Artistic Leather Craft, Horn Work, Clay Dolls, Sandalwood Carving, Papier Mache, Dokra, Ceramic, Jute Products, Masks & Puppets are few arts and crafts of West Bengal.
Art & Crafts
Artistic Leather Craft, Horn Work, Clay Dolls, Sandalwood Carving, Papier Mache, Dokra, Ceramic, Jute Products, Masks & Puppets are few arts and crafts of West Bengal.
Artistic Leather Craft:Culturally rich state of West Bengal is bestowed with exemplary leather crafts. The widely popular leather crafts, representing the present-day art and craft trend prevalent in west Bengal, are basically the ingenious work of Santiniketan’s artists.
Brass & Bell Metal:One of the oldest and the most popular handicraft products of West Bengal are molded of brass and metal. The workmanship is passed from one generation to another, which covers a varied range from vessels to cooking utensils for special occasions. Craftsmen from Bishnupur, Chandanpur, Ghatal and Bankura are occupied in etched bell and brass metal work.
Pottery:The terracotta Bankura horse of Bengal is quite famous all over the world. Visit any village in this state and you are bound to find the kumbhakars (potters) creating items of daily use on the potter's wheel. The source of their raw material is the rich, alluvial clay found in Bengal's rivers. These are shaped and fired in simple kilns. From pots, containers, plates for food to toys and ritual figurines, the Bengal potter moulds it all.
At Kumartuli in Kolkata, some of Bengal's most innovative clay-potters fashion the images of popular gods and goddesses worshipped in the state. The high point comes when in autumn every year, idols of goddess Durga are made. Some of them are indeed exquisite works of art. Today, some renowned sculptors are also commissioned by Bengali non-resident Indians (NRIs) to produce replicas of Goddess Durga, which they carry with them all the way to the USA and England! If you look at the rich decorative terracotta panels of temples in Murshidabad, Bishnupur, and Midnapore, you will realise how much a fistful of clay means to the Bengali's artistic psyche.
Mat Making:Reed baskets and mats find themselves multiple uses. On the typically humid summer dusk you will encounter ‘Madur’, the mat seller, making his way through the twisty lanes of plush villages. The mat that they carry is woven with the help of the simple loom made of bamboo. The weft is a soft, thin madur-reed and the wrap is of cotton however the patterns are the creation of weavers’ imagination which in turn results in the creation of rare phenomenon.
Shitalpati, yet another type of mat, is found in Bengal, Tripura and Assam. These are created with flat strips in twill, check or zigzag designs, at times comprising stylized animal and human forms. Palmyra leaves are used to make fans. These leaves are at first dyed in various colors, then later they are worked into attractive geometric designs. Traditional shapes and designs are some of the specialties that cane baskets possess. Available in different sizes these baskets are used for the decorative purpose or for simply holding plants.
Dhokra Metal Casting:West Bengal’s Dhokra Kamar tribe people are referred as the traditional smiths. Dhokra, named after the tribe’s name, is a sort of metal casting technique that was followed by these tribal people. A mere glimpse at the artifacts created through this technology, makes you believe that these have been worked out of a single wire wrapped around an art object, made of clay. However, using the lost-wax technique the object is mould in metal. The artifacts are customary objects basically constituting themes like jewellery, animals and gods and goddesses’ idols. Dhokra people make varieties of lamps (Diyas) which are molded in single and multiple forms. Several lamps are affixed a top the elephant’s back.
The technique of lost-wax is not limited to India only. Several evidences of such type of molding of copper based metals have been discovered in Egypt, Nigeria, China, Malaysia and several regions of Central America.
Among the novelties fashioned by dhokra artisans, hansuli (necklace), payeri (anklets), bangles and earrings are available in abundance. Moreover, some other trinkets made by these craftsmen are ‘Buli’, the piggybank, and ‘Kalas’, the traditional finial pot. ‘Kalas’, generally for the festival purpose is mounted upon a wooden pole.
