I intend to put in 2 parts, the 'first' abt the 'planning' part and the second about the 'executing' part -- trip actually ;D
The following is a copy of the letter that I circulated among our group before leaving to the Shanti Niketan visit. Ha ha, see how formal it looks ;-)
The long awaited Shanti Niketan outing has finally materialised!
This is to inform you all the details, venue and plan of ShantiNiketan tour:
Shanti Niketan seems to be special during this time (holi) with its 'basant-utsav' and is a must-see place for us.
http://www.indiatravelogue.com/dest/wben/wben1.html for the place details.
2. How to reach?
Shanti Niketan is around 3 hrs from here, reachable by road and bus. Direct train leaves from Howrah junction at specified timings. Alternativley, it can be reached through Burdwan, which has frequent electric train connectivity from Howrah junction. From Burdwan, there are lots of buses available to reach Bholpur, ~ 50 kms from Burdwan (fyi, Bholpur is the name of the station for Shanti Niketan). We'll go for the second option.
3. When and where to start from ?
Tomorrow (14 March) morning by around 6.30 am from Karunamoyee.
Meeting point : Place near the Shuttle stand
4. Cash required?
Around: Rs. 300 to 500 (plus extra whatever you want)
5. Things to be got:
(a) Have an extra pair of clothes as you may bound to get coloured duirng 'Holi' Celebrations. I'd suggest you to wear washable, non expensive wear.
(c) Water bottles (with water, of course!)
(d) Snacks, if possible
Realising that, it'd be too late if we start by the said time, the eight- some gang of ours agreed to assemble at the starting point at 5 am in order to board the 6' o clock direct train at Sealdah Station. As it always happens, it was around 5.40 when we all gathered ;-) We were left with the only option to go to Howrah and get the Burdwan local. Next straight, we stuffed, squeezed and sandwiched ourselves fully int0 the taxi and went seedha to Howdah. Burdwan local was delayed and our journey started by 7 am. Guess, this is the first group outing at such an early hour! In a couple of hours, we were at Burdwan and from there we boarded another train to Bolpur (ShantiNiketan). By 12 noon we were there.
It was Holi...As soon as we came out of the station, people almost drenched with colours were chasing to colour us. With small sprinkle of those colour powders, we managed to escape.. Next, we headed to the university campus only to find that all the morning cultural programs were over. Anyways, our next mission was to fish out some place to have our lunch and thanks to the University canteen, we had a patefull aur platefull meals. As we came out, the air of holi and celebration was in the wind and then the actual holi - masti started in our gang. As we mved around the campus, students and junta in small groups were singing and dancing for the dhol-jatra (the bengali avataar of holi, I guess). We too joined and it was all rocking.
Unfortunately, yes the musuem was closed and we marched towards another place called 'Khwai' (still I doubt whether it is Hwai?). On the way, we were smeared with colours again and we gracefully 'accepted' it. By this time, we already were fully coloured and top of it, we took snaps with the junta! Khwai or Hwai, whatever be it, was a big open eucalyptus plantation with eroded valley. The topography here was just awesome. There was a handicrafts and petty goods shandy over there. Since we had to reach home in the night itself, we started early in the evening to the station missing the cultural events in the university.
The return train journey to Kolkata was fun with nonstop chat, gossip and of course, pulling each other's leg .