Celebrated In: India
The Rash Mela was the brainchild of a number of locals, said Mr Prabhash Dhibar, a 72-year-old resident, who has witnessed the changes at the fair over many years.
Years ago, before Independence, this fair used to take place in the Panchakot Royal Palace in Kashipur, he said. A few visitors belonging to the Dhibar Samity in Purulia, on their way back to Purulia town after witnessing the merriment of the fair, started to think about organising another Rash Utsav here.
A number of members of the Dhibar Samity and some local dignitaries had a meeting and decided to hold a fair in Purulia town the very next year, Mr Dhibar said.
Due to some reasons the organisers could not start the fair on the purnima day the next year. With the consent of the Brahmins and the heartfelt urge of the people the first Rash Mahotsav was inaugurated on the panchami day at the existing Rash Mela maidan dedicating their serene wish initiation with the worship of Radha-Krishna in a hut-like temple which was constructed with straw and mud. Over time, the fair has seen conflict and controversy, but the show has gone on nonetheless.
The size of the fair has increased, the temple is now a concrete structure. The image of Radha-Krishna that is worshipped everyday was brought from Joypur in Rajasthan, and reflects the splendour of Rajasthani art. Every year during the fair, shopkeepers give a little money to pay for the maintenance of the temple.