Celebrating Dol Utsav

Our member, Ms. C. Roy Choudhury, shares her childhood experiences of celebrating Dol utsav in her village Saidpur.

Saidpur, nestled beyond Taki and Bashirhat, was more than just a place for me—it was my childhood haven. Our neighbourhood comprised of a community of remarkable individuals, all distinguished by their warmth and education. For us, every festivity was an occasion for collective enjoyment. Among those cherished moments, Holi or Dol Utsav held a place of unparalleled joy.
The ritual of nera pora used to take place on the eve of Holi. A grand bamboo structure, adorned with dried leaves, meticulously crafted and ignited, became the centerpiece of our enjoyment. Embedded within its core lay treasures of potatoes and other delights. We went round it chanting verses through the night: “Aaj amader nera pora, kal amader dol…"
Inside our humble abode stood a sanctum within the thakur bari, dedicated to the gods. On the day of Holi, sharp at 4.00 a.m. the sacred Narayan Puja would commence. After the puja, we would seek the blessings of the deities and adorn their feet with aabir before we went out to play Holi with others. With only a handful of families residing in our vicinity, everyone would partake in the celebration with dry powders and coloured water. By 1.30 p.m., we would go back to our homes, after exchanging sweets and heartfelt wishes with our neighbours.
Adjacent to the sacred precincts of the thakur bari, the Dol Mela took place. Though small, yet it would be filled with tantalizing aromas and delectable treats. For us children, the allure of freshly fried papads and telebhaja held an irresistible charm.
In the tapestry of my memories, the essence of my childhood in Saidpur remains beautifully etched—an example of simplicity and enduring bonds of my neighbourhood.