Culture & Heritage
The soul of Bankura hides in its rural villages. Most of the villagers are farmers and other people work as carpenters, potters etc. Bankura has an international fame for the “Bankura Horse”- a terracotta crafted horse, and for Dashabatar Tash (the historic paintings). Bankura is famous for agriculture, the huge production of ‘Mango’ and ‘Mustard’.
Tribes like Santhal, Bhumij(Sardar) and Munda reside in Mukutmanipur region. The people belong to the Proto-Australoid ethnic group. They take rice as their main meal. Charpa Pitha is a special dish, made using rice flour and dough of minced meat; they steam it in Sal leaves and then eat. Tribal people are very much fond of dancing and singing. Women dressed in white saree with red border use vibrant garlands as ornaments while dancing in various dance forms like Pata, Dasai, Ranpa, Karam, Raibeshe, Jhumur etc. Male participants wear traditional White dhoti and turbans. They play musical instruments like Dhamsa, Kendra and Madal.
A major part of Bankura is involved in artworks like Dokra and terracotta. People also depend on craftworks made of bell metal, conch shell and sand stone. You will find master weavers working in the garment industry which is famous for Baluchari, silk and handloom Saris.
Winter comes here wrapping the freshness of festivities. Chilly January welcomes ‘Mukutmanipur Loksanskriti Mela’ with great joy. Folk songs, dances, cultural functions and different types of local artifacts will surely blow your mind. Taste the aroma of a tribal fair and live in a different culture for sometime.
Tusu is a famous harvest festival celebrated by the local people of Mukutmanipur on the last day of ‘Poush’. During the winter (January- February), witness a ritual that is dedicated to the ‘Folk Goddess, Tusu’. The worshippers pray to the goddess for overwhelming wealth and happiness of their household. The lyrics of the folk songs related to this festival are quite different and you are going to love the melody of ‘Santhal’ and ‘Kurmis’.
Don’t miss the ‘Cockfighting’ which is arranged by the villagers during Tusu festival.
As the last day of ‘Poush‘ is called Makar Sankranti, people from ‘Santhal‘ community celebrate ‘Makar Parab’ during this time. People enjoy their gala days with meat, rice brew and fowl. A homemade drink named ‘Hanriah’ and dance on Dhamsa Madal’s beats add extra charm to their festivity.
Karam festival is celebrated on ‘Bhadra Ekadashi’ and is mainly arranged for perfect cultivation and happiness of children. During this celebration, only one branch of a Karam tree is being separated from the tree and unmarried girls worship the branch.
Bandna(Saharai) is another popular tribal festival celebrated on the sacred day of Kartik Amavasya in the month of November. Villagers give huge importance to their pets as well as animals and they performed the puja mainly for them. People wash their cows and bulls, feed them well, decorate them with ornaments and natural colors. They sing ‘Ohira’ to acknowledge the contribution of the animals in their lives. Celebrating the Saharai festival, Santhal people show their gratitude to ‘Ma Bhagabati’ for golden-yellow paddy fields.
Jhumur is a tribal dance form performed in the ground. Females participating in the dance hold waist of each other’s and move their hands, legs and heads in a rhythm that goes forward and backward respectively. Male participants wear traditional dresses and play flute, drum and ‘Taal’ to keep the dance going.
Chhau dance is one of the most famous dance forms of this region. Male dancers from local communities put different masks on them and dance at night in open places known as ‘akhada’. Folk songs, drums, dhol, shehnai, dhamsa and kharka are the musical instruments which are being played during a Chhau. Scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other local sagas are represented by this dance form.
Palash Utsab is the festival of colors. You will understand how it feels exactly to play ‘Holi’ with Nature itself. Spring comes here with blooming Palash. Mukutmanipur proudly celebrates Palash utsab or Holi in Spring. Cultural functions, sprinkle of ‘Abir’ in the air, the fiery red hue of Palash, blue waterbody accompany the people wearing bright dresses and flower ornaments. Come and celebrate ‘Holi’ and ‘Palash Utsab’ in the lap of “Bonpaharir Rani”.
Bishnupur Mela is held between 27-31 December every year near the temple of Lord Madanmohon in Bishnupur. This mela is very famous and follows the tradition of Bishnupur immensely. There are stalls of wonderful terracotta artifacts, handcrafted items, different types of artworks and traditional Bishnupuri clothes in the Mela-ground. Bishnupur mela is the place where you will find the true essence of the rich musical culture of Bishnupur. Artists performing in cultural programs will surely please you from within. The temple town has its own musical origin popularly known as ‘Bishnupur Gharana of Singing’.
Ekteswar Gajan is celebrated on the last day of ‘Chaitro mas’. Ekteswar resides in the bank of the river Darakeswar and is famous for the temple of Mahadev known as ‘Ekteswar’. People celebrate Chadak Puja here with great joy. There are various stalls of handicrafts, food, sweets, local artifacts and rides for children in the Mela.
Dharar Mela is celebrated in the foothills of Susunia. Villagers worship the idol of ‘Narasimha’ and a fair is held in the name of the God and the holy water of ‘Dhara’. The villagers celebrate it with Chadak puja. The fair is rich with various shops of local artifacts (mainly made of sand-stone), food, sweets, handcrafted jwellery etc.
Durga puja is one of the most important festivals of Bankura. Far away from the noisy crowd and tiring commercialization, let’s spend a Durga puja where rituals and religions find their home. There are many ancient pujas like ‘Maa Mrinmoyee from Bishnupur’, ‘Maa Ambika from Mukutmanipur’, ‘Jagaddhatri( another form of goddess Durga) from Joyrambati’ throughout the Bankura district. In accordance with local people, the oldest form of Maa Durga of Bengal, Maa Mrinmoyee ordered the king in his dreams to worship her and build a temple. On the other side of the district, Maa Ambika is being worshipped for last 700 years and is very much alive. Each puja has its own different essence and is rich in interesting rituals.