Pandal of Barchaharia Bhowna
The Barechaharia Bhowna festival is performed under a fully bloomed lotus flower shaped huge Pandal. The foundation of the Bhowna is inaugurated auspiciously by erection of a traditional flag and from that occasion all the village people spontaneously and voluntarily offered their labour for construction of different Bhowna stages and other paraphernalia till the end of the event.
In the effort no professional architects or engineers are invoJved. Under the command of a senior and experienced person called 'Barmedhi' the supervision and completion of the work liaised solely with the villagers and enthusiasm of the local youths are seen to be believed. The construction materials are only locally abundant items like bamboo, cane, timbers and straw. The straws are mainly collected from the innumerable river islands of mighty Brahmaputra River and finishing touch is given by village craftsman. Under the main pandal it accommodates 30-40 thousands audience who enjoys different dramas in 20-22 stages built inside the main pandal.
On the previous day of the Bhowna the religious people carry the 'simhasana' which means the holy throne from a predestined nearby village Namghar with ceremonious procession including Gayan Bayan and Bhakats and place the same with devotional rituals at the sanctum at the centre of the pandal and the same day evening celebrates 'Gandhotsava'.
On the following day, actual Bhowna is performed after sunset when the 'Gayanbora'( Head of Bhowna performance) signalled the beating of drum ceremony. As soon as the signal comes all the 200-250 drums are beaten together accompanied by other musical instruments. Performance of the Gayan-Bayans (Gayan means Singer and Bayan means player of musical instruments) with traditional dresses and beating of drums, cymbals, konch etc. and divine smell of incenses, lightening of earthen lamps transform the ambience into the heavenly abode. This unique character of the Barechaharia Bhowna makes it stand out from the usual Bhowna performances conceived by Srimanta Sankaradeva. Perhaps it is unimaginable to render such a huge performance in our country where 2 to 3 thousands actors and musicians take part under single pandal.
Glossary of the Pandal & its significance
- The holy throne with Bhagawata placed on it
- Space for Mahants to sit Annular space for the movement of performers from one stage to another
- The stage ( Rangabhumi)
- Where spectators sit with short bamboo fence
- Green Room
- Entrance-exit Gate
- Passage forfree movement of spectators
The broken line with arrow mark indicates the direction through which performers revolve aroundthe Bhowna.