Ekantika Cottage is run by a descendant of one of the families who looked after Shantiniketan under Rabindranath Tagore.
It’s a fully air-conditioned traditional hut in close proximity to the university campus between Sriniketan and Shatiniketan. What’s interesting is that this cosy place was started by a family very close to Rabindranath Tagore and who were one of nine families to have worked with Rabindranath Tagore to carry out the work of Shantiniketan. We are talking about celebrated Rabindra Sangeet singer Kanika Bandhopadhyay who was a disciple of Tagore (who named her ‘Kanika’ — her original name was ‘Anima’), and famous social activist Nabakumar Mukhopadhyay.
Mukhopadhyay’s son Priyam Mukherjee and his wife, Ritapa — another well-known Rabindrasangeet singer — look after the cottage now.
The accommodation consists of one bedroom with five beds (an extra bed can be provided if you are six people). The room has an attached dressing unit and bathroom, as well as a well-stocked library with books on Tagore, music, poetry and arts as well as fiction. The charges are INR 3,500 per day for three people, including breakfast. Extra beds can be provided for INR 500 each.
They serve traditional Bengali fare made with local produce — think chholar dal, begun pora, posto bhapa, mangshor jhol, jhingey posto, ilisher doi ombol, sobjir tok and more. Everything is served as a thali — they have several veg and non-veg options. For instance, the fish thali will have two local fish preparations, two special vegetable dishes, dal, bhaaja and a teto dish, and chaatni/mishti. If you want mutton, do let them know in advance.
The best way to get there is to take a train. There are many that depart from Howrah station, for instance, the Shantiniketan Express. It takes about three hours to get to Bolpur. From there, you can take one of the auto-rickshaws or hire a vehicle.