You have heard of Bolepur being a tribal rich belt – of besides the Hindus and the Muslims, there being the tribals such as Santhals, Koda, Mahal. And so, when in Shantiniketan, you enquire about them, just so that you can go and see how they live, eat and pray. The owner of place where we were staying, Mr Dey of Mitali Homestays (read — Staying at Mitali Homestays), advised us to take a tour of the Sonajhuri Gram (village), saying that we’d get to see more or less how a Santhal gram looks like. And so, off we went to Sonajhuri Gram, once we were done exploring the Khoai.
In fact, you can easily walk down to Sonajhuri from the Khoai/Sanibarer Haat area. It is that close! A short walk through the Sonajhuri Jungle gets you to the village. Take your time as you walk past the trees…if you have a guide along with you, he will mention the names of those movies that have been shot here in this forest. Movies or no movies, the walk in the woods was certainly the high point of visiting the Sonajhuri area.
The Sonajhuri Gram, let me warn you, is a model village with mud-plastered houses, lanes, a cart kept here making a good photograph, cattles in the shed there almost waiting for the visitors. It is not a real real village, if you understand what I mean. More of a ‘touristy spot’. And so, the joy of discovery is hardly there. We simply walked past the village, asking our rickshaw-walla to wait for us at the other end of the ‘village’. Our daughter got into her usuals of chasing the hens and ducks, feeding the goats, while Jayanta helped her find more such domestic animals. All this while, I took pictures.
Sonajhuri is a one-time walk-by place. Doesn’t offer anything exquisite other than simply giving you a ‘glimpse’ of a tribal life. I’d rather go to a real village somewhere in the country-sides…
Also read — Sight-Seeing In Shantiniketan