India | West Bengal


Baul is a well-known religious sect of West Bengal with its own style of folk music called Baul Music. The derivation of the title is vague as two Sanskrit words are considered as its roots. The first, 'Vyatula' means 'arthritic' or 'lunatic' and the second, 'Vyakula' means 'troubled' or 'restless'. The Baul way of life shares all these characteristics as they were nomadic mendicants who sang religious hymns in their unique manner.

Bauls wore a half-dhoti with an alkhalla (saffron robes). They wore their hair, which they never cut, rolled into buns on top of their heads. Their necklace was made of beads made of Tulsi (basil). Such non-conformist ways, in music, faith and in life, justify the definitions of the term Baul.

Updated on 29th November, 2005


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