The Dhokra Kamar tribe is an integral part of the family that constitutes the Sithrias of Orissa, the metal artisans and the Malhars of Jharkhand. Metal workers of West Bengal, known as the Dheppons and the Dhokras reside in the districts of Purulia, BIrbhum, Midnapore, Burdwan and Bankura.
Cane & Bamboo:West Bengal, a state most famous for its creativity, is bestowed with artisans that specialize in crafting fancy and beautiful day-to-day articles from cane and bamboo. A rich and varied craft, artisans more than 35,000 in number carry out this art in various districts of the rural Bengal.
Fine Arts:The whole fine art prospect in West Bengal is truly stimulating and feeds the soul with what it desires. Whether you hold interest in the revivalist movement initiated by Abanindranath Tagore or Jamini Roy’s folk idioms, there is everything for everyone in West Bengal. Nandalal Bose’s marvelous works and the truly dazzling sculptures of Ramkinkar Baij, forming the indivisible part of the Bengali landscape can easily be found in the Tagore’s Hermitage, Shantiniketan. Moreover, the Kalabhavan is a good place to hangout for the art-lovers.
Clay Dolls:Krishnachandra, Krishnanagar’s Maharaja in the late era of the 18th century, being the chief patronage for the clays dolls is the main factor that contributes to the clay dolls-real life sized, originating from West Bengal. To locate some of the finest and truly enthralling clay model articles, Kirshnanagar is truly the place to be at.
Jute Products:The ‘golden fiber’, Jute, is traditionally being woven, braided and knotted for the domestic usage by the women of Bengal. During the ancient times, jute was a widely accepted fabric. Toady, Bengal is one of the major producers of jute articles ranging from decorative tapestries to plush jute-blended carpets, garden pot hangings, bedspreads, decorative hand bags and so on.
In West Dinajpur, nearly 50 villages coming under the Kaliaganj area are occupied with the work of coloring and weaving of jute over the single loom. As the world is once again turning to the wonderful natural fiber, the popularity is fast picking up.
Costumes of West Bengal
West Bengal’s rich culture and tradition is magnificently reflected in the costumes. ‘Saree’ is the traditional costume worn mostly by the Bengali Women, although ‘Salwar Kameez’ and various types of western wears as well are picking up fast popularity. Bengali women prefer to decorate themselves in lively colorful ‘sarees’ which are worn in a particular Bengali style. Both cotton and silk ‘sarees’ are widely popular among the Bengali women. Moreover, amongst the silk ones, ‘Baluchari sarees’ have accomplished legendry repute. This sort of ‘saares’ are a product of astonishing workmanship of the Bengali weavers, which bestows the users with the originative style statement. ‘Daccai saree’ is popular both outside and within west Bengal.
As a matter of fact, Bengal has a keen weaving tradition which has provided ‘sarees’ with a unique appeal. ‘Begumpur’ of Hooghly district, ‘Kenjekura’ of Bankura district and ‘Shantipur’ of Nadia district are havens to weavers.
The conventional costumes of the Bengali men are Panjabi and Dhoti. Former is an upper garment whereas latter, a lower garment. Panjabi is quite similar to the ‘Kurtas’ worn in the northern India. The ‘Panjabi’ and ‘Dhoti’ are available both in silk as well as in cotton. However, there are very less Bengali people who wear this attire in this day-to-day life. It is worn basically on the special occasions like Durga Puja or weddings etc. More of the western clothes are worn for day-to-day activities.
In addition to handlooms, West Bengal needle work too is quite popular. This particular art form is practiced by the Bengali women till date. The painstaking work carried out by these women can be witnessed in the form of colorful ‘Kanthas’, a colorful patchwork quilt.
Brita, Chaau, Tusu, Santhal and Gambhira are the main dance forms of West Bengal.
Chhou:Chhou is a well reckoned masked dance in which dancer personates a God, bird, animal, flower, hunter etc. In this, dancer enacts short themes in sequences mainly in the month of Chaitra, in April. Human features are modified in Chhou masks to portray, what they are indicating. During the dance, performer’s face is inexpressive where as his body conveys all the psychological and emotional tensions of a character. His feet represent a gesture language and toes are functional, nimble and expressive like animal. Dancer always remains mute, only instrumental music like drums and bamboo follow him. It is a very acrobatic and vigorous dance.
