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Santiniketan – the pride of Bengal

Description

This tour will take you to the world famous Santiniketan, a small town near Bolpur, established by Maharishi Devendranath Tagore, and later expanded by son, the Nobel Lauraete Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a University town, Vishwa Bharati University. Here Rabindranath Tagore started the Patha Bhawan, school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and enriching. You will also visit Bishnupur, an ancient town, known for its Hindu temples made from Local terracotta and decorated with scenes from Hindu legends including the “Mahabharata”.

Itinerary

Duration: 6 nights/7 days

Destinations: Kolkata – Santiniketan – Bishnupur – Kolkata – Dakshineshwar - Kolkata

Day 1

Arrive Kolkata

Meet and greet at the airport and check into hotel... then we can take you for a stroll in the famous Park Street area, which is the entertainment hub of Kolkata since the Colonial era ... Old time popular singers like Engelbert Humperdink, Cliff Richard and Usha Uthup would enthrall the audience in the hotels and restaurants with their evergreen melodious numbers. Even till this day the hotels and restaurants reverberate with the memories and the music and dance still continues in full swing. Enjoy your Dinner at Floatel, the Floating hotel, one of its kind in the country .... View the beautiful Ganges while having your dinner with fun and entertainment. Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 2

In Kolkata

Have your breakfast and proceed for sight seeing tour of Kolkata. Kolkata is a city of the colonial era which at one time was the capital of India. Kolkata is culturally a vibrant city with its blend of British and Indian architecture. Must see sights include Mother’s House, Marble Palace, Victoria Memorial, Parasnath Jain Temple, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Riverside (Princep Ghat), Jorashankho Thakur Bari (abode of the Nobel Laurate Rabindranath Tagore).

Drive Pass : General Post Office, Shaheed Minar, Eden Gardens, Akashvani Bhawan, Writers’ Building, Raj Bhawan, High Court, Maidan, Town Hall, Race Course, Lal Dighi Street, Andrews Church.

Drive over : Howrah Bridge or Vidyasagar Setu. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel.

Day 3

Kolkata - Santiniketan (170 kms, 3.5 hours)

After Breakfast Check out of your Hotel at 8.00 am and proceed to Santiniketan. Santiniketan a town near Bolpur was founded by the Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, whose vision transformed it into a University Town. Popularly known as Vishwa Bharati University ... the meaning as defined by Tagore “ where the world makes a home in the nest”..... this place emerged as the best place for higher learnings and students from across the globe study here even till this day. Tagore wrote many literary classics here and thus Tagore’s house is a place of immense historic importance. You will see many important building within the University premises

Prayer Hall : made of Belgium glasses with marble steps on all four sides.

China Bhawan : Centre for Chinese studies , Natir Puja a famous dance drama of Tagore is painted on the wall. Then see the Black House – a mud building known for its relief works done by stalwarts like Ram Kinkar and Prabhas Sen. Then on to Patha Bhawan which is Now a secondary school. Walk upto Sangeet Bhawan – School of Dance and music. Then Santiniketan Griha - The oldest building of Santiniketan built by Rabindranath Tagore’s father, where young Rabindranath stayed as a boy. Then visit Dehali – Where Rabindranath used to live with his wife Mrinalini Devi and the Uttarayan Complex – The poet lived and worked here in the Northern complex comprising of several buildings Udayana, Konaraka, Shyamali, Punascha and Udichi.

Bichitra : This is one of the main attractions comprising a research centre and a Museum displaying the personal belongings, paintings, and several editions of his literary works. A replica of the treasured Nobel Prize is exhibited here.

Chatimala :The father of Rabindranath Tagore used to meditate in this building. This is now transformed into the convocation hall where the successful graduates are presented a bunch of 5 leaves plucked from the Saptapami trees in the area

Central Library :It is a paradise for book lovers.

Punascha and Udichi :This complex has well laid out gardens.

