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Śāktô Rāsa
Dumureshwari Mata in Nabadwip Rash Jatra
Also calledPot Purnima, Rash-Kali Puja, Rash Jatra
Observed byBengali Shakta Hindu
TypeBengali Shakta Hindu
CelebrationsPuja, Balidaan (Animal Sacrifice) in some places, the immersion of idols
ObservancesTo make idols of gods and goddesses with clay and to pay obeisances and worship Shakti in Kartik Purnima
BeginsBeginning with Pot Puja and actual festivities start after Durga Puja and Lakshmi Puja
EndsAfter Rash Purnima or Kartik Purnima with celebrating immersion named Arong[1]
Date30 November (2020)

19 November (2021)

according to Traditional Bengali Hindu Calendar

Shakto Raas (Śākta Rāsa, Shaakta Raash, Shaakta Raasa or Shaakto Raas; Bengali: শাক্তরাস) is the most celebrated festival of Nabadwip, Shantipur and Krishnanagar of Nadia district in West Bengal, India. This festival is celebrated thirty-five days after the autumnal Durga Puja celebration, fifteen days after Kali Puja and a week after Jagaddhatri Puja in Kartik Purnima. To the people of Nabadwip, Rash Festival is everything. The entire Hindu community eagerly waits for this festival all the year round.[1]

The main features of Shakta Ras are to make large clay idols (murtis) to worship Shakti. Every idol has an artistic design, a variety of imagination, religious discourse, and deep understanding of the scholars, which help entertain innumerable people.[2] Cartoonist Chandi Lahiri said that the large scale of the clay idols differs from any other festivals, because the idols from Nabadwip and Dainhat are shapely and symmetric despite their light weight and enormous proportions.

Historical groundings

Ras festival mainly part of Vaishnavism. During the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rash Yatra was started in Nabadwip as a Vaishnava festival. Shakta Rash is totally different from that. Sakta Ras festival may be older than Vaishnava Ras, because in the beginning, idols were worshipped in Patachitra. During the time of Krishnachandra and mainly Girishchandra, Nabadwip Rash yatra became popular. Krishna Chandra and Girishchandra spent much money to popularise the festival and since then worshipping started through clay idol.[3]

Girish Chandra Basu highlighted the first glimpse of Nabadwip Ras. In 1853–1860, he was a daroga of Nabadwip-Shantipur and Krishnanagar. In his book Sekaler Daroga Kahini (published 1888 AD), he wrote various socio-cultural reports along with the geographical location of the Nabadwip of that time.[4]

Kali puja and Ras festival

Nabadwip is a sanctum of Tantra. Many Shakta and Tantra philosophers worshipped Devi kali even before the Shakta Ras Festival began. Later these Kali idols were worshipped in Ras festival. Since the twelfth or fourteenth century, tantra has been enriched with tendance of Tantra philosophers throughout Bengal.[clarification needed]

Conflict with Vaishnavism

In the early 16th century, some Vaishnavite scholars started the Vaishnavic movement. So it was an obvious conflict with Shakta followers who were worshipping Tantra.

Shakta ras in early days

Documentation of early days of Shakta ras is very rare as flood and earthquake hit several times. Although Girish Chandra Basu and Kanti Chandra Rari gave glimpse of Shakta ras in early days.

Girish Chandra Basu

Girish Chandra Basu, Daroga of Nabadwip-Shantipur-Krishnagar, wrote "Sekaler Daroga Kahini, where he described socio-cultural view of Nadia. He wrote,

During ras utsav people were gathered in Shantipur, similarly in Nabadwip lots of people came to see Potpuja and various cultural programme is being held. This Potpuja is famous in Nabadwip. Though its name is Potpuja but actually worshiping has done through making clay idol of various deity. Among them, Durga, Bindhyabasini, Kali, Jagadhatri, Annapurna were very famous. This idol are very light weighted. Five or six people can easily bear in the shoulder, even they can easily dance with it.


Girish Babu's description gives an idea about 19th century Ras utsav. Bindhyobasini was worshiped in Purangunge. This place is now ruined. In 1853-60 he saw Purangunge in right place. After that in 1871 Purangunge was ruined by Ganga due to erosion. Then Bindhyabasini deity transferred to Sribasangan. But due to some internal problem puja committee had split into two organising committees. And one committee worshiped Bindhyabasini in Sribasangan and other one started Gourangini puja near Jognathtala.

Kanti Chandra Rari

Historian Kanti Chandra Rari also wrote about Nabadwip Ras in his book Nabadwip Mahima. There he confirmed that Shakta Ras jatra had been celebrated since long year back. He wrote,

Superpower of Hindu mythology, Devi Bhagabati has been worshipped in different form in Nabadwip during Ras Purnima. Next day after puja, people from the nearest place came to watch idols. Also Maharaja of Nadia came to see and he encouraged this festival by giving award for making outstanding idol. For that purpose an organising committee brought there idol in Porama tala. There Maharaj judges the structure of idol, ornaments (called in Bengali as Saj, সাজ) etc and then decided the award to best one.

Glory of the Mūrtis

Cartoonist Chandi Lahiri said about the glory of the Mūrtis worshiped in Nabadwip Rash jatra,[5][6]

নবদ্বীপের মূর্তির বিশালৎবের মধ্যেও প্রতিটি অংশের সুষমা অক্ষুন্ন রাখা, বিভিন্ন দেবতার শাস্ত্রীয় কল্পনাকে মাটির সাহায্যে বাস্তবে রূপায়িত করা বিশ্বের যে কোন দেশের পক্ষে যুগপৎ বিস্ময় ও গৌরবের বস্তু।

Nôbôdbīpēr mūrtir biśālôtbēr môdhyē'ō prôtiṭi ônśēr suṣômā ôkṣunnô rākhā, bibhinnô dēbôtār śāstrīẏô kôlpônākē māṭir sāhājyē bāstôbē rūpāẏitô kôrā biśbēr jē kōnô dēśēr pôkṣē jugôpôt bismôẏ ō gôurôbēr bôstu.

Translation:- It is a matter of simultaneous wonder and pride for any country in the world to keep the balance of each part (of the Mūrti) intact even amidst the enormity of the Mūrtis of Navadwip; to make the Śāstra-conforming imagination of different divine entities a reality with the help of clay.


  1. ^ a b "রাসে পরিবর্তনের ছোঁয়া, খুশি নবদ্বীপ". Anandabazar Patrika (in Bengali). Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  2. ^ "About Rash/History - Nabadwip oxford of old east". Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  3. ^ Nadia Kahini, addition, pg-372
  4. ^ Basu, Girish Chandra. সেকালের দারোগা কাহিনী (Sekaler Daroga Kahini).
  5. ^ Mrityunjoy Mandal (January 2013). Nabadwiper Itibritto. Nabadwip, Nadia: NABADWIP SAHITYO SAMAJ. p. 157.
  6. ^ Rashmi published by Nabadwip Adarsha Pathagar, January 1997, pg: 86-86