Ramakrishna Paramhansa, known as the Prophet of Modern Age and his wife and spiritual counterpart, Ma Sarada are known to bring renaissance to the religious life of the common men. With their simpl…
Do you love shopping??? Are you busy surfing the online stores to get the best home décor for your new apartment or is it that you love the Bengali art and style. If answer to any of the above question is yes, the Kolkata Handicrafts Fair 2016 is your place. This fair is a celebration of Bengali culture as you find people from all districts gather here and exhibit the best crafts from their place. From the lavish silks of Murshidabad to the clay art of Krishna Nagar, you will be spoilt for choice here.
The fair caters to the need of all essential items of your daily life, be it furniture or apparels. The collection of wooden dining tables, bamboo baskets, sofas and chairs made from bamboo can completely change the look of your house. The jute bags, earrings made from natural products, hand stitched dress materials with unique designs and flowers made from paper and thermocol are both budget friendly and beautiful.
Another interesting part of the fair is you find artists painting and preparing the crafts just in front of you. Here you have the chance to speak with the maker of the product and buy it from him/ her; the charm of which is quite different from that when you get your product online or from a retail store.
Food is the heart of any Bengali fair and the Kolkata Handicrafts Fair 2016 is not an exception. From a wide range of tangy pickles to the famous sweets of Bardhaman,”Joynagar er Mowa,’ foodies have lot to explore here.
Hence make your winter afternoons picture perfect, soaking in the warm sun, roaming at the Milan Mela ground, picking up the gems of Bengali Handicrafts.
Location: Milan Mela, Near Science City
Till: 11th December’16
No Bengali can deny the fact that at least a part of his/ her life has been influenced by Rabindranath Tagore; popularly known as Kabi Guru. As the train chugs into the Bolpur station, you are in the land of laal maati (red soil), the dreamland of this great Indian poet and Noble laureate. There are three prime tourist destinations here; namely, Shantiniketan, Konkalitala and Sonajhuri.
Your trip begins at Shantiniketan, the place which witnessed the renaissance of Bengali literature, art and music. Shanti meaning peace and Niketan home, had been the dream come true for the poet. The quietness of the place beckoned the young heart of creative Rabi and he decided to shift here. Gradually the place became an open-air gallery of exquisite paintings, fine sculptures and classics. Visiting Shantiniketan will unravel the golden age of Bengali literature in front of you.
Ride next to Konkalitala, one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of Hinduism. Dedicated to Goddess Sati, this place is blissful.
Sonajhuri is a treasure island of Bengali folk dance and song. Tap your feet with the Santhal women at the beats of madol or enjoy the vibrancy of baul song and music, famous worldwide. This place also gives you a feel of a typical village market, haat; Birbhum is known for its leather handicrafts, bags, clay toys and apparels with unique prints and the haat is a shopper’s paradise. Last but not the least; relish authentic Bengali cuisines at complete Bengali ambience here.
Life demands some respite after a hectic week and now a relaxing weekend is just within your reach at Bolpur. Located at the Birbhum district of West Bengal this place is a complete package of fun, frolic and serenity.
How to Reach:
Bolpur is easily accessible via rail, road and airways. There are regular trains from all over West Bengal to the Bolpur Station. Both private and government (SBSTC) buses ply to the city on a regular basis. The Kolkata International Airport is the nearest airways to the place.
Rickshaws are easily available outside the railway station and the main bus stand. You may also book a cab through the hotel where you are staying.
Belur Math- The Abode of Peace
Belur Math has always been one of my favourite spots near Kolkata, where I love to spend at least a piece of my weekend. It is really awesome to be amidst a surreal environment, far from the honking horns and dust filled air of the metropolitan. If you also want to find out yourself, removing all the tension of daily life, just be at Belur Math.
As River Ganges flows through the heart of Kolkata, several shrines have developed at its bank to enhance the divinity of the place with the touch of the holy waters. Belur Math is another religious centre of India, located at the Howrah district of West Bengal. Established by Swami Vivekananda in 1898, this place is visited by people from all walks of life, just not for pilgrimage but also to experience some soulful moments, far from the maddening crowd of city life.
The 40 acres of sprawling land is dotted with several temples; dedicated to Lord Ramakrishna, Ma Sarada and Swami Vivekananda. There are monasteries for the disciples of the Ramakrishna Movement and a children’s home, known as Sister Nivedita Children’s Home. The main temple of the place worships Ramakrishna Paramhansa, this is the site where Swami Vivekananda worshipped the urns of Ramakrishna; it is said that Swami Vivekananda carried the urns on his shoulder to the place.
You can spend a whole day here, strolling through the green meadows, listening to the joyous chirps of birds or relaxing at the banks of River Ganges, listening to its ripples. You can also enjoy a pleasant boat ride over the river, which takes you to another popular pilgrimage of West Bengal, the Dakhineshwar Kali Temple. This is where Ramakrishna used to worship Ma Kali as a priest. There are boats at regular intervals till 8.00 pm in the evening which take you to and fro Belur Math and Dakhineshwar Temple.
Another attraction of the place is its museum. There are relics and paintings depicting various phases of life of Ramakrishn, Ma Sarada and Swami Vivekananda. The shopping arcade consists of photos of various Hindu gods and goddesses, books on the Ramakrishna Movement, preaches of various philosophers and story books based on Indian mythology.
