Procession of the Churruckpooja
Artist: D'Oyly, Sir Charles (1781-1845
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
This coloured lithograph is taken from plate 9 of Sir Charles D'Oyly's 'Views of Calcutta and its environs'. Charak Puja is a traditional celebration held every April, on the eve of the Bengali New Year. It was known to the British as the 'hook-swinging festival', since many devotees put themselves through painful penances, piercing their bodies with hooks. Bishop Heber of Calcutta wrote: "All the persons who walked in the procession, and a large majority of spectators, had their faces, bodies, and white cotton clothes daubed all over with vermilion, the latter to a degree which gave them the appearance of actually being dyed rose-colour. They were also crowned with splendid garlands of flowers ... many trophies and pageants of different kinds were paraded up and down, on stages drawn by horses, or bullocks."