Bolpur also referred to as Shantiniketan is one of the most popular weekend trip destinations in West Bengal. In Bengali, Shantiniketan means house of peace and the majority of Bolpur is so calm that you will enjoy every bit of nature. Be it cultural programs, haat, Arts, or majestic Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan always feels homely.
In this detailed Shantiniketan tour guide, we will discuss key aspects like accommodation in Shantiniketan, places to visit, how to reach Bolpur, etc.
How to Reach Shantiniketan
Bolpur is easily accessible by train and road from Kolkata. A faster and hassle-free option will be to board a train from either Howrah or Sealdah. However, you can also enjoy a long drive or take a bus to reach Bolpur (200 Kilometers) within four hours. Enroute you may taste famous Shaktigarh’s Langcha.
Hotels in Shantiniketan
Likewise any other popular tourist destination, Bolpur has a wide variety of accommodation options available in every price range based on location, coziness, and amenities. A typical roadside lodge can charge you Rs. 300 for a single bedroom while a moderate hotel/lodge with better amenities and location can charge Rs. 800. It all depends on what you need. Generally, a clean standard double bedroom will cost anywhere between Rs. 800 (Non/AC) to Rs. 1500 (AC). You can choose between Resorts, Luxurious hotels, Budget hotels, Holiday Homes and Homestays.
- Budget hotels at Bolpur – Nirala Lodge, Ashirbad Lodge, VIP Guest House, etc.
- Luxurious accommodation in Bolpur – Hotel Royal Bengal, Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge
- Homestays in Shantiniketan – Monpakhi, Chaiti, Krishna Chura, etc.
Notes: Bolpur celebrates “Poush Mela” (Last 10 days of December) and “Basanta Utsav” (Holi) every year on a very large scale. Thousands of people gather at that time, so all the services like accommodation, transportation, and food generally become very very expensive.
Food Options in Bolpur
Bolpur is certainly not famous for food. But if you love authentic Bengali cuisine there are a few places (little overpriced) you can visit like Ghore Baire, Panchabanjan, Sonajhuri, etc. Also, you will get the other cuisines like Mughal, Chinese very easily in restaurants like 9X9, Green Chilies, etc. Even typical budget Bengali meals are also available in roadside stalls or food hotels. I will be sharing my experience about the 9X9 and Ghore Baire restaurant shortly in a different post.
Local Sightseeing in Shantiniketan Tour
Bolpur is mainly known for its natural beauty, Shri Rabindranath Tagore and Rangamati (Reddish Soil). During this Shantiniketan tour, you will enjoy the cool breeze, lots of greeneries more than the local sightseeing points.
Visva Bharati University
Unlike any other university, this institution only focuses on Arts, Literature, and Culture since its early days. On 22nd December 1901, this University was started with only 5 students in one of the grounds underneath trees. Gradually it became one of the most prestigious universities in India and get recognized internationally too. Still, students take their class in the open sky, under trees. Most of the visiting spots open at around 1 PM every day except Wednesday and Thursday.
Rabindra Bhawan Museum
Shri Rabindranath Tagore used to live in one of the buildings namely Rabindra Bhawan. Currently converted into a well-equipped gallery cum museum even his used car is on display. Shri Rabindranath Tagore’s writings including noble winning “Gitanjali” & its multilingual editions, arts, used materials, family details, and achievements are showcased here.
Rabindra Bhawan Museum Timings and Entry Fee
There is an entry ticket of Rs. 50 for general, Rs. 300 for foreigners and Rs. 10 for Students to enter the museum. This museum remains open from 10 AM to 6 PM (Wednesday and Thursday closed). Facilities like cloakroom, car parking, toilet, drinking water are available. Also, remember to keep this ticket until you enter Shantiniketan Griha.
Note: You are permitted to click pictures inside the museum but not selfies or any person. Using flash is strictly prohibited. In addition, please maintain silence inside.
Few more interesting places to see like Shantiniketan Griha, Chatimtala, Aurobinda Griha, Upasana Griha, and many more small but significant places. You should get yourself a guide for Rs. 100 – 200 to know the hidden facts and history about this place.
Pro Tips – Please clearly discuss all the places guide will take you and also bargain beforehand.
Kopai River ViewPoint
Although this place is getting narrower day by day, still it holds at least a satisfying beauty during sunset and cloudy days.
Shanibarer Haat or Khoai Haat
This haat is one of the most attractive points of the Shantiniketan tour for fashion & handicraft lovers at Bolpur, Shantiniketan. You can get traditional Khes & Kantha Stitch sarees and Kurtis. Also, the marvelous handwork items like jewelry, poem frames, bags, etc. are available at the cheapest rates. You can do a little bargain too. If possible try to purchase stuff from this haat or Biswa Bangla Haat at Prantik to help the sellers rather than stores in Bolpur market area. This weekly (only Saturday) haat starts at around 3 PM till sunset.
It is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth. As per mythology, the bone of goddess Sati dropped here. This temple is considered as a Hindu religious place. Every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday many people gather for Puja.
You can also visit Deer Park (Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary), Srijani Shilpagram, Prantik Biswa Bangla Haat, Bakreswar and Mama Bhagne Pahar.
Transportation in Bolpur
Bolpur has almost every kind of transportation like e-rickshaw (Toto), auto, rented car, and bus. I personally prefer e-rickshaw because of less fare and its eco-friendly operations. Nature alongside the road is worth watching from a relatively slow-moving vehicle. Although if you are in a rush and looking for a faster alternative, a rented car will be the perfect fit.
Suggested itineraries for Shantiniketan Tour
- 1st Day: Reach Bolpur by 9 to 10 AM. Rest for an hour then leave for Mama Bhagne Pahar and Bakreswar.
- 2nd Day: Local Sightseeing includes Srijani Shilpagram, Kankalitala, Kopai viewpoint, Prantik, Vishwa Bharati University, Deer Park and Shanibarer Haat.
- 3rd Day: Return Back.
Alternatively, if you have less time, you can return back on Day 2. Otherwise, extend your Shantiniketan tour to one day more. So, you can visit Massanjore, Tarapith, and Nalhatiswari Temple.
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Have you ever visited Shantiniketan yet? If yes, how was your experience, what you liked the most?