States of India
The Visvabharti University is at Shantiniketan, three km from Bolpur. The brilliant and prolific poet, writer and nationalist Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) founded a school here in 1901. It later developed into a university with emphasis on humanity's relationship with nature-many classes are conducted in the open air. Tagore went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1913 and is credited with introducing India's historical and cultural greatness to the modern world. In 1915 Tagore was awarded a knighthood by the British but he surrendered it in 1919 as a protest against the Amritsar massacre.
There are colleges of science, teacher training, Hindi, Sino-Indian studies, arts and crafts, and music and dance. Tagore called the place 'the cargo of my life's best treasure', but in the late 1990s he'd probably be saddened by the way the university has become much like any other in India. Lectures are accused of nepotism, exam papers are leaked and graduates go for a job with multinationals rather than with rural regeneration programmes as Tagore intended. Rich Bengalis are now building holiday homes in the area. Although it's still a very peaceful place, there's little in visiting unless you have a specific interest in Tagore.
There's a museum and art gallery within the Uttarayan complex where Tagore lived. The university is open to visitors in the afternoons but closed on Wednesday, the day the university was founded.
Four km away is Sriniketan, started as a project to revitalise traditional crafts, such as kantha embroidery, weaving, batik and pottery.
Places to See :
Knkalitala : 9 km from Shantiniketan, has one of the sacred Satipithas and temple.
Deer Park : Located at Ballavpur forest is 4 km from Shantiniketan.
Travel Information :
Shantiniketan is 211 km from Kolkata and there are regular bus services available.
Trains are available from Howrah, Bolpur, Darjeeling