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Tagore's Santiniketan by Ranjini Chatterjee

Kolkata, West Bengal, IN

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This place is special to me because I have been creatively inspired by this place from childhood. Santiniketan is a small university town in West Bengal, India approximately 180 kilometres from Calcutta. It was the birth place of Bengal School of Art, a movement in the early 20th century, against colonial influence, which changed Indian art. Santiniketan school was established by poet-philosopher-visionary and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore which later became Visva Bharati University (1921) and attracted the most creative minds in the country and the world. Artists like Abanindranth Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij contributed immensely to this place and to art education, embracing rural arts and crafts and an environment where art would be a part of life. The architecture of Santiniketan is unique and is a beautiful blend of various cultural influences fused with sculptures, art, music and literature. It attracts a lot of tourists as well as art enthusiasts as a hub of creativity. Classes are still taught in the open and nature and its seasons are still celebrated instead of religious festivals. My map concentrates on the main attractions, the multi layered culture and its inhabitants of this town – the Santhal community, the students, the flora and fauna. A trip to Santiniketan is like an art pilgrimage to me!