Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Nouka Baich: Boat Race festival of Bengal   


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nouka Baich

Why in the News?

With the southwest monsoon gradually setting in, Nouka Baich boat races will soon commence in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

About Nouka Baich

  • Nouka Baich is the traditional boat race of Bengal.
  • It is predominantly held in the rural pockets of West Bengal, including Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, and South 24 Parganas.
  • Historically male-dominated, recent years have seen increasing participation by women.
  • Timing and Duration:
    • Monsoon Season: The races commence with the onset of the south-west monsoon, usually starting in the middle of the rainy season.
    • Extended Period: The events continue until September, with some races extending into October and November, depending on the region.

Types of Boats Used:

  • Diverse Fleet: Unlike Kerala’s boat races, which typically feature a single type of boat, Bengal’s races use various traditional boats.
  • Common Boat Types: Chhip, Kaile Bachhari, Chande Bachhari, Chitoi, Sorpi, and Sorengi are commonly used in the races.
  • Unique Features: Each boat type has unique design features and historical significance, with some boats like the Sorengi being over 90 feet long and designed to mimic natural forms.

Similar festivals celebrated in other parts that highlight cultural similarities in India:

Location Occasion Highlights
Nehru Trophy Boat Race Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha, Kerala Second Saturday of August Named after Jawaharlal Nehru; features snake boats (Chundan Vallams) accommodating over 100 rowers.
Champakulam Moolam Boat Race Pampa River, Alappuzha, Kerala June or July One of the oldest boat races, commemorates the installation of Lord Krishna’s idol at Ambalappuzha Temple.
Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali Pampa River, Aranmula, Kerala Onam (August or September) Features Palliyodams (large snake boats); significant for the Parthasarathy Temple.
Payippad Jalotsavam Payippad Lake, Alappuzha, Kerala Onam (August or September) Celebrates the installation of deity at Subramanya Swamy Temple; features snake boats and canoes.
Indira Gandhi Boat Race Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala Last week of December Part of Cochin Carnival; attracts tourists, named after Indira Gandhi.
Pongal Boat Race Bhuvanagiri, Tamil Nadu Pongal festival (January) Vibrant cultural displays; local fishermen participate.
Hiyang Tannaba Manipur Lai Haraoba festival Traditional boat race with long narrow boats, reflecting the Meitei community’s traditions.
Sithargal Boat Race Chennai, Tamil Nadu Pongal festival Highlights the maritime culture of the region; attracts numerous participants and spectators.

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