Sonajhuri Forest, “The Droplets of Gold”, is a beautiful rendezvous of nature’s pristine charm. Nestled inside the forest are the looming tall trees and the bright colorful flowers. Adorned by Mother Nature’s ecstatic marvels, Sonajhuri Forest is a popular weekend getaway for many tourists. The key attraction of the forest is the famous Sonajhuri Haat, a bustling market also known as Khoai er Haat in colloquial language.
The Significance of Sonajhuri Haat
Sonajhuri Haat has a special significance for Indians, especially those in east India, because of its creator the legendary poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore. His love for nature is not unknown. Many of his literary creations talk about the beauty of nature and its soothing effect on human lives. It’s his fascination with nature’s charm that attracted him to the Sonajhuri forest. The place impressed him to such a great deal that he set up the famous Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan, the city where the forest is located. In fact, the city was named by Rabindranath Tagore keeping in mind the calmness and serenity around.
Shopping at Sonajhuri Haat
As you stroll across the banks of the River Kopai and within the amalgamation of Sal, Sonajuri and Piyal trees, you will come across the jovial Sonajhuri Haat. The balmy breeze flowing across the river waters enchants your mind and soul, coaxing you to walk through the lanes of the market. You will be mesmerized by the wonderful display of the handmade artifacts by the talented and skillful local craftsmen and artists.
Beautifully designed clothes, bags, shoes, toys, jewellery, and numerous gift items adorn the market place. Every day the market is set up at 11 AM on Saturday mornings and continues till dusk. Well known as a shopper’s paradise, you can find all kinds of modern and fashionable products in Sonajhuri Haat. You can interact with the richness of the East Indian culture, especially the tribal and folk aspects.
Sonajhuri Haat is an open-air market, providing you the tinge of a rural atmosphere. A key attraction of the market is the local folk singers, popularly known as Baul singers in the local language. They perform live songs at the lanes of the market with the rhythmic beats of the traditional folk musical instruments. In a few places, you will find the local tribal dancers, tapping their feet in harmony with the lively folk song and music.
The market offers a wide variety of items made of wood. You can find traditional folk musical instruments in sales in many of the shops. Along with them, you can find some wooden chairs and other kitchen and household items. Baskets woven artistically with bamboo is another attraction in the market. Spoons, plates, pots and other cutlery items made of wood and terracotta are found in abundance at the market.
Things to do at Sonajhuri Haat
You can spend an exciting and activity-filled day at Sonajhuri Haat. After fulfilling your shopping desire, hop into the musical zone. Entertain your mind and heart with the soulful songs of the Baul singers. The performance of the singers and local musicians are a treat to the eyes and ears. You will be astonished at their vocal qualities and expertise in playing different kinds of instruments.
Your next destination must be the arena where the tribal men and women sing and dance in unity. The musical notes of the flutes and drums echo through the mystic environment, accompanied by the rhythmic movements of the dancers. If you are crazy about dancing then you can join the tribal dancers and tap your feet with the beats. It is astonishing to observe the synchronization in their dancing steps, never missing even a single step or beat.
How to reach the Market?
Santiniketan is located in the state of West Bengal, the eastern part of India. The nearest railway stations are Bolpur and Prantik. Local trains are available in plenty commuting from Howrah, the prominent junction station of West Bengal. There are autos and rickshaws to travel from the railway stations to the market.
For travelling by road you can board a bus from Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. Luxury bus services ply between Kolkata and Bolpur. Alternatively, you can drive your car via the National Highway to reach the place.
The Concluding Part
If you are travelling to the eastern part of India and interested to experience specifically the beauty of the Bengal folk and tribal culture, then you must not miss out visiting this lively market at Sonajhuri. It showcases the immense talent of the local artists in carving several handmade products, made of wood, terracotta, bamboo stripes and threads. You can even enjoy the elaborate authentic Bengali Thali or meal near the Sonajhuri forest. I bet you will not be disappointed.
Please also read the article on Ima Keithel Market