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The trip to Shantiniketan was almost like a pilgrimage to me . I should have visited Shantinaiketan ages ago but due to something or other it got delayed. I made sure that this time that I would have 3 spare days to make this visit happen. We started from Howrah by Shantiniketan Express, which took 2.5 hours to reach Bolpur station. From station WB Tourism guest house is about 1.8 Km, we took a shared Toto to guest house.
Latter in the afternoon we went to Visva Bharati campus. Tourists are allowed to enter the campus only after 1 P.M. when the Patha Bhavan classes are over.
Originally Shantiniketan was owned by Zamindar Bhuvan Mohan Sinha and was known as Bhuvandanga. Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, while on a visit to Raipur, showed interest in land near Birbhum. There was only one building there namely ‘Santiniketan’. Maharshi liked the place and registered it in the name of Maharshi Devendranath against Rupee One as a 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.
Rabindranath started Patha bhavan which later expanded to an university in 1921 and became first university recognized by independent India. Patha Bhavan was an unique experiment , idea was learning in a natural environment is always more enjoyable and fruitful.
Many famous personality who latter became stalwarts in there respective fields , are ex-students from Shantiniketan. Indira Gandhi studied here . Amartya Sen was Patha Bhavan student. Ramkinker Baje , father of modern Indian culture was also student who latter became teacher . Most of the sculptures in the campus was his creation.The current Indian prime minister is also the Chancellor of the university . Normally Chancellor visits during convocation . VIP’s and VVIP’s stay at Ratan Kuthi (Tata guest house) , except Indira Gandhi. She used stay in her room with other girls in girls hostel.