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(updated listing Country Roads Home Stay)
(Sleep)
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* <sleep name="Hotel Rangamati" alt="" address="Bhuban Danga" directions="" phone="+91 3463 252305" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs. 880-1173" lat="" long="" 3463="3463" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Hotel Rangamati" alt="" address="Bhuban Danga" directions="" phone="+91 3463 252305" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs. 880-1173" lat="" long="" 3463="3463" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Mark and Meadows Resort" alt="" address="Sriniketan Road" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Mark and Meadows Resort" alt="" address="Sriniketan Road" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
*<sleep name="Rater Tara Diner Rabi" alt="Star at Night, Sun During Day" address="Phul Danga, Taltor Road, Prantik " directions="within 1 km from university campus, towards Prantik Railway Station, near to canal and Bird Sanctuary" phone="+91 9830048007, +91 9433014277" url="www.santiniketantour.com" checkin="12 Noon" checkout="12 Noon" price="AC" lat="non-AC" long="">A double storied garden Guesthouse, Rater Tara, Diner Rabi (Star at night, Sun during day), with all modern facilities is available just with in 1 km from main campus of Santiniketan. 7 double bedded AC rooms and one 8 bedded AC dormitory is available on daily hiring basis (12 noon to 12 noon next day). Marble and tiles fitted floor rooms having AC & TV  in each room, furnished with local handicrafts furniture, each room attached with western type toilets fitted with Geyser and other utilities; clean filtered drinking water available 24 hours. Extra bed is provided on extra payment and separate driver accommodation is also available on nominal charges.  
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*<sleep name="Rater Tara Diner Rabi" alt="Star at Night, Sun During Day" address="Phul Danga, Taltor Road, Prantik " directions="within 1 km from university campus, towards Prantik Railway Station, near to canal and Bird Sanctuary" phone="+91 9830048007, +91 9433014277" url="www.santiniketantour.com" checkin="12 Noon" checkout="12 Noon" price="AC" lat="non-AC" long="">A double storied garden Guesthouse, Rater Tara, Diner Rabi with all modern facilities. Extra bed is provided on extra payment and separate driver accommodation is also available on nominal charges. For booking, please mail to:info@santiniketantour.com,toursantiniketan@gmail.com Or, Write to B.Banerjee, Basement-40, Shantiniketan Building8, Camac Street,  Kolkata- 700017 (Monday to Friday, during office hours) </sleep>
 
+
Rooms are surrounded with seasonal and permanent flower plants and beautiful green verge can be viewed from the rooms. A canal is passing through nearby, which provides beautiful feeling during rainy season. 
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Maximum four cars can be parked in the compound. If required, out side of the premises more cars can be parked. Baul music can be arranged on nominal charges in the evening and Cars may be arranged for conducted tours on extra payment. 
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Rater Tara Diner Rabi (Star at Night, Sun During Day)" alt="www.santiniketantour.com" address="info@santiniketantour.com" directions="toursantiniketan@gmail.com" phone="Phone & Fax: +91 33 30522755" url="www.santiniketantour.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">For booking, please mail to:
+
info@santiniketantour.com
+
toursantiniketan@gmail.com  
+
 
+
Or, Write to Mr. B. Banerjee,  
+
Basement-40,  
+
Shantiniketan Building  
+
8, Camac Street,  Kolkata- 700017, India
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(Monday to Friday, during office hours)
+
+
</sleep>
+
 
*<sleep name="Country Roads Home Stay" alt="" address="Adjacent to Mela Math" directions="countryroads.homestay@gmail.com" phone="9903398059" url="http://sites.google.com/site/countryroadshomestay/Home" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs 750" lat="" long="">American breakfast included in room rent</sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Country Roads Home Stay" alt="" address="Adjacent to Mela Math" directions="countryroads.homestay@gmail.com" phone="9903398059" url="http://sites.google.com/site/countryroadshomestay/Home" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs 750" lat="" long="">American breakfast included in room rent</sleep>
  

Revision as of 03:29, 9 May 2009

Santiniketan [1] is a city in Birbhum district of West Bengal. It forms one urban agglomeration with Bolpur.

Contents

Understand

The town is home to Visva Bharati founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921. It was declared a central university in 1951. It has produced such diverse personalities as Indira Gandhi and Amartya Sen. It has been home to great artists and musicians.

