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West Bengal : Santipur
Santipur, lies 94 km off Kolkata, has got its name according to the Santamuni whose residence was there in Santipur.
Santipur is famous for the establishments of Vaishnavites as like other nearby places like Phulia, Nabadwip etc. It is believe that three famous saints called Gouranga, Nityananda, Odwaitacharya, who all belonged to Vaishnav community had met themselves in the village called Babla, situated in Sripath, Santipur. Jatia baba or Bijay Krishna Goswami, a very popular individual of Santipur, was born in Adwaita family, Santipur.
Even though various temples are the attractions of Santipur but Santipur also show cases many mosques like Shyamchand, Gokulchand, Jaleshwar etc.
Since ancient times, Shantipur and its surrounding sections are renowned for the handloom saris. The handloom weaving designs exclusive to this region are popularly known as Santipuri Sari to the women of West Bengal.
Shantipur is very famous for "Rasotsav" and "Dolotsav". Rasotsav of Santipur starts on the very next day of the inaugural of Nabadwip rasotsav. On the day of rash yatra, the main festival of the town, all the people of Santipur go out in a grand procession around the city accompanied with drums, kirtan (A form of rual music of India) and playing instruments. Goswami bari, Madangopal Thakur bari, Radhaballav Jew, Bijay Krishna Goswami bari, Adwaitapath are some of the well known families where visitors can enjoy rasotsav in its purest form. Generally the utsav continues for 4 days and on the 3rd night the procession that moves around the city is really impressive to look at. Clay models with portrays of the epics, dance of 108 dhaki (Musicians who carry a musical instrument called dhak and also plays it), city lighting, well decorated Haoda (Luxurious throne) are the specialties of 3rd night procession. On the day of rasotsav, young girls are dressed in classy traditional attires and ornaments and worshipped as Radha. After this, girls are asked to sit in Haoda decorated with flowers. Rai raja Haoda is another impressive thing to look at. Temple lovers who enjoy the peace of mind should take part in the pujas of Aagmeshwari, Bama Kali, Mahishakhagi Kali, Poteshwari Kali in Santipur.
If you are interested to know the ancient culture of Santipur then you must visit the public library of Santipur.
How to reach: Santipur is connected by local trains from Sealdah Railway station, Kolkata. You will get a train in every one hour. Santipur can also be reached from Krishnanagar by bus or by narrow gauge railway. If you prefer road transport then you can avail SBSTC, WBSTC buses which go to Santipur touching Ranaghat and Phulia from Esplanade, Kolkata.
Where to stay: You don’t have many options available for you if you want to stay in Santipur but rooms are available in reasonable rates in the hotel called Municipal G.