GUWAHATI: Imagine a hat that can provide shade to thousands of people simultaneously. Subhash Medhi, an artisan from Assam, has woven the world’s largest ‘jaapi’ (traditional Assamese headgear) that can give shade and shelter to 2,500 people. Aided by six to seven fellow artisans, Medhi wove it over 18 months. The 46 feet tall jaapi is 260 feet in diameter and it weighs 10,000 kg. Medhi needed 1,500 bamboos and as many canes, besides a truck-load of ‘toku paats’ (large palm leaves).
The previous largest jaapi was 40 feet in diameter, which was woven by 20 artisans in seven days in Guwahati. By weaving the largest jaapi, Medhi wanted to get his name etched in the Guinness Book of World Records. “I had contacted the officials at the GBWR before unveiling it on Saturday, but unfortunately, they couldn’t make it. Still, I went ahead with the unveiling for the people as they were eagerly waiting for it,” Medhi said. He said he would now send the pictures of his jaapi and visuals to the authorities of the GBWR.
Around Rs 5 lakh was spent on its making. “By weaving the largest jaapi, I also wanted to showcase it before the world. I appeal to the state government and the people to preserve it,” he said.
Jaapi has been in use in Assam since the seventh century, after Chinese traveller Xuan Tsang visited the state.