Highlights: Abode of Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore
Flaunting a rustic backdrop and aromatic ambience, Santiniketan is a world-renowned town situated near Bolpur, in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. About 180 kms from Kolkata, the place was once the abode of Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. It was, here, that Tagore scripted most of his literary classics, thus enriching Bengali literature and music and taking them to a new level. While his house is a place of historical importance today, the school which he expanded to a university is internationally famous. A vision that transformed to become a university of the recent times, Visva-Bharati University remains to be the crucial and significant part of Santiniketan.
Glorious Past & Visva-Bharati University
Formerly named Bhubandanga (after the local dacoit Bhuban Dakat), Shantiniketan was owned by the Tagore family. It was Maharshi Debendranath Tagore (Rabindranath Tagore's father) who christened the place as ‘Santiniketan’ or the abode (niketan) of peace (shanti), as the place extended a blissful and idyllic existence. Young Rabindranath Tagore gained his education at Patha Bhavana, a school which formed his ideals, philosophy and the base of his values and beliefs.
Upon gaining the Nobel Peace Prize in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore expanded the institution from a small school to Visva-Bharati University. Established in 1921, the university became one of the central universities of India by 1951. Right from Indira Gandhi, Satyajit Ray and Abdul Ghani Khan to Jahar Dasgupta and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, some of the most illustrious students have passed from this university. Kala Bhavana or the art college of Santiniketan, is still considered as one of the best art colleges in the world.
- Vidya Bhavana or Institute of Humanities & Social Sciences
- Shiksha Bhavana or Institute of Science
- Sangit Bhavana or Institute of Dance, Drama and Music
- Vinaya Bhavana or Institute of Education
- Rabindra Bhavana or Institute of Tagore Studies and Research
- Palli-Samgathana Vibhaga or Institute of Rural Reconstruction
- Palli Shiksha Bhavana or Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Events Held In Santiniketan
Santiniketan is a mecca of social and cultural events that occur all throughout the year. Right from the Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal and Sharodutsav to Nandan Mela, Poush Mela, Magh Mela and Rabindra Jayanti, every event is celebrated with lots of fervor and excitement. However, one amongst them, the Poush Mela, needs a special mention. A 3-day fair, it is a major tourist attraction and starts from the seventh day of the Bengali month of Poush, which is usually in the last week of December. Not only tourists, but artisans, folk singers, dancers, and the traditional Baul from the neighborhood flock to the place in great numbers.
Right from the rustic old days, when people considered learning in a natural environment as an enjoyable and fruitful way to impart education, to the present times, when the newly rich class has made it a 'small town', Santiniketan is fast expanding. It has changed considerably from the time Rabindranath Tagore resided herein. Though Visva-Bharati University plays a dominant role even today, the region has become highly commercialized. However, traveling towards the outskirts, Santiniketan is still a village. Whatever be the case, it is a must-visit place for those who want to experience the glory of past, coupled with rustic beauty.