Purvai: The Easterly Wind and its significance in the Indian culture

A wind that holds a cultural importance.

If you study the Hindi literature, your eyes may stop at an unusual reoccurring word which is being used along with the popular references such as moon, night, sky, Sun, flowers, clouds, mountains, wind, seas, river, stream, trees, road, animals, birds, and so on. The word is ‘Purvai’ (or sometimes ‘Purvaiya’), which is Hindi for the easterly wind– a wind that blows from east to west.

So, what is so special about the easterly wind? The answer is, this wind has certain curious properties that inspire writers and poets as well as the popular culture in India. We are going to talk about those curious properties further..

The Easterly and Westerly winds

The wind coming from east and north-east is known as the easterly wind or ‘Purvai’; and the wind coming from west and south-west is known as the westerly wind or ‘Pachhua’. Pachhua is cold in winters and warm in summer (terribly warm for that matter). Purvai, on the other hand, moderates the temperature. So, Purvai is likable.

In the seasons of pre-monsoon and monsoon, however, Purvai is not much desired. Purvai carries humidity, which makes the weather unbearable under the hot Sun.

Purvai and Sleepiness go together
Purvai and Sleepiness go together

Purvai and its influence

Emily, a traveler from France was staying in the city of Varanasi to learn Hindi. She arrived in January when the season was winter. When the month of March approached, she noticed she felt sleepy all day. Observing her yawning all day, her teacher told her it was because of the Purvai.

Purvai is known to have effect on the mood of the living things because of its weather characteristics. To some people Purvai is relaxing, while to some it is too relaxing that it makes them feel sleepy. Many people feel lazy in the presence of Purvai; and meanwhile, to many people it is joyful, specially in the spring season.

To writers and poets, Purvai is significant because it represents a particular combination of mood and weather. Purvai can be very uncomfortable at times; in literature, however, it is always taken positively.

An old Bollywood song referring the joyful Purvai:

Too long; didn’t read

Therefore, in the Indian culture, Purvai is not merely a wind blowing from the east. It possess a strong cultural value; and it even affects the daily life often noticeably.

If you are feeling lazy in India, then you can blame it on the Purvai. Just makes sure the wind is coming from the east.

3 comments

  1. I was looking for ‘Purvayia’ on internet continuously for sometime but couldn’t anything. Thanks for this well articulated article. Also I have heard elders saying that these winds cause pain in old wounds(although I can not think of any logical explanation).

  2. that explains why eastern side (bengal) is so lazy after all purvai dominates the summer here. High humdity causes this issue.

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