Santiniketan – Abode of Rabindranath Tagore
The distinguished town of Shantiniketan is world renowned. Shantiniketan was founded by Maharishi Debendranath Tagore, the illustrious father of the Noble Laureate and poet of India, Rabindranath Tagore. Located in the Bolpur district of West Bengal, the town was converted by Rabindranath Tagore into an abode of progressive learning. In 1901, he built an ashram modeled on the ancient Gurukul system of India and settled there for a long time till 1941. Today, the small ashram has evolved into a deemed centre of Education and Cultural studies and is known as the Viswa Bharati University which was founded in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore himself. The Viswa Bharati University had been home to many erudite figures of that age. The esteemed University is known for its exceptional standards of learning and is attended by students from all over the world. The environment of study is unique where classrooms are open-air. Classes are conducted on the extensive campus ground surrounded by scenic natural beauty of the place. The destination is not only popular with students but also tourists and visitors worldwide who are attracted to the sublime serenity of the place.
Shantiniketan has a number of other important cultural and heritage features too. Apart from the impressive University building and its various departments, the campus also houses many important buildings such as the Kala Bhavan. It is most noted for its artistic surrounding which features frescoes and sculptures of Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij. The other buildings are the Santiniketan building, Dehali, Nutan bari, etc. School classes and some major activities are held in the Amro Kunja (Mango Grove). The Uttarayan complex has several buildings like Konark, Udayan, Shyamali and others. The Rabindra Bhaban Museum also called Bichitra has many preserved letters, manuscripts, medals, documents, paintings and certificates and achievements associated with Tagore. Apart from this, one can also visit Hindi Bhavan, Cheena Bhavan, Nipon Bhavan, Sangeet Bhavan, Patha Bhavan, Vinaya Bhavan, Sihsha Bhavan, Kaalo Bari, etc.
An important place of interest is Chatimtala, where Rabindranath’s father Maharishi Debendranath Tagore rested during his visit to a nearby Zamindar House and thereby discovered Shantiniketan. This spot has been marked by a pulpit to commemorate the founding of Shantiniketan. An exceptional geographical feature of that region is the red soil that is popularly known as ‘Ranga Mati’. The topography is therefore categorized under Khowai region. There is also a small river called Kopai which finds its mention in Rabindranath’s poem ‘Amader choto Nadi’.
- 180 km from Kolkata
- Driving Time: Around 3 hours
- Can be reached by: Rail/ Road