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Review: Baul Mon Resort – Shantiniketan’s hidden gem

Review: Baul Mon Resort – Shantiniketan’s hidden gem

Shantiniketan is West Bengal’s soul of art and literature and a world famous tourist spot as well. Given its popularity over the years Shantiniketan has several hotels and guest houses, but it is difficult to guess which ones to stay at. The ones already popular don’t come cheap and the ones good but not too popular are not easy to find due to lack of information on internet and booking websites.

During my search for one such place that would provide me the rural life experience I came across this resort called ‘Baul Mon’. Best not booked via online booking website, since even though the resort is listed in a few booking websites but they do not officially take bookings made via booking websites. Best is to book by calling them, details available at www.baulmonn.in .

The main building

The Space: The resort is just the kind of place you would want to stay in on a trip to a country side place like Shantiniketan. Abundant with green trees and ample space, the resort has cottages as well as rooms in 2 storey buildings. Rooms are big and clean. There is a restaurant as well serving all 2 meals, but the restaurant needs to be informed in advance if you want to have your meals the restaurant.

Cottage I stayed in

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What I liked: Abundant space to chill, a stage for Baul singer performances that take place on evenings. There is also a huge cage with pretty love birds and they also have a bunch of rabbits and a dozen pet dogs. It is a great way to spend the mornings watching the pets and feeding the rabbits. The backside of the resort is a huge rice field and as the night sets in, there is pin drop silence and all one can hear is the sound of fire flies. In winters, ask the resort staff to light a bonfire, and it is even such a lovely experience to enjoy some time in the midst of peace and calm. Personally for me I would definitely return back to this place to stay.

Feeding the rabbits in the morning
The rice fields behind my cottage
A sculpture in the Resort garden
Lovebirds in the garden
Pebbled lanes inside the resort
Pet dogs in the resort napping in the afternoon

What is not there: Of course as described above, you might have guessed this is a no flare place, so it would be unreasonable to expect flare and show. The resort is simple and neat with all basic amenities and justifies the essence of the Shantiniketan, simple and peaceful. I personally feel that coming to Shantiniketan and wanting to stay in a fancy hotel or resort takes away the spirit of enjoying the rural country side experience, although this is just my opinion.

Experiences from Sri Lanka – Which I will remember Forever!

I visited the beautiful island country, Sri Lanka last year December 2016, being from India I was very curious to find out being a neighboring country how different could we possibly be. Well, now I can say we are very different temperamentally, yet so similar in several ways. When we talk or write about a place we usually end up talking and discussing about the places, food and culture. What we miss out is talking about the experiences and encounters with the people and the locals of the place. So today I feel like writing about my experiences with the locals of Sri Lanka, of course not all are great, but few which are, they have really touched me in a special way and I think I will always mention (I still do) these while talking about my stay in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya

The amusing obsession with Age: This is not really a situation I can classify as good or bad, rather it is plain amusing. I am 29 years old and as per normal society standards (that’s what most people say, I personally don’t believe in society) I do not look like a nearing 30 year old I am often told, not only by people of my country but in general by human standards (so I am always told). But I faced the most profound situations of being reminded that I do not look like my age almost 90% of the time I interacted with a local in Sri Lanka. Not sure if it is treated as an ice-breaker (quite interesting if it is) in the country, but I can almost count several instances where after a quick ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’ the very next line to me was ‘How old are you?’. First 2-3 instances I was baffled, in my mind I was thinking ‘Really?what kind of a question is that!’, but after, I started enjoying it and I used to give hilarious replies, like I am 35, with 2 kids (I am still happily not married with no kids) just for the fun of it. I am still intrigued if it was just me or if there is really something to this. Nevertheless! Very amusing I must admit!

Sigiriya.

As peaceful as can get: Well this might be a relative observation given that I belong to India. India is the epitome of chaos and craziness and every tiny situation is usually addressed with enough drama and noise, especially road and traffic situations. I happened to be a part of a road situation in Sri Lanka and the parallels of a similar in any country (rather any country) would be very different I am sure. So one of the days in Colombo I had taken an auto from my hotel to the railway station. During this ride, we happened to stop at a red traffic signal, unfortunately when the signal turned green due to some reason the auto ended my mildly brushing into a passerby on a cycle (no one was hurt). The events that followed after were thoroughly amazing! the auto driver realized that he had brushed into a cyclist and both of them started talking in a straight face manner in their local language. Very soon the traffic police intervened and after a short discussion us and the cyclist drove to the closest market and to my utter amusement I saw the auto driver got down, signaled me to wait in the auto, went to a local road side shoe store nearby, bought a pair of slippers and gave it to the cyclist. After this we were back on track and soon I was dropped off at the railway station. So! was this how a road rage situation is handled here?? i would infer what happened was that the cyclist must have demanded that a pair of slippers be bought for him and so it was agreed. I could imagine a similar situation in India where such an incident would be noisy with people hurling abuses at each other or even fists. Though I am not really very surprised, since being a Buddhism dominated country it is just befitting for the people here to be so tolerant and non-violent. Either ways I hope the peace remains and spreads on to its neighboring countries as well.

Dambulla Cave Temple

A helping hand: How often does one have the privilege of feeling cared for or to have someone go above the ordinary to help you. I was fortunate enough to have this experience. We had booked a taxi to Nuwara Eliya and during our way back we were discussing our plans of travelling to Sigiriya via a local bus the day after . The driver happened to overhear us and asked us about our plans, upon knowing he was really worried and was trying hard to convince us that going by bus was not a good idea. Later after dropping us back, he called up and arranged for us to go to Sigiriya in a taxi that was going there to pick someone else up for an extremely reasonable price. I couldn’t be more thankful to this find gentleman for taking the initiative and pain to arrange this for us without us even asking for it, just so that we could be safe. The world could use more such heroes who find the safety of others as their responsibility. Blessings to this man!!