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Travelogue: Bishnupur, The Paradise of Terracotta
You know those trips that you plan with your friends? And you are really excited looking forward to it. Well, I had the same experience on my trip to Bishnupur! My friends and I were hyped about it! We had to wait almost till the end of the year (2019) for it, but it was definitely worth it.
A month before the trip though, we had to go to a school meeting regarding the trip, our parents were there too, some of us were unhappy because phones weren't allowed. But, the trip was quite fun without our phones, as we communicated a lot more and cameras were allowed so we took tons of pictures and videos with that.
The day arrived and I woke up at 5am on a December chilly morning to reach my school which is 45mins away from my house. I got ready and ate a sandwich as my breakfast.
Then, we started driving to school and I was the first person to reach school, my mates started showing up a few minutes after me. After most of the students came, our bags were checked to make sure we weren't carrying our phones or any other device (except for a camera). Then we started getting up on our buses, all my friends came, but my best friend was pretty late and hadn't shown up yet.
I was starting to get annoyed and concerned at the same time. Finally, she came five minutes later and we sat together. We started talking about all the fun things we're going to do for the next two days! We said our goodbyes to our parents and then the buses started moving. We kept switching seats with each other throughout the journey like we are playing music chair. Everyone started playing “truth or dare” and then we stopped at a gas station for fuelling and for rest to take a bio break or just get some fresh air.
After that we got our lunches, so we started eating and talking to each other, after a while our teacher started playing songs for us. One of my friend is really good at dance so we talked about dance and we bonded over Netflix too, haha! After a while, I changed my seat and sat by my other friend, it'd been at least 3-4hrs and I started to feel sleepy, so I took a power nap.
I woke up when we were at least 20-30mins away from our hotel, I looked outside the window and observed houses and locals. We finally reached, got off the bus and started taking our suitcases or bags, then we formed lines according to our grades (8th and 9th graders were on this trip). The teachers told us our room numbers and room-mates, then we started going up to our rooms.
I had 5 room-mates, all of them were my really close friends too! We had 4 beds, two single beds and two queen sized beds, my best friend was in the room next to me. We changed our outfits and went down to eat lunch. The hotel staff played songs for us and we started dancing, it was really fun!
After that, we got into our carpools, my friends and I were in Car 4, we started singing a bunch of songs and talking to each other and the real Bishnupur trip began. We got off and our first stop was a temple. We saw four different terracotta temples i.e Madan Mohan temple, Shyam Rai temple, Radha Govind temple, and Rasmancha temple, the architecture was beautiful, my friends and I ended up having a whole photo shoot over there!
Right outside of the temples, there were little souvenir shops. I bought this instrument which was made out of wood. The temples were really rich in architecture and each one had a special attraction to satisfy a visitor. In the evening, we returned to our hotel and changed into our pajamas, we went down to eat snacks.
Songs were played for us and we danced for an hour! That was some exercise with fun and frolic .Then my friends and I went up to one of our rooms, we were played “truth or dare” again. Now, we weren't allowed to enter boys' rooms but sometimes I guess breaking the rules are fun, haha!
So after that, we went down for dinner, it was midnight and it was one of my teacher’s birthday, so we wished her and ate some birthday cake as our dessert. We danced some more and we went up to our rooms. My friends and I sat on my bed and we talked about our day and about our lives, between our talks the boys kept calling us and pranking us!
We pranked them too and then we started telling each other scary stories! I slept a little early, but my friends stayed up late till 2am. Apparently, they experienced paranormal activity, but that’s a whole different story. This is how we spent the first day.
The next morning we woke up and went down to exercise. It was pretty boring but funny at the same time, because the exercises were funny! After our exercises we went back up to our rooms, we freshened up and got ready, went down to eat breakfast, and I can’t believe my friends had so much energy early in the morning. They played songs and started to dance after breakfast, I’ve got some crazy friends!
We got into our carpools and we went to a local village. Over there I got to know about life in a village of course, and how in every corner of the village shops were set up, there were lots of jewellery. I thought of buying some for my mum but they were quite expensive. My friend and I also found this little valley at the back of the village, so we decided to check it out and over there we saw pigs just running around and chickens too!
After the village we went to a Saree factory. We saw how Baluchari Sarees were being made which are very famous in Bengal, there was a souvenir shop right inside of the factory, right next to it was the Saree store. So, my teachers checked the store out obviously for themselves, while we actually went to the food shops around the factory to eat snacks.
After that, we got back into our carpools and went back to our hotel for lunch, the teachers were STILL at the store and they probably went to check out some other stores, because it was almost evening when they came back. While they were out, my friends and I had lots of fun! Once they were back, we freshened up again and got into our carpools. We were going to see the Bishnupur Mela and everyone was very excited about going to the mela since, there are so many different local foods and handicrafts, etc.
Once we got there, we formed little groups and we got some time to buy handicrafts and souvenirs, I bought a terracotta teacup and plate and a little terracotta horse or Bankura horse. We noticed some locals dancing and singing in a circle, so we decided to join them! It was very fun and I got a little nervous since people were watching us, but I just went with the flow and eventually calmed down, haha.
Then, we got back into our carpools and decided to go back to our hotel, on the way, we stopped to see the Dal Madal cannon and finally, we went back to our hotel. My friends decided to dance again while I just sat by the pool and ate some snacks. After a while, some of us went up to our rooms to watch a movie. Chhichhore had just released and it’s a great movie to watch with friends!
Once we got there, we formed little groups and we got some time to buy handicrafts and souvenirs, I bought a terracotta teacup and plate and a little terracotta horse or Bankura horse.After the movie ended, we went down to have our dinners and once again, my friends danced and then finally, we went to sleep. At around 3:30 in the morning, I heard a knock, because of the “paranormal activities” my friends experienced I got a little nervous and all my friends were sound asleep, so I didn’t think much of it and went to sleep again.
After a few seconds, I heard the knock again and this time my friend next to me heard it too. We got up and tip-toed over to the door so we don’t wake up our other friends, and I slowly opened the door just to find my best friend outside! She sneaked into our room and then we stayed up talking the rest of the night, like I said, breaking the rules are fun sometimes!
The next day, which was actually our last day in Bishnupur, we freshened up and went down to eat breakfast, I don’t drink coffee much but obviously I had to, since I stayed up all night, I was pretty tired. So that day, we got onto our buses since we were going back to Kolkata, we did stop on our way back at a few souvenir shops, yep, we got lots of chances to buy souvenirs in case some of us didn’t.
It was a 6 hours ride back to Kolkata, and in the middle of it, our bus suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere and we started getting a bit confused because, our teachers were upto something, all of a sudden our teacher held out a bunch of pizza boxes! Everyone got so excited yet confused about the fact that, pizzas were available there.
I decided to take a little nap since we had a long way to go, after I woke up, I realised that we were back in Kolkata. Our trip had ended and we have to get back to our routine lives and study again for exams which were in two months, go to our tuitions and other activities. There was an hour left till school so we just talked to each other about how our trip was and what we experienced overall. Finally, we reached school, our parents were waiting for us there ready to pick us up.
I got my suitcase and went over to my dad, he came to pick me up. I told him about my entire trip and about all the fun that I had there! Once I got home, I showed the souvenirs to my parents and my grandma.
This trip was a really memorable trip for me and my friends, first of all it was without our parents and we also got to learn more about a different place and the locals. I had an amazing experience in Bishnupur and some of us got closer to each other than we were! I’m looking forward to going on more trips like this with my friends; all of us enjoyed the trip very much!
-- Shaina Mohanty/Kolkata
(The author is a student of class IX , a trained Odissi dancer and English pop singer with interest in travelling)