WEEKEND TRIP TO SHANTINIKETAN
About Shantiniketan :
Located at about 165 km from Kolkata, Shantiniketan embodies Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a place of learning that is unfettered by religious and regional barriers. Established in 1863 with the aim of helping education go beyond the confines of the classroom, Santiniketan grew into the Visva Bharati University in 1921, the open air schools of Shantiniketan created by Tagore and the famous handicraft industries are the most interesting things to explore here.
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.
Places of Interest :
1. Shantiniketan : Located in the heart of nature, the school aimed to combine education with a sense of obligation towards the larger civic community. Blending the best of western and traditional eastern systems of education, the curriculum revolved organically around nature with classes being held in the open air. Established in 1863 with the aim of helping education go beyond the confines of the classroom, Santiniketan grew into the Visva Bharati University in 1921. The campus houses the Uttarayan Complex, Rabindra Bhavan Museum, Upasana Griha, Chhatimtala.
2. Khoai Haat : The local market (only on Saturdays) known as Khoai Shonibaar er Haat is located at Sonajhuri. The colourful market is set amidst the forest of Saal trees making it even more attractive. Various handicrafts are exhibited/sold by the locals from nearby villages. Occasionally, we could hear the soulful Baul songs or see the tribals dancing to the beating of drums. It is advisable to visit the place on Saturday afternoon.
3. Amar Kutir : A co-operative society for the rural development of the surrounding areas. Amar Kutir is a fascinating place. Here we can see the making of famous Shantiniketan handbags. So much labour and precision go into making such designer leather crafts. Also the Batik factory to see the process of colouring and printing batik. It was great to see how a white cloth was finally transformed into a colourful dress material. There is a shop and showroom at Amar Kutir complex where visitors can buy souvenirs.
4. Srijani Shilpa Gram Complex : It is a huge complex beautifully decorated with replicas of houses of the eastern and northeastern states of India. This complex is developed and maintained by EZCC (Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre) and various cultural programmes and concerts are held here.
5. Kankalitala Temple : Kankalitala is a temple town in Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum district. This is one of the Shakti Peethas where the waist (or kankal in Bengali) of Parvati fell which is at present the Kankalitala town. It created a depression in the earth which later filled up with water and formed the sacred kund. It is repeatedly told that the actual body part now lies underneath this water. Goddess Parvati is the residing deity of the Kankalitala Temple.
6. Surul : The main attraction of Surul is the SarkarBari also known as the Surul Rajbari. The history of Surul Sarkar family can be traced back to 300 years. The Sarkar Rajbari was built by Srinivas Sarkar in 1750. The Sarkar Bari is known for their 250 years old Durga Puja celebrations. Beside the Sarkar mansion, there is a temple complex. The temple has some fine terracotta works, though they are all dilapidated now.
Day 1 :
On arrival at Shantiniketan, visit Viswa Bharati University in the morning. Have a tryst with Tagore and his abode. Visit the Uttarayan Complex, Rabindra Bhavan Museum, Upasana Griha, Chhatimtala. You can also walk around the various departments of Viswa Bharati University.
If arrival is on Saturday, in the afternoon visit the Khoai Saturday local market. Otherwise, you can just visit the Sonajhuri forest.
Day 2 :
After breakfast, Start with a visit to the Kopai River followed by Kankalitala Temple, one of the 51 Shakti-Peeths of Hindus. Then visit Amar Kuthi and finally Srijani Shilpa Gram Complex. After lunch visit Surul.
On completion of entire tour return Shantiniketan/Bolpur by afternoon.
Return journey towards Kolkata.
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With Warm Regards,