Santiniketan (Bangla: শান্তিনিকেতন Shantiniketôn) is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 kilometres north of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).
It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town (Visva-Bharati University) that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Santiniketan is also a tourist attraction because Rabindranath wrote many of his literary classics here, and his house is a place of historical importance.
The weather in Santiniketan is usually a pleasant one although you will come across the normal weather changes during summer, winter and Monsoon. Nonetheless Spring has its own charm in Santiniketan not only because of its natural beauty blooming to its fullest amidst the lush greenery but also due to the famous Vasanta Utsav held to mark the festival of Holi with the onset of Spring.
Utsav / Festivals
Numerous social and cultural events taking place through out the year, have become part and parcel of Santiniketan.These include -
- Basanta Utsav
- Barsha Mangal
- Nandan Mela
- Poush Mela
- Magh Mela
- Rabindra Jayanti
It is a 3-day fair (Bengali, mela means a fair ),starting on the seventh day of the Bengali month Poush(usually, last week of December).It fetches not just tourists, but also artisans, folk singers, dancers, and the traditional Baul from the neighbourhood.
Upasana Griha : A prayer hall, made of several colored Belgium glasses with marble steps on all the four sides by the poet's father in 1863. During evening service, candle is lit around the prayer hall, and it wears a magnificent look in flickering light. Prayers are held on Wednesday.
Dehali : Rabindranath used to live with his wife Mrinali Devi in this two storied building.
China Bhavana : A centre for Chinese studies. Natir Puja, a dance drama of Tagore is painted on its wall under the guidance of Nandalal Bose, pioneering Indian artist.
Black House : A mud building known for its relief works done by stalwarts like Ram Kinkar and Prabhas Sen. Usually the final year student of Visva Bharati stay here.
Santiniketan Griha: The oldest building of Santiniketan.
Kala Bhavan : The College of Fine Arts & Crafts has a museum exhibiting sculptures, frescoes & murals and a library of art books.
Uttarayan Complex : The poet lived and worked in the Northern Complex consisting of several buildings as : Udayana, Konarka, Shyamali, Punascha and Udichi. The Bichitra ( or, Rabindra Bhavan ) designed by the poet's son Rathindranath Tagore.
Bichitra : Also called Rabindra Bhavan, a Research Centre and Museum where the poet's personal belongings, paintings & various editions of his works are exhibited.
Sangeet Bhavan : College of Dance and Music. The University is replete with works on Art, Music and the Humanities.
Chhatimtala : Here Maharshi Devendranath, the father of Rabindranath Tagore, used to meditate. Prayers are held usually at Convocation time. Successful graduates of the Vishwa Bharati University are presented a branch of five leaves each from the Saptaparni trees which abound in the area.
Kankalitala: On the bank of the river Kopai is Knankalitala, one of the sacred Satipithas. A temple there.
Gardens and Parks at Shantiniketan
Deer Park : Near Sriniketan, 3 km from Shantiniketan. Originally, the area was a fast eroding `Khowai'. It is now a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
Grameen (Bolpur), Sarvodaya Ashram (Bolpur), (Handicrafts & handlooms) Vishwa Bharati Shilpa Sadan (Shantiniketan), Shantiniketan Cooperative Stores (Shantiniketan).
Famous To Eat at Shantiniketan
The food here is Bengali, one must try the fish curry, brinjal curry because the bengalis here are famous for their fish curry.