A short trip to 'Ranga Matir Desh', Shantiniketan (Land of Red Soil)
Hope you all are doing great. Well, I have so many things to share with you guys today J Due to my hectic yet boring everyday routine, I with my family decided to take a small break and paid a short visit to Shantiniketan.
Needless to say it is too hot and humid weather in West Bengal but we bengalis have a separate place in our heart for Shantiniketan, because of Rabindranath Tagore, we born and raised with his songs ‘RabindraSangeet’, poems, novels, dramas since our school days and we can find peace in between the raw nature , red soil, woody plants around and mud houses here and there. Shantiniketan is famous for Rabindranath Tagore and his creation Visva-Bharati University, it’s a small town near Bolpur which is 165km away from Kolkata. Shantiniketan was called BhubanDanga(named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit) earlier.
Last Saturday we booked a cab and started our journey sharp at 8am in the morning. It took almost 3.15 hours to reach our destination, we already had a booking at ‘Shakuntala Village Resort’ Khoai, a serene place near ‘Sonajhuri’ forest. One could find the charm of village through muddy walls, floors, asbestos roof (artificially made) with earth-friendly ambience, overall a rustic landscape for nature lovers J
'Shakuntala Village Resort'
Authentic Bengal food served in earth-friendly dish covered with lotus leaf and earthen pots
Saturday is special for ‘Shonibarer Haat’ (a market, held on every saturday )here in Shantiniketan, Khoai and luckily this market takes place just near our resort. So without wasting anytime, we freshen up after reaching, had a delicious authentic Bengali lunch and went for the ‘Shonibarer Haat’. Take a look on the photos below and you could have an idea what you could find here at the rural market.
Me with Adibashi girls
Sarees, skirts, jewellery made of 'Gamcha'
Hand crafted Light lamps
Wooden Musical Instruments
Jewellery made of beads,seeds
Hand-made note books
Next day morning we planned for visiting the ‘Kankalitala Mandir’ which is 4km away from our resort. ‘Shakti Peethas’ are holy abode of Devi formed due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Shiva carried it and wandered through and It is believed that Sati Devi's bones have fallen here.
Locals singing songs
Visiting a local village ‘Adibashi Gram’ near at ‘Sonajhuri’ was so eye soothing in the scorching sunny weather, mud houses with beautiful art work, big woody plants everywhere to give you enough shades.
After having our lunch, we took rest for a while and headed over to the very famous ‘Kopai’ River. The area around the river quite often has red soil, which forms ravines on the river bank with weathering.
It is described by Rabindranath Tagore as follows
‘amader chhoto nodi chale anke bankey
boisakh masey taar hantu jal thakey’
boisakh masey taar hantu jal thakey’
Due to the poor lighting, I was unable to click a proper picture of the river and its surroundings. L
Next morning we visited the ‘Deer Park’, Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary aka 'Deer Park'
Our last day evening was reserved for a very special visit to the ‘Baul Akhra’ or ‘Baul Ashram’, ‘Bauls’ are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal, known for their musical tradition, distinctive baul clothes, musical instruments. Lalon Fokir is regarded as the most important poet-practitioner of the Baul tradition and Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and on his music too. We landed up at Tarun Khyepa’s ‘Baul Akhra’ or ‘Baul Ashram’, who sung the very famous song ‘Moner Manush’ , witnessed some of the best baul songs from his own magical voice along with ‘Ektara’ instrument, enjoyed to the core! J
Me holding 'Ektara' with Tarun Khyepa in the middle and Anondo Baul
So that's all for today friends! I did a lot of shopping from Shantiniketan:) So you guys could expect a huge haul post coming very soon!
Till then bbye