The smooth, pitch covered road alongside the haat ground took me by surprise as the last time I was here ( Dec 2015), the red dust of Birbhum engulfed the whole area causing coughing, sneezing and breathing problem to a large part of visitors. Another point I noticed that, creating a different parking lot few meters far from the actual make-shift market ground made entering into the main area quite hassle-free.
As the name suggests, this ad- hoc souk takes place on every Saturday (inside news- the market happens amid Sundays nowadays, though smaller in scale). If you are going to Shantiniketan for the first time and hunting down some cool places to visit separated from the conventional ones, then do try this one-
Looking for more motivations to visit iconic Shanibaarer Haat? Here 5 of them from my latest excursion there-
The jazzy pieces of junk jewelry will mesmerize you
Does the missus go gaga over bangles, earrings or pendants made from wood, bamboo, seeds to name a few? Then a tour around Shonibarer Haat will give you enticing ideas to shop for her, surprise her or be her knight-holding-shining-wallet. If you are the ‘connoisseuse’ of inexpensive, earthy ornaments then this make-do Saturday market at Khowai should be your go-to destination during the weekend Shantiniketan Trip.
And the little pleasures for stomach are there too
When was the last time you had bokul pithe? Or ananda naru? Such indulgences, that used to rule the kitchen units of middle-class Bengali households in the distant past, are now slowly on the wane. But at Shonibarer Haat, you can have handful of both, along with patisapta, maalpoa,and ghughni. Have a bite or spoonful of any of it (or multiple of them) and then gulp it off with lemon tea or milk tea. During our meandering around, we stumbled upon this beauty-
And proceed with our evening tea consisting of ananda naru and dudh cha. Such bliss!
The chance to witness some earthiness of Birbhum
In the event that you are a serious Instagrammer or much into nature/street/travel photography, then dancing and drumming troupe of tribal performing artists on the ground will hog all of your focus. You won’t comprehend the dialect and the whole artificial ‘novelty’ of this set-up( most likely the brain-child of Birbhum tourism to lure more audience ) can uncover itself to your seasoned eyes; but still the raw humming of the santhali tune and the infectious foot-tapping will soon hook you as they did to me.
Care to redecorate your home?
The students of Kalabhavan, the neighborhood workmanship instructors or even the creative pupil from the nearby tribal villages gather here on every Saturday and sell some amazingly painstakingly-made knickknacks to embellish home. How about these painted haathpakahs (hand-fans) made from taal pata (palm leaves)? Aren’t they great to fan yourself out when the power is gone for more than 15 minutes? You can put them inside your drawing room show-case or hang them on the wall. They will look equally good all over the place.
These mélange of lampshades caught my fancy quickly as I have a ‘thing’ for them in any case. Caution: They may appear thin but touch them and there can be a hole in your pocket. So negotiate hard.
Canoodling canines will be there everywhere
This is my take from the day. Inspite of the fact that this picture is not of the best of quality, the canoodling canines still made an adorable pair for my mobile camera to capture. Just look at the haughtiness of the ‘taker’ and you shall know the inner significance when it’s said that- some folks are hard to please.
Have any of you visited Shanibarer Haat in past or present? What’s your experience? Do comment.