Santiniketan's Annual Poush Mela
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Bolpur|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Bolpur|
Santiniketan (Santiniketôn) is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 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.
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Santiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (after Bhuban Mohan Sinha, the Zamindar of Raipur in WB), and was owned by the Sinha family. In 1862, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, while on a visit to Raipur, showed interest in land near Birbhum. There was only one building there namely 'Santiniketan' (which is still there adjacent the upasana mandir known as 'Odisha Bhawan'). Maharshi liked the place and registered it in the name of Maharshi Devendranath against Rupee One as a token value. He called his home Santiniketan (after the name of the house). Santiniketan 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 a Nobel Prize in 1913, the school was expanded into a university in 1921. In the year 1924 based on the same ideology and with the intention of educating and training the people belonging to deprived part of the society he founded Siksha-Satra with only 7 students. The journey initiated by Kabiguru to kickstart the education system transformation slowly turned into a reality when the institution was recognised as the first university to be reccognised in the year 1951 by central government. Over the course of time university has witnessed the growth of talented singers, artists, academicians and scientists contributing to the various domains.
- 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.
- Ramkinkar Baij, Indian sculptor and painter, one of the pioneers of modern Indian sculpture and a key figure of Contextual Modernism.
- Supriyo Tagore, Educationist, who was the longest serving principal of Patha Bhavana, Santiniketan.
Santiniketan 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. 6.8.
- Rainfall: 125 cm (June to September). Heavy in July and August.
Santiniketan 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 6-15 °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 Santiniketan
There is a Deer Park 3 km from Santiniketan. The entry ticket is 10 rupees. There are lots of deer but nothing else. 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.
- 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/Santiniketan.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santiniketan.|
- Santiniketan travel guide from Wikivoyage