Devotees gather here at afternoon to have the ‘bhog.’ This simple meal is just not a lunch with people but a way of life of love and togetherness. Last but not the least; the evening aarti rejuvenates you. The aarti starts at 6.00 pm in winter and 6.30 pm in summer. Devotees gather at the main temple to witness the aarti. The soulful music and melodious hymns sung by the monks; known as ‘Brahma Sangit,’ relieves you from all stress.
Are you looking for a different kind of Durga Puja celebration this year? Be at Belur Math. The Math is known for its unique Durga Puja rituals, which also includes the Kumari Puja. The Math also celebrates Saraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja, Shivaratri, birthdays of Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Ma Sarada, Jesus Christ, Sri Krishna and Lord Chaitanya.
If you want to engage in some charitable work, Belur Math is one of the best places to do so. The Math is engaged in rehabilitation and relief work and also has its own charitable dispensary.
Hence take your time out this weekend to spend some time of solace at Belur Math.
An Escapade From The Hustles Of City Life At Deulti
Stressed and tired of the everyday city life? Escape the commotion this weekend at Deulti. A quaint destination, Deulti is just an hour and forty minutes drive from Kolkata. You can reach the place via local trains and Paskura local is one of the best options to travel to this little hamlet of peace and serenity.
There are a number of resorts at Deulti, one being the Nirala Resort. From premium private cottages to affordable rooms, the resort offers you different types of accomodation amidst lush green meadows. As you play around in the cool waters of the swimming pool of the resort with your loved ones, the layers of stress wash away.
Deulti also beckons you with its rich heritage. The great Bengali author, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay had spent much of his life here and his house is popularly known as Sarat Chandra Kuthi or Samtaber. The visiting hours of Samtaber is from 3 pm to 5 pm and you can explore the whole of this two storied Burmese styled house to get an insight into the simple living style of the ‘Katha Silpi.’
Last but not the least; bask in the surreal beauty of River Rupnarayan at Deulti. A walking distance from the residence of the writer, the riverside is a sunset point; as the sun bids goodbye to the day, the fusion of red and orange rays create a magical aura over the blue waters of River Rupnarayan.
Hence, inhale some fresh air this weekend far from the maddening crowd, at Deulti.
A rendezvous with books- Kolkata International Book Fair
Durga Puja is the biggest festival of Kolkata? Well, Kolkata International Book Fair is not far beyond, it is a festival for the City of Joy; whether you love books or not, Kolkata International Book Fair beckons all.
Kolkata International Book Fair is held every year during the last week of January and runs approximately for 10 days. From local book stalls to international book stores, you have a varied flavour of books here; United States, Costa Rica, Bangladesh and United Kingdom create a magnificent fiesta of books at the Milan Mela ground, Kolkata.
Kids never feel left out at Kolkata International Book Fair; they are the special guests of the fair. From the colourful comics to the happy mascots, kids learn to love books at Kolkata International Book Fair.
Are you an academician? Dive into the ocean of knowledge at the book stalls specially stuffed with books of science, history, art and technology. While the English and Bengali detective books are there to sharpen your brains, discover the thrill of jungles with Jim Corbett.
Kolkata International Book Fair is just not about book stalls, it is a get together of creativity; throughout the fair, several literary meets are arranged at the halls along with the little magazine counters, where you get to see and hear your favourite authors; who want to miss the golden opportunity to autograph their favourite book from their favourite author?
Now, Kolkatans love food and hence any fair without food joints are incomplete; Kolkata International Book Fair is not an exception. From tangy chaats to sumptuous lunch platters, from lip smacking ice creams to piping hot tea, you have all to set off the right mood for books.
Kolkata International Book Fair is a huge event not only for the city but people throughout Bengal gathers here to feel books. Hence to keep the momentum, numerous buses are arranged for accessibility while subways look into the safety of the booklovers.
Hence it can be fairly said, how popular may be e-books, we still love to bask in the fresh smell of book pages.
Kolkata Bidhan Nagar Mela- The Global Handicrafts Market
Have you just been to your neighbor’s house and fell in love with the Egyptian wall hanging? Well, now you need not visit Egypt or pay a high price online to get such exquisite handicrafts and wall hangings; just be at Bidhan Nagar handicrafts fair, popularly known as Bidhan Nagar Mela. Held every year during January, it runs almost a month and is a perfect New Year gift to the city.
Traders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey have gathered at the Bidhan Nagar Mela 2016. While the stock of delicious dry fruits of Afghanistan attracts food lovers to their stalls, the grace of the Turkish mosaic lamps beckons people passionate about art and craft. The stalls of Egypt are as varied as their culture. While the paintings and sculptures represent the rich culture of Egypt, the small pyramids and sets of Egyptian wine glass glitters under the afternoon sun.
If you are in love with saris, a visit to the stalls from Bangladesh is must. With their infinite stock of Dhakai Jamdani and silk, these stalls can be your excuse to start puja shopping! Get wonderful gift items at the handicraft stalls of Pakistan. From onyx marble showpieces to large marble statues, you will be spoilt for choices here.
Last but not the least; you have numerous Indian handicrafts to fulfill your shopping spree. From soft hand woven carpets to embroidered pashmina shawls and salwar suits, you cannot ignore the magic of Kashmiri handlooms. The magnificent jewelry designs of Kolkata, clay toys from Krishanagar and lip smacking pickles from Suri represent Bengal at the Bidhan Nagar MelaBengal.
Tired of shopping? Just sit and relax to enjoy cultural programmes organised everyday at the ground. The rides not only enhance the glamour of the fair but also are a fun place to the kids. Hence soak the warmth of winter sun filling your bags with precious antiques at Bidhan Nagar Mela.