Bolpur is a city and a municipality in Birbhum district in the state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of the Bolpur subdivision. Bolpur municipal area includes Shantiniketan. It is 145 km north of Kolkata and is best known for Visva Bharati, the university set up by the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. It was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore and later expanded by his son Rabindranath Tagore whose vision became what is now a university town with the creation of the Visva-Bharati University.
History: In 1863, Debendranath Tagore took on permanent lease 20 acres of land, with two Chhatim trees, at a yearly payment of Rs. 5, from Bhuban Mohan Singha, the talukdar of Raipur. He built a guest house there and named it Santiniketan (the abode of peace). Gradually, the whole area came to be known as Santiniketan.
A certain portion of Bolpur was a part of the zamindari of the Singha family of Raipur. Bhuban Mohan Singha had developed a small village in the Bolpur area and named it Bhubandanga. It was just opposite Shantiniketan of those days. Bhubandanga was the den of a gang of notorious dacoits, who had no compunction in killing people. The leader of the gang ultimately surrendered to Debendranath, and they started helping him in developing the area. There was a Chhatim tree under which Debendranath used to meditate. Inspired by the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, Debendranath constructed a 60’ x 30’ hall for Brahmo prayers. The roof was tiled and the floor had white marble, but the rest of the structure was made of glass. In its earliest days, it was a great attraction for villagers from all around.
Rabindranath Tagore first visited Santiketan in 1873 when he was 12 years old. In 1888, Debendranath dedicated the entire property for the establishment of a Brahmavidyalaya through a trust deed. In 1901, Rabindranath started a Brahmacharyaashrama and it came to be known as Patha Bhavana from 1925. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Tagore family had a leading contribution to enriching life and society in Bengal in many fields of activity over a long period of time. Founded in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati was declared to be a central university and an Institute of National Importance in 1951.
*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)
Airport: The Netaji Subash Chandra Bose international airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 162 km.
Rail: Bolpur station is located on the Khana-Barharwa section of Sahibganj loop. It is also connected to Howrah station by Shantiniketan express.
Road: Shantiniketan is connected from by bus from Durgapur City Centre Bus Stop and Dharmatala Bus Stop in Kolkata.
Local: Within the city of Shantiniketan, private auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are the most convenient mode of communication. Vehicles are also available on hire from the city.
All the places of attraction here are located close to each other and can be covered in a day, but it is always advisable to stay for a day or two to experience the charm of the place.
Hotels: The West Bengal Government Tourist Lodge and many private hotels and resorts offer comfortable stay here in Shantiniketan.