Shantiniketan, the university town is famous for its art,literature and cultural contribution. But it is also a thriving home for handcrafted beauties. The famous “Kantha” , “Dokra” and terracotta craft aside, the artistic flavour in the most mundane daily wares gave this place a prominent place on the rich heritage of Indian hand-loom and handcrafts.
The first time I visited this place with my best friend and went little crazy shopping. This year I visited the place with my family on a long weekend, had loads of time to actually study the craft process, and to my surprise realized what a treasure and bargain shopping place it is. I also noticed that few people are buying things in dozen. A few minutes in the shops and I realized they are from different boutiques of Kolkata, who score their items from there and usually keep a 150% margin while reselling it. I actually don’t find it wrong on the ground that they are providing access to he art and craft, and are providing a livelihood to many artisans. But if you have time, if you are in Kolkata or places near Shantinikean, you can actually visit the place over a weekend, get loads and loads of fresh oxygen, some peace of mind and can shop everything at a fraction of price in Kolkata.
The places I have visited this time are “Aamar Kutir” a cooperative running shop and workshop and “Shonibarer Haat”, the saturday artisan market.
I will write in details about these two places in my later posts but I wanted to post some amazing products I bought from there at a unbelivable price, specially now when every one even with a remote “bong connection” is going crazy with pre Durga puja shopping.
These two Khesh sarees one with Kantha work and another with aplique, each for around 1200 Rs.
A patchwork, silk, kantha-stich reversible dupatta and a dense kantha work dupatta, I paid Rs 600 each for both ( I know, you can collect your jaw from the floor now, they usually retail at 3 times the price)
Few bags and purses for gift purpose. The beige silk purse is for mom in law, who wears beige only lately (someone brainwashed her that she got old, thus no bright colour). Each of them for around 150 bucks.
I saw them making these Shibori and Batik work in their workshop. In the softest cotton material. Rs 80/mt ,let your imagination go wild and you can turn the very in-trend shibori or very “Bengali intellectual” batik in a fantastic dress.
So maybe sometimes in the festive season you can visit the town and help some indigenous artists to brighten your life. I will comeback regarding the town, a fantastic place to stay and more later this week.