Mainly all the dancers are Bhumji as Chhou dance is preponderantly an art of Bhumji.
Jalpesh Mela, Poush Mela, Rash Mela, Gangasagar Mela and Kenduli Mela are popular fairs of West Bengal.
Gangasagar Mela:Gangasagar Mela is a globally renowned mela which is celebrated with éclat and splendour in West Bengal. This mela is one of the significant fairs of West Bengal. This is one of the prime attractions of West Bengal in the winter season. Thus, thousands of devotees belonging to various parts visit this mela and enjoys it.
This fair is held in the winter span December and January. According to Hindu mythology, Ganga is the most sacred river and begins her excursion in Prayag and ends it to this sanctum and unites with Bay of Bengal. This seat is also considered as a sacred place like Prayag, thus it is a belief that any one can cleanse the sins by taking a sacred dip here. This mela is visited by varied tourists from different spiritual backgrounds and hence all tradition, inheritances farragoes to unite in a single one. The holy atmosphere and light creates an oracular ambience which attracts infinite number of tourists every year. Devotees paying visit to a well reckoned temple of ‘Kapil Muni’, a sage after taking a sacred dip.
Durga Puja, Naba Barsho (Bengali New Year), Vasanta Utsav, Deepavali, Jagaddhatri Puja and Rathayatra are few prominent festivals that are celebrated in West Bengal.
Durga Puja Festival:One of the most renowned festivals of West Bengal is Durga Puja. With splendor and éclat, it is celebrated in all over the Bengal, Orissa, Tripura and Assam. A significant mythological tale lies behind this jubilation of Durga Puja. It is widely acknowledged as one of the biggest festival of Hindu community and is celebrated in the month of autumn.
Durga Puja, one of the biggest occasions of Hindus, is celebrated in all over the country, particularly in the state of West Bengal. As per the Hindu mythology, this festivity time is not the real jubilation time of goddess Durga. For the five consecutive days, this grand celebration takes place and it is said that this occasion has been acquainted by a mythical hero Ram, who offered his offerings to Ravana before entering into the war with him. After that, the hero of Ramayana, Ram introduces this splendid occasion and made this celebration popular in all over the world. It is widely renowned that Goddess Durga along with her daughters Saraswati, Laxmi and with her sons Kartik and Ganesha comes down on earth and make this land free from devils and evils.
Durga Puja:Introduction :
Durga Puja is one of the main festivals in West Bengal. Durga Puja is celebrated with pomp and grandeur in all over Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Tripura. There is lies a great mythological tale behind this grand celebration of Durga Puja. Durga Puja takes place in the months of autumn and is regarded as the biggest festival among the Hindus
Durga Puja being a grand occasion among the Hindus is celebrated with all over the country and especially in West Bengal. According to the Hindu mythology this celebration time is not the actual celebration of goddess Durga. This celebration takes place for five consecutive days it is said that the occasion has been introduced by an epical hero Ram who offered his offerings before entering into the battle with Ravana who kidnapped Sita. After Ram the hero of Ramayana introduced the occasion and that made the celebration famous world wide. It is known that goddess Durga visits to make this land free from evils and along with Durga her daughters Laxmi and Saraswati and sons Ganesha and Kartik.
Jagaddhatri Puja:Introduction :
Jagaddhatri Puja, one of the renowned festivals of West Bengal mainly of Hooghly district of West Bengal. This jubilation spreads a lovely atmosphere all around and celebrates the renascence of Goddess Durga as Jagaddhatri. It is celebrated with magnificence in the Hooghly district.
In Hooghly district of West Bengal, Jagaddhatri Puja is fêted with great joy. It is reckoned as one of the antediluvian festivals and is considered as the chief Durga Puja before Lord Ram acquainted the Durga puja in October. This puja is splendidly renowned as the rebirth of Goddess Durga to ruin vicious and create peace on Earth. Here, Durga is referred as Jagaddhatri and comes on lion and attires like a warrior who combats against the evils. Masses of Hooghly and of other parts celebrates this festival with great joy regardless their caste and creed.
Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival:Introduction :
Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival is one of the main festivals in the hilly area of West Bengal. West Bengal is regarded as the state of festivals. Colorful celebrations of various festivals take place in different parts of the state. In the hilly area West Bengal is laden with tea gardens and there are various festivals that are observed and the multi colored festivals of the tea garden make the people to participate and enjoy the occasion.
Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival takes place in Darjeeling which is the door to the Himalayas in the state of West Bengal. This festival is also observed in Sikkim and this promotes the tourism in North Bengal as thousands of tourists gathers to celebrate the grand occasion in the tranquil hills of Darjeeling. This festival is the festival of colors and the air fills with fun and frolic. The hilly area acquires a different dimension with wonderful color and music of celebration.
Vishnupur Festival:Vishnupur Festival is a well recognized festival of Bankura district of West Bengal. Vishnupur is a place of antediluvian civilization, where you can experience verity inheritance of Bengal’s art and architecture which project the prosperous period of Bengal. Temples and other ancient monuments with elaborate sculpts and prosperity depicts an affluent background of Bengal. Some of the prime attractions of Vishnupur are Jorbangla, Shyam Ray temple and Radhey Shyam temples.
Vishnupur festival is a main occasion of important district of Bengal, Bankura, where any one can experience the rich heritage of this part. It is considered as a perfect fusion of past and the present. Ancient tradition is depicted by the tribal culture like local music and dance. You can easily acquire local handicrafts and sculptures, which have their own uniqueness and individuality. These local hand prints cloths and hand woven fabrics are highly popular among domestic as well as international tourists.
Diwali:Diwali is a significant festival, which is celebrated in each and every corner of India, a land of festivals. It is a festival of illumination of lights, where wickednesses are destroyed. As light is considered as an origin of positive energy, hence houses and streets are embellished with various colorful lights. Unity in diversity has become the symbol of this festival as it can be celebrated by various ways but the aim of the festival is same.
Diwali is a one of well reckoned festivals of West Bengal. Kali Puja is also celebrated on this day, which symbolizes the ruin of ill powers. Night becomes worth watching due to the use of colourful lights and various sparkling fireworks. To drive off the evilness of the Earth is the prime motto of this festival. Diwali is known as Kali Puja in West Bengal. To provide a different attribute to this moonless night, various crackers, candles and fireworks are used.
Moreover, this occasion is also widely reckoned as the triumph of Lord Ram over the vicious king Ravana. Masses celebrate this triumph of truth by illuminating colorful candles and by burning various fireworks.
Languages of West Bengal
Bengali, the mother tongue of West Bengal is the language majorly spoken by the natives of West Bengal and even of Bangladesh. Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, having a large number of immigrants can correctly be called the hub of various cultures. As a result different languages such as Hindi, English, Oriya, Burmese, Santhali, Chinese and many other languages can be found in this hub.
Bengali arose as a discrete language in 10 AD. Today, it is spoken by nearly 200 million people world over. It evolved from the former Austric-Dravidian idiom, the Prakrit idiom that contained the teachings of Buddhism, Sanskrit and Magadhi an eastern version of the Northerly idiom belonging to the western family or the Sauraseni. Older Bengali differs from the medieval one evolved out of these ingredients of idioms. Words, received form the pre-Aryan idiom have been retained in the Bengali vocabulary. These words cane be heard in the as the still survive in the aboriginal tribes’ speech.
As the language is historic so is the Bengali script. In the 19th century the Bengali script was regularized in its current form. Bengali has alphabets consisting 39 consonants and 13 vowels. The script consists of a number of joint letters derived by conjuncture of consonants with vowels and that of two consonants together; many of these are randomly designed. Moreover, Bengali language has many regional variations, thus, exhibiting a handsome mixture of words taken from various languages, spelt and pronounced in the indigenous manner.
Bishnupuri Classical, Baul, Kirtan, Rabindra Sangeet, Atulprasadi, Kantageeti, Adhunik Gaan, Shyama Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Dwijendrageeti, Ganasangeet and Bangla Rock are the forms of music in West Bengal.
