Saturday, 1 October 2011

Kolkata's Cult of Durga: The Dhakis

Photo © Tewfc El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Braving a sweltering morning sun, and an accompanying humidity, we drove to Sealdah train station in Kolkata where the dhakis were expected to congregate and beat their drums.

An Indian newspaper wrote “Durga Puja does not assume the festive aura without the maddening beats of the dhak, the large drum that men hang around their necks and play with two thin sticks to infuse the frenzied rhythm into listeners. Those enchanting beats are enough to conjure up the sights and smells of Durga Puja."

Dhakis perform their drum beating in pandals starting from Viswakarma Puja till Kali Puja, but especially during Durga Puja. Pandals without drum beaters would be unthinkable, and organizers vie to hire the best and most energetic of the small bands for their neighborhoods.