Bahurupi | Dying Folk Culture of Bengal

A Bahurupi is a street performer, dressed up in various characters in different times and it is considered one of the ancient professions. For most performances, there is a story structured into the persona of the performer himself within his make-up, costume and role. Historically, these bohurupis would dress up as Hindu gods, goddesses, or mythical characters like Ram, Shiva, Kali, and so on and perform in front of Kings and zamindars. My first encounter with a bahurupi happened through one such immensely popular literary work titled Srikanta by ‘Katha shilpi’ Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Continue reading Bahurupi | Dying Folk Culture of Bengal

Chowringhee is older than the city of Kolkata

Nobody is quite sure how Chowringhee, one of Kolkata’s most iconic roads, got its name. Chowringhee, not quite an arterial road but one of the city’s longest thoroughfares today, connects two parts of the city — Kalighat and Dharmatolla — to each other. Chowringhee is one of the best addresses in Kolkata. It still oozes of the imperial heritage. The building nearby are majestic and imposing and reminds of the British raj. Continue reading Chowringhee is older than the city of Kolkata

Kalika Shaktipeeth Shri Nalateswari Temple | Nalhati

The Nalateshwari Temple is situated in the Nalhati town of Birbhum district in West Bengal. The town Nalhati is named after Nalateshwari temple, one of the 51 Sakti Peethas. It is around 25 km from Tarapith. The Shakti Pitha (Sanskrit: शक्ति पीठ) are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism, the goddess-focused Hindu tradition. This temple is believed to be erected at the spot where the ‘Nala’, (Vocal chord with part of the tracheae), the throat of Goddess Sati (Sakti) had fallen. In Bengali, the larynx is known as ‘Nala’. This is the source from which the deity is known as Maa Nalateswari and the place is also named Nalhati, for the shrine. Continue reading Kalika Shaktipeeth Shri Nalateswari Temple | Nalhati

Taki | Epar Bangla, Opar Bangla

On December 16, 1971, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Indian Army and Mukti Vahini at around 5 p.m. at the Race Course ground in Dhaka, resulting into creation of Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh are celebrating the 50th victory day this year. It’s a proud day for both the nations. I was recollecting my closest sight of Bangladesh from India. Continue reading Taki | Epar Bangla, Opar Bangla

Chandraketugarh | A Lost Civilization

What connects Bengal and the Indus Valley Civilisation? A 2,500-year-old archaeological site, suffering from neglect might have the answer. A thriving settlement between the 4th century BCE and 12th century CE, Chandraketugarh is often thought to be the kingdom of Gangaridai as referred to by ancient Greek and Roman writers. Apart from its historical significance, Chandraketugarh is of great cultural importance, associated with Bengali poet and astrologer Khana, the daughter-in-law of Varahamihira, the famed astronomer and mathematician who was part of Chandragupta Vikramaditya’s court. Continue reading Chandraketugarh | A Lost Civilization

Durga Puja in Kolkata | Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Kolkata’s Durga Puja is India’s official nomination for the 2020 edition of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival, it is the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengal. Though predominantly originated in the Hindu ritual and legends, the Durga Puja celebration cross cuts the communal divide in many of its attributes. It is an epitome of harmony across caste, class, creed and religion. Continue reading Durga Puja in Kolkata | Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity