The ashram set up by Rabindranath Tagore in the arid district of Birbhum in West Bengal still nurtures the basic ideals of its founder. When one walks into the ashram and watches the classes in progress in the open air, the memory recalls the dreams a poet dreamt once. One is instantly transported to another world of love and peace and brotherhood.
Santiniketan remains a bit of an enigma, a small village, which is being rapidly overtaken by the city's false and temporary glamour. However, Santiniketan can never be a disappointment: it is not just a dressed-up tourist façade. It has too many memories to contend with.
There are several institutions under the Visva Bharati-Patha Bhavan, Uttar Shiksha Sadana, Siksha Bhavan, Vidya Bhavan, Vinay Bhavan, Kala Bhavan, Sangeet Bhavan, and Rabindra Bhavan, China Bhavan, Hindi Bhavan, etc.
There is a museum called Vichittra and art gallery by the name of Nandan.
Within the Uttarayana complex, there are five abodes of Tagore-Udayana, Konarka, Shamali, Punassha, and Udichi. Besides, Chhatimala, Upasana Mandir, and Santiniketan Bari are some of the oldest sanctums.
In the year 1922, Rabindranath started a rural reconstruction center at Sriniketan, 3 km from Santiniketan. Later, some other institutions have come up here-Siksha Satra, Silpa Sadana, Palli Siksha Bhavana, and Santosh Pathshala, etc.
Places Around Santiniketan
Just 9 km away from Santiniketan, on the bank of the river Kopai is Kankalitala considered one of the sacred Saktipithas. In the Ballavpur Forest, 4 km away from Santiniketan, is the Deer Park. Nearby is Nonoor famous for its Bakranath Shiva Temple and the sulfurous hot springs. Other places nearby are Tarapith, Lavpur-Fullara, Saintha-Nandesawari, Nalhati, and Massanjore.
Fairs & Festivals
Rabindra Janmotsav is celebrated in mid-April to mark the Bengali New Year and as well Tagore's anniversary.
Briksharopan, the festival of planting saplings, and Halakarshan, the festival of plowing the fields, are celebrated on 22nd and 23rd day of Sravana (August).
Varshamangal, the festival of rains, is celebrated during August/September.
Poush Utsav, a fair held at Santiniketan and Visva Bharati from 7th to 9th Poush (December), is observed to mark its foundation day. Tribal sports, dances, and folk songs, including songs by Bauls-the wandering minstrels of Bengal-are a part of the fair and festivities.
Maghotsav is celebrated on the 11th of Magha (January) to mark the anniversary of Brahmo Samaj.
Vasanta Utsav is held to mark Holi. The students dance and sing their ways through Amrakunja, followed by open-air variety programs.
How To Reach
By Road - Regular buses ply regularly on the Calcutta-Santiniketan route covering a distance of 211 km.
By Rail - The nearest railway station to Santiniketan is Bolpur, which is connected to Calcutta. From Bolpur, one can simply take a cycle rickshaw to cover the 2 km distance to Santiniketan.
By Air - The nearest airport is at Calcutta.