India’s great Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore was always deeply moved by Nature. And wherever he travelled his poetry and writings were beautifully inspired by the wonder of the natural settings he was journeying through. It comes as no surprise then that he felt strongly enough about the magic of Spring to introduce the celebrations of that loveliest of Indian seasons ‘Basant’, heralded by the festival of Holi, to the beautiful Vishvabharati University he had set up. The university is situated at Shantinikctan, in the charming pastoral expanses of Bhirbhum district, on the outskirts of Calcutta the Kolkata of today.
For Tagore Basant was one of the most joyous festivals of India. It is a time when the mind and body became one with Nature which had emerged young and rejuvenated once again, from the told of winter. Seeing how beautifully it was received by the students, who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of the festival with traditional prayer and music, dance and colour he decided to make it an annual fixture on the University’s calendar. The refined celebration of Shantinikctan’s Basanta Utsav has made it a hallmark of a great cultural experience making it one of West Bengal’s most alluring tourist attractions.
Held on the occasion of Holi in the month of March on the university grounds, the Basanta Utsav celebrations are participated in by the students and teachers and its alumni. The festival attracts thousands of people from home, and abroad.
Tagore initially set up an experimental open-air school with the idea of educating students in close proximity to nature. He felt that children should spend time amidst nature, which it-self is a great educator. While it has accommodated the needs of today, in essence and ambience the university continues to maintain Tagore’s vision of education in the midst of Nature. The Pous Mela held at the end of December celebrates the founding of the university.
POINTS OF INTEREST HERE ARE
Tagore’s Ashram, Uttarayan Complex, Kala Bhavana (College of Art) Vidya Bhavana (Institute of Humanities), Rabindra Bhavana, Sriniketan, Amar Kutir, Patha Bhavana, Sangeet Bhavana (Institute of Dance, Drama and Music), Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Science) and (Institute of Agricultural Sciences).