Shantiniketan is located in Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum district in West Bengal, India, approximately 165 km north of Kolkata. Shantiniketan was established by Maharishi Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. In 1901, poet Rabindranath started an experimental place of learning in an open air classroom surrounded by nature. After 20 years, this place converted in to Vishva Bharati University which is now a university of repute having thousands of students studying here coming from different parts of the country and abroad.
Paush Mela is the most important fair of Shantiniketan is held in the month of December. Foundation day of Shantiniketan is also celebrated during this time. At the same time, the Convocation of the University is usually held during this period which is presided by the Prime Minister of India. Various programmes of dance, music and singing are held during this time.
Lots of tourists visit Shantiniketan during Paush Mela. Apart from Paush Mela, Basanta Panchami, Varsha Mangal and Saradotsava are also celebrated here with great pomp splendor.
Vishva Bharati University was founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921. The university complex has various Bhavans named as Kala Bhavan (the school of the arts), Sangit Bhavan (the school for music and dance), China Bhavan (Centre for Chinese studies) and Vinaya Bhavan (the teachers training college).
The Uttarayan Complex is built in a distinct architectural style. Rabindranath Tagore used to live in this building. This building has a historical prayer hall established in the year 1863 by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore where Brahmo prayers are held on every Wednesday.
Inside this complex, there is a house known as Vichitra, where tourists can get a glimpse of various manuscripts, paintings, Noble Prize Medal and other accessories of Poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Sriniketan is situated about 3 km. away from Shantiniketan. It was also built by Shantinikean authority solely focusing on various rural development programmes. This institute has a Department of Rural Construction and a College of Agriculture.
It has a wide range of activities related to cottage industry that includes weaving, leather craft, pottery, Kantha embroidery, batik etc. Visiting this place is a nice experience for the tourists coming from far away placed as they can get to see stuffs made in small cottage industry in this region.
Santiniketan justifies Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a place of learning that go beyond the confines of the classroom. Shantiniketan provides amalgamation of the best of western and traditional eastern systems of education, where the classes being held in the open air creating a powerful bonding system with the nature. It is an internationally acclaimed hub of culture and education.