(Last Updated on : 13/01/2010)
"The land of the red soil", Birbhum is also quoted as "a land of brave"(land- "bhumi"; brave-"courageous") because the land was dominated by several brave kings since its advent . Remnants of those civilization once colonized in the region, adds profound historical importance to the immense worth of the land.The district is mainly famous as a heritage place.Bolpur- Shantiniketan, Nannor, Joydev-Kenduli, Amar Kutir etc. are the principal sites of attraction here.
Shantiniketan , ("the abode of peace") having the unifying blend of culture & heritage, constitutes the heart of tourist attraction in Birbhum. Originally Debendranath Tagore pointed the place to practice religious meditation but Rabindranath shifted from the tradition of religious meditation & initiated an experimental school known as "Brhamacharya Ashrama"here with the solemn aim to educate the students in the lap of nature and introduce the "Tapovana" system of ancient learning. "Tapovana" in
Shantinikatan is an important place of tourist attraction. Besides the trees of ample variety, around the ashrama by Tagore attracts tourists on a large scale.Chhatimtala (a place selected by Debendranath tagore for meditation), Upasana griha(prayer hall,made of several colored Belgium glasses with marble steps), Dehali(Tagare used to live here with his wife ), China Bhavan(center of chinese studies & famous for the architectural trappings over the wall), Uttarayan (garden with five houses)& Shyamali(the mud house whereTagore met Gandhiji) etc are the famous heritage places for which Shantiniketan is the site of indomitable attraction to the tourist. The oldest building , Shantiniketan Griha & the biggest building Udayana,where Tagore spend his last days add elegance to the traditional value of the place. The Museum & the Archive , located at the Uttarayana complex containing old manuscripts & personal belongings of Rabindranath is one of the principal cenyer in the region.
Apart from these , Nannor( birth place of famous lyric poet of 14th century Chandidas), Joydev-Kenduli( birth place of Joydeva, great Sanskrit poet flourished in 12th century), Amar Kutir , the renowned cottage industry etc are the well known tourist spot in the district.
The district Birbhum once was mythologically very imporatant. Several Shakti peethas sprang up throughout the region by the patronage of sages performing "tantric activities".Hence the region has religious importance from the prehistoric times. Tarapith, Bakreswar,Kankalitala, Labhpur etc are the famous religious site yet the tourist spot which were once the famous Shakti peethas. Tarapith , the holy religious place, is named after the traditional conception tht the eye ball( tara) of Sati fell here.Though Tarapith was once a shakti peeth, it owes its own sanctity to the fact that sage Basistha here worshipped Sati in the form of Tara. As a religious peeth, it is visited by a group of pilgrims who constitute the vast chunk of domestic tourist. The existence of "Shivalingam" constituute Bakreswar as a famous religious site. It is a holy place with attractive hot springs.The hot springs are reputed to cure numerous chronic ailments, hence Bakreswar is also famous as a "change-over" for the patients.
Kankalitala , is one of the fifty two peethas where the dismembered parts of Sati fell.Labhpur is also famous as one of the sacred peetha where the dead body of Sati fell. The famous temple of goddess Fullora also adds some interest to the religious importance of the place.
In addition to the heritage & religious places, Birbhum is also known all over for its unique fair & festivals. The fairs & festivals represent theheritage of the land keeping in pace with modernity. Vriksharopana& Halkkarshan is one of the popular festival introduced by Tagore, which is accompanied by dance & music clearly indicates to the tradition of worshopping nature as was propounded by Tagore.A vast mass of tourist attended the festival in the month of August. But it is the Pous mela, generally organised on 7th of Pous (december - january) is the greatest festival which fetches the largest amount of tourist folk. It is held every year to celebrate Maharshi`s intentions of foundation of Brahmo religion & "Brahmacharya Ashrama".
Folk artists from rural bengal like "fakirs & bouls" attend the mela. Silpotsava, in the month of September is the majestic exhibition of handicrafts of the Shantiniketan Industries gathers a band of tourist in the fair. A big fair held in Bakreswar on the occasion of Sivaratri is of immense attraction . Annual mela every year is arranged every year in Kenduli,before the last day of bengali Pous and first 2 days of Magh which was attended by thousands of pilgrims including the bauls.
However the tourism in Birbhum supplement a major part of disrict`s income along with the Agriculture & Industry.