Get in

By train

Bolpur is the railway station for Santiniketan. It is about three hours by train from Kolkata. Convenient connections are 3017/3018 Gana Devta Express departing Howrah at 6.05 AM, 3015/3016 Shantiniketan Express departing Howrah at 10:05 AM (this is the only train which originates/terminates in Howrah and Bolpur, so one has a better chance of finding seats on this train rather than the other trains if one buys unreserved tickets. If you are buying reserved tickets, then it won't make a difference), 3011/3012 Malda Inter-city Express departing Howrah at 3.25 PM, 5657/5658 Kanchenjunga Express departing Sealdah at 6:45 AM, 2345/2346 Saraighat Express, 215/216 Visvabharati Fast Passenger, 3071/3072 Jamalpur Express, 209/210 Darbhanga Passenger are other good trains. For timings etc. check with Indian Railways.

If you are female and taking the train, look for designated "Ladies Cars" to enjoy a more comfortable and hopefully less crowded ride. If you are traveling with significant amounts of baggage, be aware that even in reserved cars you may struggle for space, and hiring a car may be a better alternative to reach Santiniketan.

By bus

Santiniketan is well connected by buses from all around. From Kolkata, if you want to go by bus, then you have to take Kolkata-Siliguri bus or Kolkata-Suri bus. For Silguri bound bus you have to get down near Panagarh and for Suri bound bus you have to get down near Ilambazar and for both cases you have to catch another bus for Santiniketan.

By car

Santiniketan is connected with Kolkata by an excellent road. From Kolkata travel to Dankuni and take the Durgapur Expressway. It is now part of NH2. It will bypass Saktigarh and Bardhaman. At Panagarh (Darjeeling Mor) turn right. After the highway crosses the Ajay river take the road to the right at Ilambazar and proceed towards Bolpur. At the Santiniketan-Sriniketan junction (also called Surul Mor) take the road to the left. Santiniketan is 212 km from Kolkata by road. Good drivers can cover the distance in about 3 hours.

Get around

Buddha by Ramkinkar Baij
Fresco by Nandalal Bose at Sriniketan
Typical Santiniketan leather craft
An itinerant baul singer entertaining tourists in the khowai area

Cyclerickshaws are the most convenient means of transportation as hired cars and taxis are not always readily available. If you are a tourist, don't get on the cycle rickshaws in front of the museum that are manned by the persistent teenagers as they will take you on a farcical circuitory route to make you spend more. Use the older guys. Or just walk round the town. Although there are a few to be found, auto-rickshaws are not yet common in this area. See map of Visva Bharati complex

If you are planning an extended stay, it may be worth your while to purchase a bike from one of the many local cycle shops. A brand new bicycle will run you between 2200 and 2600 rupees (about US$45-55).

See

  • Tagore's ashrama - Closed on Wednesdays. One has to walk through the area. Guides are generally available outside Uttarayan Complex/Rabindra Bhaban, otherwise one has to follow the crowd. The first building in the area was a guest house built in 1863 by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. It was named Santiniketan and thereafter the entire place acquired that name. Hermitage created with a Trust Deed in 1888 by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore. The area has several buildings associated with the Tagores - Santiniketan building, Nutan Bari, Dehali etc. School classes and major functions are held in the Amra Kunja (mango grove). Some of the Visva Bharati institutions are also located here. Tourists are not allowed to stray into areas where outdoor classes are held as they disturb studies. Some distance away on the eastern side is a small hillock with a large banyan tree. The place was a favourite of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore.
    • Chhatimtala – prayer place (under the "Chhatim" tree) of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore.
    • Brahma Mandir Upasana Griha, constructed in 1891.
    • Look out for sculptures and frescoes of Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and Binode Bihari Mukherjee, particularly around Kala Bhavana. Kalo Bari beside Sangeet Bhavana is interesting.
  • Uttarayan complex - Closed on Wednesdays. The complex has several buildings associated with Tagore's memory - Udayan, Konark, Shyamali (mud hut), Punascha and Udichi. The complex has well-laid out gardens. Combined entry fee for Uttarayan complex and Rabindra Bhaban Museum is Rs. 5. Cameras and hand bags not allowed.
    • Rabindra Bhaban Museum - Open on working days from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Open on Sundays. Closed on Wednesadys. The house is called Bichitra. Constructed in Tagore's birth centenary year 1961. There are original manuscripts, letters, documents, medals (including Nobel Prize medallion), plaques, certificates, paintings, photographs etc. During Poush Mela the place is over-crowded and queues for entry are long.
  • Khoai Mela - The mela starts from around 3 pm and goes on till about 5.30-6 pm only on Saturdays and is worth visiting.
  • Amar Kutir - The place where all types of hadicrafts like cloth/leather batiks, handlooms etc. are available.
  • Kopai river - it is there as amader chhoto nodi in many of Tagore's poems particularly those for children.

