|A toy seller before the temple, trying his luck with ample blessings from the deity!|
Barabelun is an "otherwise not so happening" village, some 27 kilometers away from the city of Bardhaman and its status of being "just another village" in Bardhaman district remains so until the time of Kali Puja every year. The ambiance of Barabelun undergoes a complete metamorphosis during the festive days of Diwali when the famous 24 feet deity, popularly known to devotees as Baro Kali Mata is worshiped with much pomp and galore! A village fair is set up centered around the temple of the Goddess Kali (Baro Ma), and innumerable people, either devotees or simple tourists, visit Barabelun from far away places to get a divine glimpse or to witness the air of celebration which they have been hearing since decades from their ancestors.
|Baro Kali Mata of Barabelun, a closed view. The idol is 24 feet tall!|
If you are my regular reader or online friend you might be knowing what a spiritual bankrupt I am! So, the question is- why did I visit Barabelun to pay my homage to the presiding deity? There are three reasons to answer this. I had heard enough of Barabelun Kali Puja tales since my boyhood (Human influence). Barabelun is only 29 kilometers from my house (Sense of guilt as a traveler). And the third justification being, there's not sufficient resource in Internet when I web-searched Barabelun Kali Puja, shifting the responsibility on my shoulders to make a photo story on Barabelun Kali Puja so that others might get benefited in future (Photo blogger's responsibility).
|A merry-go-round puller struggling with his manual business in this era of machines!|
After reaching Bhatar, along the Bardhaman-Katwa road, another 5-6 kilometers on the right diversion takes you to the village of Barabelun. You'll find many motorized trio-wheeler vans to drop you to the village from the Bhatar sub-division on a shared basis. Right from Bhatar, the heavy flow of vehicles towards Barabelun hinted the mood of spiritual salsa waiting yet to be unfolded before me. If you're driving your own four-wheeler make it a point to park at least 500 meters away from Baro Kali Mata temple to avoid the possible nuisance you may face while taking your car out. Rule remains the same for motorcycles, may be another 100 meters of relaxation for you. You'll see many enthusiastic drivers plunging into the crowded road (broad lane I guess) but don't compete with them.
|The holy site where thousands of goats and buffaloes have been decapitated in the name of God!|
|A group of kids negotiating with the flute seller...|
This is the biggest event of that region... so, natives of Barabelun who're settled outside make it a point to fly back to their root to be a part of the celebration. Just like, I met a guy who visited with his boy to procure some blessings from the Goddess Kali. He happened to know me by face. I cut the talk short and pretended to click photos. Smelling my xenophobic trait he moved on, thankfully! A very basic type of fair is set up along the path to the temple that includes nothing more than balloon, flute, plastic toy, fast-food, ice-cream, desi-sweet sellers and manual merry-go-rounds which are all hallmarks of a village fair. At Barabelun, unlike other places, the idol immersion is conducted only after 'Bhai-Phota', i.e. after putting Tilak on the forehead of the Goddess (Baro Ma) on the second day of Vikrami Samvat New Year.
|The crowd is much more that this picture is helping you to anticipate. Everyone longing for divinity!|
|On the way back from the Baro Kali Mata Temple, these two Shiva temples looked kinda classic!|
Here buffalo and goats are ritually sacrificed to offer to the Goddess. I spotted few devotees collecting the dried blood smeared soil from the slaughter (yes, that's the term!) site, probably they'll preserve it in their home for some divine miracle to happen. As the crowd was increasing exponentially with the passing time, getting closer to the temple was getting more difficult. So, many people were seen throwing coins towards the idol in the temple, the sensibility of which was much beyond my dumb understanding. I claim to be no intellectual or someone free from grossness, but as I've already confessed my moral bankruptcy I certainly have the liberty to criticize on things which I fail to approve. It's saddening to see how a large portion of us are so insensible and inhuman... till date how vulnerable they (actually we) are before greed and superstition! Anyway don't get carried away by my apparently partial-misanthropic talks... if you love visiting rural India and catch its festive colors, Barabelun Kali Puja is the right excuse for you to visit Barabelun and get soaked in its village fair and spirituality.
|A traditional sweet seller's shop in the village of Barabelun.|
|With the setting sun I headed back to Bardhaman, leaving back "so near yet to far" rural Bengal!|