Dec 28, 2012

Rustic expedition ... Tagore's Santiniketan

Had decided to visit a rustic place in and around Kolkata this time. What a better place than Santiniketan and that too during 'Poush Mela'. To maintain the atmosphere of this trip all travel was by train and rickshaws - no fancy cars this time. The 'baul' on the train made it worth a ton!

Went to Howrah Station after a decade ...

Santiniketan Express covers the less than 150 km in a bearable 2½ hrs from Kolkata.

The air conditioned chair car is comfortable and "reserved" in the true sense ...
... other compartments and you better be ready to be jostled a bit !
We were lucky - this being the only train running after the derailment near Burdwan (all other trains cancelled / re-routed). 
Matir bhander cha

The 'Matir bhander cha' (Tea in a clay pot), the 'Jhalmudi' and the 'Mihidana' at Burdwan took me back to the childhood years.
Santiniketan Tourist Lodge - neat and inexpensive. 
The ambiance of Santiniketan merges well with the WB Govt tourist lodge. The murals on the external walls, the names of the cottages after Tagore's houses... Nice little cottages with a lawn in front and play area at the rear - a slide and a swing for the kids. The deluxe a/c cottage was the only available one during the Poush Mela (the Dec fair), and it was more expensive than usual Govt rates. Would have rather preferred a room heater than the AC, with the mercury dipping below 7 deg C. Walking down the road with kids not finding a rickshaw in the chilly night was the high point !

The hunt begins ...
The pup smothered with affection by the dots ...

Vishwa Bharati campus reminded of IIT - V (BHU).
Rabindra Bhavan


Rickshaw stand outside the station
The fair ground was 2 km away and the rickshaw charged 30 bucks (seasonal hike). Pretty crowded and the wares very cheap. The temporary stalls near the fair entrance had better stuff and we purchased handicraft items and Palm jaggery out there. Rabindra Bhavan is a must-see although the original Nobel was stolen and is substituted by a replica - now well guarded !
Bidding Bolpur station adieu ...