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Santiniketan [1] is a city in Birbhum district of West Bengal. It forms one urban agglomeration with Bolpur.


The town is home to Visva Bharati founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921. It was declared a central university in 1951. It has produced such diverse personalities as Indira Gandhi and Amartya Sen. It has been home to great artists and musicians.

Get in

By train

Bolpur is the railway station for Santiniketan. It is two to three hours by train from Kolkata. Convenient connections are 3017/3018 Gana Devta Express departing Howrah at 6.05 AM, 3015/3016 Shantiniketan Express departing Howrah at 10:05 AM (this is the only train which originates/terminates in Howrah and Bolpur, so one has a better chance of finding seats on this train rather than the other trains if one buys unreserved tickets. If you are buying reserved tickets, then it won't make a difference), 2347/2348 Sahid Rampurhat Express departing Howrah at 12 noon (and taking only 2 hours 20 min - the shortest time ),3011/3012 Malda Inter-city Express departing Howrah at 3.25 PM, 5657/5658 Kanchenjunga Express departing Sealdah at 6:45 AM, 2345/2346 Saraighat Express, 215/216 Visvabharati Fast Passenger, 3071/3072 Jamalpur Express, 209/210 Darbhanga Passenger are other good trains. For timings etc. check with Indian Railways [2].

If you are female and taking the train, look for designated "Ladies Cars" to enjoy a more comfortable and hopefully less crowded ride. If you are traveling with significant amounts of baggage, be aware that even in reserved cars you may struggle for space, and hiring a car may be a better alternative to reach Santiniketan.

By bus

Santiniketan is well connected by buses from all around. From Kolkata, if you want to go by bus, then you have to take Kolkata-Siliguri bus or Kolkata-Suri bus. For Silguri bound bus you have to get down near Panagarh and for Suri bound bus you have to get down near Ilambazar and for both cases you have to catch another bus for Santiniketan.

By car

Santiniketan is connected with Kolkata by an excellent road. From Kolkata travel to Dankuni and take the Durgapur Expressway. It is now part of NH2. It will bypass Saktigarh and Bardhaman. At Panagarh (Darjeeling Mor) turn right. After the highway crosses the Ajay river take the road to the right at Ilambazar and proceed towards Bolpur. At the Santiniketan-Sriniketan junction (also called Surul Mor) take the road to the left. Santiniketan is 212 km from Kolkata by road. Good drivers can cover the distance in about 3 hours.

Get around

Cyclerickshaws are the most convenient means of transportation as hired cars and taxis are not always readily available. If you are a tourist, don't get on the cycle rickshaws in front of the museum that are manned by the persistent teenagers as they will take you on a farcical circuitory route to make you spend more. Use the older guys. Or just walk round the town. Although there are a few to be found, auto-rickshaws are not yet common in this area. See map of Visva Bharati complex online [3]

If you are planning an extended stay, it may be worth your while to purchase a bike from one of the many local cycle shops. A brand new bicycle will run you between 2200 and 2600 rupees (about US$45-55).


Visva Bharati

Visiting Hours- Winter: 1400 to 1630 hours. Summer: 1430 to 1730 hours. During vacations: 0730 to 1100 hours.



Those who are knowledgeable about Rabindranath Tagore, his contribution to Bengali culture and his activities can enjoy a visit to Santiniketan thoroughly. Semi-official guides charge Rs. 150 for showing around Santiniketan and Rs. 300 for the entire area including Sriniketan and Amar Kutir. They are knowledgeable and explain things well. They are particulalrly helpful in identifying sculptures and frescoes.

Fairs and festivals




Look for "morabba" - a Siuri speciality (type of sweet meat).


Santiniketan and the surrounding areas offer a few bottle shops for wine and liquor purchases. A few restaurants have permits to serve beer (SK Restaurant, Kharimati restaurant, Park Hotel restaurant) and one local bar with a liquor license is the Moon Bar at the new Kharimati Hotel. During tribal festivals, the Santals enjoy rice beer which is served warm and is quite tasty. Although rice beer is a weak drink by Western standards, give it a try if you get the opportunity.


Get out

Related Information

A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [5].

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

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