Santiniketan in West Bengal is the namely loosely given to the area including the Viswa Bharti University and the Bolapur township. Poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore set up a school with a back-to-nature education system here in 1906, which later expanded to become the Viswa Bharti University. Parts of this complex are now open to tourists, including the Uttarayan complex, which houses Tagore’s possessions and other paraphernalia related to him. Besides the university, there is lots to do in Santiniketan. You can see natural rock sculptures in the open air garden at a private museum close to the Sonajhuri forest. For a true, authentic feel of Bengal, check out the town's festive calendar and join the celebrations. Photography enthusiasts cannot miss Khowai. This is a giant land piece that has given way to gullies due to erosion over time. In the rainy season, the entire picture becomes a colourful canvas. There is much to shop in Santiniketan. Take home pickles, kantha sarees, wood products, paintings and savouries to remember this beautiful place. For an interesting journey full of snake charmers and flute players, ditch the flight and take a train to the town instead.
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150 Kms from Santiniketan
Kolkata is the cultural hub of India and a place that gives you a feel of the heritage even in this modern era. Where there are other metropolitan cities that are moving ahead in advancement, Kolkata is one city that is retaining the richness of the past generations and the traditions that were followed. In simple words, Kolkata is a city with a soul. Known as Calcutta in earlier times, it is also a place that is high on the intellectual front. This is the city that was the capital of the India under the British rule and therefore a lot of architecture and feel can be experienced from the history before independence. Do not forget to get the hands on the tangy Bengali cuisine when here. You can either stroll along the Hoogly or else explore the Howrah Bridge, the choice is yours. So when are you taking the plunge?
304 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
The largest and the busiest city in Bangladesh, Dhaka may seem like a regular, commercial city to you in the first glance but it's much more. It's a place that grows on you with time, and when it does, it's difficult to forget its many experiences. If this is your first visit here, you can choose among the many Dhaka day tours. The tours will help you see the city in its entirety and one can also choose customised tours according to individual preferences. Lal Bagh Fort, Liberation War Museum and Ahsan Manzil are some of the must-visit spots in Dhaka. Do include Baitul Mukarram Mosque in your itinerary. It is the 10th largest mosque in the world and is a sight to behold. Sonargaon is another wonderful place to include in your itinerary. An erstwhile administrative centre of Bengal, the site makes for an interesting visit outside Dhaka. Sitara Mosque is named so because it is decorated with a million stars and is a delight to explore. There are a number of options to stay in Dhaka and you can choose one according to your budget or preference.
320 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - N/A
As the name suggests, the history and significance of this place revolves around the Bodhi tree which is actually a peepal tree. The original name of the place is Gaya and the Bodhgaya is the combination of the two words Bodhi and Gaya. This is the tree under which Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment and became Buddha- The Enlightened one. The main attraction of this place apart from the history of the Mauryan Empire is the Mahabodhi Temple. This is the oldest seat of Buddhist worship and dates back to the 2nd or 3rd Century. The initial temple structure was built by Emperor Ashika when he visited this place after he had left violence and adopted the path of peace and love. What we see at present is not at all the temple the Chinese Ambassador Fa Hien had mentioned in his account. This is a beautiful ornate temple and monastery with a beautiful spire and a large complex. What Fa Hien had mentioned was just the Bodhi Tree surrounded by brick walls. No doubt this was the forst brick Buddhist temple in the country, but presently it is much more beautiful and the magical sense of inner peace you recieve on visiting this place cannot be explained in words.
88 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of grandeur, power, culture and beauty, the erstwhile centre of the nawabs was from where the revenue of the whole state of West Bengal went to the king in Delhi. Till date, Murshidabad and its historical monuments are a tourists' delight and the local communities welcome everyone with warmth. This place is also one of the most important Jain pilgrimages with the four most important jain temples of Bengal situated here. These are the Sri Chintamoni Parshwanath Bhagwan Temple in Azimganj, Shri Shambavnath Bhagwan Temple in Jiyaganj, Sree Adinath Bhagwan Temple in Katgola and other one is in Murshidabad itself. You can also visit Hazar Duari Palace, a palace with over 100 doors. Now a museum, the palace is definitely worth visiting. The intricate art work in the museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. Another lovely spot is Katra Masjid. Go during visiting hours for a memorable experience.
