West Bengal is one of those states in India that is known for rich culture, and the same can be seen in different forms of dance and music forms, handicrafts, paintings as well as carvings. If these things intrigue you or you want to witness the same then Poush Mela is apt for you.
The festival is a rural carnival that takes place on the Mela grounds of Shantiniketan in Bolpur, Birbhum District. Thus, the festival is also called Bolpur Poush Mela. The event is held every year in the month of December which is considered to be Poush Month according to the Bengali Calendar.
Earlier, the festival used to be held for three days until 2017, then, it was extended to six days. But, this year again, Poush Mela 2024 is scheduled to take place for three days. The Poush mela will be organised from 24th December 2024 to 26th December in 2024.
The do also demonstrates the true culture and spirit of Bengal through its vivacious energy and enthusiastic participants. There is a lot of excitement among everyone who is either participating or has just come to witness the vibes of the celebration.
The students from universities, the locals and the artists come together to perform different cultural dance forms that keep people hooked on the Mela. Each day of the fair has something different to offer along with, of course, the lip-smacking food and delicacies of Bengal.
History of Poush Mela 2024
The small town of Shantiniketan was established by the great religious reformer and Hindu philosopher, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore and was scaled up by Rabindranath Tagore, Maharshi’s son and a Nobel Prize winner.
It is the same place that is known as the hub of the idea of one God or monotheism in the Hindu culture and it is here only that it was researched as well as preached.
Its founder, Devendranath Tagore was not just an active participant of the Bengali Renaissance Movement but he was also the originator of the Brahmo Samaj.
It was on December 21, 1843, that the cultural reformer adopted the Brahmo creed. The day this happened is said to be the 7th day of the Poush month, according to the Bengali calendar. Later, this day was zeroed in to be celebrated as Poush Utsav. Now, a fair is held every year during this time only to celebrate the same in the small town of Shantiniketan.
Major Attractions of Poush Mela 2024
1. Inauguration of Poush Utsav. The Mela starts with an inauguration ceremony on the 7th day of the Poush month in Shantiniketan. After that Vaitalik Group roams around the town and sings folk music to entertain the locals. After that, they assemble for a prayer that takes place at Chhatimtala, wrapping the inauguration process.
2. Bengali Folk Music and Dance. One would get to witness performances on different forms of folk dances and music. Baul, Purulia, Santhali, Mundari, are some of the local dance forms that the artists perform at this Mela.
3. Stalls. Shantiniketan Poush Mela witnesses around 1,500 stalls varying from handicrafts, fabrics, to household products like home decoration items, Tasar Textile, jute products, wood and cane products, brass wares, conch-shell, terracotta, masks and many more.
4. Food Fiesta. How can someone miss the food culture of Bengal? Right from sweets to spicy, name it and you will have it all. It is a perfect blend of rural culture and modern spirit which makes it even more special and bright to the eyes. One can enjoy different delicious food items from Bengali Cuisine such as Aloo Potol Posto, Shukto, Sandesh, Alur Dom, etc.
5. Exhibition. Bengalis are known for their art, painting and poetry, handicrafts and so much more. One can get into the realm of creativity via their gorgeous handlooms, handicrafts, etc.
How to Reach Poush Mela Shantiniketan
This do is a must-visit and you ought to be here at least once in your lifetime. In order to experience Poush Mela, you need to visit Shantiniketan which is located in the Birbhum district. Here are different modes of transportation for a smooth journey.
By Air. The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, popularly known as Kolkata Airport. The airport is situated in Kolkata which is the capital city of West Bengal. It is approximately 165 kilometers away from Shantiniketan. The airport is well-connected to major cities of India as well as overseas. Once you reach the airport, you can easily get on a bus or hire a taxi to reach Shantiniketan. It will take around 2-3 hours to reach.
By Rail. Kopai Railway Station (1km), Bolpur S Niketan Railway Station (2km), and Prantik Railway Station (3km) are the nearest railway stations to Shantiniketan. These railway stations serve Shantiniketan as well as the neighbouring regions of the area. There are direct trains as well such as ANVT SDAH Exp, Karmbhoomi Exp, Shatabdi Exp, and New Tinsukia Exp that connect Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru respectively to Bolpur. If you are traveling from other cities of India, you need to deboard at Kolkata Railway Station in Belgachia. After that, you can opt for local trains to these local railway stations.
By Road. Shantiniketan has great road connectivity that is apt for several nearby as well as distant regions of the city. While taking a road trip from cities too far can be a tad too tiring, one can take a road trip from Kolkata to Shantiniketan which is around 165 kilometers and takes around 3-4 hours by car.