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A quaint town near Bolpur, around 212 km from Kolkata, is popularly known as Shantiniketan. The assets of this place are Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath .
The name Visva Bharati was not always the same. This educational institution was once started as an ashram. The model of it was more like the ancient Gurukul sytem. Bhubandanga was the earlier name of this place, which comes from the name of popular dacoit name Bhuban. The literal meaning of Shantiniketan is the Abode of peace.
In this article, we will talk about various aspects of the place that make it so charming and evergreen for the tourists. We must start with
Visva Bharati University
Debendranath Tagore, the father of the Nobel laureate. He laid the foundation stone of the Ashram or School. After that took the shape of Visva Bharati University.
Then the ashram was known as the Brahmacharya Ashram. After receiving the Nobel prize, the ashram was converted into a university. this place is renamed as Visva Bharati.
The site is a notable heritage ground for literature enthusiasts and artists. Because one can find splendid sculptures, murals, and paintings of Rabindra Nath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binodbihari Mukherjee in the entire campus. Kala Bhavana offers courses in Painting, Mural, sculptures, graphic art, etc.
The festive glory of Shantiniketan is noticeable. The festivals celebrated here like Poush Mela in December. Joydev Mela held in January. Above all, Basanta Utsav is mostly famous.
Tourist Attractions in Shantiniketan
This place has been a major tourist attraction for years now mainly due to the myriad options that it has to offer to the tourists. From festivals to historical places, from culture to shopping this place has developed everything that a tourist might look for in his or her trip. Let us start with the key festivals
Festivals in Shantiniketan that Pulls Tourists
# 1 Rabindra Jayanti
Rabindra Jayanti that is on 25th Baisakh is also a part of a huge celebration on this campus. Since Tagore was a nature lover person. Varshamangal is another festival observed during the rainy season in the months of August and September.
You can visit several places from Shantiniketan like Nalhati, Nanoor, Surul, Tarapith, Labhpur, Bakreshwar, and Durgapur, etc. Relish the flavor of special kind of Morabba found here.
# 2 Basant Utsav:
The celebration of spring or the Basant Utsav is one of the biggest cultural events here.
Held in the month of March. Teachers and students both participate very enthusiastically at this festival. Colors. dance, music and other cultural acts are the main parts of the festival.
# 3 Poush Mela:
Poush Mela is another massive celebration in Shantiniketan happening in winters.
For instance, folk dance, music, food, and culture are an integral part of this festival. Also one can buy local paintings, earthenware and handicraft items from the gathering of local artists in the fair.
Tagore’s ashram can be visited here as well. This place has reserved the literary works, awards, daily items once used by him.
This museum takes INR 40 as an entry fee.
# 5 Amar Kutir
If you are a fan of handicraft items, then Amar Kutir showcases a number of handmade items, clothes, etc.
This place is situated in the vicinity of the university campus.
# 6 Rabindra Bhavan Museum
Rabindra Bhavan Museum is another museum. Here conserving the Nobel laureate’s letters, documents, certificates, and photographs.
#7 Deer Park
Deer Park is the forest area near the campus, about 3 km far away and it is famous forest.
The forest sees the occupancy of naturally bred deer.
# 8 Kankalitala
Kankalitala is a rural landscape located about 7 km from Shantiniketan.
It is also known as the temple town. Here you can relish the village paths, houses, and greenery and also communicate with the locals.
#9 Shanibarer Haat
You can have the pleasure of visiting the famous Saturday Market. As well as it is known as Shanibarer Haat. Which continues for three hours from 3 p.m to 6 p.m.
A lot of handicraft items get displayed here. You will love to purchase your preferred things. The best part of here is the arrangement of Baul programs, which pacify the soul.
How to Reach Santiniketan
You can reach here in all probable transport options including Air, Rail and by Road.
Nearest Airport is Durgapur Airport, but not many flights are available. In such a case, it is convenient to go through Kolkata airport or Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
The distance from Kolkata to this place is approx 169 km. Due to the availability of plenty of cabs; the journey is hectic free. Otherwise, local trains are also present from Sealdah and Howrah stations.
Bolpur is the nearest railhead of Santiniketan. It takes two to three hours to reach Bolpur.
Some popular trains are Gana Devta Express, Santiniketan Express, Sahid Rampurhat Express, Saraighat Express, Visva Bharati fast passenger, Jamalpur expresses, Darbhanga passenger train and Malda Intercity-Express from Howrah station.
Kanchenjunga Express from Sealdah station.
The town is well connected by buses as well. Kolkata-Asansol bus or Kolkata-Suri bus are the best options.
If you are on Asansol bound bus, then Panagarh should be your stoppage. If it is a Suri bound bus then Ilambazar should be the stoppage. After that, from both the places you have to avail of buses for Shantiniketan.
Distanced at 212 km, this place is well connected to Kolkata via roads and a 4-lane freeway makes the job easier. From Kolkata, one has to take the Durgapur expressway of NH 19 to reach Dankuni via Saktigarh, Bradhaman, and Panagarh.
After the highway crosses the Ajay river, take the road to the right of Ilambazar and move towards Bolpur. At the Surul point or the Shantiniketan and Sriniketan junction, take the road to left. Apart from this one can also avail NH 2B route.
Best Time to Visit Shantiniketan
The ethnicity of this place can be best in its attribute during mid-august-march. It is better to avoid this place in peak summers, because of the scorching sun.
This place is the ideal spot for different festivals starting from Poush Mela in winters. Dol Utsav in the spring.
These two time periods are apt to visit there. People are willing to see the crowd in a festive mood. They can enjoy the local fair, where artisans display the handicraft items.
Surely you won’t be tired of shopping after heavy bargaining. Most importantly visitors of these periods are advised to pre-book the hotels 1-2 months earlier to avoid unnecessary rush. Winters is no doubt one of the best time to visit this place for a trip.
It is also suggested to avoid the rainy season and summer. Because of the muddy slippery roads and the roughness of hot sun. If you want to feel nature from indoors. Then there is no reason to stop yourself to be the witness of the magical transformation of the greenery.
As you can see the place has lots to offer to the tourists that are looking to explore new places as well as to tourists who want to spend a few days in quiet and unwind. The unique bond between nature and culture is what woos tourists for decades now.
If you are reading this blog and are yet to visit the places, we believe you must have this as your next tour plan. Only when you go, you will know how well the name ‘Shantiniketan’ resonates with the meaning of the name. That is the abode of peace.
Team of Udiron tours and travels.
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