Santiniketan, the abode of peace, is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. It is the birth place of the literary classics of Rabindranath Tagore. Its red soil, meandering Kopai River, and lush of greeneries speaks the impeccable beauty of nature.
Our trip was not at all planned. We went to Santiniketan on this 15th August, which was Saturday. We took leave on Monday although we had no clue about where to go on this long weekend till 10 PM on 14th night. Finally we thought of going to Santiniketan. We were lucky enough to book the last two tickets of next day’s NJP Shatabdi from Kolkata!
Santiniketan is about 164 Km from Kolkata. From Kolkata one can reach there by car, by bus and by train. The nearest railway station to Santiniketan is Bolpur which is 2 KM away. If you want to avail train the best options available for tourists are NJP Shatabdi, Ganadevta and Shantiniketan Express. Apart from these two there are many express trains.
Santiniketan has good number of options for stay. One will get budget hotels, homestay, luxury cottages here. It’s a small place so you don’t have to think about the proximity of your stay from the tourist places.
If you search for places of interest in Santiniketan on the net you will get Visva Bharati University, Kopai river mainly. But apart from these there are many more. To start with, you have Shilpa Gram, Amar Kuthir, Kopai River, Khoai Haat, Kankali Tala, Rabindra Bhavan Museum and Gitanjali Museum.
"Gram chara oei ranga matir poth” the redsoil path of Khoai has inspired Tagore to pendown this famous song. This Khoai Haat is a market place where you will find some good local hand crafted showpieces, jewelries, bags, fabrics etc. Here you can bargain even! Shopping on day 1, seriously I haven’t expected! If you are fond of dokra, here you will get some good pieces of the same at a reasonable rate. In this haat we found goods of Rs 10 to 3000. There was a seller displaying some really good kantha stitched (Nakshi Kantha) scarfs, but those were a bit costly, around Rs. 2500.
Next day we started with Srijani Shilpagram Complex. From Srijani we went to the banks of the Kopai. It is a narrow meandering river which has been an intricate part of Tagore’s writings. My Bong readers will be able to relate to “Amader Choto Nadi…” after seeing it. From Kopai we went to Kalkalitala. It is one of those 51 Shakti Peethas frollowed by Visva Bharati, Rabindra Bhavan, Amar Kuthir. Geetanjali Museum is bang oposite to the Bolpur railway station. So next day on our way back we went there.
Few things to keep in mind while planning your trip:
Carry cotton clothes if not travelling during winter, because due to hot and humid weather you may sweat like anything.
Carry mosquito repellants
If you are planning for boozing, and the hotel has not mentioned about in-house bar in their site, it’s better you carry your bottle.
As usual carry the basic medicines.
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