bihu functions in the city.