Shantiniketan was a dream of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore that was later on nurtured and practically constructed by his worthy son Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the world-famous poet, author, dramatist and artist of 20th century Bengal. The very word “Shantiniketan” means the “the abode of peace”. Indeed the place is. Located in the north- central region of West Bengal under Birbhum district, Bolpur-Shantiniketan is the perfect place to find the self because of the serenity and absolute peace.
The tranquil nature and the mesmerizing ambience of the red soil region can be the ultimate destination for those who are looking forward to escape from the city hustles and bustles. Bolpur forms itself with Shantiniketan, Sriniketan and Prantik. The famous Vishva-Bharati University, the open air schools of Shantiniketan created by Tagore and the famous handicraft industries are the most interesting things to explore here.
Briksharopan: On 22nd and 23rd Sravana i.e. August this festival is celebrated by planting saplings. They also observe the day as Halakarshan that means plowing as rainy season is the ideal time of plantations and agriculture in the arid land of Bolpur.
Varshamangal: This is the festival to welcome the rains. During the month of August and September Varshamangal is celebrated.
Paush Utsav/Paush Mela (Fair): This is the most important festivals of Shantiniketan. Mainly to celebrate the harvesting season this fair and fiesta is celebrated. Though, officially it lasts for three days in the month of December, the vendors stay back for the almost the whole month as the fiesta continues. Thousands of people across the country and outside flock down here to enjoy the best baul music here after the mesmerizing Joydev-Kenduli baul carnival. Rabindranath encouraged the popularity of baul music. Therefore, for all these three days music lovers from the corners of the country and the world come here to enjoy the rustic essence of Indian folk music. Besides women appreciate to collect the famous Shantiniketan sarees, kurtas, bags and their very own dokra (metallic) ornaments and miniatures for home décor from the fair held at the Bhuvandangar Math (ground).
There is a brief background of this festival as well. It is said that Maharshi Devendranath Tagore along with 20 other followers accepted the Bhramho religion from Sri Ram Chandra Vidyabagish on December 21st. It was 7th day of Poush as per Bengali calendar. Students of Vishva-Bharati observe this day every year as a reminiscence of this great event in the Maharshi’s life.
Maghotsav: This day is the most auspicious day for the people of Bramho creed to observe the foundation day of the Brambo samaj by Raja Rammohan Roy on January 23rd, 1830. According to the Bengali calendar it is 11th Magh. But this is a day celebrated with khichuri (a Bengali preparation of rice and lentils), mixed vegetables and chutney (Bengali sweet dish).
Joydev Fair: This is famous for the baul music and folk music of Bengal. It starts from the Paush Sankranti or Makar Sankranti and lasts till the 2nd of Magh.
Vasanta Utsav: Also known as dol utsav in Bengal, Vasanta utsav is the festival of colors. This festival is celebrated to welcome spring the season of color and romance. The students of the university dance and sing on the roads of Santiniketan, all dressed in yellow and they only have the colors as their makeup on this day.
Deer Park, Kankalitala, Khoai-Kopai irrigation systems, saturday hat, Amamr kuthi, Joydev-Kenduli, Tarapith, Massanjore, Nanoor, Nalhati, Lavpur-Fullara, Saintha- Nandesawari, Bakreshwar.
Nearest Airport is Calcutta Netaji International Airport and Shantiniketan is around 212 Kms from there.
It takes around 2-3 hours to reach there, via train from Kolkata (Howrah/ Sealdah). Nearest railway station is Bolpur, 2kms from Shantiniketan.
By road people can reach there too via Durgapur, Burdwan, and Sarnath.
Start from Howrah Station by own arrangement at 10.10 AM through Santiniketan Express Train & reach Bolpur (Santiniketan) Station at 12.25PM. Package tour will commence from Bolpur Station and pick-up would be made from this Station and drop at Hotel/ Guesthouse for Lunch.
After lunch (2.30 PM) : Visit Uttaryan Complex (Udayan, Konark, Shyamali, Punaschha, Udichi & Bichitra Museum), Deer Park & Amar Kutir (Ballavpur). Return to hotel/ guesthouse for dinner.
At 6.30AM, Saturday : Start to visit Kankalitala Sati Pith Temple (Sati’s waist fell here) & Kopai River.
Then proceed to Labhpur to see another Sati Pith Temple (Devi Fullara, lip of Sati cut down here). Breakfast would be served here.
After Breakfast : Visit Saithia Sati Pith Temple (Devi Nandikeshwari, Sati’s bone of neckline has fallen here).
After Saithia proceed to Tarapith Temple for Puja & Darshan.
Lunch would be served at way side hotel on the way to Bakreswar.
After Lunch : Reach Bakreswar and visit Pahareshwar Shiva Temple, Hot Water Spring and Sati Pith (Portion between the eyebrows of Sati fell here) Temple.
Start Dubrajpur to visit Shiva temple and huge rocks lying in the locality including two significant rocks known as Mama & Bhagne (Uncle & Nephew).
After Dubrajpur, proceed to Hotel/Guesthouse at Santiniketan for night halt & Dinner.
At 9AM, Sunday : After Breakfast visit Viswabharati University Campus and Sriniketan & drop at 12.30PM at Bolpur (Santiniketan) Station to catch Santiniketan Exp. Train to Howrah.