Santiniketan has the distinct identity of culture and heritage, which gives the place a unique soft touch. Santiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit). Tagore family came to be owned this place. Rabindranath Tagore’s father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore attracted by the beauty of this place and established Santiniketan in 1863. In 1901, At one stage he realized that plain Hinduism is not enough for the society, as he was highly educated in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and many Western languages, he felt that Vedic teaching was supreme. He started worshiping of “Nirakar Brahma” or the God without any face, as the people of the Vedic era did.
This was some three thousand years ago, Maharshi Devendra Nath founded The Brahmo Samaj or the followers of God without any face. This sect will have no Religion, no worshiping of Idol, preach non-violence, no sacrifice of animals, birds in the temple premises, no caste system, everybody will follow the lifestyle as said in the Vedas. Joined him the highly educated Bengalis. Maharshi first built a place and used to prayer under Chhatim tree known as Chhatimtala. His able son Gurudev Ravindra Nath Tagore also joined him soon. He set up Santiniketan in the year 1901.
In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore set up a Bramhacharya school here, which later came to be known as the Patha Bhavan, the school of his ideas, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful.After he received the Nobel Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university. Many world famous teachers have become associated with it. Indira Gandhi, Satyajit Ray, and Amartya Sen are among its more illustrious students.
Kala Bhavana, the art college of Santiniketan, is considered one of the best art colleges in the world. Other institutions here include Vidya Bhavana; the Institute of Humanities, Shiksha Bhavana; the Institute of Science, Sangit Bhavana; Institute of Dance, Drama and Music, Vinaya Bhavana, Institute of Education, Rabindra Bhavana, Institute of Tagore Studies and Research, Palli-Samgathana Vibhaga; Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Palli Shiksha Bhavana; Institute of Agricultural Sciences. There are also other centres, affiliated to major institutions such as Nippon Bhavana, the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration, Rural Extension Centre, Silpa Sadana; Centre for Rural Craft, Technology and Design, Palli-Charcha Kendra,Centre for Social Studies and Rural Development, Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Mathematics Education, Centre for Environmental Studies, Computer Centre and Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration. As well as Patha-Bhavana, there are two schools for kindergarten level education, Mrinalini Ananda Pathsala, Santosh Pathsala, a school for primary and secondary education known as Shiksha Satra, and a school of higher secondary education known as Uttar-Shiksha Sadana.
Another worth visiting place around Santiniketan is remnants of “Khoai”- a name coined by the Poet himself for a special kind of undulating laterite land formation. The stream of rainwater meandering through it offers a magnificent view during monsoon.