Visva Bharati

  • Cheena Bhavana - the China study centre
  • Hindi Bhavana – the Hindi study centre
  • Nippon Bhavana – for Indo-Japanese studies
  • Kala Bhavana - college of fine arts and crafts, has a museum exhibiting sculptures, frescoes and murals and a library of art books.
  • Patha Bhavana - now a secondary school, is of particular interest, being an example of the traditional Brahmacharya Ashram.
  • Sangeet Bhavana – college of music and dance.
  • Vidya Bhavana – college of humanities
  • Siksha Bhavana - college of science
  • Vinaya Bhavana - teacher's training college
  • Sriniketan Campus - This campus has two Bhabans. When Rabindranath started this Univertsity,he had two visions in his mind - one is spread of education and another is rural reconstruction. Sriniketan is campus for Rural Reconstruction. It offers B.Sc., M.Sc in Agriculture, BSW and MSW, masters degree in rural development, anthropology and CIT.

Visiting Hours- Winter: 1400 to 1630 hours. Summer: 1430 to 1730 hours. During vacations: 0730 to 1100 hours.

Do

Guides

Those who are knowledgeable about Rabindranath Tagore, his contribution to Bengali culture and his activities can enjoy a visit to Santiniketan thoroughly. Semi-official guides charge Rs. 150 for showing around Santiniketan and Rs. 300 for the entire area including Sriniketan and Amar Kutir. They are knowledgeable and explain things well. They are particulalrly helpful in identifying sculptures and frescoes.

Fairs and festivals

  • Poush Mela - the fair is held at Santiniketan from 7th to 9th Poush (December 22/23-25). Tribal sports, folk songs and dances including songs by bauls, the itinerant singers, are a part of the fair and festivities. Some sort of "bhanga mela" or broken fair, with some shops, continue till the end of December. Warning: All accommodation is heavily booked during this period. Anybody wanting to visit during his period will have to think ahead for hotel bookings.
  • Maghotsav - anniversary of Brahmo Samaj celebrated on the 11th of Magha (25th January) with prayers and songs at Chhatimtala.
  • Vasanta Utsav - held to celebrate Holi. The students dance and sing their ways through Amrakunja, followed by open-air variety programmes. Warning: All accommodation is heavily booked during this period. Anybody wanting to visit during his period will have to think ahead.
  • Rabindra Jayanti - although the birth anniversary of Rabindranath falls on 25th Baisakh (May 8/9), the anniversary as well as the Bengali New Year {Nabo Barsho) is celebrated on the first day of the Bengali New Year (Poila Baisakh) in mid-April with songs, dances, and recitaions by the students.
  • Briksharopana planting of saplings and Halakarshana ploughing of the fields on 22nd and 23rd Sravana (August).
  • Varshamangal - the festival of rains during August/September. Tagore was a poet of nature and some of his finest creations were about the rains.

Buy

  • Handicrafts, batik prints, leather craft - a favourable time for shopping is during the "Pous Mela". The unique style of embroidery associated with Santiniketan is known as'kantha stitch'. 'Sudha Karu Shilpa' in Andrews Palii, Santinikeatn, 'Amar Kutir' in Sriniketan, and 'Basundhara' in Sonajhuripalli offer quality kantha stitchwork in the form of Sarees, Dupattas etc throughout the year. Other handicrafts like dokra (artistic brassware from nearby Dariapur), leather bags, bamboo toys and locally handwoven cotton are also worth a look.
  • Rabindranath, Santiniketan, Sriniketan by Tapan Kumar Basak, price - Rs. 30 available locally

Eat

Look for "morabba" - a Siuri speciality (type of sweet meat).

