Raas Mela or the Raas fair is a grand celebration dedicated to the deity Madan Mohan of Cooch Behar. In fact, its grandness makes it a festival and is basically observed during the month of November according to English calendar and in the month of Kartik as per Bengali calendar. It is one of the most popular festivals of Cooch Behar which attracts people from in and around the district and also from the neighboring state of Assam. It is conducted on the Parade Ground by the local municipal corporation and holds a special significance for the people of Cooch Behar.

History of Raas Mela


cooch-behar-raas-melaThe Madan Mohan temple was built by Maharaja Bripendra Narayan of Cooch Behar during the 18th century and he is also the pioneer of Raas Mela. Raas Mela was initially held at Vetaguri by the kings and subsequently on the temple premises beside Bairagi Dighi. Presently, the venue has been shifted to the Parade Ground to accommodate more people. The idol of Madan Mohan is a unique one made from 8 metallic compounds and the original one was stolen in 1994. However, the shrine was not kept vacant for long and there was another idol of the same stature.

Madan Mohan is another name for Lord Krishna and was worshipped as the family deity by the Koch Kings. In keeping with the tradition the same idol is worshipped by the followers now. The only difference between the idol at Nabadwip another famous religious place of Hindus and the one in Cooch Behar is that here Madan Mohan is worshipped without his consort Sri Radha. The main attraction of the fair is the Raas Chakra standing tall in the center of the fair. The Raas Chakra is made out of bamboo or posts and paper into a semi-cylindrical structure revolving around a pivot. It is found on the temple premises and signifies secularism in the state of West Bengal. The Raas Chakra is decorated by a Muslim family since ages and has floral patterns on paper and pictures of Lord Madan Mohan all over. It is 30 feet tall and is considered to be a source of bliss by the devotees.

How to reach Cooch Behar Raas Mela


The Mela continues for 18 days and is inaugurated by the District Magistrate of Cooch Behar. You can arrive at the Raas Mela by air, road or rail. Reach at Cooch Behar station and take a rickshaw to arrive at the Parade Ground. Alternatively, you can take the National Highway to reach Cooch Behar by your own vehicle. Flight travelers will arrive at the Cooch Behar airport or Bagdogra airport and from there hire rickshaws and taxis to reach the Parade Ground. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation also provides special buses from all parts of the district upto 11 pm to arrive at the fair ground.

Accomodation in Cooch Behar


Cooch Behar is dotted with hotels of all budgets and you can put up at anyone. There are some guest houses near the ground like Prabas, Chilarai Abasan and Pantha Niwas maintained by the municipality. If you wish to stay at hotels advance booking is recommended.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Amartya Bag

Related Posts:


Sonamukhi gets its name from the local deity Swarnamukhi Devi and is a busy municipality in Bankura district in West Bengal. It is situated at a distance of 34 kilometers from Bishnupur and falls enroute to Hadal Narayanpur from Bishnupur. Apart from the temples located in Sonamukhi, it is also famous as the birthplace of KusumKumari Devi and Haranath who are deemed to be the reincarnations of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Vaishnav sect. Sonamukhi is therefore a place of religious and well as historical significance. It also holds lots of interest for the lovers of art and architecture.

Sonamukhi has a glorious history of being one of the leading producers of cotton, silk and indigo during the British rule in India. Therefore, it has been referred to as a weavers’ village in many documents and literary books of the time. However, now the village is popular because of its terracotta temples and witnesses visitors almost throughout the year. The most famous and unique one is the Sridhar temple which has 25 pinnacles. This feature of the temple renders it a unique quality. There are only 5 such temples in Bengal and Sridhar in Sonamukhi constructed by Kanai Rudra, a weaver is one of them. The Archaeology department of the state has shown lot of interest in this temple and it has been preserved beautifully by them.

Attractions


There are 5 Rasmanchas in Sonamukhi scattered in different parts of the town. You can spot them while exploring the town through its lanes, by lanes and markets. The Sridhar Temple is located in the interior and you will have to walk through a by lane to arrive at the destination. However, you will be astounded by the terracotta plaques on the temple walls. Scenes like Lord Shiva’s marriage, exchange of Lord Krishna as a child and Brahma originating from Lord Vishu’s naval are depicted on the walls. The wooden door of the temple has the typical style of temple gates in Bengal.

Around Sonamukhi


Some of the houses nearby are centuries old and you can see the remains of residential architectural specimens on them. At a short distance lies another temple. This is the temple of Sitala Devi. The temple is a flat roofed one with 5 pinnacled structure. Just behind the temple is the Siddeshwar Rasmancha painted in blue making a pretty picture. Nest to the Sitala temple is a Laxminarayan Jiu Temple which has been constructed following the typical duel style architecture. This temple was built in the year 1364 according to Bengali calendar.

The Swarnamukhi Temple is located in Shyambazaar area. Gaja Lakshmi is the shrine here with two elephants. The typical horse and elephant figures of Bankura can be spotted on the interiors especially on the walls. The Gopalbed area of Sonamukhi has the ruins of an ancient temple of which he pillars and the spire remain. The structures on the temple walls are quite impressive. The Giri Gobardhan and the renovated Radha Gobinda temples of Babuapara are beautiful to look at accompanied with Rasmanchas among which one is 17 pinnacled.

How to Reach


Visitors can reach Sonamukhi by road on bus and also by train.

Where to stay at Sonamukhi


In order to book the bungalow you can contact or get in touch with the DFO of the northern Division. Or you could back to Burdwan city which is 60 km form Sonamukhi.

Here are the details:

DFO- North Division,Bankura
PC- 722101

Back to Bankura

Related Posts: