Charak Puja, Calcutta, 1848

ChrrackPuja-d'Oylyচড়ক পূজা,কলকাতা, ১৮৪৮
Charak Puja is a very delightful folk festival, also known as Nil Puja, celebrated in Bengal on Chaitra Songkranti, the last day of the month Chaitra. This is a view of a large procession in Calcutta during Charak Puja. The painting reminds us of the lively version of Charak festival given by Bishop Heber of Calcutta: “All the persons who walked in the procession, and a large majority of spectators, had their faces, bodies, and white cotton clothes daubed all over with vermilion, the latter to a degree which gave them the appearance of actually being dyed rose-colour. They were also crowned with splendid garlands of flowers … many trophies and pageants of different kinds were paraded up and down, on stages drawn by horses, or bullocks.” Charak Puja, a colourful festival was celebrated all over Bengal with much pomp and show on the eve of the Bengali New Year. As described in হুতুম প্যাঁচার নকশা by Kalipranna Singha, the famous mid 19th century Bengali satire “The city of Calcutta is rocking at the sound of drums, the devotees are warming up, the blacksmiths are making all kinds of hooks”. The festival was known to the English in Calcutta as “hook swinging festival”.
This coloured lithograph is taken from plate 9 of Sir Charles D’Oyly’s ‘Views of Calcutta and its environs’ in 1848.


Published by অযান্ত্রিক

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2 thoughts on “Charak Puja, Calcutta, 1848

  1. The origin worshipper of charak puja in pre historic period were the mandais and after hinduisation the mandais were given the title of Barman and status of Kshatriya.During the rule of Barman dynasty the barman kings were seen as a devotee of shakti or a follower of shivism.Like the other parts of India Barman’s or mandais celebrate this festival annually in the month of choitra.The Barman kings ruled the entire kamrupa region which covers the geographical area of Bangladesh,Assam,Bengal,some part of Bihar,jharkhand,Orissa,Nepal etc.In the later period This Mandai or Barman people again divided into koch and Mandai.The koch became powerful in 15 th century and the Mandai became powerless as the mughal power over ruled them.But still they maintained their age old tradition of celebrating charak puja.The charak puja festival was a popular festival at that time.So other communities living in this region got attracted towards the charak puja celebrated by the Mandai,or the barman,or the koch people .In the later period in 17 the 18 th century this people got mixed up with the main stream Bengali people,culturally,linguistically,and dress,.This is the reason the charak puja is known to the world as a festival of Bengali people.But reality is something else.


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