Heritage & Culture

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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St. John’s Church Kolkata – roaming around the lawn

In our last post, we had shared our visit to St. John’s Church, Kolkata. As mentioned, the church complex was actually a burial ground known as the old burial ground which was later donated by Raja Naba Krishna Bahadur of Sovabazar to Warren Hastings, the Governor General of Calcutta. The church complex has other monuments and memorials which speak of the colonial past of Calcutta. Here are the other structures present in the complex. Job Charnock’s Tomb This is perhaps one of the most important monuments of Kolkata itself. There are so many beautiful things to be seen in Kolkata...

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Reliving the history – St. John’s Church, Kolkata

Just as you move around the north-western corner of Raj Bhavan, the Governor’s house, you come across a Neo-classical structure – the St. John’s Church. The church stands tall as a witness to all the bygone eras of Kolkata. St. John’s Cathedral is the third oldest church in Calcutta only after the Armenian Church and the Old Mission Church. You might as well pass by the structure every now and then and might have dismissed it off as just another church. But the place is a treasure house of historical facts. The land on which the St. John’s cathedral...

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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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64 Yogini Temple, Jabalpur

A visit to the Chausath Yogini or 64 Yogini Temple  near Bhedaghat at Jabalpur was completely by chance. We had a day to spare at Jabalpur after our trip to Panchmarhi. Naturally we headed towards Bhedaghat and the Marble Rocks. But unfortunately for us, boating at the Marble rocks had not yet started and we had to contain ourselves with the view of the Dhuandhar waterfalls. The 64 Yogini temple is located very near to the Dhuandhar Falls. Like most temples, this one also had a flight of stairs leading to the temple sanctuary. Our auto driver told us...

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Rabdentse – Ruins of an ancient capital of Sikkim

The ruins of Rabdentse Palace lies just a few kilometers from the Pemyangste Monastery on the way to Pelling. Sikkim is a mystical land with all the ancient monasteries and intriguing places to visit. Rabdentse is one such place. You find the signboard of this ancient site out of nowhere on the highway to Pelling with an equally curious line – “Follow the Path and you will reach the Palace” written on a simple entry gate. Being totally addicted to ancient monuments, we decided to follow wherever the path led to. As we entered, there was a well-marked path...

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Agrasen ki Baoli – A haunted step well in the heart of Delhi

Agrasen ki Baoli – the name itself piqued our interest to a great height while we were researching Delhi for the first time way back in 2012. But we were able to visit the place only in our 3rd visit to Delhi because the Baoli does not usually feature in the tour operators’ to do list. Also, the Baoli stayed elusive to common eyes for years among the high-rises near Connaught Place. It is located in the narrow Hailey Lane, off the Hailey Road. You will not believe until you visit the place that such an ancient monument lies...

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Jama Masjid – mosque with a view of the world

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India – one of the jewels being built by Emperor Shah Jahan. Situated just in front of the Red Fort in the old city of Shahjanabad, now in heart of Chandni Chowk, the Jama Masjid is not only an important mosque, but also an important monument of history. A flight of pigeons flying in front of magnificent structure – it is a sight simply to behold. And while I look up at the tall minarets of the masjid, I am simply awe-struck at the enormity and minute detailing that went into making...

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Humayun’s Tomb – Abode of Peace

Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi is one of the place I had been always fascinated since I read about it in my history class. I still remember our history class about the Mughal period. Our teacher was so vivid in her description that I would always be transported to that era. And I always had the special liking for the historical monuments. Visiting a monument, walking along the huge corridors, gaping at the intricate designs, all these transports me back to those eras. While reading about the Mughal emperor Humayun, I was equally fascinated by his tomb. Humayun’s tomb was...

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