Ranchi, April 15: A goddess and a demon from Purulia set the Poila Baisakh mood in the capital today.
A troupe of chhau dancers from Torang village of Purulia made the day special at the capital’s oldest club, Union Club and Library. They performed at the club’s cultural programme, Bangabda, at Plaza Hall.
The hall reverberated with sounds of the shehnai, which was accompanied by the beats of the dhamsa and dhol that are essential to chhau.
The visiting team, Binapani Yuvak Chhaunritya Party, led by Lalit Mahato, began its performance with Ganeshbandana and followed it up by an enactment of two episodes — Haradhanu Bhanga and Mahishasurmardini.
The performance reached its crescendo when the group of dancers enacting the roles of goddess Durga and her entourage grouped together, like idols in a pandal, after Mahishasur was killed.
The indigenous people of the tribal-dominated areas near the Bengal-Jharkhand border have been performing chhau since the inception of the dance in the region. The tradition has been passed down to generations.
“Though certain changes have surely crept in over time, we have tried to maintain the originality of this dance form that is identified as the Purulia style of chhau,” said Lalit Mahato, the team leader.
A group of local artistes belted out Rabindrasangeet like Anandadhara bahichhe bhubane and Eki labanye purna pran before the dancers took centre stage.
In the morning, a visit to the temple and the fish market ushered in the first day of the Bengali new year.
As feasting is a part of any Bengali celebration, many members of the community managed to make time to rush to the market to pick the best available fish and sweets, before heading to work.
“I got good quality fish at Doranda market today and didn’t mind paying Rs 200 per kg for it,” said D.K.Banerjee.
There were many options to make the evening special. Celebrations also marked the day at various other places such as Deshpriya Club, Majlish and Angar in the city.