Culture

Chinese New Year Kolkata

New years are the time of celebration and are perhaps one of the most important festivals of the community. The Chinese New Year is one of the most important festivals of the Chinese calendar. And the Chinese community in Kolkata celebrates it among mush festivities. 2017 is the year of Rooster according to Chinese Calendar. The Chinese New Year Kolkata is also one of the many cultural events that Kolkata boasts of. Many a time I had seen these colourful processions during the winters near the Territy Bazar area – dance performed by a handful dressed as dragons amidst...

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Mukha, the Kushmandi masks and the art of mask making

Kushmandi block of South Dinajpur is the home of the wooden mask makers better known as Kushmandi masks or in colloquial terms “Mukha”. The makers are mainly concentrated in the village of Mahisbathan where a handicraft hub has been developed as a part of rural craft hub initiative under the MSME department of Government of West Bengal and in collaboration with UNESCO. The Kushmandi Masks: The Kushmandi masks are generally objects of devotion very devoutly crafted by the villagers. Thus these masks also called the Gomira masks catered to the needs of the Gomira dancers and to the villagers...

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Gomira Dance – an ancient dance form of rural Bengal

Gomira dance is a rural dance form mainly practiced in the Dinajpur district of West Bengal. The dance is usually performed by the villagers to please the gods to usher in the ‘good forces’ and ward off the ‘evil forces’. Very obviously, this dance form is a part of varying traditions and the rich cultural history of Bengal. So when the opportunity came to watch a Gomira dance performance, we were more than happy to seize it. Origin of the Gomira Dance Gomira dance is actually a masked dance form. The word Gomira has been derived from the colloquial...

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A visit to Dariyapur – the Dokra village

In our previous post, we shared about the finesse and uniqueness of the Dokra craft. We had the opportunity to visit one such craft village of West Bengal – Dariyapur near Guskara in the Barddhaman district. Dariyapur is a small village having around 30 families of artisans practicing the dokra craft. Dariyapur was hosting the Dokra fair with the help of Banglanatak dot com and West Bengal tourism. Dariyapur village is really beautiful. Walking slowly beside the vast stretches of paddy fields, we were thrilled to see so much greenery. Not only that, all our tiredness vanished breathing the...

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Dokra – a fascinating and primeval art form

Dokra handicrafts have always fascinated me. I had always wondered how these exquisite pieces of handicrafts are made. The exquisite carvings and the intricate designs in the metals not only make them look like a collector’s item but also shows the artistry and handwork of the artisans who make this unique pieces of art. Dokra is known to many, but for all those who are wondering what I am speaking about, Dokra is an ancient form of craft involving non-ferrous casting using the lost-wax casting also known as ‘Cire Perdue’. In fact, it is the earliest method of non-ferrous...

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Jahura Temple, Malda

The first thing that comes to our mind while talking about Malda is mangoes and the ancient kingdom of Gour.  The Jahura Temple on the outskirts of the town is one of the most sacred temples of Malda. Situated a few kilometers away from the main town of Malda, the temple is almost a century old. But the most captivating thing about this temple is its surroundings. Standing amidst the mango orchards, the place speaks of serenity and calm. You are bound to feel peaceful once you are at the temple. Just as we left the precincts of the...

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Bow Barracks – Forever Yours – Celebrating Christmas

Bow Barracks, a place tucked in the heart of Kolkata near Bow Bazar celebrates the spirit of Christmas with aplomb.  This place is a confluence of heritage and culture. I have always maintained that Kolkata is a nurturer of cultures and traditions of various kinds. Bow Barracks is one such place where the Anglo Indians have made their home. The Past of Bow Barracks: The bow Barracks were originally made as barracks for the soldiers of the second World War. As India gained independence in 1947, there was a marked exodus of the Anglo Indians to the English speaking...

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The Ganga Arti at Haridwar

What can be better than watching the Ganga Arti at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar on the early morning of Mahalaya? Mahalaya is an auspicious day among the Hindus when the men offer prayer to their ancestors in a ritual at the banks of holy river Ganga. The holy city of Haridwar is one of the places where it is considered auspicious to offer the ancestral prayers at the Ganga banks. We had the opportunity of being at Haridwar on the Mahalaya this year. So early in the morning we decided to go to Har ki Pauri. Har ki Pauri...

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The Jews of Kolkata – Then & Now

My first introduction to the Talmud – Torah was during my tenth standard text book through a story called “The Needle” by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Later on read a little more in “The Class” by Eric Segal. But little did I know that our very own Calcutta had a thriving Jewish community back in the nineteenth century. Although in decline, there are landmarks of Jewish community. Calcutta had always been a potpourri of various cultures and traditions and the Jewish community which came to Calcutta were welcomed with open arms here. The Past: The Baghdadi Jewish community came to...

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South Park Street Cemetery – a tryst with Calcutta’s past

With love in their heart and memories that are forever, the tombs of South Park Street Cemetery was built by the grieving family members. South Park Street Cemetery has always been an enigmatic place for me. While in school (The Assembly of God Church School, Park Street), I was always overwhelmed by the cemetery. I always wanted to see what is there inside those gates, but finally got a chance after so long. The historic Calcutta has always interested me and South Park Street Cemetery is a perfect place to experience it. So along with Agni, I was at the Park...

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