Santiniketan, the Abode of Peace
Shantiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga, it was named after a local dacoit, Bhuban Dakat, who used to guard the area, which was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore, found a piece of land that was very peaceful and an ideal place for meditating. Later he renamed this place as Santiniketan, which means “Abode of Peace”. Gradually, it became a spiritual center where people either used to come or were invited to join for meditation and prayers. The very next year in 1863, Debendranath Tagore founded an ‘Ashram’ here. As the years rolled down, Amrakunja, Saal Bithi, Chatim Tala, Santiniketan Bari, Kanch Mandir, Sonajhuri, came into being.
In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore started a Brahmacharya Ashram at Shantiniketan. In 1922, this Ashram was inaugurated and was known as Visva-Bharati University. The university was founded by Tagore as a Centre for Culture, with major focus areas on arts, literature, language, humanities, music, etc.
Tagore’s vision was to create a place, where people can exist in harmony with mother nature.
The university started as Patha Bhavan with only 5 students. He hated the concept of knowledge within four walls, so open-air education was encouraged, which is now a reality followed till now. A school with his ideals, the experience of his life, and knowledge and teachings imparted in the natural environment for an enjoyable and fruitful result. After Tagore won the Nobel Prize, this small school was expanded into an International University.
Basanta Utsav and It’s Importance
Basanta Utsav means celebration of the spring season. According to the Bengali calendar, Falgun and Chaitra is the season of Dol Utsav (popularly known as Holi). The aura is electrifying, as it’s the season of colors, nature wraps itself with the beauty of colors and flowers all around. At this time, the queen of flowers like Palash and Shimul spreads its enchanting smell and hue. This tradition was first started by Kobiguru, Rabindranath Tagore at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan. From the very beginning, Tagore has initiated and encouraged playing with Abir, at present which is known as dry holi to save water. This day is also known as Dol Purnima.
People come from all over the nation and also abroad, to experience the magic of Basanta Utsav at Santiniketan. A warm welcome is given to them by a procession of long musical dance in the morning by the students of Visva-Bharati. It is followed by Tagore’s music, rhymes, and dance by students of different departments or Bhavanas. On that very day, everyone wears a yellow or Basantii dress, which is the symbol of the spring season. Male dress up in yellow kurta with white pajamas, and females wear yellow sarees with Polash flowers tucked in their hair.
Places to visit on that day.
The main tourist attraction places to visit on that day are :–
- Tagore’s Ashram
- Kala Bhavana
- Sangeet Bhavana
- Chatim Tola
- Patha Bhavana
- Kanch Mandir
- Sonajhuri Haat
Sonajuri Arts preserving and spreading the tradition and Culture:-
Tagore’s vision to make this center of learning balanced with both east and west cultures and qualities. The university holds his ideals, and teachings as core values. Visva-Bharati has two campuses: one is at Shantiniketan and the other one is at Sriniketan. Santiniketan campus focuses on academics, whereas Sriniketan focuses on agriculture, adult education, village welfare, cottage industries, and handicrafts.
Sonajuri Arts were created to uplift the Santiniketan artisans and their families especially to provide them with the primary health and education of their children along with our NGO – “UMA DREAM FOUNDATION”. Our vision is to create a bigger picture of art, than what exists today. We are continuously trying to oversee and spread the rural arts and handicrafts of Santiniketan from dwindling away.
Sonajuri Arts endeavors to support every artisan not just by promoting what they make, but also by helping them with ideas and designs. We invite every budding and experienced artist to join us in this journey to preserve and spread art and handicrafts. Holi offers curated just for you