WEST BENGAL

SONAJHURI HAAT.. the nature’s shopping mall

“Sonibaar-er-haat” in Bolpur is quaint that was started to promote rural artisan, baul song and tribal dance of the region.  Haat is an open to sky rural artisan market. ‘Sonajhuri haat’ of Shantiniketan, is a very prominent and well-liked in West Bengal. It is weekly market and held only in Saturday. The haat is organized inside ‘Sonajhuri’ forest. The name Sonajhuri is given by noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The original name of the tree is Acacia auriculiformis. It is also commonly known as auri, earleaf acacia, earpod wattle, northern black wattle, Papuan wattle, and tan wattle. In Bengal, it is known as ‘Akashmoni.’

The location of the haat is amazing. The meandering Kopai River in front of the market makes the place more pristine. The place is so tranquil that the sound of river is clearly audible. The Kopai River is immortalized by Rabindranath Tagore through his enormous write up. Kopai River is also known as “Choto Nodi” as it has been used by Tagore in his famous poem

 “Amader choto nodi chole bake bake
Boishak mashe tar hatu jol thake
Par hoye jay goru par hoy gari
Dui dhar uchu tar dhalu tar pari”

The place is paradise for shopaholic and those who had great affinity towards art and craft. There is motley collection of apparel, home décor, ornaments, bags etc.  From fashion to feast, everything is available under one roof that is sky. I will rather say it is a shopping mall under one sky enclosed by trees.

In this market, the amicable artisans display their handmade products for sale. The items available here are locally made. There are no permanent shops. The seller makeshift there stalls. They cover the land with used bed sheets or long clothes, sit and display their items above those clothes.

Usually the market starts at afternoon and ends around sundown as there is no electricity.  So, complete your shopping before evening. This place is very popular rendezvous for shopaholic.  Misti doi, tea, ice creams are available inside the market. There is only one hotel inside the forest and adjacent to the market where tasty lunch and brunch are available.

The wide range of products available here are truly astounding. Stitched sarees, kurtas, home décor items are undoubtedly beautiful, affordable and pocket-friendly.

The elegant and beautiful home made products compelled me to do shopping. The ecstasy of purchase is a kind of therapy for me which helped me to get rid from all distress. So, I purchased sarees, kurtis, home décor from here.

There are so many haats in Bengal. But the ambience of ‘Sonajhuri Haat’ is totally different from others. The feature which makes it unique is the live performance of Baul song and tribal dance.

Boul song is a kind of folk song that eloquent mysticism through the songs and also focuses on the current scenario of the society. They are easily recognized by their attire. Preferably they wore dhoti and kurta and adore themselves with the instruments. They used to have ‘Aktara’ in hand and ghungru and nupur as anklet. They lead an unpretentious life.

There were two local tribes, who were performing dance. And a huge throng gathered around them. The women were singing and dancing by holding hands and men were playing the drums. Many tourists joined them. Each and every moment became majestic.

The rhythm of the tribal dance will definitely compel you to shake your body with them. The sounds of the instruments are irresistible. The sense of the rhythm of the dance is truly commendable. My thirst for tribal dance got quenched here. I have never felt such delirium after any live performance before. The afterglow at the end of the live performance reflects that the dance and song has infatuated every viewer.   The song of roaming minstrels Bauls can be heard on every corner of the haat. The vibrant and pristine haat is the perfect place to rejuvenate our soul and enjoy the indigenous art and culture of India. So, whenever you are in Shantiniketan, make sure to go on shopping spree on Saturday in this tranquil haat and simply get lost in its divinity.

How to reach

Santiniketan is well connected by rail and road. The nearest railway station is Pranteek / Bolpur. Toto and auto are easily available from the station to reach the haat.

Entry fee – free

Nearby places to visit

There are so many places to wander in and around Santiniketan.

  1. Visa-varati universities.
  2. Tagore museum
  3. Kankalitala temple
  4. Surul Rajbari
  5. Deer park
  6. Amar Kutir

Best time to visit

This place can be visited throughout the year. 

Festivals

  1. Basanta Utsav– It is celebrated in Holi and is very famous in whole world. Travelers from all over the world come here to celebrate holi here.
  2. Kenduli Mela – It is dedicated to the famous poet Jaydev Kenduli. This is organized in mid January during Makar Sankranti for 03 days. 
  3. Poush Mela- This mela is held in December. The main feature of this mela is live performance of Bauls, tribal dance and folk music. This mela is paradise for shopaholic.

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