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Fanush - paper made hot air balloon

Fanush, paper made hot air balloon, was once the integral part of North Calcutta (Kolkata) "Babu" Culture. Today the art of Fanush making is a dying art as the new generation has shifted its attention into other sources of entertainment.

The Fanush operates in the same principle of a hot air balloon. The air inside the Fanush is heated by a cloth rag ball (locally called Nuti) soaked in spirit. The Nuti is attached to the base of the Fanush.

Probably started by the Dey family of Darjipara of North Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1912 Fanush flying was a regular activity on the late afternoon of Kali Pujo in the Darjipara and Beadon Street areas.

Apart from the conventional balloon shape the fanush also came in a host of different shapes. Pitchers, stars, footballs, ducks, kettles and even the planet of Saturn.

The Des of Darjipara have stopped flying these paper made beauties and so have many of the other families. In spite of all odds a few families are still keeping the tradition alive by flying at least one Fanush.

The Duttas of Bholanath Dham on Beadon Street is an exception and they have kept the tradition alive by flying nine different Fanush. Apart from conventional styles Dutta's Fanush also consists of Football & Clock.

Lead by the 84 year Jadavlal Dutta and assisted by his son Ajoy Dutta the Duttas of Bolanath Dhan are still keeping the tradition of Fanush making & flying alive.


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