Santiniketan is often called a land of red soil . Surul is one of the villages adjascent to Visva Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore .A major part of this central university with the whole of its Sriniketan campus ,stands within Surul mouja . The rajbari or the ‘barobari ‘ of surul is just three and half kilometers away from Bolpur Santiniketan.
The Sarkar family of Surul Rajbari or Barobari is one of the traditional families of West Bengal,mainly known for the Durga Puja . This family has a great contribution behind establishment of Visva Bharati ,founded by Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore .
Wikipedia On Surul :
Surul consists of a large population of Bagdis, Bauris, Haris and Doms, as well as weavers. The Sarkar’s who were Zamindars of this Birbhum District brought in Brahmins and other upper castes. The Sarkar family at Surul had contributed a vital role towards socio-economic development of the overall area and also towards establishment of Visva-Bharati, an Institution of National Importance
During British rule in India, this Surul used to be a very significant area, being the strategic centre of business/commerce/trade and was also the site of a commercial residency under John Cheap. After East India Company gave up its mercantile dealings in 1835, the residency was allowed to fall into decay.
History Of Sarkar Family:
We all have heard of the Sarkar Family of Surul but Sarkar is not their actual surname .It is their title given by the then British Government .Their original surname is Ghosh .Bolpur is not even their native place .
In the beginning of eighteenth century Bharat Chandra Sarkar came to stay at the house of his guru at bolpur from Nilpur, Bardwan.The name of his guru was Basudev Bhattacharya .Bharat Chandra lived in his guru’s house with his wife for a long time . After the birth of their son Krishnahari ,Bharat Chandra decided to settle here down .Krishnahari’s son was Srinivas who became famous for his success in business with the British .Srinivas Sarkar acquired and built the Surul rajbari in its present condition .
Normally it is found in the barowari pujas that after the immersion of the idol Durga the thakur dalan remains empty. But here it is noticed that the kathamo (the structure )of the Durga idol is retained in the thakur dalan after immersion .
Durga Puja And Sarkar Family:
The Surul Rajbari or Barobari is famous for its Durga Puja .Durga Puja was introduced by Bharat Chandra almost 250 years ago and it is still being carried out by their present generation .
This type of kori borga can not be found in the resent time any more .
Mr.Amitava Gupta , photographer and travelogue writer ,has also mentioned in his blog :
Though the past generation pomp and show are not present to that extent, yet during the four days of Puja the Rajbari is decorated with fancy Jhar Lights. Local artiste performs theaters and the immersion of the idol is done with a gala procession.
Visitors may watch the Durga Puja of this family during the festival .The thakur dalan where the worship is being carried on remains open to all during the puja .
If you want to feel the pulse of this aristocratic family you have to visit the Surul Rajbari to have a first hand experience . It would be better if you come during Durga Puja to enjoy the festivity of the Sarkar family .