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Ballavpur Danga
Ballavpur danga - West Bengal

Ballavpur Danga is 3 km from Shantiniketan, the celebrated home of Nobel laureates Rabindranath Tagore and Amartya Sen. It is a Santhal Adivasi tribal community, framed in the rustic beauty of rural Bengal. The Sonajhuri forest lies to the east and the Ballavpur Avayaranya forest area and bird sanctuary is to its south. Santhali art, craft and culture is woven into the community's life. Attractive designs adorn the walls and floors of their homes, with colours made from red earth and cowdung.Tribal dances unfold in the open air, with fire, to the rhythmic beats of the madal, their traditional musical instrument, while oral Adivasi myths and history remain etched in song and recitation.

Ballavpur Danga village Block: Bolpur, Sriniketan HQ and District: Suri, Birbhum State: West Bengal Distance from District headquarters: 40 km from Suri Distance from State headquarters: 220 km from Kolkata Languages spoken: Bangla, English, Hindi. Travel Season: The best time to visit is between October-April.

Ballavpur Danga will definitely transport you to the 'good old days' that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore reminisces about in his famous song 'Purono shai diner kotha…'. This tribal village is 6kms from Santiniketan- the seat of Bangla literature, music and learning - also the home of Amartya Sen, India's Nobel prize winner in economics. The old world charm of this village in the Santhal region can be an educative and genuine experience. Bahhabhpur and Kankutiya- the two willages from the Ballavpur Danga cluster - have a rich history of craft skills practiced by a mixed population of Santhal tribal community. What's more, the natural surroundings and the simple lifestyle of the Santhal tribe is a paradigm shift from jostling urban life. Simply put, Ballavpur Danga brings to life a tourists' dream to steal away to a land of fairy tales.The region not only offers rustic beauty of rural Bengal but also presents an engrossing experience of cultural heritage. The nearest heritage sites are: Jaydeb-Kenduli (30km), which has an old temple, Deer Park (4km), Tarapith, famous for its temple (88km), Vishwa Bharati University (3km), the seat of Bangla literature, music and learning- Bakreshwar Hot Spring (58km). The village is within 2-3km of tourist spots such as the Deer Park, Art Gallery and Museum at Prakriti Bhavan. To the east lies the Sonajhuri Forest, while in the south lies the Ballavpur Avayaranya (forest area) and the bird sanctuary. To the south of the village lies the Mayurakshi canal. Ballavpur Danga has preserved its rich tribal culture with artisans who have a long history of refined craft skills. Ballavpur Danga is situated in the vicinity of a bird sanctuary featuring large patches of water where migratory varieties come to nest. Near the village a rural haat - market place - comes alive every Saturday

Art & Craft                                                           Ballavpur Danga and Kankutiya-the two villages from the Ballavpur Danga cluster-have a rich history of crafts skills practiced by a mixed population of Santhal tribal community. What's more, the natural surroundings and simple lifestyle of the Santhal tribe is a paradigm shift from jostling urban life. Ballavpur Danga has preserved its rich tribal culture with artisans who have a long history of refined craft skills. The Santhal community is rich in tradition of arts, crafts and culture. Indigenous art forms can be seen in the commodities of daily use by the adivasis. They are skilled in mat weaving, broom binding, making ornaments with bena grass, date leaf, palm leaf and various kinds of seeds, terracotta works, Batik, leather work and carpentry. Products such as mats, baskets, broom, fans, and accessories are intricately made out of the same. Beautiful designs adorn the walls and floors of the homes of the adivasis. The colours used are made out of red earth, cow dung. Pictorial presentations of the various cultural dances are also found here depicting the richness of heritage in the adivasi folklore. The tribals dance in the open air, around the fire to the rhythmic beats of the madal, the traditional musical instrument, the viewers are lead to an intoxicating world.

Local Culture                                                          The Adivasi community of Ballavpur Danga are the tribal inhabitants who are primarily the Santhals, the indigenous people of this region who have close and natural bonds with forest life. The cultural settings of the adivasi life are found to blend with the cultural landscape of Ballavpur Danga. The village is located in the laterite region known as the 'Khowai'. The present livelihoods of the tribals include that of farming, daily labour and that of goldsmith. The Santhal community is rich in traditions of art and culture. Most of the adivasi inhabitants of the area are worshippers of Maranburu, a deity (shila). Jahera is another deity god of the adivasis. Jahera is worshipped before all festivals and celebrations. Oral tradition is an integral part of Adivasi culture and it is inextricably linked to their past and historical value. This also comprises the unseen heritage of the Santhal tribe in the form of myths and history preserved in their songs and sayings. This distinct feature of the adivasis to preserve their identity and homeland is different from that of the non-tribal social groups. Cuisine: The main diet of the adivasi inhabitants of the area comprises of rice, pulses (daal) and vegetables. Fish is a must with every meal in this region. The community is fond of locally made sura (drink), namely Hariya that is made from rice grain and a type of fruit seed named bakul. Fairs and festivals: The local fair is 'Pous Mela'. The other fairs are Jaydev Kenduli Mela, Sriniketan Krishi Mela and Chandi Das Mela. An important festival is Chabbish Prahar, which is celebrated for three days through Adivasi rituals and cultural program. Badna is celebrated for 5 days, Charak Puja and Basanta Utsav. There is a 'Haat' on every Saturday, from 4.00pm-6.00pm, at Sonajhuri. A new Haat 'Amader Haat' has been set up at the site, that comes alive every Saturday and Sunday.

How to Reach                                                                        BUS:: The area is easily accessible by road, 220 km from Kolkata (State Headquarters); 40 km from Suri, Birbhum (District Headquarters). There are frequent buses and private cars etc.                                                                        TRAIN:: Ballavpur Danga is 160 km from Howrah station by rail.The village is 5-15 minutes drive from the two nearest railway stations, Prantik and Bolpur. It takes three hours by express train from Kolkata to Bolpur. Regular taxi service is also available. Ballabhpur Danga lies 6 km from Bolpur-Santiniketan                                                                       AIR:: The closest airport is Kolkata

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