Souvenirs from Shantiniketan

The colorful handcarts of Shantiniketan, the little town of ‘ranga matti’ (red soil), are loaded with beautiful hand-made knick-knacks. Red soil is available in plenty in this region and locals have used it to their advantage for their livelihood. Cutesy terracotta figures are made which is a mark of their high level of creativity and imagination. There are the terracotta figurines of deities, famous personalities, and even cute little animals. A frog with an umbrella got my attention. The pieces were most reasonably priced; in fact I will say they were cheap.

Staying in a city I am habituated to seeing big price tags in the malls. Compared to them these looked so cheap that it got me worried. What is their profit margin? I picked up four pieces; I had my doubts if I could take them back home safe. And as expected, couple of pieces did break, but Tagore’s image was fine and strong.

This girl was selling handmade trinkets. On close observation I found they were made of colorful pulses and seeds. Some of them were colored, but none of her items were artificial, no plastic or glass pieces involved. Such creativity! After school hours she pursues this skill of hers not as a hobby but for additional income for household expenses. She was too shy to pose for my ‘Faces of India’ series.

Other than these, there were unique hand made musical instruments, hand painted scarves and wall hangings. The sellers have a friendly attitude and they have such eager eyes watching what you have appreciated and picked up. They give their little explanations on their work. So much of effort and imagination has gone into these creations. I felt happy to bring back a piece of Shantiniketan with me in the form of these souvenirs.


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as on 19th Sept 2013.

Shantiniketan Leather Bags from Amar Kutir
Doodling by Rabindranath Tagore

30 Responses to “Souvenirs from Shantiniketan

  • Nice souvenirs ! Many young Indians know so little about Tagore & his greatness.

  • Handcrafted souvenirs are my favorite travel mementos. It's important to support locals with their artisan businesses. I would have been heartbroken if my clay figurines broke, (I always wrap ceramics in newspapers and clothes when they're packed in my suitcase) but I'm glad that such a striking one survived.

  • Beautiful young people selling their wares.

  • I love terracotta 🙂 very colorful clicks!! M loving your series on Shantiniketan. Wanna visit…

    I thought you might be interested in this contest at thealternative.in
    I'll share the link in next comment, somehow unable to share the link here…

  • You refreshed my Shantiniketan memories! Beautiful place…btw it was nice to know those ear rings are made from coloured pulses

  • I too collecting souvenirs while travelling.. Beautiful clicks Indrani.. Keep going dear 🙂

  • I like handmade items. I don't know what it's like in India but in the U.S. sometimes people that sell their crafts direct or in small outdoor stalls can price them lower than items sold in malls that have such a high overhead.

  • When I go to India (soon for the fourth time!!) I love to look at handicrafts and buy some, too. But best of all, I like earrings, so I'll be on the lookout for something like what you've shown. Can't say I've seen any where I've been…must look harder.

  • Wonderful to know more about Shanthiniketan .

  • Lovely, handmade items and ones like these are usually so much lovelier and well made than those that are mass produced! Delightful captures for the day as always, Indrani!

  • Such beautiful souvenirs….wonderful.
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  • The earrings and figurine are very beautiful. I would say they make wonderful souvenirs.

  • both really beautiful! bless them for their hard work – and probably very little profit.

  • Very nice souvenirs, very talented artists and interesting and lovely pictures.

  • Thanks for sharing another beautiful post. Nice pics.

  • The handmade trinkets are so beautiful ! Loved 'em!

  • Makes me wanna visit Shanti Niketan.

  • What beautiful ear rings, this is what I love about our country there is so much to it that we can never say I have been around India and have seen it, there is still so much more to explore and learn and experience. Glad that you go around with you camera and bring us shots of such simple yet beautiful places and things, its nice to see India through your eyes.

  • nice place to visit

  • Thank you for sharing.. Hopefully I get to see this place one day….

  • Nostalgia relived. Period.

  • Very nice pics…!

  • How pretty and neat their workmanship? Using things that are raw… I like those ornament made of seeds. Glad you could bring the Tagore idol without damage to home 🙂

  • The earring looks so beautiful! my daughter would love to own one.

  • Best thing is when some fare is organized where such things are presented…The rare talents emerge and get highlighted at that time… 🙂

  • The handmade items are beautiful. I really love the ear rings. Have a happy day!

  • those ear rings are beautiful, Indrani!!! i have yet to visit kolkata, and really wish i can go soon!

  • Indrani, are these available in shree niketan or in the Mela ground everyday? or you saw them during Poushmela? If you happen to come at Ghurni of Krishna nagar and visit K.C.Paul's handicraft store just on the main road you may see many nice idols and stunningly beautiful and cheap. The actual craftsman gets only 1/4 th of the price. Thia is true of every product.

  • Thanks for the comments friends!

    Pradipji, these items were in the handcarts in front of Shantiniketan. I think they sell them all through the year.

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