Music in West Bengal:West Bengal, a culturally rich state of India, homes the most pleasing melodies completely enriched with emotions and passion. For the Bengalis music is a passion through which they express themselves, their emotions, feelings and their spirituality. The mesmerizing villages, open wide spaces and the sound of winding rivers have inspired rural poets from long past to compose songs and sing of their sorrow and joy backed by compelling music derived from remarkable one-stringed lyre or the two stringed one, called ‘Ektara’, ‘Dotara’ respectively and from the bamboo flute. Besides, percussion instruments like the ‘Dhol’ and ‘Khol’ are also used.
Music with vividness is the specialty of West Bengal. Few of the lively music genres prevailing in West Bengal are :
Baul Sangeet : - The mystical group of musicals and singers called Bauls are favorites among the countryside people. Their act is majorly supported by the tunes of Ektara, Dotara and Khamak.
Rabindra Sangeet: - Rabindranath Tagore is the one majorly responsible for providing new facet to the general musical notion of India and in specific of Bengal. The style of music framed by him is famously known as ‘Rabindra Sangeet’.
Shyama Sangeet: - It is a Bengali devotional song genre which is especially devoted to Shyama or Kali, the Hindu goddess. The genre is also identified as Shaktagiti.
Besides these music genres, ‘Atulprasadi’, ‘Hindustani classical music’, ‘Adhunik’, ‘Jeebonmukhi’ and the ‘Band Music’ are few of the genres that form the culture of West Bengal’s music.
Tribes of West Bengal
As the true India resides in Villages so is the West Bengal. About three-fourths of the West Bengal’s inhabitants live in the villages. A major part of the population comprises of Hindus’ substrata of aboriginal tribes and castes, remainders comprising the Muslims. Nearly 40 recognized tribes coexist in West Bengal, the few of the famously known being:
Oraons : - The Human sacrifice is still practiced by these tribal people.
Mru : - Both men as well as the women participate in the farming processes.
Bhutia : - This tribe is famous for its exceptional cuisine that consist chyang drink, momos and as well as for its clothing and woolen.
Chero : - Chero tribe is an extremely significant tribe of West Bengal. The tribe belongs to the Indo-Aryan family. The word “Chero” in itself means “slaves”, derived from “Chetak” or “Chedak” of Sanskrit.
Munda : - It has large population living in the Bengal’s provinces.
Lohara : - West Bengal’s tradition and culture is quite ameliorated with their festivities, dances and songs.
Ho : - The tribe is famous for its peace loving and friendly nature.
As far as the languages of these tribes go, the tribal people proudly converse with each other in Bengali, but with a little dialect varying from district to district. The tribal people are very much attached with their culture and tradition which remain the integral part of their lives till date.
Toto Tribe:The Toto is a primitive Indo-Bhutanese tribe residing in a small enclave called Totopara in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, India. Geographically the location is 89
Place of Worship
Ramakrishna Mission Temple, Maa Dakshineshwari Temple, Jagganath Mandir, Tarapith Temple, Kalighat Temple and Belur Math are few prominent places of worship in West Bengal.
Food of West Bengal
Bengali cuisine among all the East-Indian cuisines is vastly recognized for its assorted flavor. The immense gamut of rice dishes and that of the fresh water fishes forms the specialty and identification of Bengali cuisine. The cuisine basically comprise of aromatic spices and distinct flavors. Bengal’s fish preparations are the culinary delights for any non-vegetarian food lover. Fish is mostly prepared in Bengal using the mustard seeds and the mustard oil. An all time favorite is the ‘ilcha macher jhol’. Fish preparations are at times marinaded and at times prepared with curd. ‘Misti doi’ (sweet curd), yet another treat is worth getting indulged in. Sweets forming the later but the most important part of any cuisine are made of milk and curd. Rosogulla, malai somsom, rajbhog, chana mukhi and sondesh are few of the Bengali sweet dishes that are famous throughout India. Sweetened tea, one of the preferred beverages of Bengalis, has reached to every remote village of theirs. Besides, chewing of pan instilled with Kattha, Arecanut and Lime seems to be a universal habit of the Bengalis. Today, getting indulged in home made intoxicating brews and the palm juice has largely been confined to the tribal population and the working class.
