Baghrol Basa homestay is an old 17th-century house once owned by a rich local Jamindar or landlord. It was restored to its old glory using traditional restoration techniques. Along with homely comfort, one can also enjoy the natural pools of water, engage in fishing and experience the local Bengali village culture. We offer our resident guests authentic Bengali recipes that our chefs painstakingly recreated.
Observing wildlife in the swamps that too in human dominated landscapes is tricky and we perfected a unique safari model. Our wildlife activities are conducted at night time, from dusk and end at dawn. The guests rest during the day and enjoy the comforts of the property and experience local culture. At night, we use a ToTo – a battery-operated vehicle, encourage a bit of walking and use hides to observe wildlife that is mostly cryptic and nocturnal in nature. We identified several locations for hides, where one waits to watch nightlife. Our safari is a unique opportunity to observe the fishing cat and other animals at a close distance. In these swamps, the fishing cat is the top predator and the local people rightly call it the Tiger that eats Fish – MECHOBAGHA.
Heritage, Baghrol Basa, formally known as ‘Ghosh Bari’ has a long history. Sri Pitambar Ghosh, a Jamindar from the lower floodplains of Bengal, built this 17th Century Ghosh Bari house. It is situated at Kalbansh village of Amta, Howrah. In this area, flooding is a common phenomenon and how this property survived natures wrath remains a mystery. The last known famous personality from the original owner’s family was Sri Gajendranath Ghosh and he is renowned for contributing immensely to the development of Kalbansh village. He donated lands and buildings for education, promoted cultural events and was approachable to people from all walks of life. Mr Ghoshs’ family has a long history of involvement in sports, local artand culture, which can be seen to this day. Currently, Mr Ashim Ghosh, a distant descendant, lives in this house with his family. It’s a story that goes back three centuries and a third of the house is still in use. Once called Ghosh Bari the property is now renamed as Baghrol Basa and offers insights into the real life of local Jamindars and their old, unchanged culture.
Baghrol Basa- Baghrol meaning fishing cat in Bengali and Basa means nest or house. As the name suggests, Baghrol Basa is a home in the swamps just like a fishing cats nest. Here, we set up a research and conservation program to conserve the fishing cat and fund it using the money from the revenues that the homestay generates. We chose a conservation model that involves local people in all facets of management. They helped renovate the old-fashioned building, they run it and they are also involved in fishing cat conservation activities.
The Features of the homestay:
- a)The Jamindar Suites:This was the main suite or the bedroom of the Jamindar and miraculously survived floods. The suite has been restored to its original glory along with modern conveniences. These include a clean and functional toilet, dining area and an open balcony which is surrounded by an orchid garden.
- b)Clay Jamindar Suite: Enjoy the stylish Jamindar Clay suite made from locally available natural material. In the year 1978, this section of the property wasflooded and destroyed along with other clay houses in this area. The carefully rebuilt house has a functional toilets, a grand dining room, a balcony with a view and an orchid garden.
Other features of the home stay
- a)An interactive area cum dining hall- we encourage active interaction amongst people in the homestay.
- b)A living museum: The whole property is like a living natural history museum with real wildlife and culture facets.
- c)Fresh Water ponds: The 4 in-housefresh water ponds are open and friendly for fishing cats and other wildlife. Additionally, fish is caught for personal consumption, angling is allowed and the adventurous can also swim in the warm waters.
- d)Organic Farming: We promote organic farming and our home garden provided vegetables and fruits yearlong for consumption. We also grow local medicinal plants and herbs.
- e)We created an open butterfly garden.
- f)Eco-friendly safari: We use a battery operated safari car called TOTO which is soundless.
- g)Local Bengali Cuisine: The food we serve, though local in nature, is in many ways deferent from the popular Bengali cuisine. We promise an authentic taste of flood plainsof Bengal.
- h)Local Art, Crafts and Culture: Local Arts, crafts, music are part of Baghrol Basa.