Shilaidaha Kuthibari of Rabindranath - Kushtia

kuthi bari kushtia, bangladesh

According to present day world famous poet Rabindranath Tagore was from Kolkata, India. But in past the border wasn't like now. He was from the Zamidar family of Kolkata, and had several lands under their ruling which are now inside of Bangladesh. To maintain the vast property his family had to visit those places frequently. That's why they needed to build house around those places so that they could stay. Those houses are known as Kuthibari. Bangladesh has three of those, and one of those is in Kumarkhali of Kushtia district. In past (during British period) this Kushtia was under the Nadia district.

kuthi bari kushtia, bangladesh

History about Shilaidaha kuthibari

This Shelaidaha kuthibari was built beside the river Padma by poet's father. He later inherited the Zamindari from his family. Rabindranath Tagore used to visit this place several times to collect the royalty (or tax?) from the people from this estate. It was approximately between 1891 to 1901. He had to give up this house (through an auction) to a Bank when they owed money to them. After many years later the government had taken control of the building and done some renovation to revive the building from its demise.

kuthi bari kushtia, bangladesh
Garden inside Kuthibari premise.

How it looks in current days

In current days this is now a nice square shaped two stored building. The authority hosted a museum inside the building by putting several galleries presenting the belongings of the poet. Inside the museum you'd find lot of furnitures like chair, almeera, beds, table, etc, which were used by Rabindranath Thakur. At the top of the building you'd find few boats which were used by the poet for an excursion in the river Padma, which is just a few kilometers away from the Kuthi bari.

kuthi bari kushtia, bangladesh
Cultural program stage beside kuthibari.

Entry fee for the museum

During my visit the token money to enter inside the Kuthibari museum was only 10 Taka per person. This museum is closed during Sunday and every public holidays. In every Monday the museum is closed at the first half of the day.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
A poster to wish the birthday of the poet.

Best time to visit

During the 25th Baishakh (the first month of Bangla calendar) would be the best time to visit this place. During that time the authority uses to arrange a village fair (known as Kuthibari mela). It would be a nice atmosphere to enjoy that. I've done my visit during that time. The speciality of the day is, it is the birthday of our beloved poet. When I was there in 2010 it was his 149th birthday. Apart from the village fair you'd see the authority arranging cultural programs for the whole day. You could take a seat there to listen free live performance. The village fair was one of the largest I've every seen.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
In current city life this is a very rare product, but in village area it is still an useful item for them.

About my visit

After exploring the Gorai bridge I've taken several local vehicles, and finally a rickshaw to reach at the Kuthi bari. It was a hugely crowed area that time. People were coming from everywhere to this place. At some places I had to leave the rickshaw and started walking with the local people. Those people came from the nearby districts like Rajbari, Jhinaidaha, Meherpur, etc.

I've gone inside the museum first to explore it. As it was a small one and didn't take much time. After that I've spent most of the time to explore the stalls in the fair. There were plenty of stalls comprises of different artifacts made by the villagers (along with fancy Chinese products). Most of the items were very colorful. Few vendors were selling local foods which were interesting to taste. People had to participate games like shooting, bowling, throwing rings, etc.

From my observation it looked to me there were around 500 stalls all together. Local people were wearing nice new dresses like they do during the Eid festival. To me it looked like even bigger festival than Eid there. There was a group performing Lathi khela, a traditional display for the audience. In current days it is really hard to find something like that.

After exploring one of the greatest festivals from Kushtia I've headed towards the bank of the river Padma as it was very close from there. It was nearby sunset time. So decided to have a small swim and bath in the river. After a very hot day in summer such a nice relaxing swim was essential for me. After that I've returned back to the Kuthibari fair again to enjoy for another round.

It was usually a single day fair traditionally. But since it is very popular that's why the authority extended it for three days. I've started leaving the fair premise after around 7pm. It was really difficult to find any sort of vehicles during the returning. Cause everything was packed with tons of visitors. So had to do a bit of struggle to return back to Kushtia town. It was after 9:00pm at night when we've returned back. Would have been a bit easier if I left early.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
These are basket like craft made from bamboo.

How to Go to Shilaidaha

There are several buses services available which come to Kushtia from Dhaka. Such bus services are SB Super Deluxe, Shyamoli Paribahan, etc. It takes around 4-5 hours overnight journey. All the buses leave from Gabtoli or Kolyanpur of Dhaka.

From Kushtia town take local buses or vehicles to come to Kumarkhali first. It should take around 1 hour maximum depending upon the vehicle. From Kumarkhali take any rickshaw or three wheeler van to reach near the Kuthibari. GPS Coordinate of the Kuthibari is (23°55'10.2"N, 89°13'12.3"E).

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
They are performing Lathi Khela.

Where to Stay

It would be best to stay in Kushtia district as there are several good quality hotels available for night staying. I've stayed in the hotel Hotel River view during my staying and they allowed me to do an early checkin at 5:00am in morning.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
Look at the numbers of people coming.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
These sweet products are a rare scene in Dhaka.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
A taste of casino in a village fair.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
This guy is selling pickles.

kuthibari mela, kushtia, rabindranath, thakur, rabi
People were there from all ages.

river padma, kushtia, kumarkhali
A boat in river Padma.

river padma, kushtia, kumarkhali
People are taking bath after a hot day in summer.

Shilaidaha Kuthibari of Rabindranath,
District: Kushtia,
Country Bangladesh,
GPS Coordinate (23°55'10.2"N, 89°13'12.3"E).

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

Saturday, 8th May 2010