Visit Bolpur: 7 Must-See Places in Bolpur For A Culturally Enriching Trip (2021)
Located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, Bolpur is one of the most culturally and historically significant towns of Bengal. Not only Bengal, but Bolpur is famous all over the world. The most important reason behind this municipal town’s popularity is its proximity to Shantiniketan. If you do not know about Shantiniketan, you should learn that it is the town created by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to build the Visva Bharati University. This town was founded in the year 1921, and since then, it has garnered the admiration of several educators and scholars across the globe.
So many different brilliant people graduated from Visva Bharati University that it is a struggle to keep count. One of the most influential personalities to have resided in the town of Shantiniketan is another Nobel Laureate and world-famous economist, Amartya Sen. Apart from the University, Bolpur was also once the residence of Rabindranath Tagore. He spent a large part of his life in the town creating brilliant novels and poems that help him win a wide variety of awards and recognition. Although Shantiniketan is one of the main attractions of Bolpur, other factors contribute to its popularity.
The entirety of Bolpur is so serene and tranquil that you will forget that you are living in the 21st century. Red soils surround the entire region, which is why this site is commonly known as “Lalmatir Desh” or “the country of red soil.” There are so many scenic spots located near this town that you will be surprised after reaching there.
Bolpur forest is one of the most beautiful regions in the area. You will also enjoy a lot by sitting idly by the bank of the gorgeous Kopai river. In this blog, we will provide you with all the details regarding the best places to see in Bolpur.
Bolpur and its surroundings are also quite famous for their festivals. Throughout the year, so many renowned festivals and fairs are held in the area that it is a challenge to avoid them. Some of the important festivals in and around Bolpur are Poush Mela, Vasanta Utsav, Rabindra Jayanti, Varshamangal, and others. All these festivals are celebrated by including different performances by talented artists from the area. Usually, students of the Visva Bharati University take part in these festivals.
The most famous fairs in Shantiniketan and Bolpur are Vasanta Utsav and Poush Mela. Vasanta Utsav is organized over there in March during the time of the famous Indian festival Holi. Poush Mela is organized between 23 to 25 December to celebrate the beginning of Poush month. If you want to witness these fairs, you must be warned that it is pretty challenging to get hotel bookings at the said time. That is why it will be a better idea to make your reservations a few months before the stated timeline. We must tell you that the experience you will garner after visiting the said fairs and festivals will stay with you for a long time.
Reaching Bolpur is pretty easy as it has a fully functional railway station. You will easily find trains from different cities in India to get to Bolpur. In case you are planning on visiting there by airplane, you will have to rent a car from Kolkata as the nearest airport from Bolpur is located in Kolkata. The distance between Kolkata and Bolpur is around 200 km, and it takes approximately three hours to reach the town. Without spending any more time, let us start exploring the different famous and hidden sites in Bolpur.
7 Must-See Places in Bolpur For A Culturally Enriching Trip
The places mentioned in the following part of this blog are quite famous in West Bengal. People from all over the world visit there to enjoy a cultural and historical vacation.
1. Upasana Ghar
Located inside the Visva Bharati University premises, Upasana Ghar or Upasana Griha is one of the most beautiful buildings located in Bolpur. Founded by Rabindranath Tagore’s father in 1863, this architectural masterpiece is still used by the residents of the University to pray and get together. Even though you will not be allowed inside this beautiful complex, you will fall in love with it from the outside only. As the entire structure is made of glass, it looks so unique.
This site is commonly known as “Kanch Ghar” or “the house of mirrors” because it is made entirely of glass. Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s father, imported Belgian glass from Europe to complete this structure’s construction. If you visit this site in the evening, you will notice that it is decorated magnificently with candles. The entire surrounding looks magical in the dark. You should remember that guests are not allowed near this structure on Wednesdays as the prayers take place at that time.
The distance between Bolpur and Upasana Ghar is- 1 km.
The Visva Bharati University campus is so beautiful that it is surprising that it is not exclusively a tourist spot. Chhatimtala is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in Visva Bharati Campus that is famous worldwide. The reason this site is called Chhatimtala is that Chhatim trees surround it. You will be surprised to know that even now, classes are organized amid the lush greenery of Chhatimtala. Initially, this site was created by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore for meditation, but later Rabindranath Tagore converted it into an open classroom.
Educators worldwide have acclaimed this proposition of a study environment amid natural beauty for a long time. You will be surprised to know that once a student graduates from Visva Bharati University, they get a branch named after their name in the trees located in Chhatimtala. Students of the University love this site of the region quite dearly. During Poush Mela, Chhatimtala is the spot for the main cultural attractions.
The distance between Bolpur and Chhatimtala is- 1 km.
