My stay at The Garden Bungalow Shantiniketan was mesmerizing – experienced Rajbari like ambiance

I stay in Mumbai and if an outsider asks me to recommend a 5 star property in my city then I will guide them to JW Marriot as it is the most luxurious property I have seen in Mumbai. More so as it is next to the Mumbai airport. However, if someone asks me to recommend an excellent property in Shantiniketan, – Tagore’s abode, home to Viswa Bharati University then I will say – ‘The Garden Bungalow’. The Garden Bungalow Shantiniketan is a boutique hotel owned by Delhi based artist Sanjay Bhattacharya and run by his son Ronojoy Bhattacharya. Beautifully envision”ed and created, this 11 year old property can give you a lifetime of experience. You can stay like a Zamindar in this property that has been styled like an old Rajbari. Every nook and corner has been artistically designed. This speaks volumes about the taste of the architect. It was made for personal use by the artist but since 10 months or so the property has been rolled out for the guests. It is the most expensive property in Shantiniketan but you don’t mind paying for a novelty, do you?

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan, best place to stay in Shantiniketan, Sanjay Bhattacharya

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan, mati badi – image by Advocate Bisweswar Ghosh

#TheGardenBungalow #Shantiniketan #Bolpur

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Shantiniketan is a small town located in Bolpur. The easiest way to reach here is by car or through rail. We bought our flight tickets from Jet airways to reach Kolkata. From there we headed to Burdwan to spend Diwali with my sister and her family. It was a beautiful Diwali at her place. The best part was that the kids got along very well. After Diwali, we decided to drive down to Shantiniketan from Burdwan, which is 1.5 hours away. It is a beautiful drive with small villages dotting the landscape. West Bengal is full of greenery, water bodies and fresh air. Ask Mumbaikars, how much we love crisp fresh air after spending days in pollution. Shantiniketan offers that for free. Loads of it. It is full of art and culture. The local Toto drivers (Toto is a cross between an autorickshaw and a bike) are more than keen to take you around the famous 18 spots in town which are in the vicinity. We paid them Rs 600 for the tour. They took us around the campus and gave us valuable information about the Teen Pahadi Banyan Tree, sculptures in Kala Bhawan, The glass temple, etc. We visited the Tagore museum that gave us a glimpse into the life of the famous poet and Nobel laureate. Unfortunately, Tagore’s Nobel Prize was stolen a few years back and now a replica has been placed instead. I also saw Amartya Sen’s house in the campus. No wonder, his genius mind was sharpened by the university legends in his formative years.

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan

Paka Badi – image by Advocate Bisweswar Ghosh

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan

Inside paka badi

Now coming back to The Garden Bungalow – located in a residential area, a little further from the campus, it is an ideal set up. The lane leading to the property is narrow so be careful with big cars. Else, it is set in a perfect location, away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas. It is near to nature. You can see various birds perched on its big verandah. A pukur (pond) is right behind it. The property consists of paka badi (concrete house) and mati badi (mud house). Both are great in their own way. Mati badi doesn’t have air-conditioners, so if you are wary of hot and humid climates, better stay in paka badi. The rooms are huge, spacious and full of vintage furniture. The four post bed in my room was bigger than a king size bed. The mirror was giant. You have to see it to understand its grandeur. The room had many windows allowing natural light and air to get inside. The wooden window shutters are made in old style. The wooden doors led to the verandah. The toilets are modern but right outside the room. Many might find it inconvenient but we didn’t face any issues. The entire bungalow is decorated with antiques and furniture collected from Bengal’s aristocratic households. In place of towels, they offer Gamcha to support local craft. The dining area is outside the rooms, where locally grown and home cooked food is served. Bengali thali in veg, fish and meat options are served if you tell them in advance. They also serve Chinese food, but with a hint of Bengali touch (you know when you add a little too much sweetness to fish hot garlic gravy). The village rosogullas were to die for. Absolute yum! All said and done, the food was excellent and hygienic. They do not serve alcohol but allow personal liquor.

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan

Verandah outside paka badi

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan

Wood carved doors – image by Advocate Bisweswar Ghosh

In The Garden Bungalow Shantiniketan, the paka badi is located towards the end of the garden. You will find many trees like that of Chikoo, Grape Fruit, and Mango in the garden. The garden has two ponds with lilies and a sculpture of Maa Durga in metal. But the highlight is the two storied mati badi. See the pictures and experience how beautiful and rustic it is. Next time I will definitely stay at the mati badi. While we were there a couple was getting there pre-wedding shoot done. They also arrange village excursions and nature walks. This place is ideal for family outings. It has a lot of space for children, and they can learn new things and play in the garden. Get a chess board and sit here for hours. The quietness will not bore you, but it will be rejuvenating. If you want some action, you can always walk down to the campus area or the local shops to buy some souvenirs. The parking is decent, not very big. 

The Garden Bungalow, Shantiniketan

For more information, you can visit their website http://www.thegardenbungalow.com/

Have you stayed in any good property in Shantiniketan. Do suggest. Leave your comments below.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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