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Next Week, Stave Off Evil Spirits At This Ancient Masked Dance Festival


    The festival and the area it hails from are UNESCO-sponsored with all-male dancers portraying female, male {and even animal} characters.

    What Is It?

    Mukha Mela, a festival of dancing masks {also known as Gomira} is a rural dance form practiced in Dinajpur district, usually to please the gods to usher in good forces who will ward off evil. The word ‘gomira’ comes from ‘Gram-Chandi’ – the female deity who protects the village.

    Why Should I Go?

    Because it’s a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience in a thriving rural crafts area that is under the patronage of UNESCO. The masks are also collector’s items. The dance is part of the ritualistic dance forms in Bengal and the east that worships the primordial, feminine energies of Adi-Shakti and Shiva.

    What is interesting is that the dancers are all male, mostly carpenters, farmers and craftsmen. And there are no vocal or oral parts in the dance.

    How Do I Get There?

    The nearest railway station is Kaliagunj, from here Kushmandi, Mahishbathan is 17 kilomtres. You can also reach the place from Malda {get there via  local train or drive down} by road – it takes two hiurs. You can stay at the PWD bungalow at Balurghat, the district headquarters of Dakshin Dinajpur.

    Anything Else?

    You can find out more about the festival here and here.

    When: October 27 to 29, 2017.

    Where: Kushmandi, Dakshin Dinajpur, West Bengal.

    Contact: Nirmalya Roy at 9903038904 for bookings and info.