3. Tagore Ashram
Tagore Ashram is undoubtedly the most important site to see in Bolpur. Once the home to the Nobel prize-winning author and poet Rabindranath Tagore, Tagore Ashram still stands proudly in Bolpur. Maharshi Devendranath Tagore commissioned this structure in 1863 as his place of vacation in Bolpur. Even now, the building is well-maintained and looks as good as new. The hard work of the local authorities has kept this site so beautiful and clean. When you visit this Ashram, you will notice that it is not extraordinarily luxurious—the site roots’ simplicity from the firm belief of the Tagore family.
They believed in tasteful and straightforward living. That is why most Tagore Ashrams throughout India are pretty simple and beautiful. Now, this Ashram has been named a heritage site. When you explore this structure, you will see how Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore spent his time in Bolpur. It will be an enthralling experience for you, knowing the world-famous poet created most of his best works while residing over there. You will get to know many minute details regarding Nobel Laurette’s life by taking a trip to this house.
Entry timing: 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm (This Ashram is closed on Wednesdays).
Fees: INR 40.
The distance between Bolpur and Tagore Ashram is- 2 km.
Amid all the cultural and historical sites in Bolpur, Kankalitala is pretty different. This site is quite well-known due to mythological reasons. As this site is believed to be one of the fifty-one Sati Peeths in India, Kankalitala is too sacred to the Hindu community. Even though the temple might not be that impressive to you, but the fact that this site is one of the Shakti Peeths in India makes it so popular among tourists. If you are a religious person, you will undoubtedly have a good time praying on the temple’s premises.
Although, even if you are not a religious person, you should visit Kankalitala while visiting Bolpur. As this site is located 7 km from Bolpur, it will take you not more than twenty minutes to go there by car. But to enjoy the surrounding area genuinely, it will be a better idea for you if you go there by cycling. By availing cycling, you will reach there in a unique way and, will you get to experience the rural Bengal pleasantly. Most tourists love to explore the different parts of Bolpur by cycling to soak in the essence of Birbhum.
The distance between Bolpur and Kankalitala is- 7 km.
5. Poush Mela
We have mentioned earlier that Poush Mela is the most famous festival in Bolpur. This fair is organized by the authorities of Visva Bharati University in the last week of December to celebrate the Brahmo religion’s birth. If you already do not know, then you should learn that Maharshi Devendranath Tagore is known to be the founder of Brahmo Samaj. If you visit there during Poush Mela, you will genuinely have a fantastic time. With tourists from every part of the world, the entire region of Bolpur gets an incredible amalgamation of humanity. The main reason why this fair is so famous is that local artists arrive with their handicraft items and pottery artifacts in the shops of the fair.
These commodities are so beautiful that people from different parts of the world buy them to commemorate the glory of Shantiniketan. Not only home décor items but also clothes are sold in the stalls of the fair. Most of these clothes are created by using natural ingredients. You will be surprised to see the quality of every commodity at the fair.
They are all exceptionally well-made. Moreover, different cultural activities are also held during Poush Mela. The food available at the fair is also so delicious that you will want to return there every year.
The distance between Bolpur and Poush Mela ground is- 500 m.
6. Amar Kutir
Apart from Poush Mela, Amar Kutir is the best site to shop in Bolpur. When we say shop, we do not mean regular shopping where you buy a myriad of unnecessary things. Instead, we mean something you will not get anywhere in India. In Amar Kutir, you will get to guy artifacts created by the talented artisans of Bolpur. This local art store was in existence since 1922. You will be surprised to know that this structure played an essential role in the Indian National movement by providing shelters to the freedom fighters.
Shantiniketan is quite famous for Kantha stitch items. Especially sarees and dress materials made of Kantha stitch are even more popular over there. Amar Kutir is the best place to buy authentic Kantha stitch items. You will even find a variety of home décor items that will genuinely exemplify the beauty of your residence.
The distance between Bolpur and Amar Kutir is- 6 km.
7. Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary
If you visit Bolpur with your family and especially with your kids, do not forget to visit the Ballavpur wildlife sanctuary while exploring the region. This site is home to a large variety of animals and birds. As they are offered shelter over there, you will have to observe them from a distance. Some common animals that can be seen over there include deer, jackals, foxes, and others. As this entire area is spread over 200 hectares, many people visit there to have a nice outing with their loved ones.
Apart from the wide variety of fauna, this sanctuary is quite beautiful. As lush green forests surround the entire area, the surrounding is exceptionally calm. There are three different water bodies located over there that make the place even more beautiful.
The distance between Bolpur and Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary is- 4 km.
If you have read the entire blog, you must have noticed that almost every site mentioned here is located pretty close to Bolpur. In most cases, you will not even have to rent a car to explore them. Most people cover the entire region on foot. This town is so unique and affordable that you will get to know many different facts about the culture of West Bengal in a day. Usually, people stay there for two days, but you can stay there longer if you want. The simplicity and rich heritage of Bolpur will force you to go there multiple times in your life. We hope that by studying this blog, you get excited enough to book a ticket to Bolpur.