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West Bengal’s boat culture comes alive in Kankurgachi museum walk

Foreign diplomats and others become acquainted with varied heritage

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 11.04.22, 06:18 AM
The replica of the boat used by Rabindranath Tagore

The replica of the boat used by Rabindranath Tagore

A group of guests, mostly from abroad, has got a taste of West Bengal’s heritage, including its rich boat culture, during an hour-long walk through Ambedkar Bhavan - Cultural Research Institute in Kankurgachi.

The guests visited a boat museum, an ethnographic museum and a curio corner housed in the institute during Saturday’s walk, organised by a trust that researches heritage.


The boat museum showcases 46 wooden replicas of boats, which represent the richness of Bengal’s “boat culture”, said Samrat Chowdhury, co-founder and chief mentor of Baul (Bespoke Art & Unique Legacies) Foundation, which organised the walk.

“The walk has been curated to highlight the cultural heritage of the riverine economy through boats.”

One of the replicas at the boat museum, set up by the state government’s backward classes welfare department in 2014, is of the boat that Rabindranath Tagore would ride during his visits to the part of Bengal that is now Bangladesh.

Another is that of cargo boat Goluiya, which even now ferries fruits, vegetables and cereals from Farakka in Murshidabad to Bhagalpur in Bihar through the Ganges.

The idea behind the walk was to create awareness of the heritage artefacts, boats, tribal attires and traditional puppets, Chowdhury said.

“We have to spread out the knowledge so that people start visiting (museums) and know about the heritage,” said Chowdhury.

Among the participants in the walk were diplomats from the US, Japan, China, Australia and Thailand.

“The foreign diplomats are keen to know about Indian art and cultural exchanges. We want to create such an awareness that the museum comes to national limelight and whoever visits Kolkata makes it a point to visit the museum,” said Chowdhury.

He also pointed out that dissemination of information would depend on who it was aimed at.

“Even students are interested in heritage. We have to inform them about it in a way that will be of interest to them,” said Chowdhury.

Last updated on 11.04.22, 06:18 AM

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