Charida is a small village located in Purulia and home to the Chau Mask makers. The mask makers are the inhabitants of the rocky land covered with forests and air filled with a mystic charm. Charida is around one hour drive by road from Purulia town. Purulia station is around 6.5 hours from Kolkata by train. One can also reach Purulia by road in 6 hours from Kolkata.
Chau Mask making is both family based livelihood and is also operated through small business units. Women are mostly engaged in decoration of the masks. Around 308 craftspersons in 115 families in Baghmundi block is engaged with this tradition. Making Chau mask craft is the primary livelihood of 91% craftspersons. 9% mentioned that it is their secondary livelihood since they are engaged in idol making, as masons and also in running small shops and businesses. The Chau artists has organised themselves under Chau Mukhosh Shilpi Sangha to develop market linkage for their craft items and other activities which can improve the socio-economic condition of the whole community.
The mask makers are largely poor and belong to Sutradhar community. Most of them live in mud houses but many have access to electricity and sanitation. Most of the crafts persons are Hindu by religion and the average age of the Chau mask makers is 32 years.
Purulia has several places of interest for an urban visitor. Lahariya Shiv temple located near the Purulia Pump Storage Project (PPSP) Dam is close to Charida and is known for its scenic beauty. The winding road to the top of the mountain around the PPSP dam provides a panoramic view of the entire forested region. Ayodhya Hills, a part of the Dalma Hills and extended part of Eastern Ghats range is a great option for bikers and trekkers to go on trek.
Close to Ayodhya Hills is Turga Dam and the pleasant waterfall formed by the River Bamni looks beautiful. The site is a perfect tourist spot, where the visitors can spend their day. The ruins of 8th century temples at Deulghata on the banks of river Kansai is close to Bamnia. Murugama Dam on Saharjor River is ideal for a day trip from Purulia or Jhalda. 6th century Jain temples in Telkupi, Bandhar Deul and Radha Binod temple is close to Chelyama. Joychandi hills are also ideal for trekking.
While in Purulia, one can visit Nimdih, an ashram founded by a couple inspired by the Gandhian philosophy. Till date it works for the basic education of under-privileged children and promoting folk culture of the area.
A 3 day fair and folk festival known as Chau Mask Festival is celebrated at Charida every year. Visitors can enjoy the festival while staying at range of hotels available in Purulia town. The next Chau Mask Festival will be held in Charida on December 16-18, 2016. Another 6 day festival of Chau Dance will be held at Bamniya. There is a host of local festivals that are celebrated in the area throughout the year.
The Common Facility Centre at Charida
Visitors check out local stall at Charida
Chau dancers wear masks while performing their war dance
Chau Mask Festival at Charida
Villagers decorate their village during festival
The hill named Pakhi Pahar draws many rock climbing enthusiasts
Proprietor: Cooperative Society
Contact Person: Dharmendra Sutradhar
Chau Mukhosh Shilpi Sangha
Address: Chau Mukhosh Shilpi Sangha
Village & P.O.: Charida
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Chau Mukhosh Shilpi Sangha is a cluster formed with the mask makers. Around 15 mask makers like Manoranjan Sutradhar, Parimal Dutta etc. have received State and District level awards. The leading craftspersons run the business while others work under them. The Samity has a newly constructed building at Charida.
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