( Shantiniketan )

Shantiniketan is a neighbourhood of Bolpur town in the Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum district in West Bengal, India, approximately 152 km north of Kolkata. 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 Visva-Bharati.

It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee in 2023.

In 1863, Debendranath Tagore took on permanent lease 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land, with two chhatim (Alstonia scholaris) trees, at an annual payment of Rs. 5, from Bhuban Mohan Sinha, the talukdar in Raipur, Birbhum. He built a guest house there and named it Shantiniketan (the abode of peace). Gradually, the whole area came to be known as Shantiniketan.[1]

 Upasana Griha, the glass prayer hall Devendranath built

Binoy Ghosh says that Bolpur was a small place in the middle of the 19th century. It grew as Shantiniketan grew. A certain portion of Bolpur was a part of the zamindari of the Sinha family of Raipur. Bhuban Mohan Sinha 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. It led to a situation of conflict and confrontation, but 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 built originally in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 and later relocated, Debendranath constructed a 60-foot × 30-foot hall for Brahmo prayers. The roof was tiled and the floor had white marble, but the rest of the structure was made of glass. From its earliest days, it was a great attraction for people from all around.[2]

Rabindranath Tagore first visited Shantiniketan on 27 January 1878 when he was 17 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.[2][3] In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature.[4] It was a new feather in the cap of the Tagore family which was the leading family contributing to the enrichment of life and society in Bengal in many fields of activity over a long period of time.[5] The environment at Jorasanko Thakur Bari, one of the bases of the Tagore family in Kolkata, was filled with literature, music, painting, and theatre.[6] Founded in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati was declared to be a central university and an institute of national importance, in 1951.[7]

^ Basak, Tapan Kumar, Rabindranath-Santiniketan-Sriniketan (An Introduction), p. 2, B.B.Publication ^ a b Ghosh, Binoy, Paschim Banger Sanskriti. It has now been listed in UNESCO in 2023. (in Bengali), part I, 1976 edition, pages 299-304, Prakash Bhaban, Kolkata ^ "Visva Bharati". History. Visva Bharati. Retrieved 25 July 2019. ^ Hjärne, H. (1913), The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913: Rabindranath Tagore—Award Ceremony Speech, Nobel Foundation (published 10 December 1913), retrieved 25 July 2019 ^ Deb, Chitra, Jorasanko and the Thakur Family, Pages 64-65, in Calcutta: The Living City, Volume I, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, Oxford University Press. ^ Jorasanko and the Thakur Family by Chitra Deb in Calcutta, the Living City, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, Vol I, page 66 ^ "Visva Bharati". About Visva-Bharati. Visva Bharati. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
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Armanaziz - CC BY-SA 3.0
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