Poush Mela is a colorful extravaganza set against a rural backdrop and a perfect platform to witness Bengali culture. It takes place in Shantiniketan located in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. The fair started in 1891 to mark the foundation of Bramho Mandir which is now famous as Kaanch Ghor (Glass House).
The festival started as a small affair primarily attended by the Tagore family and a few Brahmo Samaj followers at Shantiniketan. However, today it has transformed into a grand event attended by tourists from not just India but across the world.
Handicrafts at Poush Mela (Courtesy: Poush Mela Official Facebook Page)
Usually, the Poush Mela goes on for 3-6 days and this year the event will continue from 22nd to 28th December as per the Official Facebook Page. It’s a celebration including all essential elements of a rural fair like dance, handicrafts, local food cuisines, cultural programs, and rich folklore of the state.
Food Stall at Poush Mela (Courtesy: BongFeed)
The fest starts with Morning Prayer on Day1 which is performed at Chatimtala to mark the acceptance of Bramho creed by Devendranath Tagore in 1843. The event has two sections for the visitors- exhibition ground and fairground. The former consists of artists, sculptors, and painters as a main attraction of the fair while the latter is all about food, handicrafts, books, and cultural programs.
The key elements of the fair include Baul music, tribal dance performances, and mouth-watering delicacies at the fair. Apart from spicy dishes, there is a sweet dish called Paati Saptha which is kind of a pancake. For shopping, there is a wide variety of items like accessories, clothes (particularly Batik print and Taant sarees).
Tribal Dance of West Bengal (Image Courtesy: Poush Mela Official Facebook Page)
In addition, the fest organized in the form of an authentic rural fair which offers a glimpse into the Bengali culture, their attire, their lifestyle and their food. It’s a great platform to explore the rich heritage and valuable history of West Bengal.