Day 2: Biding in Bolpur

I’ve beaten kokils today
You know how? Today I woke up even before they could start twittering..
As I write this, only now I could hear them chirping …
Birbhumer bhor bela!
What a feeling! What a divine sensation!
Words defy my expression.

Sneaking a peek into BIRBHUM’s history:
Several stories have been put forward regarding the derivation of the name Birbhum. According to Sir William Hunter, it means the land of heroes (Virbhum). Another suggestion is that it signifies forest land, bir in Santhal means jungle.
I was reading L.S.S. Omalley’s book on Birbhum.
A third derivation is connected with the traditional history of the district. It is said that once upon a time the Raja of Bishnupur went out hawking in this part of his kingdom. He threw off one of the birds in pursuit of a heron, which turned upon its pursuer with great fury and came out victorious.
This unusual incident took the king by surprise who thought it must have been due to some mysterious quality in the soil…that the soil was in fact vir mati (the victorious soil) and that whatever might be brought forth by that soil would be endowed with heroic energy and power. Then he called it virbhumi.
However, for locals it means simply the territory of the Bir Rajas, Bir being the title borne by its early Hindu rulers, just as Man, Singh and Dhal were the titles of the chiefs of Manbhum, Singhbhum and Dhalbhum.
Now, kokils are at full throttle!!! Wow! They are having a blast, as it were…
Orey torra oth….rey…they seem to be saying
Good Morning, Birbhum!

countryside ride final
PHOTO: TATHAGATA BANERJEE

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