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Jigyasha Prasad Jul 04 2013

When is Jhapaan celebrated in Bishnupur?

Reema Bhalla Jul 04 2013
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Here is some information on Jhapaan you would like to read about. In West Bengal many households offer prayers to Goddess Manasa, the guardian deity of snakes, on the last day of Shravan (August 2). Legend has it that the Malla rulers of Bishnupur, an erstwhile royal kingdom, about 149 km from Kolkata, used to hold a competition for snake charmers on this day and reward the best amongst them. Even though the royal grandeur has faded away, snake charmers from West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, and even Bangladesh, still arrive in large numbers to honour this age-old tradition called jhapaan.

The snake charmers stand in a row along the ramparts of the crumbling old fort and showcase their skills. People watch in sheer amazement as they deftly handle the slithering reptiles. Due to paucity of funds and rewards the attraction of the festival is slowly dying, regret the local residents. However, the festival provides a good excuse to explore the other alluring attractions of the place. The most famous of them is the terracotta art. The local artisans make various kinds of toys, household articles and curios from terracotta. The symbol used by the Central Cottage Industries —the long-eared horse—is in fact from this region. The richly ornamental temples in the region, most dating between 16th and 18th centuries, are examples of typical Bengal architecture. They make for a good visit. You can also buy the famous Baluchari saris — hand-woven silk saris with story-telling motifs on the borders — from the local weavers. Bishnupur is also home to the special group of folk painters called the patuas, famous for making pats or paintings on cloth among other things. There are also a few craftspeople who continue to make curios from conch shells.

How to reach:

Bishnupur, 140 km from Kolkata, can be reached by road as well as rail.

Where to stay

The best place to stay is the Tourist Lodge (+91-3244-252013/253561) run by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation. During the Christmas week, the department also organises the Bishnupur festival.

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