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Saptahik Sanskriti Haat – Agartala’s unique weekly rendezvous


Waves of joy and excitement have been reverberating at Sen Para for the last few days as the hamlet in the Noabadi area near Agartala hosted the State’s first Saptahik Sanskriti Haat.

Local people along with the organizers of this unique venture, Bangla Sankritik Baloy, were busy decorating and beautifying the hamlet with interesting motifs that were, once part of our lives, but lost their places owing to necessity and modernity - like cooking in earthen Chullah, rural children's favourite paper made Nauka and a big size decorated boat-look-alike with a now discarded Hyrican (Lantern) etc. 

“Residents of the Sen Para woke up to a different Sunday on December 10. It was filled with expectations and excitement as the entire village was preparing to host the inauguration of the Haat”, Sabak Bhattacharjee, the president of the Sanskriti Baloy said.

| Also Read : Tripura CM inaugurates Weekly Cultural Haat |

In the presence of Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha and other dignitaries, a new chapter in the State’s history was scripted.    

Set up on the lush green-top ground, surrounded mostly by mud and tin-made houses on three sides and a dense jungle on the one side, a perfect ambience was created at the Saptahik Sanskriti Haat where one can just sit and relax and spend the whole afternoon enjoying State's unique culture and traditions. 

Saptahik-Sanskriti-hut-tripuraBeautifully placed intricate artefacts and a display of colourful items of the participating SHGs in the backdrop of greenery are a treat for the eyes. With a cool breeze blowing, the aroma of the traditional snacks - ‘Patisapta Pitha’, ‘Chanchur muri’, hot and crispy ‘Daaler Bora’ - will make visitors vie for those.

On one side, ‘Mancha’ - bamboo-made sitting places - have been made just like normal rural markets where people can sit and gossip over a cup of tea with snacks. In one of the two Mancha, Baul singers were presenting their soothing and rhythmic Baul songs. 

“The Saptahik Sanskriti Haat presents a unique amalgamation of cultural heritage of Bengali and indigenous communities as well as Hindus and Muslims”, Bhattacharjee said.

He also said, around 30 SHGs belonging to different ethnicities and religions put up stalls to sell their products. Intricately woven Risa, Chador and Kurta drew the attention of Haat-revelers.

Cottage-industries-tripuraCottage Industries are considered as the backbone of the rural economy – and it got its rightful place in the Haat. Wooden ‘Jal Chowki’ and ‘Ghutni’ (used for stirring Daal) - once integral items of rural households – were back in the Haat and many were seen bargaining for these. Besides, handmade showpieces adored the stalls.        

“Apart from being a shopper’s paradise, the Haat is a perfect merger of art, craft, music and dance”, said Babul Debnath and Sukriti Nath, the singers who pulled the crowd with their mind-blowing Baul songs and music.

As the sun began to set, casting long shadows, the vendors started packing up their wares, visitors moving away leaving behind a trail of laughter and memories. The villagers, visitors and SHG members slowly return to their homes, anticipating coming back the next Sunday, when the magic of the Haat will come alive once again.

(First published in Tripura Times newspaper)

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