At an alcove of West Bengal, nature, in its most chaste demeanor, awaits to greet man-kind with the same fervors. This is the angelic domicile of Shantiniketan (Tranquil Home), which occupies a glorified place in the world map by the virtue of being divine poet Rabindranath Tagore’s abode. DolJatra Shantiniketan is a most pleasurable opportunity to explore this exquisite locale’s purest enigma.
Shantiniketan, as all see today, is the aesthetic representative of Tagore’s educational, cultural and religious visions. The domain stands as the central nodal point of Bengal language, creativity and culture. The distinctive and delightful éclat by which the Holi fete gets commemorated here is also a matchless one among all the prevailing festival celebration types that the world witnesses. Adorned by the name of basanta utsav (Spring fiesta), this was too a blue-print of Rabindranath’s aesthetic view-point and of date continues to be flawlessly and magnificently practiced by the University and art students and local inhabitants as well.
Photo by Preus museum
To set foot during DolJatra Shantiniketan
As is known by all, the prismatic occasion of Holi is esteemed in the West Bengal region as ‘Dol Jatra’ (Colorful Opera). In addition to the conventional frolic exploits of splashing beloved ones and favorite mates with joshing colors and amusingly hitting them with water balloons, Bengalis covet to spend this day by either performing or beholding definite dance and music acts that render the authentic Bengal ethnicity. Assuredly such an essence gets portrayed to the optima solely through the lyrics and plays of Tagore. And to witness the impeccable portrayal of those compositions, the occasion of DolJatra Shantiniketan is the best pursuit.
As mentioned earlier, the distinctiveness of Holi celebration is Shantiniketan is the basanta utsav. This is a one-of-a kind carnival through which the entirety of Tranquil Abode welcomes the most sough-after season—spring. From very dawn of the official Holi day, the totality of student and teacher fraternity gets dressed in yellow Saris and Dhoti/Pyajama-Kurta. The gold hue is especially elected keeping in mind the yellowish innateness of Spring. Most graciously, the pristine Bengali Eves bedeck themselves with trinkets made of the ‘Palash’ or ‘Butea’ blossom. The sequence of their yellow-dyed Saris with the garlands and bangles of red Butea flower is a real pleasure to watch. They and their Dhoti or Pyjama clad mates smear ‘Abir’ (colorful powder dust) over each other and do not stop the joyous venture till every one’s face is prismatic enough to endorse the Spring’s gaudiness. After this ‘Abir Khela’ (Hue Play), the community starts the preparation for actualizing the main verve of basanta utsav. At the sprawling green campus of Visva Bharati, in small sections, the present and past generations of teachers and students perform one-act plays and dance feats over various Spring-related ballads and skits of Tagore. The ace singers also inject the Tagore-ian symphony into the agreeable climate by rendering voice to certain ‘Prakiti Parjay Rabindra-Sangeet (Nature Time Tagore-ian Songs). With such heart-felt sublime endeavors going all around the campus, it looks like personified motley of tunes and hues esteeming Holi and Spring in a peerless manner.
The cardinal vibe of basanta utsav is encompassed in the fact that on this day, the teachers and pupils become one another’s pals. With equal enthusiasm and earnestness, the instructors take part in the cultural events hosted by the students. The students are also allowed to grace their faces with ‘Abir’. Such an amiable ambience infuses all the more life into Tagore’s desire of the kinship quotient between the educators and pupils.
From the very chaste sunrise till its time to bid adieu, at the environ of DolJatra Shantiniketan, chromaticity and culture remains most integrated-ly united with each other. Along with celebrating amidst them, the scholastic and creative fraternity of Visva Baharati also warmly greets the visitors with tinges of color and by making them part of their dance dramas and musical performances. The ‘Bauls’ (rustic musical nomads of Bengal) with their ‘Ektaras’ (vestige one-string harmony instrument) also make it a point to visit DolJatra Shantiniketan. Their bucolic-texture songs depicting the bond between God, cosmos and love are the added mystical dimension of the Spring fete.
Photo by Lili Olivares
Notions over tourist spot shantiniketan
Being a worldly renowned repose of art, studies and culture, the aspects of tourist spot shantiniketan are also widespread. Within the array, in here the cardinal dynamics of tourist spot shantiniketan is depicted:
- Chatim-Tala or Blackboard Tree Foot—Holy meditation zone of Tagore’s father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore. The tree surroundings are nowadays marble-gilded and get candle-lit every evening
- Udayan—Blessed residence of Rabindranath Tagore up-keeping all of his souvenirs to the optima and the most sought-after tourism spot shantiniketan
- Rabindra Bhavan Museum—The store-house of Rabindranath’s all work-pieces and international accolades including his hand-written scripts and personal letters
- Kala Bhavan and Sangeet Bhavan—Two globally reputed centers for the study, practice and enrichment of artistic and melodious dimensions
Photo by Soumyadeep Paul
Enigma of upasana griha shaniniketan
Along with Rabindranath Tagore, the Tranquil Home is also enriched by the visions of his father Debendranath Tagore. Known as ‘Maharshi’ or Saint for his matchless humbleness, the praiseworthy socio-religious crusader’s essence is preserved at upasana griha shaniniketan. This is a leading-edge edifice built by the Saint at 1863 to allow the monolithic religion followers have a place to come and pray. The upasana griha shaniniketan is sequenced with the finest pieces of Belgian glass and is the only relic of the extinct ‘Bramho Samaj’ of which both the Tagores were devoted members. To keep the legacy alive, each day the upasana griha shaniniketan gets enlightened by candles and chandeliers and on every Wednesday meditations are carried out.
Oriented at a distance of just 162 kilometers, spring-time visit to Shantiniketan can righteously become the most buoyant style of commemorating Holi instead of delving into the same rain-shower parties and trendy dance gigs.
Featured Photo by Soumyadeep Paul