Location of Santiniketan:- in West Bengal and India
Nearest Airport : Kolkata
Nearest Railway station : Bolpur
Time taken to travel by train to Santiniketan : Approx. 3 to 4 hours from Kolkata
(Reservations litterally impossible during peak /rush time . Hence book in advance)
Time taken to drive by car to Santiniketan : 3 hours and 35 minutes to four hours from Kolkata
Coordinates 23°41′N 87°41′E / 23.68°N 87.68°E / 23.68; 87.68Coordinates: 23°41′N 87°41′E / 23.68°N 87.68°E / 23.68; 87.68
State West Bengal
Parliamentary constituency Bolpur
Assembly constituency Bolpur
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
• Elevation • 58 metres (190 ft)
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.
Why do people desire to visit Santiniketan :
To revisit our cultural & literary history and be a part of it(details below under the head 'attractions'), for the cuckoos & doves that add rythm to the drums of the semi - urban environment , the tranquility & peace that one gets to enjoy with family or in solitude, the many celebrations that inspite of sobriety spreads cheer in every mind. and many more reasons.
What you must do:
To absorb as much of the village life, you must rent a cycle or hire a cycle rickshaw driver and pedal down to the villages before sunrise or slightly before sunset. Ideal location is the Kopai River side (ankle deep water) and camp there with a tent for the day with your family(inform the police in writing in advance ofcourse). Take along a digital camera and (after informing the village Head Man ) click some photographs of your family and yourself with some of the village folk, the goats, the fowl, the cows and the farm equipment.
Adventure : - You may also decide to trace & visit the Baul Singers. Bauls ( pronounced বাউল, spelled in Bengali: বাউল, ) a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many sects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Not much is known of their origin. Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and on his music (Rabindra Sangeet).
Major events within Santiniketan:
Numerous social and cultural events taking place throughout the year, have become part and parcel of Santiniketan.These include - Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav, Nandan Mela, Poush Mela, Magh Mela, Rabindra Jayanti to name a few. Of these, the Poush Mela deserves special mention, this being a major tourist attraction.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.
Place to stay :
'PALASH' is a Guest House located at Gurupalli(Bolpur side), a quaint 'boxed in' facility for four , not Air Conditioned, with attached toilet cum bath. It cannot and should not be compared with any hotel because it is not so. It is a part of a Bungalow but an independednt part, with it's separate entrance and facilities. It is ideal for a family of four. It is a part of the line of bungalows that belonged to the elite on that road. Most of the previous owners are long gone. But the buildings & bungalows remain, standing tall, a testimony to a proud past, alongside tall trees that border the road. Hence the comparative peace & quiet is obvious. Advantage is that it is a minutes distance from the entrance to Santiniketan next to the football field at Gurapalli. During major festivities, you escape the rush that is bound to be there at Bhubandanga or near the Post Office. You gain the walkable distance to Chatim tala, Ghantaghar, the Prayer Hall and other main areas of Santiniketan congegration. And it helps avoid both the dust as well as the noise polution that is normal on the main roads.
You pay a refundable deposit of Rs.10000, in cash, for every day of stay being planned by yourself. The reservation does not get confirmed otherwise. This amount is to be paid in Kolkata.
At the time of booking, photocopies of identity proof of each of the potential guests must be provided. Confirmation of booking is based on availability on a first come first serve basis but only after the identity proof is made available to the Guest House management team cum administrators.
To ensure a select quality of guests, the Daily Charge is Rs.5000 per day of stay for a family of four people, (two per bedroom, plus one bath cum toilet). One Bedroom has two single beds, while the other has a Double Bed. The mattress and pillows are cotton stuffed and not foam filled. Fresh bedsheets and pillow covers are offered alongwith an accomodation that is cleaned before you are given the keys. Mosquito nets are provided during the night. Drinking water comes from an Aqua Guard filter in the main bungalow and is served free in water jugs that are placed in each bedroom alongwith glasses. However, sealed distilled water bottles may certainly be served and there is a seperate charge for the same. Breakfast and bed tea is not free. Meals are at extra charge and served on time only if the caretaker is informed four hours in advance. Cancellation of orders shall not be entertained. The day as per Guest House norms , begin at 12.00 noon on any day and ends at 11.00 noon on the next day. Considering the huge rush, on the day your booking ends, you end up paying another Rs.5000 in the event of even a minutes delay in handing over the room keys to the caretaker at 11.00 noon sharp or before.
In December it gets quite chilly and you can rent a heater. If you rent a Room Heater you have to pay @ Rs.500 per night per heater.
You are free to ask the caretaker to fetch Vegetarian or Non Vegetarian Meals from the market at existing rates and ofcourse you have to pay a mutually settled service fee to the Caretaker.
Contact 9339149499 for booking or SMS the details at this number.
Rules to be known before you book:
Attractions at Santiniketan
Prayer Hall in Santiniketan
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 Mrinalini 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 ParkDeer 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.
Fullora (40 km)
Nalhati (104 km)
Kankalitala (7 km)
Bakreshwar (58 km)
Massanjore (78 km)
Kendubilwa (42 km)
Nanoor (23 km)
Tarapith (80 km)
Hindi Bhavana:Department of Hindi Language.There is a very important wall mural called Medieval Saints made by Binode Behari Mukherjee in the main hall.
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.
Rainfall : 125 cms ( June to September ). Heavy in July / August.
Shantiniketan can be visited at any time of the year. The climate is moderately warm, like Kolkata, with summer temperatures at around 34-38°C and winter at 12-15°C. July and August see heavy rainfall.
Santiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Sinha). This area was gifted from the Sinha family (family of Lord SP Sinha) to the Tagore family. Rabindranath's father, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, found it very peaceful and renamed it Santiniketan, which means abode (niketan) of peace (shanti). It was here that Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavana, the school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. After he received the Nobel Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university in 1921. By 1951, it had become one of India's central universities. Many world famous teachers came to be associated with it, including C.F. Andrews and Alex Aronson. Some of its illustrious students are Gayatri Devi, Indira Gandhi, Satyajit Ray, Abdul Ghani Khan and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
Kala Bhavana, the art college of Santiniketan, is still considered one of the best art colleges in the world. Other institutions here include Vidya Bhavana; the Institute of Humanities, Shiksha Bhavana; the Institute of Science, Sangit Bhavana; Institute of Dance, Drama and Music, Vinaya Bhavana; Institute of Education, Rabindra Bhavana, Institute of Tagore Studies and Research, Palli-Samgathana Vibhaga; Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Palli Shiksha Bhavana; Institute of Agricultural Sciences. There are also other centres, affiliated to major institutions such as Nippon Bhavana, the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration, Rural Extension Centre, Silpa Sadana; Centre for Rural Craft, Technology and Design, Palli-Charcha Kendra; Centre for Social Studies and Rural Development, Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Mathematics Education, Centre for Environmental Studies, Computer Centre and Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration. As well as Patha-Bhavana, there are two schools for kindergarten level education; Mrinalini Ananda Pathsala, Santosh Pathsala; a school for primary and secondary education known as Shiksha Satra, and a school of higher secondary education known as Uttar-Shiksha Sadana.
Santiniketan is also home to Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in Economics.