The festival may be called by different names like Bhai phota, Bhai Tika, Bhau Beej, but the reason behind Bhai Dooj remains the same. The festival is celebrated by brothers and sisters to strengthen their bond and to express their care and affection towards each other.
Auspicious Time for Bhai Dooj 2021
The festival is celebrated every year on the last day of the five-day-long Diwali festival, which according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar, falls on the second day of the Kartik Shukla Paksha tithi. Bhai Dooj 2021 will fall on the 6th of November (Saturday).
According to the tithi, the auspicious time on Bhai Dooj 2021 is between 13:14 to 15:32, during which the sister can apply the tika on her brother’s forehead.
History and Significance
Like most traditional Indian festivals, the festival of Bhai Dooj also emphasizes the relationship between family members. This festival celebrates the unique bond between a brother and sister and the importance of siblings in one’s life.
As per legend, the God of Death Yama visited his sister Yami after a long time. She welcomed her brother by applying tilak on his forehead, a garland around his neck, and sumptuous food. After this, Yama is believed to have said that whoever goes to visit his sister and receives tilak on this day will be blessed with good health, abundance, and long life. Thus the festival is also known as Yama Dwitiya.
It is also believed that everyone started celebrating Bhai Dooj after Subhadra, the sister of Lord Krishna, applied tilak on his forehead and welcomed him with sweets and flowers when he visited his sister after defeating Narakasura.
Rituals of the Festival
- The brother sits down in front of the sister to receive the Bhai Dooj tilak. The sister first takes the plate that has a lighted oil Diya, fruits, sweets, vermillion, and grains of raw rice and then circles the plate around the head of the brother and applies the tilak. She lastly finishes the ritual by feeding a sweet to her brother.
- The sister then serves the special food cooked for the special occasion to the brother.
- In the end, brothers give gifts or money to the sisters.
Although Bhai Dooj is celebrated in most parts of India, it is one of the most important festivals in West Bengal. In Bengal, the festival is known as Bhai Phota, in which the sister puts the “phota” meaning “drop” of white sandalwood paste on the brother’s forehead with her left hand’s small finger.
In the northern part of Bengal, in and around the Darjeeling Hills, Bhai Tika, as it is called, is one of the most important festivals after Dussehra and Diwali. Here, the tika is applied in five different colors. First, the sister applies a line of white rice powder paste, then two dots each of blue, red and green over the white paste, and lastly, a shimmery silver powder over it. The unique thing seen in the ritual is that the sister takes a walnut and circles it around the head of the brother and then goes outside, cracks it open, and throws it over the rooftop. This ritual is done to ward off the evil eye.
Places to visit during the festival
To soak in the festive fervor of Bhai phota or Bhai Tika, visit:
The city of joy has so much to offer than just the quintessential Rasogolla. Dotted with monuments and buildings influenced by colonial architecture, trams, and the hand-pulled rickshaws, Kolkata exudes an old-world charm.
Things to Do in Kolkata
- Spend half a day at the Victoria Memorial Museum and then walk around the beautiful garden and lawn.
- Just next to Victoria Memorial is the Birla Planetarium, where you can get to see shows on the sky, the universe, and the celestial bodies.
- If you wish to visit the iconic confectionary Flury’s or go pub hunting, Park Street is the place.
- To receive information on paleontology, botany, zoology, microbiology, geography, and history, head to the largest museum of Asia, the Indian Museum.
- For some spiritual bliss beside the River Hooghly, visit the Belur Math and Dakshineswar Temple.
- Last but not least, take a tram ride and do not miss on eating Kolkata’s street food.
How to Reach
Being one of the major metro cities in the world, Kolkata is accessible by flights, trains, taxis, and buses. redBus offers bus services to and from Siliguri, Mandarmani, Digha, Asansol, Durgapur, and Burdwan to or from Kolkata.
Known as the “Queen of Hills,” Darjeeling is a popular tourist destination among Indians as well as foreigners. Reminisces of being the summer capital of the British is still evident through the numerous colonial-style buildings.
Things to Do
- Since Darjeeling is known for its world-famous tea, a visit to the Happy Valley Tea Estate is a must.
- On a clear day, watching the sun-rise from Tiger Hill and getting a picturesque view of the Kanchenjunga is worth every penny.
- Another highlight of the Darjeeling visit is a Toy Train ride to the Batasia Loop and back.
- A walk or a horse-ride around the Mall area is an exciting experience not just for kids but for adults as well.
- No visit to Darjeeling is complete without an English breakfast at the iconic rooftop restaurant Keventers and evening tea with confectionery items at the very popular confectionary Glenary’s. Also, do not forget to try out some steaming hot Thukpa and delicious Momos.
How to Reach
The nearest Railway Station is the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and the nearest Airport, the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri. There are also frequent bus services offered by redBus from Kolkata to Siliguri.
Plan your trip to West Bengal during Bhai Dooj 2021 celebrations and enjoy the festival like never before. Save big with heavy discounts on online bus tickets through redBus and enjoy the festivities of Bhai Dooj!
NOTE: In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we at redBus would like to urge you to take all necessary precautions when you travel and follow every instruction provided by your local government. If you're not planning on traveling, practice social distancing and stay indoors to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease and prevent it from spreading any further. Stay safe!