|People are praying during the Festival|
Bangladesh is a joyful land which celebrates many colourful festivals due to the mixture of different cultures and ethnicity. It is the land of a diversified population which has the freedom to carry out their individual cultural identities. One of these identities is the Hindu community, and each year they celebrate one of their significant festivals, which is known as the Rash Mela. This festival is of utmost importance as this is a religious festival and a lot of people from all over the country gather during this holy celebration.
Rash Mela is the principal festival and fair of the Manipuris; it is also observed by Hindu communities in different regions. It is held on the night of the full moon (mid October to mid November) in Kartik-Agrahayan at Kamalganj in Maulvi Bazar or at Dublar Char in the Sundarbans and on the Kuakata beach in Patuakhali. The festival is named Rash Mela because it has evolved from the spiritual rasalila (love-play) of Radha and Krishna at Vrindavan.
The Raja of Manipur, Maharaj Jaysingh (reigned 1764-1799)was the one who introduced Rash Mela to Manipuri society. Ever since the mid-nineteenth century when the Manipuris settled in Bangladesh, this fair has been observed at Madhabpur in Kamalganj Upazila of Maulvi Bazar district. These days the fair is also observed at Tetaigaon in Adampur and Jayashree in habiganj. Rash mela is mostly celebrated by the Bishnupriya group of Manipuri Hindu community of Bangladesh. Rash Purnima is held on the day of the full moon in the Bangla month of Kartik (late autumn or mid October to mid november).
The prime attractions of the festival are herdsmen's dance by boys in Manipuri dress and the rasa dance by young girls. The love trysts of Krishna and Radha are enacted through Manipuri music and dance drama. Multitude of viewers, including foreigners, throng the place to see the fair.
Three-day fairs are held on the occasion at Kuakata and Dublar Char.In the afternoon the festival begins with a dance depicting Lord Krishna's notorious young life. Children dress up as Krishna and perform in front of hundreds of devotees. In the evening begins Rash Nritya, a Manipuri style dance performed by young girls wearing traditional Manipuri Garo.
Nowadays the festival has taken the form of communal celebrations while in older days it was only limited to royal families .There are three days long Rash Mela held every year at Kalapara and Dublar Char.
As a tourist spot in Kalapara, this festival is co-organized by local administration. This year it will held from 25th November. It is a main seasonal attraction of Kuakata. Visitors come here from all over the country. Local administration povides proper security for the visitors to enjoy the festival fully.
Photo Courtesy: Website