Places to visit

Santiniketan

The University town of Shantiniketan (Tagore’s Ashram) is recognized worldwide as a significant center for pursuing higher studies and being the home to the Nobel Laureate and National poet of India Rabindranath Tagore. Students from all over the world come here for further education in the Viswa Bharati University founded in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore himself. Not only students, the place is also frequented by thousand of visitors who are attracted by the extensive campus ground, open-air classes and above all the scenic natural beauty of the destination. Serenity is the essence of Santiniketan – the abode of peace. Rabindranath Tagore settled in Shantiniketan permanently from 1901 and left Shantiniketan for the last time in 1941.

Tagore’s Ashram features a number of buildings namely the Santiniketan building, Dehali, Nutan bari and others. School classes and some major activities are held in the Amro Kunja (Mango Grove). The place also houses some institutions of Viswa Bharati. You can also spot a hillock featuring an age-old banyan tree on the eastern side of the ashram.

The Uttarayan complex has several buildings like Konark, Udayan, Shyamali and others. The Rabindra Bhaban Museum popularly called Bichitra houses letters, manuscripts, medals, documents, paintings and certificates associated with Tagore.

Vidya Bhavan - In 1925, Rabindranath Tagore founded Vidya Bhavan, which is the study centre for the social sciences and humanities. It is situated in Santiniketan’s Viswa Bharati University complex. Here regular graduate and undergraduate courses are offered.

Chatimtala - is the place where Rabindranath’s father Debendranath Tagore rested during his visit to a nearby Zamindar House and discovered the serenity of present Shantiniketan for the first time. This spot has been marked by a pulpit to commemorate the founding of Shnatiniketan. Khowai region and Kopai River (Rabindranath’s Amader Choto Nadi) are other destinations where you can spend some time.

Kala Bhavana - In 1919, Rabindranath Tagore established Kala Bhavan, the centre for study and research in visual arts in India, in the complex of Viswa Bharati University.

Rabindra Bhavan - was established in Santiniketan in 1942, which stands on the shores of the River Kopai in West Bengal’s Birbhum District.

Patha Bhavan - There are two institutions in Santiniketan that are associated with the Viswa- Bharati University offering primary and secondary education. One is Shiksha Satra and the other is Patha Bhavana.

Sangeet Bhavan - In the year 1919, Rabindranath Tagore had set up Sangeet Bhavana as a centre for promoting folk dance, arts, drama and music. Providing training in Hindustani classical instrumental music, vocal music and Rabindrasangeet are the speciality of this centre. It also teaches musical dance dramas.

Uttarayan Complex - Uttarayan Complex is the place where Rabindranath Tagore used to live and is hence a very popular location. The entire complex is divided into many buildings in varying architectural styles.

Siksha Bhavan - ‘Siksha’ is the word for science in Sanskrit and Siksha Bhavan means a centre for studying science. This centre like all the bhavans, was established by Rabindranath Tagore, which is situated inside the campus of Viswa Bharati University.

Cheena Bhavan - There is a centre in Santiniketan that focuses on developing relationship between India and China. This centre for studying about China is known as Cheena Bhavan that promotes the liaison between the two nations.

Hindi Bhavan - Rabindranath Tagore understood the importance of the language Hindi in integrating the Indian society, so a centre for learning Hindi was also established inside Santiniketan that is named Hindi Bhavana.

Nippon Bhavan - The Nippon Bhavan is an independent centre that is not controlled by Viswa Bharati University and its programs are carried out by direct contact and exchange with Japan. It collaborates with some centres of the University and the department of Japanese studies is currently situated in the Nippon.

Amar Kutir - Tourists interested in purchasing handicrafts and artefacts can visit Amar Kutir, which is located close to Santiniketan. Amar Kutir was a society or a cooperative movement by Rabindranath Tagore, to aid and develop the art and craft of the village folk.

Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Santiniketan - While at Shantiniketan, you must visit the Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in Birbhum District of West Bengal, the Sanctuary is home to a variety of deer and water birds apart from jackals and foxes. Look out for small herds of black buck and spotted deer as you tour the sanctuary.

Kankalitala Temple - just 9 km from Santiniketan is a temple popular as a Satipeeth. Surul, located near Sriniketan, features temples decorated with terracotta carvings. You can also visit another Satipeeth at Labhpur-Fullara, just 30 km. from Santiniketan. Tourists also visit Nanoor, famous as the birthplace of the Sanskrit poet of the 14th century – Chandidas. Kendubillo is another destination, popular as the hometown of another renowned Sanskrit poet, Jaidev.

Khowai Haat - It is a fair conducted on every saturday in Santhiniketan. It starts in the very early morning 4'o clock. All types of household items, handicrafts, artifacts, clothes and other tradable items are sold here. Locals throng this mela to have a valued purchase. This is a worth place to visit.

Surul Rajbari - Surul is a village adjacent to Visva-Bharati University, founded by Rabindranath Tagore. A major part of this central university, with the whole of its Sriniketan campus, stands within Surul mouja.Surul consists of a large population of Bagdis, Bauris, Haris and Doms, as well as weavers. The Sarkar's who were Zamindars of this Birbhum District brought in Brahmins and other upper castes.[2] The Sarkar family at Surul had contributed a vital role towards socio-economic development of the overall area and also towards establishment of Visva-Bharati, an Institution of National Importance.

During British rule in India, this Surul used to be a very significant area, being the strategic centre of business/commerce/trade and was also the site of a commercial residency under John Cheap. After East India Company gave up its mercantile dealings in 1835, the residency was allowed to fall into decay.

Due to affluence and influence of Surul Rajbari, Sarkarbari, the overall area was rich in Culture apart from being economically sound. The temples at Surul are well-protected and terracotta carvings thereon are distinct. A few of the temples were built in 1830, within a few years of John Cheap’s death. Most of the temples are much older, dedicated to Shiva, one to Manasa and one pancharatna (five towered) temple to Lakshmi-Janardan. Most of the carvings are traditional depictions such as the Ramayana war but the depictions of Europeans need special mention.

Dariyapur (Dokra Craft Village) (35 KMs) - Dariyapur village is located close to Guskara in Bardhaman. The village is known for its Dokra artisans. The families had migrated to this place about 120 years back from Odisha. At present 133 artisans from Dariyapur practice Dokra craft as an occupation. Dokra is an ancient chnique of production of non-ferrous metal ware by the lost wax casting (cire perdue) process. The artisans follow the process which is believed to be 5000 years old to make tribal figures, animals, deities and jewelry.

Government of West Bengal's Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles, in association with UNESCO, has developed Rural Craft Hub at Dariyapur. There is a Community Museum in the village built by WBKVIB on the Dokra tradition. Dariyapur is an interesting day tour round the year. Visitors to Shantiketan or Bankura may plan a short detour to experience the ancient Dokra art. The artists collectively celebrates their annual village fair mid October.

 

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