Sanibarer Haat:A rustic venue of Shantiniketan

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Sanibarer Haat is nothing but a popular Saturday marketplace held in Shantiniketan. This legendary town is an art-lovers paradise that neither disappoints nor disappoints a craft lover. It is flushed with treasures handcrafted by humble artisans. 

Sanibarer Haat:A rustic venue of Shantiniketan
Sanibarer Haat

On Saturday, all the local artisans visit Khoai in Shonajhuri. The literal meaning of Sonajhuri is “droplets of gold”. When the Sonajhuri trees shed their tiny yellow flowers in winter, the forest seems to have a downpour of gold. Rabindranath Tagore has immortalised this unique look of the forest in many of his compositions. 

Sanibarer Haat
Local Artisan product

Khoai is surrounded by the famous meandering Kopai river with its knee-deep water ( Tagore’s ‘Amader Choto nodi’) and Bonerpukur Adivasi (tribal) village dotted with mud houses. The Shyambati canal emulsifies the beauty of this Haat on one side, and a patch of Sonajhuri dry forest eroded landscape of red laterite soil on the other side.


The market has evolved into a hub for local street food and other artsy things, making it a lively venue to spend a free Saturday evening over the passing years. Whether looking for beaded accessories, furniture, interior artefacts, or locally produced food, bring your discerning vision to this Haat. Apart from the crafts and baul songs, the atmosphere was incredible.


Finding a haat in cities and towns these days is very easy. Still, you are looking for an authentic village haat. In that case, the Sanibarer haat or Khoai Mela is the place to be. At this open-air market, the humble artisans put up their kiosks to sell what they excel at. Seated with their wares at the edge of Sonajhuri Forest and the dry riverbed, the artisans and sellers earn their livelihood by attracting potential customers.

Sanibarer Haat

Their products range from Kantha embroidered sarees or artefacts, locally made musical instruments, slate carvings, and wooden artefacts to organically grown vegetables or traditional food items and various pieces of jewellery made from terracotta, okra and seeds. The sellers use local raw materials and make it unique with their fresh and innovative ideas and craftsmanship. For instance, locally grown Kashi has baskets, trinket boxes, or jewellery made with rice straws. This is a very pertinent idea as we Indians have always liked to live in harmony with our surroundings. 

Kantha Saree

This Haat also celebrates this harmony in a unique way to revive Indian traditional arts and crafts for long-term survival. After all, the spirit and soul of India rests in the rural communities—a confederation of self-reliant, self-employed villagers earning their livelihood by producing goods in the village.

Sanibarer Haat
Tribal Dance

As far as pure entertainment is concerned, the Haat offers Baul singers and tribal dancers dressed in catchy clothes to sing amazing folk songs to the tunes of Ektara or Dotara. And for the food, vendors at the haat sell Bengali sweets, salted savouries, and other beverages. 

Baul Song

The Haat starts operation from 3 p.m. onwards. To visit the venue, onboard a toto (a shared battery-equipped vehicle) from any location in Shantiniketan. Since there is no electricity supply at the Haat, the sellers start winding up their wares around sundown. So, be sure to finish your shopping spree by 6 p.m. to avoid the massive rush of people. Also, the dusty market might bother you; wear shoes to keep the dustout.

Artist making Sketches

The forest, the red-soil pathway, the heat, and a gorgeous setting sun are the things that make Sanibarer Haat a visit to remember in Shantiniketan.


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