Shantiniketan, endowed with exceptional scenic beauty is considered to be the epitome of Bengali intellect and culture. In 1863, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, father of nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore started an ashram for yoga and meditation over here. Rabindranath began an experimental, ‘pen-air’ classes in 1901 and named the school Shantiniketan or the ‘Abode of Peace’.
In 1921, it became Visva Bharati University, which is now recognised as a great centre of oriental education and culture. It functions on Rabindranath’s vision of learning, who believed in education as a way of life. The curriculum includes educational, cultural and other activities like agriculture, cottage industries etc.
Uttarayan complex in the campus is one of the most frequently visited place Rabindranath Tagore, used to stay here and it was designed by Tagore himself.
Vichitra, a museum housed in this complex exhibits paintings, manuscripts and personal belongings of Rabindranath. The campus lawns are also studded with murals, frescoes and sculptures by some of Rabindranath’s contemporaries and students.
Poush Mela or Utsav (December)
It commemorates the day when Rabindranath started the open-air classes at Shantiniketan as wekk as Maharishi Debendranath’s initiation into the Brahmo Samaj. Rabindranatya and Rabindrasangeet programmes are the main attractions of the fair. The folk arts and crafts are also displayed here.
Vasantotsav (March / April)
It marks the advent of vasanta (spring). Colourful cultural programmes are held during this time.
It is a centre for traditional crafts like, dhokra metalcrafts, bell-metal ware, terracotta clay crafts, weaving, kantha embroidery, batik and leather goods.
Shantiniketan Tour Information
It is known for Mahishamardini mandir, a Shaktipith, where goddess Sati’s forehead and eyebrows are said to have fallen. An ancient Shiva Mandir near Papahara natural spring, surrounded by 250 smaller Shiva temples is another important pilgrim site. Bakreshwar is also known for its hot springs, rich in therapeutic minerals.
Kendubilwa or Kenduli (43km)
This small village is the birthplace of famous poet Joybed, known for his work ‘Gita Govinda’. It is also the original spiritual home of Bengal’s Baul music. During the annual Kenduli Mela (mid-December), a large number of Baul folk singers and pilgrims assemble here. Another important festival celebrated here is the maker Sankranti (January).