Then you will have lunch and continue your sight seeing Later on visit Shilpa Gram which showcases traditional handicrafts of eastern region (Bihar, Assam, Orissa, Manipur, Andaman and Jharkhand) Each state is depicted by a traditional house with collection of paintings, artifacts, etc. If you are arriving on a Saturday you will have the unique privilege to experience the Khoai haat (market) displaying the traditional handicrafts of Shantiniketan and you will also enjoy the village folks performing dance shows. This market is open from 3 pm to 6pm only In the evening check into your hotel. No visit to Santiniketan is complete without experiencing the Local Baul (rural Bengal culture) songs and dance by the local musicians. Enjoy your evening with them. Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Day 4

Shantiniketan - Bishnupur

After Breakfast check out of the hotel and proceed to Bishnupur. Enroute Visit Kopai River, Kankanlitala ...temple on the banks of the river Kopai, Aamar Kutir (handicrafts of cloth, leather, batik and many artifacts of Santiniketan are available here), Basundhara – that offer quality Kantha stitch work in the form of Sarees, dupattas and dress material throughout the year. Proceed to Bishnupur thereon which is 3 hours drive from Santiniketan. On arrival at Bishnupur have lunch and proceed for further sightseeing. Bishnupur is a town in the Bankura district of West Bengal famous for its Teracotta temples and Baluchari Sarees. Bishnupur was the capital of the Malla kings during the 18th and 19th century and was then known as Mallabhum, till their power was weakened by the Mughal dynastry took who took over the kingdom. The Mallas were Vaishnavites, that is followers of Lord Vishnu and the place was thus renamed as Vishnupur in 994 AD. The patronage of King Veer Hambhir and his successors Raghunath Singha Dev and Bir Singha Dev made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal.

Visit The temples that are made of terracotta tiles with the scenes from the epic Mahabharata. Some of the temples are Madan Mohan temple built in the Ekaratna style which is a square flat roofed building with carved cornices, Jor Bangla temple with ornate terracotta carvings in the Bengal classic chala style of architecture, then Poncho ratno temple with walls made of terracotta carvings depicting incidents from the life of Lord Krishna and Rasamancha – which is the oldest brick structure in the shape of pyramid in the heart of the city built in 1587, where the deities from other temples are brought in a procession during the Rasa festival. Also visit the Radhya Shyam Temple, Nandalal Temple, Radha Madhav Temple, etc. Check into the Hotel and overnight.

Day 5

Bishnupur - Kolkata

After Breakfast check out of the hotel and first visit the Other major places of interest which include Acharya Jogesh Chandra Museum which display tools from the Paleolithic era, metal ornaments, terracotta sculptures, coins and artefacts of the ancient days. Next visit the Pathar Darwaja (Main gateway of Bishnupur) and Garh Darwaja (Small gateway of Bishnupur) Lal Bandh which is an artificical lake in Bishnupur created by Vir Singh, a Malla ruler, to provide water to the Villagers, Stone Chariot, Nutan Mahal, a memorical of Srinibas Acharya. Spend some time shopping in Bishnupur : terracotta pottery, artifacts and jewellery are famous creations of Bishnupur. The trademark of Bishnupur is the Baluchari sarees made of Tussar silk. The borders and pallus are woven with episodes from Mahabharata. A special kind of metalware called “Dokra” and conchshells are available here. After lunch proceed to Kolkata which is 4 hours drive. On arrival check into your hotel and overnight.

Day 6

Kolkata – Dakshineshwar – Belur - Kolkata

After Breakast proceed for a day trip to Dakshineshwar and Belur. Situated on the eastern banks of Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali , meaning “she who liberates her devotees from the ocean of existence”. The temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali. The temple is famous for its association with Ramakrishna , a mystic of 19th century Bengal. Apart from the nine-spired main temple the temple comprises of 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva-Kali’s companion – along the river front, a temple to Radha Krishna, a bathing ghat, a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. From Dakshineshwar drive to the Western Ghat of the Hooghly river to visit the Belur Math, founded by Swami Vivekananda, chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. The temple is notable for its architecture which is a fusion of Hindu, Islamic and Christian motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Return to your hotel and overnight.

Day 7

Depart Kolkata

After breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to airport for flight to your onward destination or back home with fond memories

The above is only a suggestive itinerary. The duration of the tour can be modified to suit your specific requirements.

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