পৌষ মেলা

Poush is the 9th month of the Bengali calendar.
It is the first month of Winter Season.

Poush Mela is an annual fair that takes place in Shantiniketan.
The fair starts on the 7th day of Poush for the full 3 days.

It is been said that,
Devendranath Tagore with twenty followers accepted the Brahmo creed from
Ram Chandra Vidyabagish on 21 December 1843 (7 Poush 1250 according to the Bengali calendar). This was the basis of Poush Utsav (the Festival of Poush) at Santiniketan.

The fair is organised every year in a field in Purbapalli.
People from all over the world comes here to attend the fair.

The fair is a meeting ground of Urban People and Rural Folk.

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This was my first time that I was attending this fair.
I was so overwhelmed to see the number of stalls and so much talent of handwork.

There was a simple flute-maker to a big furniture manufacturer.

I took my train from Howrah and on the journey itself, I noticed the
enthusiasm of people to attend this fair.

As, we entered the field, I got to eat
the famous ‘Bhapa Pitha’.
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These are made from Rice Flour, Coconut and Jaggery.

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Once filled with Jaggery, they put them on the steam and just in few seconds,
you are all set for this sweet delicacy.

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With the sweet beginning, I was all set for the inside look of the fair.

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The Flute Maker

I am a Brass Lover.
I make jewellery from Brass and mostly wear the same.

I got my lovely jewellery there also at a very reasonable price.

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And then there was some white metal jewellery also.

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With time, the fair has become commercialized.
Big people like Aircel, Idea, Hyundai and RBI etc are taking up the huge stalls
and the poor hardworking Artisans are sitting on the ground
in cold weather.

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The Fair was started with the motive
of promoting Artisans and it should continue with the same motive,
rather than giving space to these big people.

I met some really interesting artisans on my walk
around the fair.

There were painters, selling the prints and Tote Bags.
I bought them for my collection.

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Tagore

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The traditional form of paintings were also displayed there.

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Patachitra
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The Artist

I had conversations with the famous Dhokra sellers in the fair.

Dhokra
Dhokra

I shall be writing about this form of craft in my upcoming post.

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There was pottery in every form.
Be it flowers, lamps, hanging dolls, holders and showpieces.

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Shantiniketan Dolls

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My eyes were just smiling every time I looked up to a new stall with some
different art that I could never have seen in Urban cities.

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Swandesh (Sweets) Moulds
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Hand Embroidered Clutches

One of the most distinguished feature of this fair
is the performances by traditional Baul musicians.

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Ektara : The musical instrument of a Baul Singer

They stay in the field only under their tents for 3 days.
They sing, dance and entertain people.

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I can’t understand Bengali, but
as they say ‘Music doesn’t have a language’
I simply loved this experience.

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Visva Bharati, is the publishing department of the University in Shantiniketan.

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They had their stalls in the fair.
I got to see some rare books like
‘Faces and Places of Visva Bharati by Shambhu Shaha’

This photo-book is a quick introduction to the history
of Shantiniketan.
My friend Nevine’s Great Grandfather used to know Rabindranath Tagore
and that’s how she introduced this book to me.

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Rabindranath Tagore with Khan Bahadur Sir Azizul Haque (Nevine’s Great Grandfather :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azizul_Haque_%28educator%29)
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Shantiniketan in Early years
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Poush Mela in Early Years
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Tagore with Mahatama Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi

There were books in Bengali, written by Tagore and other writers.

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The photo-books were also available in the fair.

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Last but the least, The fair had food for every person.
From snacks to full meal, everything was available there.

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Everybody who has an interest in Cultural activities and handicrafts of our country,
should visit this fair and support the artisan who are doing this fabulous work.

Poush Mela, happens every year in December for 3-4 days.
Keep checking the web for the dates in 2015
and freeze your dates for the traditional fun!

May be, we can catch up together this year 😀

Goodnight!

 

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