A tour of the Vishwa Bharati takes almost the entire day. Spread out in sprawling grounds, there is so much to see and know, that you will be forgiven if you feel overwhelmed at the end of it all.
Vishwa Bharti had been founded by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, with the aim to be a centre of learning for both Indian and foreign cultures. Some of its most notable alumni over the years include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, author Mahasweta Devi, eminent artist A Ramachandran and more.
We help you plan your tryst with the bard, his family and his abode…
Uttarayan Complex: This is where Tagore lived with his family. The complex is a popular tourist attraction, for here, you can see the five houses of the family – Udichi, Udayan, Konark, Shyamoli and Punascha, set in beautiful olden days’ architecture. And there is a rose garden too. You can take a tour of all the house and see how and where the family lived, where they sang and danced and recited, where they prayed…
You need to buy tickets for an entry to the Uttarayan Complex. Save the ticket, for it is valid for the Rabindra Bhavan Museum tooo. Photography in this complex is prohibited. You will find a counter outside at Udayan’s verandah that sells portrait of Tagore and his life. Rates are extremely reasonable. Remember, Uttarayan complex is closed on Wednesdays.
Rabindra Bhavan Museum: Famous for housing the now stolen Nobel medal, this is a treasure trove of Tagore’s works and stories of his times. The many paintings, photographs letters, manuscripts, documents, etc say it all of an era so rich and so precious.
Like the Uttarayan, the Museum too is closed on Wednesdays. On other days, they open from 10.30am to 4.30pm. We found a deluge of people, for, we were there during the Poush Mela!
Upasana Griha, Prayer House: Constructed by his father, Devendranath Tagore, the Upasana Griha is a huge hall made of glass and has a garden all around it. Set in the greens, the place almost sets you free of your stress and worries. Prayers are held here every Wednesday, which is why the Uttarayan Comples and Museum is closed.
Chatimtala Tree: Or, the alstonia tree under which Devendranath Tagore used to meditate. Prayers are held even now during the convocation of the students of Vishwa Bharati.
Departments of Vishwa Bharti: The numerous departments of Vishwa Bharti are referred to a Bhavans, and so you will find the Patha Bhavan (the secondary school), the Sangeet (music) Bhavan, the Kala (fine arts) Bhavan, the Vidya (college of Humanities) Bhavan, the Hindi Bhavan, the Chini (China) Bhavan and more.
A walk around the various departments will bring you face to face with creativity and simplicity. Sculptures, frescos abound in the natural surroundings and in the walls of the schools and colleges. Be ready to give yourself up to simplicity and nature. The reason I told you that you might end up spending an entire day here is because somehow you won’t tire of what you see and hear about how the Bard built the place so thoughtfully and painstakingly.
Before you take the Vishwa-Bharti Tour, make sure:
- You have a good guide with you who can bring alive the place for you.
- Remember, you have to walk a lot. In case you are not up to it, hire cycles or cycle-rickshaws.
- Carry enough water with you
Plan a trip to Shantinektan during Poush Mela in December with our compilation of itinerary, sight-seeing suggestions, Mitali homestay review, shopping and food recommendations. Read the posts in the link — Best Shantiniketan Itinerary and Blogs