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This was our second day at Bolpur. We decided to utilize as much time as possible to explore in and around Bolpur. I finished my breakfast by 7.30 in the morning and then hired a Toto for the day. Our first stop was Sabujbon , this place is around 15 Km from Bolpur in small village called Rosulpur. Spanning an area of around 100 acres, this site features lush green vegetation for about 80 acres and large water body covers the rest of 20 acres. We spend few hours walking around the complex. The property also has some thatched roof huts where one can stay overnight. Opposite to the property is river Ajay, during winter water flow has reduced a lot . I was told that during monsoon flood water crosses river bank and the village is completely inundated for days.
I walked around the property and then visited the river bank . After couple of hours we left for Sriniketan and Srijani Shilpi Gram. We came back all the way to Bolpur again. On the way we briefly stopped at Bharat Sevashram Sangha , at that time ashram kids were singing prayer songs which was really nice.
Srijani Shilpigram is a place to showcase lifestyle , handicrafts and live-hood of all eastern and north-eastern states. It is a government initiative which started in 2008.
From Shipigram we went to Amar Kutir. On the way we saw the new Ranga Bitan resort. From Sriniketan towards Amar Kutir most of the land either forest land or owned by Visva Bharati Agricultural Dept and used for various field experiments. Rathindranath was one of the first five boys of the Santiniketan Brahmacharyasrama. Rathindranath was the most representative product of Rabindranath’s educational ideal. After his matriculation, Rathindranath was sent to Illinois to study Agricultural Science. He spent the next four decades of his life serving Santiniketan and Visva-Bharati.
At Santiniketan, he taught genetics to the students and he had been praised for making such a technical subject interesting for the layperson. Amar Kutir, founded by Sushen Mukherjee, is a cooperative society for the promotion of arts and crafts. Sushen was involved with freedom fighters.
He found 100 acre land in remote area on the bank of Kopai river. He founded his adobe there and gradually built a cottage industry around it. He also used to provide temporary shelter to freedom fighters. We saw Kopai river which is a tributary to Mayurakshi river.
“Our little river flows in graceful loops
The summer heat dries her to a gentle flow,
Both cart and cattle travel across with ease
Her banks are high, her depths are shallow”
On the way to Amar Kutinr we saw this 20m Buddha statue built by locals.
Then we went to “Prakriti Vhavan”. This is an unique museum where artifacts are displayed in both indoor and outdoor. This was founded by Subrata Basu in 1976. The specialty here is that all artifacts are created by nature . It has an impressive indoor display of natural sculptures in driftwood, dry wood and transcreation in metal with a sprawling open air garden of natural rock sculptures.
It was 1.30 PM by then . We were very hungry , so we left for Sonajhuri. We stopped forlunch at Ram – Shyam Village Resort , Sonajhuri. Food there was awesome and price is very reasonable.
We had our lunch within the Sonajhuri forest . After food I took my time to walk around. The Khoai Shantiniketan region in Bolpur is marked by a patch of dry forest of Sonajhuri trees on an eroded landscape of red laterite soil. This unique look of the forest was immortalised by Rabindranath Tagore in many of his compositions. The Sonajhuri forest in Khoai is surrounded by the famous Kopai River, the river to which all Bengalis are introduced as “Amader Choto Nodi……” . Every Saturday there is Haat in Khoai , which is known as Saturday Haat where local artists sell their crafts. The name Sonajuri comes from the color of fallen leaves from Sonajhuri trees. Khoai is a geological formation of small canyons resulting from constant erosion caused by wind and water. The Sonajhuri forest in Khoai is surrounded by the famous Kopai River (Tagore’s Amader Choto Nadi) on one side and Ballavpur Forest and Bonerpukur Adivasi Village on other sides. I walked sometime in Khoai and Sonajhuri forest.
Our final stop for today was Bonerpukur Adivasi village. Unfortunately the uniqueness and originality of these villages are slowly eroding because of rapid urbanization. Just outside boundary of the village a gated complex is coming up which is supposed to be weekend retreats for some well of people from Calcutta. On my way through Prantrik we passed through “Taltore” village (name came from Palm trees which are abundant in the region). This village has a famous resort called “Baulmon” . Shayor Bithi park which surrounds a large water body is also near to this place.
While passing through Bonerpukur village , I was wandering the cleanliness and the way humble mud huts were maintained and decorated. There are few studio within the village owned by some artists from Kolkata.
It was almost 4 , sun was setting and time for us to return. After almost 10 hours of bumpy ride we came back to our guest house ate 4.30 in the afternoon.