Tuesday, March 26

Colors of Bolpur-Shantiniketan

Holi the festival of color is celebrated as Dol Jatra in West Bengal. Most of the time Dol Purnima (full moon day)falls a day before Holi. The festival is dedicated to lord Krishna and Radha. At Shantiniketan in Bolpur, Dol is celebrated as Basanta Utsav. It heralds the approach of spring season.
Students from Visva Bharti performing dance.
Basanta Utsav means celebration of spring which was started by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. At its ground (Amra Kunja), students from Patha Bhavana, Visva Bharati and other schools participate in various cultural programs in the morning. Every year it attracts a large number of visitors from Bengal and other parts of the country. 
A student with Khol (a terracotta two sided drum ).
The girls attire in yellow (basanti) sari and wear ornaments made of palash flowers and buds. Whereas, boys keep it simple in white or yellow kurta teamed up with jeans or pajama . 
A visitor wearing palash  ornaments.
Once the cultural event of Visva Bharati is over , 'abir khela' takes place for the rest of the day. 
Abir (also abeer) is natural colour made out of  dry flowers and leaves. One can also find bauls (folk singers) singing and playing their instruments like ektara, dotara, duggi, khamak, kartal etc under mango trees. 
A baul singer with his dotara (String instrument with usually four metal strings)
This annual event of spring has a unique spirit like 'Lath mar Holi' in Barsana . Both of them bear traditions and can be celebrated by everyone.
Reaching Bolpur :
Bolpur is situated at Birbhum district of West Bengal. By road it is 212 kms away from Kolkata (capital city of West Bengal) and takes about four hours to reach. By train it can be reached within three hours from Kolkata. About five to six trains ply in this route regularly from Kolkata. Buses also ply regularly but one has to change from Panagarh 45 kms from Bolpur (Asansol bound) or from Ilam Bazar 20 kms from Bolpur (Suri bound) to reach Santiniketan. 
Courtesy : Google maps. 

Palash flower complementing spring festival .

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