Santiniketan 13


Land of Folk music & Festivals
Santiniketan has always been a significant place that represents India to the world's literate society and intellectuals. Since its initiation, it has been a centre of attraction for philosophers, litterateurs, economists, thinkers, and artists.
Santiniketan or 'come home to peace', at least is precisely what Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore) felt when he visited this serene land. Once known as Bhubandanga, the place was renamed Santiniketan by Maharshi Debendranath as he fell in love with its naïve splendour. He undoubtedly was wise enough to perceive that the treasure and potential it possessed in its natural beauty deserved a wider audience. So, in 1863 he founded an 'Ashram', a retreat, at the centre of the land to encourage meditation. And a journey of the Indian Modern Education system began from here.
"Life is old there, older than the trees /Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze/ Country road, take me home"… Denver's song paces through the mind as the car scurries into Santiniketan, leaving behind the city life and all its mechanical noise. The paths lined with trees accompanied by open fields and the fresh air transform your journey to Santiniketan into an intense delight. Santiniketan is now a tourist destination for people looking for Bengal's authentic folk experience.
The tranquillity of this land attracted Rabindranath Tagore, and the greenery and silence of Santiniketan inspired the Nobel Laureate to a great extent. Some finest literary classics created during his stay in this place also emerged as a hope that finally gave his vision a shape. The traditional method of education never excited Rabindranath Tagore. He believed that confining a student in a four-walled classroom is only trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, forcing every individual to abide by the existing constitutional norms. To him, estranging pupils from nature can never be the right form of education. His wish to teach children in a natural environment came true with the establishment of Patha Bhavan, a school in Santiniketan, in the year 1901. Soon it grew into a University, and today, it is one of the most popular educational institutes that has its name on international ground.
Although reasons to visit Santiniketan are many, let's swiftly scan a few points to find out what makes it so special!

Attractions in Santiniketan

  • Baul Folk Music

    Santiniketan is famous for folk music and is considered the hub of Baul Music. Thousands of visitors come to this place to bask in the glory of rustic melody. Their simple attire, nomadic life, and effortless singing correspond well with the delicate magnificence of Santiniketan's nature. It is a generous gift that comes with many blissful pleasures this place offers to its visitors.

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  • Bolpur and Shriniketan

    Bolpur and Shriniketan are the other two places residing beside Santiniketan and should be explored with equal attention. The red soil of Bolpur calls for a weekend for itself. The quiet surrounding of this entire area is full of photographic scenes and greenery. And as the rustling sound of Kopai mingles with the rustic music of Ektara (a single string music instrument), it gives way to a new kind of experience, an experience - devoid of any impurity.

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  • Poush Mela (The Winter Carnival)

    Poush Mela in Santiniketan is Bengal's very own, Woodstock, complete with live, raw Bengali folk music, tribal dance performances and the endless number of stalls at the fair to mark the celebration of the harvesting season. There, the festival is about music and the joy of farmers for the newly harvested crops, and of course, it is a heady mix of culture and rituals. Walking through the Poush Mela crowd reminds one of an enormous parade; continuing for streets after streets, at the same time, the tune of the folk music of Bengal with their traditional single string guitar (Ektara) may lead you way back to the days of innocence. The songs of the Bauls have different rings to them, and the songs' moods change like the clouds change the pattern and the sky changes colour.

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  • Basanta Utsav (The Holi Festival)

    In spring, because of the Basanta Utsav or the Spring Festival, colours fly in the air with music and dance, stealing your heart away. Rabindra Jayanti which marks Rabindranath Tagore's birthday is celebrated with the zeal of a newborn baby, and Poush Mela is for the celebration of newly harvested crops.

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  • Folk Music festival

    No other place celebrates Bengali Folk Music like the way Santiniketan does. Probably because Tagore himself, to a great extent, was influenced and mesmerised by Lalon Fakir's works and the Baul philosophy, where again nature plays the critical role and followers seek salvation through heart rejecting any concrete face of God. Baul society's concept has a striking resemblance with the idea of the Vedic School that the Brahmo Samaj followed, and Tagore's family had profound respect and love for it. When your mind delves into much more profound thoughts related to a single place defining life, love, and faith in a new way, then that place has indeed something more in store than just the scenic beauty. This feature of Santiniketan separates it from all the other regular tourist spots. A dive into the serenity for a while rejuvenates the mind and the body.

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