“Khoai Haat…..Sonajhuri Forests at “SHANTINIKETAN”.
Khoai is a geological formation of small canyons resulting from constant erosion caused by wind and water. The Khoai in Shantiniketan region (Bolpur)is characterised by a patch of dry forest of Sonajhuri (AcaciaAuriculiformis) trees on an eroded landscape of red laterite soil.
This unique look of the forest was immortalised by Kabi Thakur “Rabindranath Tagore”in many of his compositions. 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.
However, the star attraction of Khoai is the weekly market of Shanibarer Haat (Khoai Saturday Haat) held on every Saturday.
Things to do at Khoai Shantiniketan:
A visit to the Shanibarer Haat (Saturday Weekly Market) is one of the prime attractions of staying at Shantiniketan . The weekly market is a platform for local artisans and small goods traders to showcase their workson Sarees mainly handloom/Silk with local handcrafted Kanthai stitch & Appliqué work quite popular items of sale now a days.
The other such fancy items include ethnic jewelry,showpieces, local artworks,garments(handcrafted dress materials) and even local ethnic “Bengalee dishes” like “pithey and payesh”.
The Haat usually starts to gather at around 03:00 pm and ends at 06:00 pm by the time the Sun sets usually.Apart from the Shonajhuri Haat, the early mornings are really nice for village walks along the tribal villages and the Khoai region.
Bird watching can be enjoyed at nearby “Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary“.
“Baulprograms“are performed by Local Baul singers to earn a living almost every day throughout the week but mainly most Baulsingers come & perform during weekends at Sonajhuri Khoai Haat in the afternoons.
How to reach Khoai in Shantiniketan:
The nearest railway stations are Prantik and Bolpur. There are regular trains from Howrah and hardly it’s 165 km away.
Tourists can also reach Bolpur by bus/hired or personal cars from Kolkata and it’s hardly 165-170 km drive only.There are regular luxury bus services connecting Kolkata and Bolpur. If anyone comes by own car then the shortest route would be taking NH19 first and NH114 from Nababhat or via Panagarah to straight Bolpur would be the best by road option.
Lodging facilities in Shantiniketan:
There are a good number of Hotels/Resorts and even stay home facilities are available around Bolpur & Shantiniketan.The visitors/Tourists can reach the Khoai Haat/Sonajhuri Forests by own vehicle or even there a good number of pollution-free Toto services are available at a very reasonable/affordable rate.
I will always love it as a memory to cherish in my heart as a solo trip to “Shantinikentan” & the beauty of tranquility that I enjoyed there during my two days stay I have well preserved for my readers to ponder upon.I would be happy to see my readers to interact and enrich my knowledge from any of such their trips to the unique land of “Kabi Thakur Sri Rabindranath Tagore”.
#BaulMusic #Baul #FolkSong #TribalDance