West Bengal Fairs & Festivals
Gangasagar Mela :
The largest fair of the State, Gangasagar Mela is a three-day event held in
mid-January, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, at Sagar Dwip. Lakhs of pilgrims
come for a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.
Kenduli Mela :
on the occasion of Makar Sankranti (mid-January) another
fair is held at Kenduli in the district of Birbhum. The Mela draws the largest
number of Bauls, the wandering minstrels of Bengal.
Jalpesh Mela :
On the occasion of Sivaratri (February - March), a month-long
fair is held at Jalpesh near Mainaguri in the district of Jalpaiguri. The fair
centres round the age-old Siva temple dedicated to Lord Jalpeswara.
Vasanta Utsav :
With the onset of spring, Holi is celebrated all throughout
India. At Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum, it is Vasanta Utsav (March).
Students of the Visva Bharati University welcome the season of colours through
songs and dances, throwing abir and spraying liquid dyes at each other.
Naba Barsho :
The Bengali year starts from the first Baisakh (mid-April).
It is an occasion for celebration to the Bengalees in general and tradesmen
in particular. New clothes, fresh flowers, offerings at temples, people visiting
decorated shops mark the day.
Rathayatra (June-July) at Mahesh near Serampore is a week-long
festival. People throng to have a share in pulling the long ropes attached to
the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra on the journey from the
temple and back.
over the Western part of the state, a festival is held in the honour of the
serpent-deity Manasa on the last day of the Bengali month Sravana (mid-August).
But the most spectacular is the one held at Vishnupur in the district of Bankura,
with its shows of live snakes on open platforms.
Bera Utsav :
Every year on the last Thursday of the Bengali month of
Bhadra mid-September), Bera Utsav is held at Lalbagh on the river Bhagirathi
near the palace of the Nawabs. Fireworks of various size and colour add to the
gaiety of the festival.
Durga Puja & Deepavali :
The largest Bengali festival is Durga Puja,
held in the Bengali month of Aswin (October). Images of the ten-armed goddess
are worshipped in ancient houses and at pandals, erected specially for the Puja.
After the four-day ceremony, the images are immersed in the river. Durgapuja
is the most important festival in the city of Calcutta.
The festival that follows is Deepavali, the festival of lights,. The worship
of goddess Kali is marked by display of fireworks and crackers.
Rash Mela :
On the occasion of Rashyatra (November), a fair is held at
Cooch Behar in North Bengal. The month-long fair is one of the most important
fairs in the area.
Jagaddhatri Puja :
Goddess Jagaddhatri is worshipped in the Bengali month
of Kartick (November). At Chandannagar near Calcutta images
the goddess are tall, pandals spectacular and the illumination unique. in fact,
the illumination part is the most attractive feature here.
Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival :
Held in a series at Darjeeling, the
Dooars and in Sikkim, the Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival is celebrated with
a view to promote tourism in this region as a composite tourist destination,
with its bounties in tea, timber and tourism. The festival is held every year
in November - December.
Poush Mela :
Between the 7th and 9th of Poush (end-December). Poush Mela
is held at Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum. Of the many seasonal festivals
celebrated at Santiniketan, this is perhaps the most important, with cultural
programmes consisting of folk music & dance, folk theatre and Baul songs.
Vishnupur Festival :
in the temple town of Vishnupur a festival is organised
every year between 27 and 31 December. Characterised by exhibition and sale
of local handicrafts and performance of the rich musical tradition that Vishnupur
boasts, this is an immensely popular festival.
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