Shantiniketan is a town in the Birbhum District of the state of West Bengal. The town is close to the capital city, Kolkata. It is the home town of the Tagore family one of the most revered families of the state. The town was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore and later Rabindranath Tagore worked to expand it. The earlier name of the place was Bhubandanga. The name of the place is after the only building that was there when Maharshi Devendra Tagore found it. The town soon became a spiritual centre which attracted people from all over the world.
WHAT TO SEE
The culture here is one of the most diverse one can imagine being .it varies from that of other regions in the state yet it is one. The folk heritage is quite diverse. Folk music includes Baul, gajan, bhawaiya and others. The classical music too is an integral part of the culture. Music is accompanied by veena, dhaak, ektata and other instruments. The region practices various forms of classical dances. The speciality includes chau form of mask dance. It is in fact recognised in the list of UNESCO. The literature of the region is also a part of its core. The major works are Rabindra Sangeet, charyapada, thakurmar jhuli, Mangalkavya and many more. equally unique are the paintings - the terracotta art of the ancient and medieval times, the painting of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore and others are prominent here. Durga Puja is the festival celebrated all. Over the state with the same enthusiasm. Other major festivals are Diwali, rath yatra, Moharram, Christmas,
Where to go
Tagore’s Ashram is the prime attraction of the town. It was the residence of the Tagore family and now is converted into an ashram. The copy of works of Rabindranath Tagore, his awards, accolades, things used by the family and other relics are preserved in the ashram. The premise is a house and it has a school, dormitory, 5 Tagore houses and also a museum. The atmosphere of the place is pleasant and positive vibes are in the air. Within the premises is Amar Kutir which is a handicraft centre. The Museum within the vicinity has in display Tagore’s Nobel Price Medallion, his original writings, letters, Painting of Rabindranath and Arbindranath Tagore, their certificates as well as photographs.
Kala Bhavan is a centre of art. It is frequented by tourists. The purpose of the centre is to promote art and culture. Apart from Kala Bhavan, there is a Sangeet Bhavan to promote Dance and Music.
Chhattimala is the prayer hall of Maharishi Devendranath Tagore. It here where he used to meditate. He was into meditation and introspection for most of his life. The place is very beautiful. Its look mesmerising especially in the late evening and night times.
Deer Park is a beautiful place to visit in Shantiniketan. It is a home to a family of deer that are naturally bred.
Nippon Bhavan is another beautiful place to visit. The Bhavan was built with an aim to promote Indo- Chinese relations. There is a statue of Buddha at the entrance of the Bhavan. The students here are taught about Japanese art and culture. The exchange programmes in Japan are also conducted here.
What to eat
The traditional dishes of the region are made of rice and wheat. These are served with lentil soups, curry etc. seafood of the region is very famous. Bengali seafood is famous not only here but all over India. Preparation of north India food is unique and mouth-watering. The region is known for sweets. If one does not have sweets in Bengal he misses on a lifetime experience. Sandesh, rosogulla, mishti doi, rajbhog, cham and several more sweets are the mark of Bengal.
How to reach
The airport at Kolkata is the nearest airport to Shantiniketan. There are regular flights from all major cities of India to Kolkata. Bus and taxi are easily available at the airport to go to Shantiniketan.
The station at Bolpur is closest to Shantiniketan just 2-3 km away. The station is well connected to other stations of the state and other places on nearby states. Taxi and bus are easily available at the station to go to Shantiniketan.
Shantiniketan is well connected to the rest of the country via road. There are regular buses to Shantiniketan from nearby places like Kolkata, Durgapur, Guwahati, Bolpur etc. four wheelers is a convenient option to go to Shantiniketan.