The Triangle of Life
‘Shiva Gajan’ is a unique Hindu folk festival mainly observed in different parts of West Bengal, India. It is believed that on this day Lord Shiva tied the knot with Goddess Harakali. Hindus celebrate this festival on the last week of the Bengali month ‘Chaitra’ (tentatively 2nd week of April), just before the Bengali New Year (Usually falls on 15th April). The root of this festival is tied with the agricultural community who pray for rain and quality crops. Dance with human skulls, body paintings, fire plays are some rituals observed mostly at this time.
I have heard about a remote village named ‘Sonapalashi’ in Burdwan District of West Bengal where all these rituals can be experienced and travelled there with 2 of my friends on 11th April, 2017. The village was ready for the final show. Colours were being applied to the hermits’ bodies. It was the same scene in every village houses. After taking some snaps I came out of the house to refresh myself and saw two hermits were sitting beside the door and gossiping. They were done and waiting for fellow hermits to come and join them. I was busy chatting with them and suddenly saw another hermit who was inside the house was resting on the chair. I realized he created a beautiful coloured triangle with the outside two and took some snaps. It is one of them.
Arpan Basu Chowdhury, India, Bhubaneswar