Shantiniketan's Annual Poush Mela
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Bolpur|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Bolpur|
Shantiniketan (Bengali: শান্তিনিকেতন Shantiniketôn) is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 160 km north of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). It was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, and later expanded by his son Rabindranath Tagore whose vision became what is now a university town, Visva-Bharati University.
Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, while on a visit to Raipur, he met with his earlier friend who happened to be the zamindar of Raipur. Earlier, on request from his zamindar friend, Maharshi use to teach his son English occasionally. They had been good friends. On this occasion Maharshi Devendranath expressed his desire to open up an ASHRAM and an educational institution and was in search of a suitable land in Birbhum. Then his friend told Maharshi Devendranath about a big barren land near Bolpur. Maharshi showed his interest to see the place himself. Then he took Maharshi one day to the barren land. There was only one building there namely 'Santiniketan'(which is still there adjacent the UPASANA mandir known as 'ODISHA Bhawan'). Maharshi liked the place very much and expressed it to his friend. His friend readily agreed to give the entire barren land to Maharshi Devendranath and registered it in the name of Maharshi Devendranath against Rupee One as a token value. He called his home Shantiniketan (after the name of the house). Shantiniketan became a spiritual centre where people from all religions were invited to join for meditation and prayers. He founded an 'Ashram' here in 1863 and became the initiator of the Brahmo Samaj.
Here Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavana, the school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. After he received the Nobel Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university in 1921. By 1951, it had become one of India's central universities.
- Barun De, Historian, who was a member of both the court and the executive council of Visva Bharati.
- Rajat Kanta Ray, Historian, who was a vice chancellor of Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.
- Amartya Sen, Economist, who studied at Patha Bhavana, Santiniketan.
- Surajit Sinha, Anthropologist, who was the vice chancellor of Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.
- Supriyo Tagore, Educationist, who was the longest serving principal of Patha Bhavana, Santiniketan.
Shantiniketan is at  It has an average elevation of 56 metres (187 feet)..
- Temperature (deg C): Summer — max. 42.4, min. 34.3; Winter — max. 15.7, min. 8.1.
- Rainfall: 125 cm (June to September). Heavy in July and August.
Shantiniketan can be visited at any time of the year. The climate is moderately warm, with summer temperatures at around 34-45 °C and winter at 8-15 °C. July and August see heavy rainfall.
Social and cultural events take place throughout the year. These include Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav, Nandan Mela, Poush Mela, Magh Mela, Rabindra Jayanti to name a few.
Of these, the Poush Mela is a major tourist attraction. It is a three-day fair (Bengali, mela means a fair), starting on the seventh day of the Bengali month Poush (usually, last week of December). It fetches tourists,artisans, folk singers, dancers, and the traditional Baul from the neighbourhood.
Gardens and parks at Shantiniketan
There is a Deer Park 3 km from Shantiniketan. Originally, the area was a fast eroding 'Khowai'. It is now a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
- Trains direct to Bolpur from Howrah and Sealdah station.
- Bus from Durgapur City Centre Bus Stop and Dharmatala Bus Stop (Soon to shifted to near Santragachi Railway Station) in Kolkata is also available for Bolpur/Shantiniketan.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santiniketan.|