Take a trip to Tagore’s own abode, Shantiniketan in West Bengal, and visit the Poush Mela. A festival cum fair showcasing the best in Bengali heritage, this is a must-visit if you’re planning on visiting Bengal anytime soon. Here is everything you need to know about this colourful festival.
What’s it about?
The annual Poush Mela is a fair cum festival showcasing Bengali heritage and culture. It normally takes place in the Bengali month of Poush (around December) in Shantiniketan, the home of the Visva-Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore.
The major highlights of this festival are the live performances of Bengali folk music, notably ‘baul’ music. Bauls are a mystic sect of people in Bengal who believe in a life of simplicity and love. Their music is filled with references to the earth.
Not just a festival, the Poush Mela is also an annual fair which sees a lot of stalls being set up with a large number of tourists visiting. Tourists can buy items crafted by the rural artisans of Bengal. Some of the items available include batik-printed materials, leather bags, earthenware, paintings, etc.
The Poush Mela takes place in Shantiniketan, which is 213 km from Kolkata. Regular trains are available from Howrah, and buses also ply on this route. The connecting highway is a great road for driving, so if you’re up for it, do a road trip!
Should you visit?
If you’re a fan of Bengali heritage and culture, of course you should visit. And even if you’re not, you should still visit the Poush Mela once just to get those great deals on handicrafts and other knick-knacks. Shantiniketan also has other attractions worth checking out, the most important among them being the Visva-Bharati University, a university founded by Rabindranath Tagore in keeping with his ideals of education.