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Poush Mela, Santiniketan Overview

Poush Mela is the occasion when Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, along with twelve others, adopted the Brahmo. The Mela is the remembrance of this very day on the 7th Day of the Poush month. The fair is a perfect example of the amalgamation of different culture and traditions. Performances by students of Santiniketan are what lie in store for you if you happen to visit the place in December.

Santiniketan Poush Mela Video



Poush Mela 2020 Dates

Folk dance performance at Poush Mela
Folk dance performance at Poush Mela
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The Poush mela will be organised from 24th December to 26th December in 2020. 

The Poush Mela begins on the 7th day of the month of Poush of the Bengali calendar, marking the beginning of the harvest season. The dates may vary in the common Gregorian calendar for some years since the occurrence of the mela is not according to it. The fair was organised officially for three days till the year 2017, since then the duration got extended to six days, but several stalls continue to remain in its place for many days after the end of the fair.

Poush Mela Shantiniketan 2020

A glimpse of the Poush Mela Bazaar
A glimpse of the Poush Mela Bazaar
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The famous Poush Mela is organised in the city of Shantiniketan, which is a small town in the Birbhum district of the Indian state of West Bengal. The precise location of the fair was the ground opposite to the Brahma temple in Shantiniketan in the initial years of its celebration. However, now it occurs in the field in Purbapalli.

Shantiniketan Poush Mela

Bauls in Poush Mela
Bauls in Poush Mela
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The Poush Utsav begins with an elaborate inauguration ceremony at Shantiniketan. On the 7th day of the month of Poush of Bengali calendar, shehnai is played at the time of sunrise, waking the whole of Shantiniketan to its sweet tune after which the Vaitalik group sing-song as they move around the ashram.

A prayer meeting is held afterwards at Chhatimtala, and the inauguration is completed after the prayer meeting, when all those attending the meet proceed to Uttarayan, with sweet hymns of songs on their lips.

The mela offers a peek into the Bengali cultural heritage, as Bengali folk music is performed live at the fair. The traditional Baul music is the primary type to be performed for the audience. Folk dances are also performed in the fair. Apart from these, tribal sports are organised, projecting the tribal culture of Bengal.

The Mela occurs on a large scale, with almost 1500 stalls in it. Traditional handicrafts and fabrics are some of the items that can be found in these stalls, although they offer varieties of stuff for the visitors. According to the official statistics, an average of 3500 people gathers at the mela on each day of its occurrence, making it a figure of nearly 10,000 in three days.

Accommodation facilities are made available during the mela days for visitors who come from far away. Shantiniketan has lodges of around 85 in number which can accommodate 1650 individuals within them.

Thus, the Poush Mela becomes a significant attraction regarding the exposition of Bengali traditional culture that it does, and allows the days of its occurrence to explore the heritage world of Shantiniketan from the inside while staying in its lodges.

About Poush Mela - History & Significance

The Poush Mela Bazar
The Poush Mela Bazar
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In the Birbhum district of the Indian state of West Bengal, a small town by the name of Shantiniketan is to be found. Established by Hindu philosopher and religious reformer, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, Shantiniketan was expanded by his son and Nobel Prize winner, Rabindranath Tagore. The small town is the hub where the idea of monotheism in Hindu faith was researched and preached. 
 
Devendranath Tagore, its founder, was active in the Bengali renaissance movement and contributed much to the reform in Hinduism. He was one of the founders of the Brahmo Samaj, along with the well-known reformer, Raja Ram Mohan Roy. 
 
Famous as a cultural centre, Shantiniketan houses a temple of the deity, Brahma. Devendranath Tagore, the establisher of Shantiniketan, adopted the Brahmo creed on 21st December 1843. It was the 7th day of Poush month of the Bengali calendar. This day was chosen for the celebration of Poush Utsav. A fair is organised each year on the occasion of Poush Utsav in the city of Shantiniketan.

In the beginning, and for many continuous years, the Mela was organised in the ground which is just in opposite of the Brahma temple, because of the reason that it was held to mark the very temple's anniversary of establishment. However, with the passage of years, the number of visitors who came to the Mela increased tremendously, and thus the ground opposite the temple, where the Mela used to take place, was found inadequate to accommodate a large crowd. Subsequently, the venue of the Mela was shifted to the field in Purbapalli, where it is held to this day.

How to Reach Shantiniketan

Shantiniketan Prayer Hall
Shantiniketan Prayer Hall
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The most convenient way to reach Shantiniketan is through railways. The nearest railway station from the venue is the Bolpur Shantiniketan Railway Station, which is only at a distance of approximately 3 kilometres from it. It is slightly inconvenient to reach Shantiniketan through airways. The nearest airport is the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, which is located at an approximate distance of 160 kilometres from Shantiniketan.

The Poush Mela at Shantiniketan, beginning on the 7th day of the month of Poush, commemorates the remembrance of one of the most significant events of the state of West Bengal, and the Indian society as a whole. The presentations of art and culture, accompanied by the opportunity to see the very tradition from close, provides for a perfect destination for the lovers of folk art forms as well as that of religion and spirituality.

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