” The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is, at last, to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
– G.k. Chesterton
Bolpur is located about 145 km from Kolkata.
Nearest Airport: Kolkata
Railway Network: Trains are well-connected to Bolpur from Kolkata and other major cities of India.
Best time to visit: August to March
Basanta Utsav (Spring Festival) and Poush Mela (Winter Fair) are two important cultural festivals.
Many hotels , guest houses and resorts are available.
Bolpur houses the famous Viswa Bharati University, which was founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore on 23rd December, 1921.
” I knew that the mind has its hunger for the ministrations of nature, mother-nature, and so I selected this spot (for the university) where the sky is unobstructed to the verge of the horizon.” — Rabindranath Tagore, sourced from the essay ‘My School” in The Modern Review journal, 1931.
It needs to be mentioned that, Santiniketan is also the home of another Nobel laureate, Dr. Amartya Sen.
This was the personal car of Rabindranath Tagore.
Make sure to go for early morning walks . The winding village roads , the red soil and the fresh dewy air will literally take your breath away.
Such an environment was inspirational to Tagore to compose his immortal creations.
The university campus is dotted with many awe-inspiring sculptures . Most of them are made by Ramkinkar Baij.
It is a good idea to take along a guide who can show around the sprawling university campus , which is spread over 1127 acres of land . Other than walking , hiring a bicycle is another option to go around . There is a canteen near the entrance where refreshments are available.
The Ghanta (means bell in Bengali) Ghar (means Room in Bengali) , is an iconic structure of the university.
This is the stunning Kanchh Mandir , also known as the Temple of Glass . A place for meditation . The whole structure is made of colourful Belgian glass.
This building houses a museum showcasing the belongings and collections of Rabindranath Tagore and his family. It also is the home of the Replica of the Nobel Prize of Rabindranath Tagore.
A visit to the Ballavpur Deer Park is a must, where you can spot different kinds of deer.
In Bolpur, another attraction is the Khoai Boner (means forest in Bengali) Anya Haat (means village market place in Bengali ), which is a weekly market held on Saturdays. The locals make and sell home made food items , interesting artefacts and handicrafts. Things available here are not found in commercial shops. The Baul singers liven up this place . As this is not a normal everyday market place , credit card transactions are not possible. This is a plastic free zone.
This is the famous Kala (means Art in Bengali) Bhavan .
Photo Courtesy: Mr. Tirthankar Ghosh
To reach Darjeeling:
Nearest railhead- New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which is about 63 km away from Darjeeling. From New Jalpaiguri, you either need to take a bus or a taxi to reach Darjeeling.
Nearest airport- Bagdogra, which is about 67 km away from Darjeeling. From Bagdogra, you either need to take a bus or a taxi to reach Darjeeling.
Best time to visit: October to May
Ask the drivers to stop at the quaint roadside shops for authentic local cuisine. The momos we had en-route were lip-smacking tasty. On your way back, don’t forget to buy locally grown fresh vegetables and the exquisite Darjeeling tea.
Darjeeling tea really refreshes you after a long and tiring journey.
There are many local markets in and around the Mall, where you can get woolens at a bargain. Other than this, you can buy Tibetan and Nepalese handicraft. You can sit on the benches in the Mall, sip tea and just enjoy nature.
Pray that you do not get a cloudy weather, otherwise you will miss seeing the sunrise from Tiger Hills the Kanchenjunga Peak in all its glory.
We went on the Rangeet Valley Ropeway. The view of the tea gardens below is amazing. The ropeway system is not functional now.
A visit to the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is a must.
You can see the endangered Red Panda at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.
Jorpokhri (In the local language, jor means 2, pokhri means pond) is a lesser known place near Darjeeling. Pine trees adorn this place. One can experience snowfall here in winter. There is a tourist lodge nearby, where one can live and enjoy nature at its best.
A morning stroll in the Gopaldhara Tea Estate (dist. Darjeeling, West Bengal) and then a cup of tea from their outlet is bound to energize you for your further sojourn.
Shot by Tirthankar Ghosh
Odisha (or Orissa) is a state located in the eastern part of India. Bhubaneshwar is its capital. There are many historical as well as religious places in this state. Right from the site of the Kalinga war to the Konark temple to being the host of the Asian Athletics Championship in 2017, the state has come a long way ahead. Here are some places worth visiting in Odisha:
1) Konark – This is a historical temple dedicated to Surya or the Sun God built by King Narasimhadeva I. The temple resembles the chariot of the Sun God.There are different wheels on the temple which were used as sundials. There are many shops that sell memorabilia near the entrance of the temple.
Best time to visit: September to March
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneshwar
Railway Network: Bhubaneshwar is well connected to all the major cities of India
2) Puri (Jagannathapuri) – It is one of the ‘Chaar Dhaams’, that is, one of the four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. The iconic Jagannath temple is located in Puri. It was originally built by King Indrayumna. The constuction of the current Jagannath temple was initiated by King Anantavarma Chodaganga, the ruler of Kalinga. This temple town witnesses its iconic Ratha Yatra annually. Puri is a seaside town and has some famous beaches like:
- Puri Beach
- Balighai Beach- One can witness Olive Ridley turtles here in December and January.
- Swargadwar Beach
- Golden Beach
Best time to visit: November to February
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneshwar
Railway Network: Trains from Bhubaneshwar are generally connected to Puri.
Cuisine: One can enjoy seafood and Khaja (a sweet) here.
Welcome to #soumyatravelogue.wordpress.com. I started this blog to share my travel experiences about lesser-known places with people who love travelling across destinations in and around India.