Gajan festival at the village Narna of Howrah
Also calledShiva Gajon
Observed byHindus and Tribal people of East India
Significancemarriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Harakali
Celebrationsopen air drama
Beginslast week of Choitro
Related toLord Shiva

Gajan or Shiva gajon is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is associated with such deities as Shiva, Neel and Dharmaraj. Gajan spans around a week, starting at the last week of Choitro continuing till the end of the Bengali year. It ends with Charak Puja on the last day of Chaitra, the last month in the Bengali Hindu calendar. The next day is Poila Baishakh,the first day of Bengali New Year. Participants of this festival is known as Sannyasi or Bhakta. Persons of any gender can be a participant. The complete history of the festival is not known. The central theme of this festival is deriving satisfaction through non-sexual pain, devotion and sacrifice.[citation needed]


The word gajan in Bengali comes from the word garjan or roar that sannyasis (hermits) emit during the festivities.[1] Alternatively, the word gajan is considered a combination of parts of two words - ga is from the word gram meaning village and jan is from the word janasadharan meaning folk. In this sense gajan is a festival of village folk.[2]


In Shiva's gajan Shiva is married to Harakali on this day. The sannyasis form the barjatri (bridegroom's party). In Dharma's gajan Dharmathakur is married to Kamini-Kamakhya in Bankura Dist.or Mukti.[1] The most recent studies on the gajan festival are: 1) Nicholas, R. Rites of Spring. Gājan in Village Bengal. New Delhi: Chronicle Books, 2008; and 2) Ferrari, F.M. Guilty Males and Proud Females. Negotiating Genders in a Bengali Festival. Calcutta and London: Seagull, 2010.


Charak festival in Kolkata in 1849

Fairs are often associated with the celebration of gajan.


  1. ^ a b Mitra, Dr. Amalendu, Rarher Sanskriti O Dharmathakur, First published 1972, 2001 edition, pp. 165-169, Subarnarekha, 73 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kolkata
  2. ^ Ghosh, Binoy, Paschim Banger Sanskriti, (in Bengali), part I, 1976 edition, p. 67, Prakash Bhaban

Further reading