It’s spring time, and Basanta Utsav is just round the corner in Santiniketan. The festival is a combined celebration of Holi and the spring season. During this season, Santiniketan is a sight to behold – the whole town gets dotted by colourful Palash and Shimul flowers. This beautiful tradition of celebrating spring festival in Bengal was started by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan.
There’s an understated elegance with which this festival is celebrated and that’s what is worth seeing. It is celebrated with immense fervor and zeal on the full moon night of Falgun. There is a long procession in the morning followed by Tagore’s music, rhymes and dance by students of the university. Everyone gets dressed in yellow colour, welcoming spring in their own sweet way.
Later in the day, everyone plays with coloured powders, smearing them on each other. If you’ve gone to Santiniketan just to witness this festival, you’ll be welcomed warmly to join in the merry making. Basanta Utsav is a milestone in Bengali history and has piqued the interest of international and national travellers for years. Amongst the burst of various colours, the most used colour for playing holi is abeer (pink).
This year Basant Utsav celebrations will start from March 20 and go on till the next day. If you need a quick getaway during that time from Kolkata, consider visiting Bolpur (Santiniketan) to be a part of this energetic and enthusiastic revelry. There are many places to stay in Santiniketan. Travellers can choose anything from budget-friendly hotels to comfortable home-stays or even luxurious resorts depending upon their budget.
You can also couple your trip with other attractions nearby such as Amar Kutir – famous for a number of locally made handicrafts, Tagore’s Aashram, Chattimtala – where Tagore’s father used to meditate and the Deer Park.