21 days ago

Kabiguru Rabindranath's mystic creations in Kushtia

This Kuthibari was a big part of Rabi Thakur's life
This Kuthibari was a big part of Rabi Thakur's life Photo : Afra Nawmi

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On a beautiful moonlit night, Rabindranath Thakur sat by the balcony of Shilaidaha Kuthibari, drawing inspiration from the moon's serene beauty for his poem or song. The distant yet visible rivers, Padma and Gorai, mesmerized the great poet through the Kuthibari's wooden windows. Daily, he observed these rivers, which is believed to have led him to compose the poem 'Amader Choto Nodi' (Our Little River).

Photo credit: Afra Nawmi

To break the monotony of life, he occasionally would ride a Bajra (barge), gliding along the rivers with a gentle breeze and calm waves. In the tranquillity of the Kuthibari and the Padma boat, his pen brought forth some of his finest works, including 'Sonar Tari,' 'Chitra,' and 'Chaitali', and many more.

Standing on the balcony, Thakur often witnessed clouds breaking into rain, washing away the dust from the earth, inspiring his monsoon-themed creations.

Besides managing his zamindari duties, he wrote daily and night. The unexplainable beauty of Bengal provided the backdrop for many of his renowned short stories, inspired by the lives of local people, their daily struggles, and the surrounding nature. 
This resulted in works such as 'Katha and Kahini,' 'Khanika,' 'Naivedya,' 'Kheya,' and many poems from 'Padma Parva,' as well as plays, novels, and letters.

Here, he began translating 'Gitanjali' into English, a work that would later earn him the Nobel Prize. It is also believed that during his stay in this building, he wrote the song 'Amar Shonar Bangla,' which was customized later to become the national anthem of Bangladesh.

Biswakabi had a lot of friends from his cultural circles. Often, he invited friends and fellow intellectuals to Shilaidaha to share in its beauty. Notable visitors included Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, Dwijendralal Roy, Pramath Chowdhury, Mohitlal Majumdar, and Lokendranath Palit and other famous scientists, writers and intellectuals of Bengal came here on various occasions.

Thakur's deep affection for Shilaidaha and the Padma River is evident in his letters, in which the poet wrote, 'The pilgrimage of my youth and old age was to Padma-kissed Shilaidah Pali.

Shilaidaha Rabindra Kuthibari, situated seven kilometres north of Kushtia on the banks of the Padma in Kumarkhali Upazila, is a historical site closely associated with Thakur. 
Known initially as Khorshedpur, the village was renamed Shilaidah over time. During the reign of the British East India Company, an indigo planter named Shelly built a house in this village.

The village became known as Shelli-Dah from a deep 'dah' (eddy current) created by the confluence of the Garai and Padma rivers running around the town.

Later on, the evolution of time got the name Shilaidah. In 1807, Thakur's grandfather, Dwarkanath Thakur, acquired the zamindari of this region, and in 1889, Rabindranath Thakur took over its management until 1901. He composed several of his most famous verses and songs during his twelve-year stay.

Photo credit: Afra Nawmi

Rabindranath Thakur, the Biswakabi, was always inspired by the scenic beauty of Bengal, and he kept double his attention to its nature through his writings.

He also left his poetic step in every corner of the Bengal, Kushtia district. The western district Kushtia of present-day Bangladesh was an essential area during the then-Indian subcontinent.

During British rule, Kushtia became one of the prominent places for business with advanced transport systems.

The Kuthibari building is now a historical place, and the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, restored a museum named the 'Tagore Memorial Museum'. 
Later, with the assistance of the Indian government, this was developed with two other buildings and other required necessities.

This Kuthibari was a big part of Rabi Thakur's life. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the 8.71-meter-high structure features an enclosure wall shaped like Padma waves. It is believed that the walls are in the shape of Padma waves. Can anybody be compared to this creativity?

Photo credit: Afra Nawmi

It is accessed through a simple yet attractive entrance arcade on the south side. 
It has 15 rooms of various sizes, including a large central hall on the ground and second floors. The open balconies on the ground and second floors are partially covered by sloping roofs made of Raniganj tiles.

The upper mezzanine of the ground floor has a sloping ceiling with triangular ends. The second floor's pyramid-shaped roof adds to the building's diversity. The feature of this two-storied house is that once sitting on its two-storied balcony, one could see the Padma on one side and the Garai River on the other.

The Kuthibari contains furniture the Kabiguru and other members used during their stay. Historical photographs and designed pieces of furniture, palanquins, beds, sandals, utensils, chests, and cots offer a glimpse into his life.

When one sees them, they will feel as if they have gone to the time of Kabiguru hundreds of years ago, where the girls of the poet's house are coming down to this cottage from the boat in a palanquin.

The ornaments they use are kept in the ark. There is also a high commode, which is said to have been imported from the then 'billet' (England) for Thakur's use.

Photo credit: Afra Nawmi

A large pond and many aged trees adorn the yard, including mango and pine. Besides, there are many other species of trees, including jackfruit, neem and almond. 
There are two ghats built on both sides of Dighi. One can sit there and relax. There is also a defunct Patkua.

The pond, Thakur's favourite 'Bakultala' tree, and the mystical songs of Baul singers create a timeless atmosphere there. Anybody visiting the Rabindra Kuthibari will lost in the mystic period of Rabindranath.

There are two buildings near the gate of Kuthibari. The two buildings are named Gitanjali and Sonar Tari. There is a library, an auditorium and an office room within. 
Shilaidaha Kuthibari is a popular tourist attraction that draws Bangladeshi and foreign visitors, especially during events commemorating Thakur's birth and death anniversaries.

In front of Kuthibari, visitors can enjoy Kulfi, a local ice cream delicacy. People from nearby districts visit Kuthibari to experience the literary journey of Rabindranath Thakur, who spent a significant part of his life here. 

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