265 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November,December
Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, is known for its gushing waterfalls and umpteen temples. Another place that attracts tourists is the unique Muta Crocodile Breeding Farm – a rare existence in India. Perfect for a leisurely holiday, this rapidly growing city overlooks the Chhota Nagpur plateau. If you are interested in learning about the various tribes here and their culture, the Tribal Research Institute and Museum will help you understand and explore their rituals, customs and way of life while also offering intriguing souvenirs to take back home! The mighty Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls, Panchghagh Falls and Dassam Falls must definitely be on your list for an adventurous, action packed holiday. For the spiritually inclined, the Jagannath Temple, Angrabari and Pahari Mandir are worth exploring for their architectural brilliance and faith.
293 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - N/A
Once the capital of the Magadha Empire which later evolved to become the Mayryan Empire, Rajgir is a valley surrounded by hills. This is a very important seat of Buddhist worship in Nalanda, Bihar. Hinduism and Jainism are also practised by many out here. Rajgir, earlier known as Rajagriha or the King's home is also known to be a winter health retreat. This is because of the number of pools and natural springs here filled with warm water which have therapeutic values and goo for healing many bone and skin diseases too. The Buddha Temple here is also encompassed with a monastery and is a popular place for meditation. The white colour is a symbol of peace and the gold colour used for the spire of the temple is to show eternity and good taste. The Buddha idol inside has some magic in it that you want to keep on looking at it. The typical peaceful atmosphere of a Buddhist Temple is also found here and this is the prime attraction of this town.
193 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - January,February,July,August,September,October,November,December
Jamshedpur is the largest city in Jharkhand and is situated on the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the East Singhbhum District. Also known as the 'steel city' for its number of established steel factories, the city was founded by the late Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata and is also called Tata Nagar. The planned industrial city is enclosed by Dalma Hills with the rivers Subarnarekha and Kharkai winding through the cityscape. Major attractions of the city include the Tata Steel Zoological Park, Dalma Hills, Hudco Lake and Pardih Kali Mandir. The Jubilee Park offers a wildlife safari, giving travellers a closer experience of wildlife. The annual flower show held in December at the Sir Dorabji Tata Park attracts countless numbers of tourists and locals. The Dalma Hills, famous for spotting wild elephants, offers great opportunities for adventure trekking and mountain climbing. The confluence of the rivers Kharkai and Subarnarekha is another attraction Jamshedpur is popular for. A holiday experience here will remind you of any other metro, though there are spots that will surprise the traveller in you!
84 Kms from Santiniketan
Best time to visit - January,October,November,December
Bankura has gradually gained attraction as a popular tourist destination. Located in West Bengal, Bankura is home to various art and architecture spots, terracotta temples, dense virgin forests, hills and scenic beauty spots. Susunia, the second highest hill of Bankura, is famous for rock climbing, trekking and attracts adventure enthusiasts and tourists because of its natural springs. The Biharinath Hill has the highest altitude in the district. It stands guard on the northwestern border and is believed to be an age-old centre of Jainism. The one-of-a-kind Rasmancha Temple is located at Bishnupur in Bankura and is regarded as the oldest brick temple in India! Garh Darwaja is a terracotta gateway situated in Bankura near Bishnupur. The best time to visit is during the annual four day Bishnupur Mela held around the last week of December. The Mukutmanipur Dam, Krishna-Balaram Temple, Amarkanan and Koro Hill, Gangdoha, Ganesh and Nandi Statue are also famous tourist spots and worth visiting.