Natungram is the hub of the wooden doll making artists also known as 'Sutradhars' (narrator or story teller). Carved out of a single piece of wood, these dolls from ancient folklores and mythology, are characterised by their vibrant colour and ethnic style. The owl, considered auspicious as the escort of Goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, is the brand product of Natungram. Artists also make figures of Radha-Krishna carved out of a single block of wood, Durga, Gour Nitai and Raja Rani.
The village has its own Community Museum constructed by West Bengal Khadi Village & Industries Board as part of Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles, Government of West Bengal and UNESCO initiative. The Resource Center which houses the museum also has lodging facility. Every year in January the artist community organises a festival known as Wooden Doll Festival to showcase their craft.
Visit and watch the artists at work. Learn the technique and know the stories behind. Visit the Community Museum. Explore Kathiya Baba Ashram, stroll along Bhagirathi River, relax on the bank of Nimbarka Sarovar. Visit nearby temples in Agradweep, Nabadwip and Katwa.
Nearest railway station is Agradwip or Katwa. It is about 1.5 hours drive from Bardhaman or Santiniketan and takes 4 hours from Kolkata.
One can enjoy stay at the Community Resource Centre with well furnished lodging facilities with basic amenities that are available for the guests. There are hotels in Katwa town too.
The double storied Resource Centre at Natungram has four rooms - two on the ground floor and two on the first floor. Each room can accommodate four persons. Guests can relish the traditional Indian cuisine at the artists' places. The Resource centre also houses a saw mill and a workshop where the crafts men can be seen working. Craftsmen assemble here to work daily and the tourists can interact, watch them work, and can also make purchases.
Cut from a single piece of wood and characterised by their trademark ethnic designs and vibrant colours, the dolls of Natungram are the personification of the rural art of Bengal. There are about 60 families pursuing this traditional art form, where the men do the carving and chiseling while the women do the painting. While the village is known for its unique Owls, their Radha-Krishna and King-Queen dolls are also highly sought after.
The Government of West Bengal, in partnership with UNESCO, has developed Rural Craft Hub at Natungram.
Every year the artists of Natungram celebrate their tradition through a village fair in the middle of January. The fair named Wooden Doll Festival will be held this year on January 20 - 22, 2017. One can enjoy the colourful folk festival at the time of village fair and also visit the place throughout the year to explore process of carving the wooden dolls.