Shantiniketan Knowledge Guide
In 1863, Debendranath Tagore took on permanent lease 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land, with two chhatim (alstonia scholaris) trees, at a yearly payment of Rs. 5, from Bhuban Mohan Singha, the talukdar of Raipur. He built a guest house there and named it Santiniketan (the abode of peace). Gradually, the whole area came to be known as Santiniketan.Binoy Ghosh says that Bolpur was a small place in the middle of the 19th century. It grew as Santiniketan grew. A certain portion of Bolpur was a part of the zamindari of the Singha family of Raipur. Bhuban Mohan Singha had developed a small village in the Bolpur area and named it Bhubandanga. It was just opposite Santiniketan of those days. Bhubandanga was the den of a gang of notorious dacoits, who had no compunction in killing people. It led to a situation of conflict and confrontation, but the leader of the gang, ultimately, surrendered to Debendranath, and they started helping him in developing the area. There was a chhatim tree under which Debendranath used to meditate. Inspired by The Crystal Palace built originally in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 and later relocated, Debendranath constructed a 60-foot × 30-foot hall for Brahmo prayers. The roof was tiled and the floor had white marble, but the rest of the structure was made of glass. From its earliest days, it was a great attraction for people from all around.Rabindranath Tagore first visited Santiniketan in 1873 when he was 12 years old. In 1888, Debendranath dedicated the entire property for the establishment of a Brahmavidyalaya through a trust deed. In 1901, Rabindranath started a Brahmacharyaashrama and it came to be known as Patha Bhavana from 1925. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature. It was a new feather in the cap of the Tagore family which was the leading family contributing to the enrichment of life and society in Bengal in many fields of activity over a long period of time. The environment at Jorasanko Thakur Bari, one of the bases of the Tagore family in Kolkata, was filled with literature, music, painting, and theatre. Founded in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati was declared to be a central university and an institute of national importance,* in 1951..* As of July 2019, Visva Bharati is not included in the list of Institutes of National Importance of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The town is known for its literary and artistic heritage, with the notable figures being Rabindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose. In addition, the Visva Bharati also serves as Shantiniketan's cultural center.