Shrine of Lalon Shah and Lalon Academy – Tourism Info

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Shrine of Lalon Shah and Lalon Academy

Lalon shah was a humanist-Baul (a singer of religious songs). He is also known as Lalon Fakir. His disciples address him as ‘Sanyi’. The shrine of Lalon Shah is located at Chheuriya on the bank of the Garai River. Besides, there are a museum and a library there. There is frequentation of the anchorites (who have renounced the worldly life) in the complex all the year round. Always the songs of religious prayer and meditation are sung by the accompaniment of lyres like one-stringed musical instruments­- Ektara (monochord instrument), Dotara (double stringed instrument) and the tambourine etc.  Lalon Shah was born in 1772, but in another view, he was born in 1774 AD and died in 1890 AD. No information from any reliable source about Lalon’s birth and past is found. It is not known for certain whether he was born of a Hindu family or a Muslim family. From a statement it is learnt that Lalon started for Jagannath Mandir (temple) and as he was attacked with small pox on his way, his fellow-travelers deserted him on the bank of the Kaliganga River. Malam Shah and his wife Motijan, members of the weaver-community of the Muslim inhabited village, looked after him and brought him round through nursing and care. Malam Shah taught him Islamic religious instructions and gave Lalon Shah a piece of land then Lalon organised a group of songsters and began practicing music there. According to another view, the fellow-travelers left Lalon after he had been attacked with small pox, then Siraj Shanyi, a Muslim fakir took him home, nursed and cared, and cured him. Later on Lalon became converted to Baul righteousness, founded Chheuriya a monastery and began living there along with his wife and disciples. Lalon had no academic education. Lalon in his practice of music was influenced by Siraj Shanyi. Kangal Harinath was his very favorite disciple. Lalon met the members of poet Rabindranath Tagore too. Man and society were the chief tenet in Lalon’s songs. Lalon did not believe in the difference of social classification of status of men, he believed that God dwells in the minds of all people. Lalon in his monastery taught the disciples about morality and spiritual teaching. Every winter he held Bhandara (great festival) and his disciples gathered there. In continuation of that, every year this festival is held in memory of Lalon Shah in his monastery in Khustia. A large number of Lalon-devotees and admirers participate in this festival. Moreover, every year Lalon Mela is held here. In 1963, Lalon Folk Literature Centre was established in Chheuriya Monastery.  Later Lalon Folk Literature Centre was abolished and Lalon Academy was established in 1978 under Shilpokala Academy. People who feel interested in Lalon’s songs and philosophies have the opportunities to carry out research here.

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