Drink

Santiniketan and the surrounding areas offer a few bottle shops for wine and liquor purchases. A few restaurants have permits to serve beer (SK Restaurant, Kharimati restaurant, Park Hotel restaurant) and one local bar with a liquor license is the Moon Bar at the new Kharimati Hotel. During tribal festivals, the Santals enjoy rice beer which is served warm and is quite tasty. Although rice beer is a weak drink by Western standards, give it a try if you get the opportunity.

Sleep

  • Santiniketan Tourist Lodge (West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation), +91 3463 252699. Rs.300-1150.
  • Hotel Camellia, Prantik, +91 3463 254778/255044/255043 (, fax: +91 3463 255044), [2]. Rs.950-2000.
  • Chutti Holiday Resort, 241 Charupalli, Jamboni (off Sriniketan Road), +91 3463 252692/ 255015 (), [3]. Reservation from Kolkata: +91 33 9903570921 Ilaco House, 3/1 Brabourne Road, Kolkata 700001
  • Jiraan - The retreat, 9333510012, 9332083644 (), [4]. Rs. 700-1500.
  • Manashi Lodge, 91 3463 254200. Rs. 150-500.
  • Bolpur Lodge, Bhubandanga, 91 3463 252662/ 252737. Rs. 150-550.
  • Hotel Royal Bengal, +91 3463 257-448, +91 33 2455-1491. Kolkata office: 190,Harish Mukherjee Road Rs. 500-1200.
  • Park Guest House, +91 3463 226286, +91 Central Kolkata office 033 32953=360 , 226=42051 /098310 12240. Rs. 472 (non-AC) to Rs. 850 (AC).
  • Hotel Rangamati, Bhuban Danga, +91 3463 252305. Rs. 880-1173.
  • Mark and Meadows Resort, Sriniketan Road.
  • Rater Tara Diner Rabi (Star at Night, Sun During Day), Phul Danga, Taltor Road, Prantik (within 1 km from university campus, towards Prantik Railway Station, near to canal and Bird Sanctuary), +91 9830048007, +91 9433014277, [5]. checkin: 12 Noon; checkout: 12 Noon. A double storied garden Guesthouse, Rater Tara, Diner Rabi with all modern facilities. Extra bed is provided on extra payment and separate driver accommodation is also available on nominal charges. For booking, please mail to:info@santiniketantour.com,toursantiniketan@gmail.com Or, Write to B.Banerjee, Basement-40, Shantiniketan Building, 8, Camac Street, Kolkata- 700017 (Monday to Friday, during office hours) AC. (non-AC,)
  • Country Roads Home Stay, Adjacent to Mela Math (countryroads.homestay@gmail.com), 9903398059, [6]. American breakfast included in room rent Rs 750.

Learn

  • Study at Visva Bharati University, [7].

Get out

Map of Birbhum.jpg
  • Surul - near Sriniketan, temples with exquisite terracotta carvings.
  • Kankalitala - 9 km, on the bank of the river Kopai, one of the satipeethas.
  • Labhpur-Fullara - 30 km, a satipitha, birth place of Tarashankar Bandopadhyay.
  • Nanoor - 20 km, birth place of Chandidas, 14th century Sanskrit poet, famous for his Vaishnav Padavalis. There is a temple dedicated to Devi Basuli.
  • Kendubillo - 30 km, on the bank of the river Ajay, birth place of 12th century Sanskrit poet Joydeb, author of the masterpiece Geeta Govinda. A fair is held here on Makar Sankranti (mid January). Baul songs are the principal attraction of this mela. There is a temple with terracota decorations.
  • Bakreshwar - 58 km, satipitha, also famous for the Bakranath Shiva temple and hot springs.
  • Tarapith - 88 km, saktipeetha, famous temple of Tara Devi.
  • Nalhati - 100 km, shaktipeetha
  • Sainthia - 44 km, shaktipeetha
  • Massanjore - 75 km, in Dumka district of Jharkhand, a dam across the river Mayurakshi with a picturesque reservoir. One can travel on to Deoghar another 98 km in the same direction.
  • Durgapur - 60 km, the steel city. One can travel on to Vishnupur another 70 km in the same direction or on to Asansol, another 30 km, along NH2.


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