Poush Mela of West Bengal
Poush Mela is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Shantiniketan, Birbhum. The fair commences on the 7th day of the 'Poush' month, which is 23rd December and continues for three days. Folk songs, folk dances, tribal sports and 'baul' music impart an element of mystic appeal to the Poush Mela which is thronged by numerable visitors. Live cultural performances are delivered by the students of Shantiniketan, and 'shehnai' is played on the inauguration day of this fair. The Mela depicts the traditions of this portion of the state.
Gangasagar Mela of West Bengal
Gangasagar Mela is the largest fair of West Bengal and is observed in the middle of January on 'Makar Sankranti', at an island known as 'Gangasagar' or 'Sagar Dwip' in the Sunderbans, South 24 Parganas. Revered as a great pilgrimage spot, Gangasagar is visited by uncountable devotees from all across the nation, who bathe in the holy waters of this place, which is the confluence of the Bay of Bengaland Ganga River. Puja is offered at the 'Ashram' or Kapil Muni Temple after the sacred dip. Gangasagar Mela is mentioned in Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, apart from other literary compositions.
Kenduli Mela of West Bengal
During Makar Sankranti, especially the middle of the month of January, the Kenduli Mela is organized in Birbhum, which is known as the 'Lal Mati-r Desh' due to the presence of red soil in this region. This annual three-day fair witnesses a gigantic congregation of 'Baul' communities, who engage in their soulful folk songs. Jaydev Kenduli is located about 42 km from Shantiniketan, on the banks of Ajay River and is the birthplace of the legendary poet Jaydev. This fair is celebrated in his honour.
Jalpesh Mela of West Bengal
A month-long fair termed as Jalpesh Fair is observed near Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal, during 'Mahashivaratri', in the time from February to March. Jalpesh Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva or 'Jalpeshwara' is one of the major attractions of this fair. Various people, irrespective of their caste, race or creed attend the Jalpesh Mela, in which a puja is performed. A 'Shiva Linga' is present in the Jalpesh Temple, on which holy waters of Teesta River is poured by the pilgrims during this fair. The visitors collect it from Teesta and approach the temple, walking barefoot for 15 kms.
Rash Mela of West Bengal
Rash Mela is a popular fair conducted at Coochbehar District, North Bengal around December and continues for an entire month. This Mela draws a vast number of tourists from various parts of the country, such that it resembles a grand festival. Colourful stalls and a generous collection of different kinds of handicrafts are the chief attractions of Rash Mela, which portray the culture of West Bengal and Hinduism. Coochbehar is notable especially for the Rash Mela and Rash Festival which occurs here. The traditions of the Rash Mela are particularly associated to the ancient 'Rajas' and 'Maharajas' of Coochbehar.
The Chandidas Mela is a grand fair which is arranged in the region of Nanoor, particularly on the banks of Denta Pukur, in Birbhum District.
Other Melas of West Bengal
West Bengal becomes alive with the spirit of numerous types of regional fairs, which are celebrated in the various districts and cities of this Indian state. 'Medini Mela', 'Dharmaraj Puja Fairs', 'Shivaratri Mela', 'Chandidas Mela', 'Netaji Subhas Mela' and 'Maghi Mela' are some of the most important fairs which are organised here.