Krishnasis Ghosh

Werbefotografie, 2015


A girl named Munny is taking preparation for the festival


Lord shiva act will be played by this man named Mahadeb. He is making fun with his son.


Before taking the full costume.


Making fun during the play.


A sweet girl named Mitali is looking at herself before acting the play.


Last hour preparation,


Making of Goddes Kali, which would be act by a man named Sankar.


A door play has already started by Lord Shiva with a little boy



“Folk Festival of Bengal – Gajan”

Among the many folk festivals of Bengal, Gajan festival has a special place even in today’s modern age. Although it is celebrated predominantly in rural Bengal, the festival is till celebrated in some pockets of the Metro city of Kolkata.
Hindus celebrate the festival mainly on the last two days of the month of Chaitra.This period is known as Chaitra Sankranti, when Sun will enter Pisces sign. Chaitra Sankranti begins on 14th March of every year. People observe fast during this period devoting themselves to their God.
Discussing in details about this festival can take a long space, so I will try to be compact and brief as possible.
Origin and Concept
It is almost impossible to determine the actual period when Gajan started. However , according to some historians , there was a time in middle ages when Buddhism was somewhat cornered in India, Buddhists monks took shelter in many places. One of them was in Bengal where they converted to Hinduism. With them came the Tantric rituals of Buddhism which involving Tantra rituals including severe penance as well as the thought of renouncing worldly pursuits to devote one’s self to spiritual work, which is often referred to as monasticism.
This may be the reason that Gajan started as “Dharmer Gajan” and slowly took its way to “Shiber Gajan” in the later period. In Bengal Dharmathakur is generally worshipped by the scheduled cast like Bauri, Bagdi, Hari, Dom. Dharmathakur may have been originated from Dharmaraj of Buddhism. Although Dharmathakur is identified by a shapeless stone (as seen in Bankura) and its Vahana is represented by terracotta horses , there have been instances where Buddha idol has been worshipped as Dharma thakur in villages of Bankura.There are still villages where both Dharamraj and Shiva are placed with Gajan offerings.
Gajan is actually linked to persons who are related to agricultural community, directly or indirectly. They pray for the rains and better harvest. Lord Shiva is said to be closely related to this community. It may be worth noting here that Dharmathakur is actually considered to be the God of Fertility.
Gajan festival was and still to some extent a great social leveler.  The persons who were involved in the festival become a Shiva Devotee and are respected by all. In earlier days the peasants who were involved in penances which involved piercing one’s tongue with sharp needles to hung oneself from sharp hooks hanging from wooden structures were respected by the Landlord.  During Gajon these so called “Low caste” would rise above his own level and be recognized as representative of Lord Shiva.

Gajan Celebration : During Gajan celebration is performed by the devotees signifying marriages of the male forces of Siva, Nil or Dharmaraj with their respective consorts. One way it signifies the union of the forces of sun and earth.
Although the festival takes place in its full intensity for three days, starting before the day of Chaitra Sankaranti and ending the day after, it continues till the beginning on the month of Asharr alias Ashad which signifies the rainy season.
As mentioned earlier, the basic reason for the festival is to worship the deities of the respective devotees for the hope of a better rainy season and good harvest. Also people believe that the festival will provide them prosperity eliminating from any sorrow and sufferings which they suffered in the past year.
Primarily arranged on the premises of different Shiva Temples, the festival is arranged mainly by mendicants (Persons begging or relying on charitable donations) who are referred as “Gajan Sanyasis”. The festival takes places in open grounds and not in anyone’s residence. In Bengal generally the festival takes place dominant by Scheduled caste Bengali people.
Gajan Celebration
During Charak people dress up as Cosmetic Shiva, Parvati, Krishna and other deities. Usually Rajbangshi caste of persons is allowed to do such acts. They are locally known as “Soung of Gajan” (Soung in Bengali means jester).The word gajan in Bengali comes from the word garjan or roar generated by sannyasis during the festivities. Alternative theory says it is from the from two word Ga (village) and Jan ( People), indicating festival of the people.

Place: Krishnadebpur, Kalna, West Bengal, India.


Titel der Arbeit
Krishnadebpur, Kalna, West Bengal, India.