Thursday, 2 July 2020

West Bengal’s countryside offers varied travel experiences

The latest summer scarefest is Bulbbul, a film that weaves fables and folklores of witches and vengeful spirits. Bengal has a tradition of tales of bono bibi or fertile spirits of the forests and woodlands who ensnare wicked people and dakini or female spirits capable of offering protection to the innocent and punishment to the wicked. Bulbbul is set in a huge rajbari or aristocratic mansion located in a village some 70 km from Kolkata revoking these folklores.

Travels through Bengal’s villages are marked by red earth and jade-hued paddy fields, mango orchards, ponds and lakes populated by ducks and geese. Its pastoral serenity and slow life can be rewarding, says actress Paoli Dam, who plays a pivotal role in Bulbbul that recreates the rustic outdoors of the 19th century. Here she lists some of the highlights across the state.

Also Read: Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo is an ode to Lucknow’s beauty

Also Read: Lonely Planet’s Travelling TV

Literary trail

Rabindranath Tagore and his influence are never far away even as you step out of Kolkata. From Santiniketan, where he lived, and the many rajbaris or mansions that dot the countryside all evoke the poetic magic of Tagore’s literature. In fact, Bengali literature has a rich storytelling tradition of forest spirits, witches, and banshees. Fables about the ruins in the countryside, forests, and woodlands inhabited by female spirits are fascinating to listen to.

Textile trail

via Lonely Planet India

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