Krishnanagar is considered as a bustling town with a quaint touch to it with a hint of an old world homely charm. The city is stuffed with houses where iron bars envelopes the bright coloured verandas adorned with paintings of eminent Bengalis. The history of the town revolves around the royal family, its rajbari (palace) and the ancient traditions & stories that had developed a character close to heart. The traces of these customs can be tracked in the festivals and public gatherings such as fairs. One of such fair is called Barodol that is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (April).
There are a multiple stories that surround the festival’s origin. One of such tales is that the 12 most important and eminent merchants used to set up their stalls to sell their items where the people from faraway places came to enjoy. It was more of a requirements selling fair that also provided the luxuries all at one place. Also there is another story that is famous among the locals is that the then king Krishnachandra used to celebrate a festival in respect of the 12 forms of deities Radha and Krishna and the tradition continues.
The fair also includes the exhibition of the twelve miniature deities that are decorated with lights and flowers. The fair is also significant as the first idol of the city is moulded into shape at the Palace, and then only the idols for various parts in the town are created. During a famous festival of Krishnanagar, Jagadhatri pooja, there is a tradition that all the idols are passed from the front of the main gates before they are established in their places.
Now days, the fair is celebrated in the vicinity of palace for around a month. The ground in front of the Palace is littered with small makeshift shops that sell many locally made artefacts and small items of household, toys, faux jewelleries and much more. Along with these, many swings and rides are also installed those can be enjoyed on a very low price.
The fare is a colourful event that attracts lakhs of people in the Palace that is surrounded by a lake that can only be accessed only through a makeshift bridge that is only constructed during the fair each year. The items found at the fair range from plastic spoons to branded lipstick to furniture for home. The people attending the fair are lucky enough to find Krishnanagar-er-matir putul (clay idols) that are famous for their expressive faces and beauty.
The best part of the fair is the array of food that is available at an affordable price. The local delicacies like Pithai Porotha, dhakai porotha, chana-r-jilepi, khirsagar and chana-r-payesh will entice your taste buds like nothing else. Apart from this, the commonly known Bengali dishes such as mishit doi, roshogollas can also be found. The food scenario, although is changing, as the people are demanding new flavours. South Indian, Chinese cuisines along with borrowed burgers and sandwiches are gaining popularity in the fair.
The aroma of food, the pure scent of the agarbattis in the air, the multi-coloured crowd with constant sounds of chattering, religious chants and shankh sum up what you can expect in Barodol mela.