For a typical bong, Poush is not just the ninth month of the Bengali calendar but also the month of Pithe, Puli, Patishapta and not to forget Poush Mela.
During this time of the year People from half way around the world and near visit shantiniketan, to witness the Poush Mela – a one of a kind festival that provides a window to the rural heritage and folk culture of Bengal.
However for those who could not make it to Shantiniketan this year had no reason to wear a gloomy smile on their cold smitten faces, as the City of Joy quite brilliantly celebrated a one of a kind ” Kolkata Poush Mela / Utsav “.
With over 500 folk artists participating in this week long festival ( Dec 24 – Dec 31) held across two locations ( Princep Ghat and Mohor Kunja), the main focus festival was to make the people aware of the state’s rich cultural heritage.
Among the scheduled performances for the supposed to be last day of the Kolkata Poush Mela / Utsav (Dec 31) were – Bhatiali (the Boat Man’s song) by Jayanta Chakraborty, Bairati Nritya by Baby Royburman, Songs by Soumi Bhattacharya, bangla band Dohar and performance by students of Rabindra Bharati University.
Unfortunately by the time I reached, the first two performances were already over and on stage was singer Soumi Bhattacharya.
But there was no reason to regret as there was more to the evening which slowly unfolded itself in a soulful and gracious way.
A captivating performance by Dohar – a Bengali music band whose music draws inspiration from the melodious power of folk tunes left the audience mesmerized.
Interesting fact !!
Among Dohar’s arsenal of instruments there is one – The Sarinda – Bengals own bowing instrument. Only a handful of people remain today who play this instrument and Dohar’s Niranjan is one.
Following Dohar were a group of students from Rabindra Bharati University who put up a great show – with their traditional as well as fusion inspired Dance forms. The combined effects of lighting and smoke created a mystical and dramatic ambiance.
But probably planning to end the show with a bang and surprise (as this event was not in the scheduled list), the organizers kept the high energy, action packed performance of the Chhau Dancers from Purulia for dessert.
Men with traditional masks and dresses along with the enchanting shehnai, a variety of drums and other musical instruments playing at the background made the ambiance all the more magical.
Did u know ?
These are 3 styles of the Chhau Dance – the Seraikella style, the Purulia/Manbhum style and Mayurbhanj style. Although both Seraikella and purulia chhau uses masks the Seraikella masks are more elaborate in design. The Mayurbhanj Chhau dancers do not wear masks.
Well apart from all the cultural programs and events there was also a mini-fair with stalls showcasing handcrafted items and specialties from the various regions of Bengal. A special mention for the Pithe Puli Stall – catering the traditional home made delicacies – Pithe, Patishapta, Rosh Bora, Koraishutir Kachuri ( Yummmmmmy !!!!) to the ever hungry people of Kolkata.
The program ended with a surprise announcement of extending Kolkata Poush Mela / Utsav 2014 for a day till the 1st of January thereby not only giving the people of the city one more place to hang out on the first day of the Year but also giving those who missed it previously a ticket to a beautiful evening.
Please share your thoughts, advice, suggestions on this blog post as comments below. You can comment using your Facebook or Google+ account or simply filling up the comment box below. Thank You !!!