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Who doesn't love Autumn ? Autumn's arrival is heralded with festivals in the Month of October in West Bengal. As India can be named a land of festivals because of its unique cultural diversity, this is the peak season of Festivals in West Bengal. So, if you're travelling in October in West Bengal, you will see the extent of its beauty that you can never see in any other months of the year. You must have heard a lot about Durga Puja, and for the travellers of Kolkata, it is worthless to explain. However, the less heard and experienced part of this season is about the festivals that are celebrated in North Bengal Hills and Dooars regions of West Bengal. Not only the autumn rejuvenates the beauty in this time of the year but also brings the time of happiness and celebrations for the people of North Bengal. So, the reasons to visit North Bengal rural destinations can be many, but if you are travelling in October ,there are few inevitable experiences that the travellers should never escape while their visit to North Bengal in this time of the year.
The Festival Time :
After the prolonged wetness of monsoon, and the tiresome days spent in the paddy fields, it is the resting time for the farmers to await the fruit of their sweat. The orange orchards starts to get laden with fruits with few trees already turning into a christmas tree hanging the brights bulbs of light. The winds brings with it the scent of happiness and sky slowly becomes crystal clear forming the the colour of an aquamarine that perhaps reminds the people to wipe out all the clouds of doubts and enmity and reunite in a single colour of happiness. The marigold blooms to its fullest size just letting the people to decorate the doors of their houses heralding the beauty of Autumn. Above all the most important festivals that fall in this month are the biggest annual festivals for the people of mostly all the tribes of hills and Dooars areas of North Bengal.
" Dasei in the hills ":
This festivals is often related to the victory of Truth over evil. This festival is also called Dusshera in other parts of India. It is often celebrated by burning the statue of Ravana ( The demon king of the famous Epic - Ramayana). However in the hills of North Bengal it is celebrated in a different way.The Younger relatives respectfully visit their elders and accept their blessings. This is the time when even the broken relationships in the family are reunited. The elders give their blessings in the form of "Tika" made of rice, curd and red colour. The young relatives also offer respect by giving gifts to their elders that is called " Sisaar". The feast is prepared in every house combining the cultural dishes, meat and local drinks. Almost all the people in the villages will be found celebrating in their fullest mood.
So, if you happen to visit north Bengal during the Time of Dasei, never miss the chance to participate in the festival with your hosts to enjoy the food and drinks.
"Tihar in the Hills"
Tihar approaches with series of festival that starts with "Kaag Tihar- The festival of Crows", when people feed and give their respect to the crows, then the 2nd day is celebrated as "Kukur Tihar- The festival of Dogs". This is the day when dogs are worshipped and you will often find the stray dogs roaming happily wearing the garland of flowers. The third and the final day is called "Gai Tihar"- the day when the goddess of wealth -Laxmi is worshipped in the form of a cow. The night of this auspicious day is also celebrated as Diwali in all other parts of India. However, in hills this night is celebrated in a different way. All the girts of the villages form a group and give their visit to every house in the village offering their blessings in form of a song called " Bhailani". The owner of the houses open their doors to all of them considering them as the goddess of Wealth " Laxmi" and in return offers them donations , food and drinks. For whole night you can find groups of girls continuously visiting the houses and singing Bhailani. The nest day is again the turn of boys. This day people worship oxen and for whole day the male group visit door to door of every house singing " Deusurey Ram" and collection donations.
So, travelling in October to North Bengal will be a kind of experience that you can never get in any other time of the year.
The fields and orchards will be laden with fruits waiting to be ripened, the river will be in its full youthful vigour after the end of monsoon. This is the time when most of the fruits and vegetables start getting harvested after a long time of Monsoon. Fruits like Oranges, Avocados, strawberries will start to take its color, ready to be tasted as the first fruit of the season. The time of trekking in North Bengal also start with this season. So if you want to avail the beauty of Neora Valley National Park and other forests, then this is the right time to enjoy the trekking. The famous trekking routes like the river trekking in North bengal, Rachela trek, Aadma and lepchakha trek also start with this season.