Santiniketan (or ‘Santiniketon’ as the Bengali babu calls it) probably needs no introduction. It is located a few kilometers away from Bolpur and about 180 km from Kolkatta and it is made famous by Rabindranath Tagore and the Visva Bharati University.
The nearest Railway Station is Bolpur-Santiniketan. Bolpur itself is a typical dusty little rural town and hasn’t seen the type of infrastructural development you might associate with any town near such a famous tourist spot. We went up to Santiniketan by cycle rickshaw as there was no other mode of transport and in any case it was off season. The museum itself was closed due to a visit by President Pratibha Patil but the gounds of the university and adjoining areas were open. We managed to find a guide who took us around.
The University itself was started as a school by Tagore before he won his Nobel prize and then was subsequently converted to an University. It now houses a large number of students from all over the country and abroad. The school itself follows the gurukul system, students sit under a tree and are taught by gurus in the open air. The atmoshpere was serene and peaceful. For a full history of santiniketan you may check this link .
The campus has more than 20 hostels, huge playgrounds and several canteens to cater to the thousands of students studying there. Children start right from primary school to college. A stroll around the campus shows you the cultural ethos that the university is steeped in – there are sculptures, paintings and murals everywhere.
The main Attraction is the Kalabhavan complex which is the art section of the complex as the name suggests and is dotted with various innovative forms of art. Chances are that as you take a stroll through the campus you will come across someone selling handicrafts and beautiful handmade sculptures. With these photographs I have tried to take you on a cultural journey through the complex. Hope you like it.
Bholpur Hotel Review – Hotel Mark and Meadows, Santiniketan
Hotel Mark and Meadows is located on the outskirts of Bolpur Town but on the main road leading upto the Viswabharathi university and santiniketan. It is a huge property with spacious rooms (very large rooms) and ideal for long walks in the evening. There is a pond at the back of the hotel which the hotel claims guests can use for fishing. However due to Santiniketan’s proximity to Kolkatta there is not much rush but it is ideal for spending a quite weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Kolkatta coupled with the cultural Diversity of Santiniketan to boot. We went in on Sunday and were practically the only ones for the next few days in the Hotel. Service and food were quite good. It also has a conference hall and recreation facilities.