Chhau Mask-handcrafted mask of Charida village,Purulia,WB

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    Charida Village,Purulia-Village of Chhau Mask Makers

    Charida is a small village located in Purulia and home to the Chau Mask makers. The mask makers are the inhabitants of the rocky land covered with forests and air filled with a mystic charm. Charida is around one hour drive by road from Purulia town. Purulia station is around 6.5 hours from Kolkata by train. One can also reach Purulia by road in 6 hours from Kolkata.


    Chau Dance, an acrobatic martial dance form of Purulia is inscribed in UNESCO’S Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Chau Mask is traditionally associated with this age old dance form of Purulia, where the performers wear masks of various mythological characters and also make different animals. Chau is indigenous to the eastern part of India. It originated as a martial art and contains vigorous movements and leaps.

    The masks are made from paper pulp, mud and clay. Adornments are sometimes done with feathers of peacocks. The masks are painted in attractive shades using acrylic colors and have a bold look. The masks are of different sizes starting from small to large ones. The mask making industry today has come a long way from making products only for the artists and are now skilled in making masks of different shapes and sizes for interior decors. Around 150 years back during the rule of King Madan Mohan Singh Deo of Baghmundi, the tradition of making Chau Masks started in Charida village. Presently there are around 300 traditional artisans of Sutradhar community in the village.

    Chhau is a form of dance that has become very popular in West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. The Chhau dance has its origins in Mayurbhanj in Orissa. This form of dance was performed during the end of Chaitra, which are March-April months. The locals gathered around the dancers for entertainment, in awe, and in reverence. Various episodes from the epics where taken and communicated to the people using the Chhau dance. episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and also from the Puranas where used in the Chhau dance.



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