Santiniketan is famous for
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A Trip to Shantiniketan
Excellent weekend destination with rich culture
There are lot of places to travel in and around Shantiniketan like the Viswa Bharati Campus (number of bhavans, the chatim tala, the glass house). You can visit Kankalitala, Labhpur (Sati Peethas), Tarapith (around 80 km).
Food is essentially Bengali Cuisine, try at Bonolakshmi (near Illambazar), also Chinese was good at Gitanjali (near Prantik station). Variety of chops are available here which are quite delicious. This place is famous for Batik and Kantha Stitch products, which you can buy from the Khoai Haat (every Saturday) or from the show rooms at Amar Kutir, Basundhara (accepts credit cards). Buying directly from the artists is cheaper, most of whom sell their products to many shops in Kolkata. There are plenty of ATMs around so no worry. If you want to relax in an offbeat destination in peace, with good amount of sightseeing within reach, in low budget, near to Kolkata this is the place to be for a quick weekend. Peak seasons are Poush Mela (from middle of December) and Holi.
I am heading to Santiniketan
History of Shantiniketan
The university town of Shantiniketan is known for its association with Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The entire area was once owned by the Tagore family and known as Bhubandanga. An Ashram was first founded here by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, the father of the noted poet. In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore started a school here named Brahmacharya Ashram that followed the Gurukul system of education. Today, this has grown in stature and is known as Visva Bharati University.
People and Culture of Shantiniketan
The locals lead an idyllic life which is reminiscent of the village scene that is sure to have prevailed during the lifetime of Rabindranath Tagore. Not surprisingly, the literacy rate in the region stands at over 86 percent. Many festivals such as ‘Pous Utsav’, ‘Basant Utsav’, ‘Rabindra Paksha’, and ‘Naba Barsha’ are celebrated here. The Bondangar Haat is held every Saturday where visitors on Shantiniketan getaways can relish the music of wandering Baul singers.
Things To Do in Shantiniketan
Without a doubt, the first and foremost of all Shantiniketan attractions is the Visva Bharati University. Offering education right from the nursery level to post graduation degrees, classes here are still held outdoors under the shade of huge mango trees. Not far away is the Kala Bhavan, a centre for study and research in the visual arts. Sculptures, paintings, and murals by students and noted artists are found here. The prayer hall or Upasana Griha is another of the places to see in Shantiniketan with its multi-hued Belgian glass windows.
Sriniketan is also one of the popular Shantiniketan tourist places. It focuses on rural empowerment and concentrates on education in matters related to agriculture, handicrafts, village welfare, and cottage industries. Tagore’s Ashram, Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary, and Sangeet Bhavana are some of the other Shantiniketan places to visit.
Food and Shopping in Shantiniketan
Being a university town, you are sure to see many cafes dot the landscape when sightseeing at Shantiniketan. Bengali cuisine is available at affordable prices as also a few North Indian options such as ‘Aloo Parathas’. Try the ‘Aloo Chap’ with a cup of hot tea when taking a break in between places to visit in Shantiniketan.
Amar Kutir is the place to be if handicrafts and souvenirs are what you are looking for to take home from your Shantiniketan tour. Started as a co-operative society by Rabindranath Tagore, it offers bamboo and Batik crafts, Kantha saris, and Dokra jewellery to name a few. There are also numerous other small shops selling pottery, jute handbags, and home décor products and browsing through these is one of the things to do in Shantiniketan.
Accommodation in Shantiniketan
When the question of how to reach Shantiniketan arises, the best available options are by road and by train. The closest railway station is at Bolpur which is about 2 km from Shantiniketan. The nearest airport is Kolkata which is around 212 km away. Buses and cabs offer good connectivity to various cities in the state for tourists wanting to undertake Shantiniketan sightseeing. The hotels in Shantiniketan are comfortable and reasonably priced. Resorts and home stays are also available in the vicinity for those on a trip to Shantiniketan.
Santiniketan seems to be very popular this season!