monchasha :: report from outlook

monchasha outlook

In changeful Bengal, take a trip closer to the grassroots. Mon Chasha, in East Midnapore, is a miniature rural tourism resort on the banks of the Bagda, a few hours from Kolkata. Here you will be housed in bamboo huts thatched with hogla, erected and decorated solely by local crafters and artisans, using native vegetation—bamboo, paddy straw, palm leaves and jhau (tamarisk). Groves of sal add shade. Labelled herbs and trees make a great playground for children in the lap of nature, a refreshing change from plastic-podded kids’ clubs; there is also a place for guli-danda, kumir-danga, ekka-dokka, bagh-bondi and lukochuri down down Tala Bhangar Path. Harvested rainwater feeds twin ponds where freshwater fish are farmed for table—a more sustainable alternative to prawn cultivation, which renders the land brackish. A two-cow dairy and chickens round out meals cooked and served homestyle in the Banglar Mukh dine-in kitchen. The local speciality is goynabori, crisp-fried sun-dried lentil cakes piped into filigree jewellery (goyna). Performances by Chhau, Jatra-pala, Baul-Fakir and Raibneshe artisans, story-telling and craft demonstrations are organised. Proceeds from Mon Chasha fund a local orphanage in the village of Paushi—indeed, that’s its primary purpose for existance. Solar panels and biogas power the property. Composting feeds the kitchen garden. Rest easy, then, in the knowledge that your stay not only puts you in touch with your own roots but also supports the local community.

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pot painting demonstration

Pot Painting Demonstration going on at Monchasha Rural Tourism Project

Pot Painting Demonstration going on at Monchasha Rural Tourism Project

Monchasha Pot Painting Demo1 Monchasha Pot Painting Demo2

Pot Chitro of east midnapore, bengal

pot chitro – an artform of rural bengal

A story telling performance in the form of rhythmic songs by showing their own hand crafted pictures of gods is the most important rural art of Bengal. The picture is called as “Pot Chitro” – a traditional and rural art form of Bengal since middle ages. It is also a tool of villager’s entertainment solution. Amazing !!

senior chitrokor is showcasing his art to us

The painter is called as “chitrokor” or “chitrakar”. In most of the cases the painters act role of a poet and present ancient mytlogical stories related with gods of india. On a cloth based canvas the artists portrayed these verses with natural colours and motifs. The age-old folk art survived centuries to tell the tale. Here in this picture Niranjan Chitrakar is showcasing his paintings to us.

the story telling part of the art form

The most important thing I have noticed is that – most of the chitrakars in the village are muslims. These Islam based people present stories based on popular hindu mythology. So an artform here is acting a bridge between these two relegion. Please explore this art. You may find some new concept.

Over at “monchasha” we have started this type of workshop on demand. Please be with “monchasha” and help to survive this rural artform of bengal. Thanks.

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