While browsing for some 'off-beat' new year ideas, I came to know that Vishnupur (or Bishnupur in W. Bengal) hosts a cultural fest during the last week of December. Sounded like a perfectly quiet New Year destination. Though it sounded too boring to spend new year there for some, here is what I feel about bringing in the New year in Vishnupur...
Why There: Begin your new year at a slow, serene pace, and discover some hidden architectural wonders of Bengal. Vishnupur is a town of terracotta temples. Master craftsmen from 16th and 17th centuries carved exquisite scenes of local lore, Ramayan, Krishna Leela and tales of valor of the Malla rulers on clay tiles. These were then baked and joined to cover every inch of these temples.
The last week of December sees the sleepy little town bubbling with action as the five-day Vishnupur Festival unfolds.
What’s in Store: A celebration of Mother Earth, concerts of soul-stirring classical Indian music of the Vishnupur gharana, innumerable stalls selling famous Bankura terracotta figurines and toys, sea-shell and bell metal handicrafts, and smooth silks – Tussars and Baluchari Sarees.
While You are Here: Catch up with some history in this capital city of the ancient Malla rulers--roam around bundhs (water reservoirs) and stroll past age-old cannons. You’ll need a full day to entirely capture the detailed carvings of the scores of temples. Grab this chance to watch some terracotta craftsmen and silk weavers in action. Shop your fill of silks.
Moving Nearby: Embark on a soul-searching expedition to Kamarpukur (48 Km) and Jairambati (43 Km), birthplaces of Ramkrishna Paranhansa and his wife, Ma Sarda. A few more km away is the Garh Mandaran fort. Visit the terracotta craft center of Panchmura (25 km) famous for its clay Bankura horse – the official symbol of Indian handicrafts
How to Go: Nearest airport is Calcutta (152 km). Regular buses and trains ply from Calcutta (trains take around 3:30 to 4 hours).