SANTINIKETAN Santiniketan is 212 km from Kolkata and is well connected by train, bus and taxi. You can take a train to Bolpur, the nearest railway station which is 2 km away. Santiniketan has a unique cultural identity. It is a preferred tourist destination that was developed as a part of the popular religious-cultural tourist circuit of the region, Santiniketan-Bakreswar-Tarapith. Santiniketan was originally selected by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore in the 1860's for a residence and a prayer hall. Later Rabindranath Tagore started an experimental open-air school known as "Patha Bhavan" here with the objective of educating the student in close liaison with nature in the style of "Tapovana" of ancient India. In 1921, the university named Visva-Bharati came up as a center of Indian culture and the meeting place of the East and the West. In 1951 it became a Central University and is specially known for the teaching of fine arts-music, dance and painting.
Attractions in Shantiniketan :
- Tagore’s Ashram
- Uttarayan Complex
- Cheena Bhavan|
- Kala Bhavana
- Vidya Bhavana
- Ballarpur Danga Forest
- Rabindra Bhavana
- Amar Kutir
- Hindi Bhavana
- Nippon Bhavana
- Patha Bhavana
- Sangit Bhavana
- Siksha Bhavana
- Khoai Mela
Pous Mela Pous Mela is the most remarkable annual fair here, held toward end of December, marks the foundation day of Shantiniketan. Holi or Vasantutsav is a popular festival here, which is observed with all the colours and fervour. Other melas like Barsha Mangal and Halakarshan utsav also attract tourists to Shantiniketan.
Basant Utsav: Held in the month of March on the day of Holi. Spring is welcomed through music and dances. Teachers and students greet each other with Abirs in this festival day. Basant Utsav literally means the 'celebration of spring'. The beautiful tradition of celebrating spring festival in Bengal was first started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, at Vishwabharati Shantiniketan, the University founded by him. Actually, Basant Utsav is no different from Holi, except for the gracefulness with which it is celebrated. In Shantiniketan, Basant Utsav is celebrated with immense fervor and zeal.
Nanoor: Nannor, 18 km from Bolpur, is a small town/ large village in Birbhum District West Bengal. It is the birthplace of 14th century lyric poet Chandidas of Vaishnava Padavali fame.
Bakreswar: 59 km from Bolpur, Bakreswar is a holy place with an attractive hot-spring. Village Bakreswar in Suri Sub-division is situated 18 kms South West of Suri, the district headquarter of Birbhum. The place is renowned for "HOT-SPRING" and has historical importance as holy place for the existence of "SHIVA LINGAM". There are a number of hot springs with cold springs in close proximity to them. They all discharge in to a rivulet which run past and join a small stream about 200 yards from the temple. The hot springs at Bakreswar are reputed to cure numerous chronic ailments. A big Mela is held every year on the day of Shiva-Ratri.
Kankalitala: Kankalitala , 10 km from Shantiniketan is one of the fifty two peethas where the dismembered parts of Sati fell. Labhpur is also famous as one of the sacred peetha where the dead body of Sati fell. The famous temple of goddess Fullora also adds some interest to the religious importance of the place.
Tarapith: TARAPITH, 80 km from Bolpur, is situated near the Dwaraka river in Birbhum, West Bengal. Close by to the Temple is the Bamdev Shangha Ashram. Enshrined at the Temple is a murti of the Goddess Tara, who according to local legend suckled the thirst drenched Shiva, and saved him from suffering. The Murti is covered in a golden mask during the day, and during the night they remove this covering. She is described as holding two snakes in her hands, and Lord Shiva on her lap suckling.
Ballavpur Dear Park: Ballavpur Danga Village, 3 km from Shantiniketan, is located in the state of West Bengal in East India. The village is quite simple and mainly comprises of Santhal tribal community. The natural surrounding and unique lifestyle of the Santhal tribe is what makes this village different from others. On the excursion trip from the Ballavpur Danga village you can plan out the tour to the Deer park, which lies at the distance of 2 km from the village.
Nalhati: Nalhati (pilgrimage centre) 75 km from Bolpur, It is famous for Nalateswari Temple. It is so called because Nala or throat of Sati fell here as known by tradition. Another report says that it was a Lalat or forehead that fell here. It is regarded as a Pithas i.e. one of the 52 places where parts of Sati's body fell. It is located on a small & beautiful hill.
Jaidev Kenduli: Jaidev Kenduli, 30 km from Shantiniketan, Jaydev Kenduli had long been considered as a possible birthplace of the poet Jayadeva, who had composed Gita Govinda in Sanskrit.
Baul: Bauls are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. The term Baul refers to both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition used as a vehicle to express Baul thought. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many different streams to the sect, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnavite Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can be often identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments, such as the ektara. Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.