Being hatke has always been our mojo when it comes to being a Kolkatan. So while the rest of India celebrates Holi, we celebrate doljatra and Basanta Utsav in our own unique way. And what better to be in than in the heartland where Basanta Utsav was first started. Here's our guide for your Dol essential trip to Bolpur's culture-high town of Santiniketan to celebrate spring.
Head to Santiniketan's little town of laal maati lined with chhatim trees and date palms to celebrate Basanta Utsav that was started years back by this university town’s patron, Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore's Basanta Utsav has none of the religious underpinnings of Radha, Krishna and Holika; instead it celebrates the vibrancy, melody and colours of springtime nature.
Get lost in a riot of colours as the red and the orange of palash and krishnachura flowers and the lush green foliage of new leaves paint Shantiniketan vibrant. It’s no difficulty to be infected by the joyous cheer that fills the air or to hum along the Rabindra Sangeet that overflows the university town. To keep up with the style drape yourself in yellow (basanti colour, to be precise) cotton sari or don the traditional kurta and pajama. And instead of your jewellery switch to Palash to adorn you.
Join the university students in their celebrations from Amra Kunja to Mukto Mancha as they as they sing, dance, recite and act out Tagore's works. Follow it up with sweets and phag (abir made of flowers) and play Dol with all and sundry in the town.
Save your evening for a cultural programme of Tagore's dance dramas that the university students put up in chhatimtala under the full moon sky.