With winter on its way out and spring blooming in its full glory, it is also time for festivals. One of the main festivals celebrate with equal fanfare and aplomb is Holi or the festival of colours.
My myriad colours in the air, gaiety and laughter are synonymous with it. People forget caste, colour, creed and stature and participate wholeheartedly with happiness. From Vrindavan and Mathura to metros like Mumbai and Delhi, all celebrate Holi with equal gusto.
One such famous venue is Santiniketan. Founded by Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, the Holi celebrated here is known far and wide. Meaning ‘abode of peace’ this place was previously known as Bhubandanga, but Maharshi Devendranath Tagore renamed this place as Santiniketan and also found an Ashram here in 1863. Rabindranath came here in 1873 for the first time.
Introduced by Tagore as the Basant Utsav or Spring festival in Santiniketan, the main idea was to recreate the Holi magic. With the onset of Spring, each year the Bishwabharati University at Shantiniketan gears up for the Basanta Utsav, the annual Bengali festival to celebrate Holi.
The festival is watched by lakhs of people who travel especially for this and to get an idea about the Bengali culture.
Nestled in the peaceful and serene setting of Birbhum district in West Bengal, Santiniketan has a charm that is hard to resist.
The festival is also known as ‘Dol Jatra’, ‘Dol Utsav’ or also as “Rabindrik Basanta Utsav”. From a smalls scale celebration, it has now grown into a grand festivity witnessed by many.
The entire university is painted in bright colours. Yellow, popularly known as the colour of basant, is the prominent paint here. Apart from walls and decorations, people dress up in yellow too. Women in traditional get up – yellow sari, palash phool and all smiles all come under one roof cultural mix of dance and song in the campus. The entire feel of the place is eclectic as you get to see groups of people singing and dancing to the tunes of Rabindra Sangeet.
The talking point of course is the multi-faceted cultural program presented by the students. Beautiful songs, dance keep audiences enthralled and involved. The whole rush of euphoria in the air is enough to build the tempo of the festival here.
In addition to this, students together with their teachers and visitors apply ‘abeer’ on each other to cherish the true essence of Holi.
This year, the celebrations will start from 20th March 2019 and run till 21st March 2019.
Santiniketan is easily accessible by rail and road. The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and the distance from there to this place is approx. 139 kms.
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