Today is Chaitra Sankranti - the last day of Bangla calendar year 1422
and the end of two-days-long worship of Lord Shiva in Bengal. It is
the tradition and heritage of this region to perform 'sannyas' in the
month of Chaitra by devotees of Lord Shiva. Yesterday was the Neel
Puja - the worship of Lord Shiva and today is the Charak - the time to
perform rituals by self-pain. Once upon a time this festival was a
phenomenon in Kolkata, in almost every pally. But, now it is happen in
limited parts of the city. It is a rumour that a king named
Sundarananda Thakur was initiated this festival. In different parts of
Bengal it is called Neel Puja, Gambhira Puja or Gajon. The essential
parts of this Charak are swings on the Charak Tree, Ban Phora
(inserting arrows on the body), walking on burning coals barefoot or
the worship of crocodile are the main items usually perform the
'sannyasis' on the Charak ground. Additional attraction is the fair of
Charak and songs of Gajon. In British period, the Charak Mela was used
to run at Beadon Square or Company Bagan. At that time, it was a very
gorgeous fair. Later, the fair shifted to Chatu Babu's bazar (Girish
Park is the nearest metro station). The famous attraction of this site
are Gajon of Lord Shiva and swings on Charak tree. And it is surely
the sample of old Kolkata.
It is the 150th year of Charak Mela at the premises of Chatu Babu's
bazar. On this occasion, several functions are being organised here.
The Gajon and Charak will be on at 3 pm - just after three hours.
Then, the fair will start there. A special brochure named "Hate
Bazare" will be published here.