Parks & Gardens
Sundarbans National Park, Gorumara National Park, Singalila National Park, Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Neora Valley National Park, Jaldapara National park and Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary are popular parks and gardens of West Bengal.
The Senchal Lake near Darjeeling is located on the south-eastern side of this entrancing hill station of India. It is about 10 kilometers away from the main town area. The Senchal Lake is located on a hill at a height of 8,160 feet above the sea-level. It is located very close to the Tiger Hill. So, the morning you go out to catch a glimpse of the sunrise at the Tiger Hill, can easily be topped off with a picnic at the Senchal Lake . The pure cool water of the Senchal Lake is the source of drinking water for the wh... read more
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the engineering feats of the world. Although the steepness of the gradients on this narrow-gauge line is eclipsed in other parts of the world, and the 7,407 ft. altitude of the summit at Ghoom station is less than half the height of some of the summits in the Andes, the achievement of the engineers who built the line more than half a century ago is a noteworthy one in the history of railways. This little railway has a gauge of 2 ft. and a length of fifty-one miles, with st... read more
Zoological Gardens is situated at Alipore Road, the horticultural garden houses the Zoo of Calcutta, with many wild animals in natural enclosures. It also has many varieties of birds and reptiles other than the interesting flora and fauna. To the south of the Maidan, Calcutta 16-hectare zoo was opened in 1875. Some of the animals are displayed in near natural environments, others in the pitiful conditions characteristic of Third World zoos. In 1873, the then Governor Sir Richard Temple proposed the formation of a z... read more
St. Paul's Cathedral was the first 'Episcopal Cathedral Church' in an oriental country. Bishop Wilson patronized the construction of this church which was designed after Indo-Gothic pattern at a cost of Rs. 5 lakhs. The foundation stone was laid in 1839. Major Forbes of the Bengal Engineers' Association made the blueprint. It was completed in 1847. A massive earthquake led to the collapse of this tower. It was renovated but in another earthquake of 1934, it was adversely affected again. St. Paul's Cathedral has man... read more
A little south of BBD Bagh is the Church of St. John, which dates from 1787. The overgrown graveyard here has a number of interesting monuments, including the octagonal mausoleum of Job Charnock, founder of Calcutta, who died in 1692. Admiral Watson, who supported Clive in retaking Calcutta from Siraj-ud-daula, is also buried here. The obelisk commemorating the black hole was moved from near the GPO to a corner of this graveyard. It was constructed between 1784 - 87, at a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. Based on Greek archite... read more
This is a 48 meter high monument, built with a unique blend of Turkish, Egyptian and Syrian architecture and is named after Sir David Ochterlony. In 1969 its name was changed to 'Shaheed Minar'. It was erected in 1828. There a fine view from the top of the column, but permission to ascend must be obtained from police headquarters.
Rabindrabharati Museum has a collection of Bengal renaissance artifacts and is situated near Girish Park on Chittaranjan Avenue. The Museum concentrates on the Bengal renaissance of the nineteenth century.
A popular amusement park located in Salt lakecity in Kolkata, Nicco Park opened its gates to the public in 1991, & in the years since has seen the influx of more than 2.6 crore guests. Over the years, it has become so popular, that it often referred to as the ‘Disneyland of West Bengal”. The park offers more than 35 attractions along with a green environment.
Setting Up Of The ParkAs per the popular story, Mr. Rajive Kaul, the Chairperson of the Nicco Group, happened to go on family holiday to Disneyla... read more
This is a perfect educational center for children, with a collection of models depicting Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharatha besides housing a huge library. Dedicated entirely to children, this museum is also a learning centre as the great Indian epics are depicted here in clay models. Multicoloured fish play around in an aquarium educating them about water world. The doll collection is very popular, with exhibits from 88 countries on display. There are many other interesting features, including a computer c... read more