Take me home, country roads ... Basant Utsav in Bolpur, Shantiniketan

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Every individual wants to return back to their childhood days in some stage of life, but there are certain times, when you feel the urge even more badly. Such is the time of Holi or Dol Yatra, when I feel like going back to my golden days of innocence, which I spent in Bolpur - a small suburban town near Shantiniketan ("Abode of Peace"), where stands the international university of Vishwa Bharati founded by Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Holi or Basant Utsav used to be, or rather still is a very vibrant affair in Shantiniketan. Every year, the students of Vishwa Bharati University, attired in colorful dresses like yellow, celebrate the festival in a very special way. They are joined in by people from all across the country as well as by tourists from all over the world. A number of cultural programs, including group choreography, songs and dance performances, are staged, which are then followed by frolic, as everybody smear each other with “abeer”- the colored powders and express festive wishes.

The memories of Holi spent in Bolpur are still fresh in my heart, and the fragrance of palash flowers (Flame of the Forest) and abeer still makes me nostalgic every time the festival is near. ... And did you ask me about jewelry? - Yes, it definitely formed a very important part of our special Holi attire. And to do the good there was abundance of palash, jasmine, marigold, gulmohar florets and chrysanthemums – the Colors of Spring!