Chhau masks to ‘awe’ visitors this Durga puja


By NewsGram Staff Writer

Kolkata: The vibrant and stylised masks worn by practitioners of Chhau, the famed tribal martial dance from West Bengal’s Purulia, will adorn deities at a Durga puja here, organisers said on Saturday, hoping the look will “awe” visitors.


One of the biggest festivals of eastern India begins on October 19 and organisers are gearing up to put up their best displays to celebrate the homecoming of Goddess Durga and her family.

Members of the Ajeya Sanghati club in south Kolkata are going with the Chhau dance masks (that extend to several feet) to decorate the deities instead of the elegant shola-pith (sponge wood) ornaments and crowns.

“We are using the colourful masks as the look of our deities. In addition, episodes from the Ramayana will be narrated through giant Chhau masks,” Aparna Bose, a member of the club’s organising committee, said.

The powerful folk dance from Purulia resembles a war, and is characterised by leaps and swift martial art movements.

Many dance numbers are based on episodes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The depiction of birds and animals is a distinctive feature of the masks.

She said around 25 artists from Purulia were in Kolkata to craft the masks and sculptures.

“At the entrance, a Jatayu sculpture standing tall at 45 feet will greet visitors. The rest of the figures and masks are of similar height. The overall feel will be that of a shocking display of colours and we hope it awes visitors,” Bose added.

With inputs from IANS