Flaming orange flowers of Palash trees are strewn across the lanes leading to Santiniketan in Birbhum, 162 kilometres away from Kolkata. Spring has come knocking and the season is welcomed with great fervour in West Bengal. While most of India celebrates Holi to welcome spring, here there’s Basant Utsav, or “festival of spring,” a cultural spin to the festival of colours. Rabindranath Tagore introduced this festival in the early 20th century to keep alive the tradition of dance and music and celebrate the changing seasons and worship nature. The festival at its core retains Bengali art and customs, and today draws a crowd from far and wide to the university campus of Viswa Bharati, in Santiniketan. A photographer travelled to Santiniketan to partake in, and chronicle, this riot of colours.
All photographs are clicked by Manjit Singh Hoonjan.
Pooja Naik is Senior Sub-Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She likes to take long leisurely walks with both hands in her pocket; channeling her inner Gil Pender at Marine Drive since Paris is a continent away.
Manjit Singh Hoonjan is an internationally published photographer, living and creating in Calcutta, India. He dedicates his photography to the city and its inhabitants.