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West Bengal : Santiniketan
Santiniketan, a small and renowned city which is 3 km away from Bolpur is known to the world for Rabindra Nath Tagore. Santiniketan is 136 km away from Howrah railway station and if you prefer to travel by bus from Esplanade, Kolkata you have to cover a bit more distance. Santiniketan is 212 km away from Kolkata by road.
On the way to Elambazar from Bolpur station, near by places like Supur, Kakutiya, Raipur, Deuli can be seen by hiring a rickshaw. Temple lovers will definitely enjoy Surtheswar Shiva temple at Shivtala, Hatpukur Kali temple, Narayan temple, Gouriya math and Mahaprabhu temple.
Debendra Nath Tagore inaugurated the delightful Ashrama in Santiniketan with only 5 students but now the Ashrama and Biswabharati University are well known to the world for their culture and education systems. Students from the other countries also take admissions here in Santiniketan University. Now, the university has got the status of being one of the centralized universities of India.
Uttarayan, the residence of Rabindra Nath Tagore for the end days of his life is now open to general public as museum. Shoes, pictures, books, different awards of Rabindra Nath Tagore and even the Austin car used by Rabindra Nath Tagore are kept in the museum. Rabindra Bhawan, Udayan, Konark, Shyamali, Punascha, Udichi are the buildings of prime interests. Malatilata, the tree planted by Rabindra Nath Tagore is one of the biggest interests of Santiniketan. Studio Chitrabhanu is kept open only on 23rd November on the auspicious occasion of the birthday of Rathindra Nath Tagore, the son of Rabindra Nath Tagore. The natural beauty of Chatimtala (the shade of chatim tree) gives tourists the peace of mind. The architectures of Kalabhaban, Hindi bhawan and Sangeet bhawan are really nice.
Festivals are almost the daily routine of Santiniketan. Pouse fair, Basanta utsav and Magh utsav are the occasions which attract many tourists even from outside of India. Sriniketan, situated at a distance of 3 km from Santiniketan is the center of art of Santiniketan.
Other prime attractions of Santiniketan include Taldhwaj, Ballavpore deer park covering an area of 700 hectors, bird sanctuary etc. You can spend a quality time in the afternoon walking on the banks of the Khowai River and enjoy the nature. If you are interested then you can also visit Doriapur, situated at a distance of 5 km from Guskara, Santiniketan to see the works of Dokra artists. Bhalkimachan, situated 18 km away from Guskara is well known for its forest. You can also visit Jamunadighi, a 3 km away destination from Bhalkimachan for enjoying the boating amidst nature.
How to reach: Bolpur which is now a model station is well connected from howrah and sealdah railway stations. If you come with your family then hiring a car for this trip will be more convenient than availing the railway service.
Where to stay: There are a lot of hotels where you can stay in Santiniketan. Advaita lodge, dream lodge and santiniketan lodge cottage are some of the good hotels situated on the way to Santinektan from Bolpur station. There are many more hotels available with quality services and moderate rates.
Kankali Pith : Bengutia, the small village of Kankali Pith, lies 144 km away from Kolkata, at the banks of the Kopai River, is popularly known as the last of the 51 Pithas of Hindu community. Kankali Pith has been named after the skeleton (Kankal) of Devi sati which is said to have fallen here. In the newly built temple beside the well, Trisul (The form of Shiva) and Kankali (The form of Devi Kali) are worshipped. The Utsav (occasion) that takes place on Makar Sankrati day (the last day of Bengali calendar month Poush) is very popular here. Apart from the main temple, the adjoining cremation ground, Ruru Bhairabthan and Kanchishwari temple are other noteworthy places of Kankali Pith.
How to reach: Prantik, the railway station next to Bolpur, can be reached by trains from Howrah railway station, Kolkata. After getting down at Prantik, you need to cross the adjoining field to reach Kankali Pith. You can also come to Bolpur or Santiniketan by bus from Kolkata. You can take a rickshaw to Kankali Pith from Santiniketan, situated at a distance of 8 km from Kankali Pith.
Where to stay: There is no hotel in Kankali Pith. You can stay at Santiniketan. Advaita lodge, dream lodge and Santiniketan lodge cottage are some good hotels in Santiniketan.