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Festivals of Jalpaiguri

Jalpaiguri district is situated within the state of West Bengal, which is famously known as the land of many festivals. As such, this element of festivity and ritual has seeped into the region. There are also numerous communities and ethnic/tribal groups in the district which have their distinct rituals and forms of worship. Many of these festivals have a folk origin and are thus different from the more formal rituals of Hindu religion. Local folk traditions have also influenced the religious practices of Muslims practising them since pre-colonial times.

Festivals of Jalpaiguri
Durga Puja in Jalpaiguri

Many of these festivals in Jalpaiguri which have a folk origin are associated with agriculture and harvest. For example, during the Jatra Puja of the Rajbanshis performed on Bijaya Dashami (or, the last day of the Durga Puja) all agricultural implements are worshipped. Similarly, the Beshama Parban, which is celebrated in March-April welcomes the hunting season.  Many of these rituals and festivals have been transformed over time under the influence of more formal religious norms, but their tribal past can still be distinctly traced.

Popular Festivals of Jalpaiguri

Find below some of the popular festivals of Jalpaiguri district which bind their communities together by a celebration of joy, devotion and love.

  • Durga Puja - Performed by Bengali Hindus, this is undoubtedly the biggest festival in the state of West Bengal, as well as a major festival in the states of Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Orissa and Jharkhand. Jalpaiguri situated in West Bengal has also assimilated the rituals and ceremonies of this ceremonial worship with great devotion and passion.  One of the popular rituals in the Durga Puja of Jalpaiguri is the ceremony of Kumari Puja held on Ashtami (or eighth day) within the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram premises. An estimated 200 Purga Pujas are organized in the Jalpaiguri town and its suburbs. Some eminent families of Jalpaiguri like Bagchis, Neogis, Guhas, and Bhuiyans perform the Durga Puja since colonial times.
  • Kali Puja at Devi Choudhurani Temple – The Kali Puja is another popular festival of West Bengal based on the invocation of the Goddess Kali. The Devi Choudhari (a bandit queen who looted from the rich and gave to the poor) Kali Temple in Jalpaiguri was established in the 19th century near Gosala. She was a devotee of Goddess Kali. The Kali puja performed in this temple is a major attraction for numerous devotees and other tourists who come to worship the deity and seek her blessings.

    Festivals of Jalpaiguri
    Inside Jalpesh Temple Complex

  • Jalpesh Festival - This is another major festival of Jalpaiguri. The Jalpesh temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A mela or fair is held every year in the Hindu calendar month shravan (from 15th July- to 15th August) where devotees offer puja to the river Teesta and collect its water and then walk barefoot to the temple to pray to Lord Shiva.
  • Teesta Burir Puja - This festival is performed by the local Bengali population and Rajbhansis in Jalpaiguri to worship the Teesta River believed to be the city’s lifeline.

    Festivals of Jalpaiguri
    Manosha Puja in Jalpaiguri

  • Manosha Puja- One of the significant festivals in Jalpaiguri is worship of the serpent goddess Manosha who is also believed to bring fertility and prosperity. Among the Rajbanshis, Manosha is also known as Padmavati or Bishohora and is worshipped elaborate rituals and pomp. She is one of their most important goddesses and her shrine is a common feature in every rural, agrarian household.
  • Hutt Ghurni - This puja is performed by the local Jalpaiguri population for bringing good crops and rain in this region.

Some of the other Jalpaiguri festivals include Bishua, Karom, Jitia, Gaburdeb, and Bandna celebrated by the individual tribes here. These festivals help the different people and ethnic groups of Jalpaiguri to celebrate togetherness and experience the universality of communal joy amidst the uncertainties of life.

Explore more about Culture of Jalpaiguri

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