Lac is a resinous excretion from the body of the female scale insect and is a non-toxic biotic product. Soil, weather and climatic factors make Purulia an ideal natural habitat for the insects host tree species. Lac resin is the raw material for several industries such as gala seal, polish, dye, cosmetics and even jewellery and the craftsmen of this area make various kinds of products such as bangles, pens, decorated mirrors, pen stands, ash trays, ear rings and chains decorated with stones and beads etc.
The Lac cultivation business was started during the British rule in the 1990s and today many Self Help Groups (SHGs) and craftsmen are engaged in lac cultivation. It is benefiting many families living below the poverty line by providing them a regular source of livelihood.
This website aims to encourage development of lac industry within the Purulia district (West Bengal) and promoting and assisting the lac artisans for producing quality lac products by generating demand in the national and international market for the lac products which are non-toxic.
Chhau dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance which is popular in the state of West Bengal specially Purulia district. The Chhau dance has also been recognised by UNESCO and in 2010 it was inscribed in the UNESCOs Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Purulia Chhau uses masks that represent characters from Hindu mythology. The costumes used by the performers specially the masks and the headgears are magnificent and of enormous size and jazzy decorations. The masks are invariably integrated with towering headgear that gives them a resplendent touch. The demonic nature of a character is ascertained by the knitted eyebrows and thick hair growth on the face by pasting jute fibers. The masks are decorated with zari, peacock feathers etc. They are made of different shapes and size from .5 X.5 sq. ft ,2x3 sq ft , 3 X 4 Sq. ft etc
These masks give the larger-than-life mythological characters a fascinating palpability. These masks form an important part of our cultural heritage and are used as an item of home decor by many in homes, offices, restaurants as well as in hotels.
Chorida, a small village in the Baghmundi block of Purulia district (West Bengal) provides some of the best masks and practically every house and every member of the household is occupied in making masks or assembling decorations for headgears.
It is a special type of grass which is cultivated in the Purulia and few other districts of West Bengal. The grass is used for a variety of purposes particularly for making ropes and recently it is being used for variety of other products like hats, trays, kalash etc. Babui grass product making forms an important traditional household industry in the region and provides supplementary occupation to many households.
Bandwan , Manbazar II , Manbazar I and Puncha blocks of Purulia district are famous for babui grass cultivation and babui grass product making.
Mask- Chau Mask is prepared with soil, paper pulp and cloth. The artisans of Chorida village of Baghmundi Block are expert in it. Lac- Artisans from Balarampur Block are manufacturing colourful ornaments and home decor items using lac for last 90 years. They have learnt it from Rajasthan. It is believed that there were few people from Rajasthan who came here and stayed back for this.