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Shanti Niketan on wheels

Shanti Niketan on wheels

It is spiritualism, intellect, poetry and portrayal of feelings all packed in one. The Sanskriti Express, a thematic train on Noble laureate Gurudev Ravindra Nath Tagore is touring the country to make people aware of the life and philosophy of the great man. It is a venture of Indian Railways to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. The train was flagged off by the Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee from Howrah station of Kolkata on May 9, 2010. It halted at 115 stations across the country. More than 30 Lakh people of all age groups visited the train; especially the students who were very enthusiastic about it. The train reached Varanasi, the cultural capital of the country on April 27, 2011. AIR correspondent SALMAN HAIDER has written this report after visiting the train.

Shanti Niketan on wheelsIt was a Mela to take a peek. When I reached the yard siding, along the platform number 9 of Varanasi junction, the people were lined up to enter the train. The Police and Railway Protection Force Jawans were having a tough time to maintain the order. The turbid coloured train has the potraits of Gurudev at various stages of his life. The 7-coach train is designed by the famous painter Jogen Chaodhury. Of these, 5 coaches have exhibition on Tagore; one is staff coach while another one is a generator car.

Shanti Niketan on wheelsEach exhibition coach has a name. First one is Jibon Smriti or the life sketch of Tagore. Gitanjali, and Muktodhara, second and third coach has pages from his famous works like legendary Gitanjali. Chitrarekha, the fourth coach has his paintings and the works of his contemporaries.

The last coach is named as Shesh Katha or the memory. It has memorabilia and artifacts related to the great man. When one enters the coaches, he or she encounters the melodious Robindro Shongeet. An LCD screen is playing video clips related to the places connected with Tagore.

Shanti Niketan on wheelsEntering the train is just like entering the Shanti Niketan or at least a miniature of it. The young ones were deeply engrossed and glued to the paintings and writings displayed on panels.

The Sanskriti Express is a Mobile Museum on life and work of Gurudev Ravindra Nath Tagore. As the train's chief Guide, Awadhesh Kumar Shaw puts it, "It is a boon for those poor who can not visit Shanti Niketan or Vishwa Bharati." Click To Listen Train's Chief Guide : Awadhesh Kumar Shaw

trains chief Guide, Awadhesh Kumar ShawHe says the train got a good response wherever it was stationed from down south to extreme north. The train's journey comes to an end at Bolepore in Kolkata on April 29.

To make the train's arrival in Varanasi a memorable event, a cultural evening was held at the campus of Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in which artists and ballet dancers from West Bengal performed.

It is not only Railway's homage to the Nobel laureate but it is a great step to make younger generation aware of the great personalities of the yester years.

Shanti Niketan on wheels

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