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Shantiniketan or Santiniketan (Bengali: শান্তিনিকেতন) is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 165 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 with the creation of the Visva-Bharati University.[1]

Santiniketan
Town
Santiniketan's Annual Poush Mela
Santiniketan's Annual Poush Mela
Santiniketan is located in West Bengal
Santiniketan
Santiniketan
Coordinates: 23°41′N 87°41′E / 23.68°N 87.68°E / 23.68; 87.68Coordinates: 23°41′N 87°41′E / 23.68°N 87.68°E / 23.68; 87.68
CountryIndia
StateWest Bengal
DistrictBirbhum
Elevation
30 m (100 ft)
Languages
 • OfficialBengali, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Lok Sabha constituencyBolpur
Vidhan Sabha constituencyBolpur

Contents

HistoryEdit

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 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, known as Vishva Bharti 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.

GeographyEdit

Santiniketan is at 23°41′N 87°41′E / 23.68°N 87.68°E / 23.68; 87.68.[2] at an average elevation of 56 metres (187 feet).

The town is flanked on either side by the Ajay river and the Kopai stream. Shantiniketan had extensive forest cover before British colonialization, but the city now has a barren landscape due to erosion. Despite this, due to deliberate efforts by botanists, plants and trees from all over India flourish in parts of the town.[3]

Notable placesEdit

The Ashrama Complex is one of the oldest buildings in the area. Built by Maharshi Tagore, the complex features a non-denominational temple with stained glass windows and sprawling gardens. Later additions to the complex include the Patha-Bhavana which features frescoes by Nandalal Bose.[4]

The Uttarayana Complex, which lies to the north of the town, features a collection of houses built by Rabindranath Tagore. During his lifetime, the buildings provided a secluded spot where the poet conducted his work. The complex's Udayan suites have attracted many notable guests such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.[4]

EducationEdit

UniversityEdit

Visva-Bharati University, founded by Rabindranath Tagore is Shantiniketan's sole university, offering courses across the arts, history, sciences and foreign languages.[5] It is considered one of the premier universities in India and serves as the town's cultural and academic center. Notable figures and alumni of the university include Satyendra Nath Bose.[6]

ClimateEdit

The climate of Santiniketan is moderately warm, with summer temperatures at around 35-45 °C and winter at 6-15 °C. July and August see heavy rainfall. The area is classified as a "Aw" (tropical savanna climate) under the Köppen Climate Classification.

Climate data for Shantiniketan, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26
(79)
29
(84)
33
(91)
36
(97)
36
(97)
34
(93)
32
(90)
33
(91)
33
(91)
31
(88)
30
(86)
26
(79)
32
(89)
Average low °C (°F) 13
(55)
16
(61)
21
(70)
25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
26
(79)
26
(79)
26
(79)
24
(75)
19
(66)
14
(57)
22
(71)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 6
(0.2)
39
(1.5)
33
(1.3)
51
(2.0)
128
(5.0)
330
(13.0)
340
(13.4)
348
(13.7)
313
(12.3)
291
(11.5)
159
(6.3)
33
(1.3)
2,071
(81.5)
Average rainy days 4 3 4 6 10 18 23 22 18 11 3 1 123
Average relative humidity (%) 68 65 68 68 72 80 83 84 83 79 72 70 74
Source: Weather2

[7]

CultureEdit

The town is known for its literary and artistic heritage, with the notable figures being Rabindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose. In addition, the Visva Bharati also serves as Shantiniketan's cultural center.[4]

Social and cultural events include Basanta Utsav, Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav, Nandan Mela, Anandamela, Poush Mela, Magh Mela, and Rabindra Jayanti. Of these, the Poush Mela is a significant 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). The fair features live music performances and vendors

Gardens and parks at SantiniketanEdit

 
Santiniketan Garden

There is a deer park 3 km from Santiniketan. 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.

TransportEdit

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pearson, WW.: Santiniketan Bolpur School of Rabindranath Tagore, illustrations by Mukul Dey, The Macmillan Company, 1916
  2. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Santiniketan
  3. ^ "Santiniketan".
  4. ^ a b c "Santiniketan". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  5. ^ "UndergraduateSyllabus". www.visvabharati.ac.in. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ Exploring Mother India's cradle of art. Nationmultimedia.com. Retrieved on 16 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Climate History for Santiniketan". Weather2. 2019. Retrieved on 5 May 2019.
  8. ^ Indian Princely States: Tagore Family
  9. ^ "Anand Yang - Jackson School of International Studies". The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit