Friday, 9 December 2011

Birbhum, West Bengal

Situated in the northernmost district of Burdwan division, Birbhum is one of the three administrative divisions of West Bengal. The headquarters of the district is located in Suri. The district shares its western border with the state of Jharkhand, while the border on the other directions is covered by the districts of Bardhaman and Murshidabad. Talking about the origin of the name, Birbhum comes from two words - ‘Bir’ that means brave and ‘Bhumi’ that stands for land, thus making Birbhum ‘the land of brave’. People from another school of though believe that the district bears the name of Bir kings, who ruled over the area in the past. Yet another sect believes that Bir means forests in Santali language, so Birbhum could also mean a ‘land of forest’.

The district of Birbhum is triangular in shape and sprawls over about 4, 545 sq ks. River Ajay forms the southern base, the apex of the triangle pointing towards north. Popularly called the ‘Land of Red Soil’, the district has a distinct topography. While the western portion of the district, historically known as Vajjabhumi or Bajrabhumi, is an undulating upland, the eastern portion is more fertile, merging with the Gangetic plain. Culturally, Birbhum is one of the richest districts in West Bengal. During the yester years, the district witnessed many cultural and religious movements in history. As such, the people of Birbhum boast of a rich culture and heritage and celebrate every festival with great pomp and show, especially the notable Poush Mela. 

Birbhum carved a niche in the international map, with the establishment of Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan, by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The university ranks among the top universities in the world catering to art. Talking about the occupation of the people of Birbhum, agriculture is the main means of livelihood. Apart from this, other industries such as cotton and silk harvesting and weaving, rice and oilseed milling, lac harvesting, metalware and pottery manufacture also flourish. Birbhum is has been the home of numerous famous personalities, including Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, Jaydev Kenduli, Nityananda Swami and Tarashankar Bandopadhyay. 

Birbhum promises to be an interesting destination in West Bengal. For tourists who are interested in discovering the culture, history and ethnic diversity, Birbhum is the place to be in. Right from the world renowned Santiniketan to the wilds of Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary and the religious and sacred Tarapith and even the rustic galore of Suri, Birbhum has a lot to offer to its guests. The place is also a haven for nature enthusiasts, what with an assortment of flora and fauna dominating the place. So, in case you are looking forward for a vacation to a place that flaunts a diverse cultural and history, coupled with nature’s bliss, Birbhum is the place to head to!! 

Places To See:


Sited near Bolpur, in the Birbhum District of West Bengal, Shantiniketan is a small town famous worldwide, as it was the hometown of the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath. Better known as the university town in West Bengal, Shantiniketan is a great tourist attraction, because Rabindranath Tagore wrote many of his literary classics here only. Though the place can be visited all throughout the year, the Poush Mela deserves special mention. A 3 day fair, it usually starts on the seventh day of the Bengali month Poush, which falls in the last week of December. More


Merely 3 km from Santiniketan, the university town in West Bengal, is Sriniketan, a rural reconstruction center that was established in 1922. A sister unit of Shantiniketan, Sriniketan was mainly established to bring back life in its completeness to the villages and help people solve their problems on their own. Today, Sriniketan is a shopper's paradise, offering traditional handicrafts, such as batik, pottery, weaving kantha embroidery and dokra. Apart from this, major attractions in Sriniketan include Kala Bhavana, Rabindra Bhavana, Uttarayan Gardens and Deer Park.


Sited in the village Tarapur, Tarapith is a religious and sacred place. While some believe that Tarapith is so called because the eye ball (tara) of Sati fell here, the others are of the opinion that Sage Basistha worshipped Goddess Sati in the form of Tara, at this place. The latter belief says that the place is not a shaktipeeth and owes its sanctity to Sage Basistha. Whatever be the opinion, Tarapith is a must-see for tourists in Birbhum. 


Suri, better known as Suiri, is just the place for those who want to taste rustic beauty and rich cultural heritage in Birbhum. The picturesque exquisiteness of the place, coupled with rolling green farms, blissful ambience and aromatic atmosphere, gives way to a perfect holidaying experience. Though Suri is the district headquarters of Birbhum, the city is a hidden gem of West Bengal and is far away from the evils of the city life. It boasts of a glorious past in the bygone era, the rich culture heritage and ancient monuments promising the facts. 

Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary

Birbhum offers explorers and those in quest of excitement and thrill an excellent opportunity to indulge in adventure escapade. Located near Shantiniketan, in Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum District, Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1977. Popularly known as Deer Park, the sanctuary is home to a number of wild animals, including the blackbuck and spotted deer. Apart from this, the fauna of the region includes jackals, foxes and a variety of water birds. The eco system of the sanctuary is excellent............

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