Best of Bengal


  • Sitalpati, a kind of mat, is perhaps the most notable and popular product among the handicrafts of Cooch Behar; unlike other kinds of mats woven in Bengal, Sitalpati is more exquisite, with Barokodali, Ghughumari and Nakkati-Pushnadanga of Cooch Behar district being the hubs of Sitalpati craft.

  • The quality of the Sitalpati mat is judged by its glossiness, smoothness and fine texture, and it is said that the best kind of Sitalpati is so smooth that even a snake cannot glide over it.

  • Sitalpati mat provides a feeling of coolness (hence the name 'Sital' or 'Sheetal') to a person sitting or sleeping on it (suitable for the warm and humid climate of West Bengal) – this, coupled with the aesthetic appeal and utilitarian value of these mats, has made them increasingly visible in large towns and metropolitan cities, thus expanding their traditional market. 

  • While the women folk specialise in the weaving, the men collect green patidai or mohtra reeds - the raw material required for these mats, made with long-stemmed knotless reeds that grow profusely in marshy areas.

  • Coarse pati (mat) is generally made of cane, bamboo and straw, while an improved pati is made of cane; one variety of pati is made of leaves of the date tree; the wide and substandard pati is called ‘Fat mat’, and thin layered pati is called ‘Sitalpati’.

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