Today, Shantiniketan is synonymous with art and artists and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its contribution to world culture.
Shantiniketan is located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, near Bolpur town and it about 162 Km from Kolkata city. There are plenty of Kolkata to Shantiniketan cabs you can rent for a one-way or round trip..
Touring the historic community
Shantiniketan was formed with the sole idea and purpose of reforming the education system in India. Tagore believed that students learn and thrive better in a natural environment and through interactive learning. There are a few notable places which are a must-visit if you want to explore Shantiniketan in its entirety.
A must-visit place, this was Rabindranath Tagore’s home. It was founded as the family home by his father Maharishi Debendranath Tagore in 1863. The Nobel Laureate poet, novelist, artist, musician, spent a significant period of his life at this place. The ‘ashram’ still preserves his literary works, awards, accolades, his personal belongings etc. The ashram premise also hosts five other houses belonging to the Tagore family, which were later used for school classes, community events etc. The buildings are surrounded by a thick mango grove, which once served as an open-air stage for cultural activities. Take a walk through the groves and you can experience tranquility in its ultimate form.
The place still bears tradition of educating students, not in confined spaces but the lap of nature. Bengali culture is showcased at its best. Guides are easily available if you do not want to follow the crowd.
Formerly a hideout for freedom fighters, this artists’ enclave was founded by Sushen Mukherjee, an independence activist, in 1927. Post-independence, this place was turned into a cooperative society to promote the art and crafts of the local artists and artisans and encourage the cottage industries of the state. Sitting on the banks of the Kopai River, 15 Km from Shantiniketan, this place is a colorful showcase of handicrafts made of wood, terracotta, bamboo, leather bags, painted fabrics etc.
For those who want to delve into the history of Rabindranath Tagore and Shantiniketan, this museum is where you should be. Built in 1961, the museum houses original manuscripts by Tagore, his letters to important literary and political personalities, illustrations, paintings, certifications, and his photographs. You can also find the Nobel Prize medallion he was honored with.
Translated as ‘beneath the Dita Bark or the BlackBoard Tree’, this is an open area in a public ground, which became famous as a meditation zone initiated by the great scholar Debendranath Tagore. He believed that meditation gives way to introspection which is necessary for self-development and success. Graduates are also honored with a branch of this tree as this is considered to be a sacred tree for the community.
The prayer hall is the most visually magnificent building of the premise. Made of Belgian Glass, the hall has a distinctive structure with stained-glass doors, windows, and walls. The high arches and tiled roof adds to the charm of this structure. If you want to experience the true beauty of this serene place, visit on a Wednesday when people gather for an evening prayer and light up the entire place with candles, rendering a heavenly feeling to the entire premise.A cultural enclave complemented with aesthetic brilliance, Shantiniketan reflects the foresightedness of the visionary poet and remains a haven for every knowledge seeker. For a comfortable journey book a bigger vehicle like an Innova cab in Kolkata and keep the car with you for the entire trip. Updated Date: 23 October 2018, 08:03