(Last Updated on : 21/11/2013)
Shantiniketan, an international level university- town, is known for its unsurpassed natural, intellectual and cultural heritage. It has become a tourist spot because of its association with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore
. The natural charm of Shantiniketan is of course a major draw in itself.
Maharshi Debendranath Tagore
, the father of Rabindranath Tagore established Shantiniketan as a village in 1863. Rabindranath Tagore, who was the Noble Laureate, had a mission to spread the oriental education in a free manner, set up a Bramhacharya school here, which later came to be known as the Patha Bhavan in 1901. Rabindranath converted it into an experimental open-air school (Chatim tala) with just five students. But now, it is a full-fledged University with colleges of science, teacher's training, Hindi
, Sino-Indian studies, arts and crafts, and music and dance. The various buildings of different theme designed by Rabindranath Tagore himself inside the Visva-Bharati
campus are the main attractions of Santiniketan. The houses are named as: Dehali, China Bhavana, Black House, Shantiniketan Griha, Kala Bhavan, Uttarayan Complex, Bichitra, Sangeet Bhavan and Chhatimtala. Rabindranath started a rural reconstruction center at Shriniketan in the year 1922, which is 3 km from Shantiniketan. This is the centre for traditional handicrafts like batik, pottery, weaving, Kantha embroidery
The whole place of Shantiniketan thus is the reminiscent of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore and his vision of International University. Santiniketan is famous for its various festivals also; Poush Mela
, Maghotsab, Basanta Utsab etc are a major landmark on the Bengali's culture calendar. The Dol Jatra of Shantiniketan is indeed very atmospheric. The entire campus is decorated with alpana and people sing Holi
songs based on Rabindrasangeet.
There are other tourist attractions in Shantiniketan. Some of them are Kankalitala, which is a sacred Satipithas, located on the bank of the Kopai River. Others are Fullora, Nalhati
, Kendubilwa, Nanoor, Tarapith
, and the other nature and historical places of interest emerged in the ancient and colonial Bengal.
The best time to visit Shantiniketan is spring although tourists also flock during autumn and winter.
One can reach Shantiniketan from Kolkata by train or by bus. Direct bus Service is available from Kolkata