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Bengal's Visva Bharati University Shuts Tagore Museums to Avoid Gathering of Foreign Tourists Amid Coronavirus Scare

File Photo of Visva Bharati University.

File Photo of Visva Bharati University.

The university officials have also restricted entry at ‘Amra Kunja’ (mango grove), ‘Teen Pahar’ (when Tagore was a child he made three hillocks of pebbles) and ‘Shal Bithi’ (Tagore’s favourite walking route inside Santiniketan).

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Sujit Nath

Kolkata: As the scare of coronavirus is rapidly spreading to parts of India, Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan in Bolpur city has closed ‘Santiniketan Griha’, ‘Upasana Griha’, museum and ‘Bangladesh Bhawan’ as footfall of foreign tourists is higher at such places and risk of getting infected cannot be contained easily.

Visva Bharati University, a central university located in Santiniketan was founded by poet Rabindranath Tagore who called it ‘Visva Bharati’, which means the communion of the world with India.

“Amid coronavirus scare and as a precautionary measure, we have closed the entry of visitors at ‘Santiniketan Griha’, ‘Upasana Griha’, museum and ‘Bangladesh Bhawan’. Santiniketan Griha is one of the must visit places in our university. This is the building where most of the poems of ‘Gitanjali’ were composed by Rabindranath Tagore and another tourists attraction place is ‘Upasana Griha’ (a prayer hall made up of Belgium glasses with no deity). Both the places are favourite spot for the tourists,” a senior official of the Visva Bharati said.

Beside the above places, the university officials have also restricted entry at ‘Amra Kunja’ (mango grove), ‘Teen Pahar’ (when Tagore was a child he made three hillocks of pebbles) and ‘Shal Bithi’ (Tagore’s favourite walking route inside Santiniketan).

“We will open all these places for visitors once things will turn normal. We have already issued official notification in this regard,” the official said.

The university officials have also issued restrictions during ‘Dol Jatra’ or ‘Basanta Utsav’ inside the campus from March 9 to 10 to avoid public gathering. The ‘Dol Jatra’ was started by Tagore himself and considered as a major tourist attraction in Santiniketan as guests from all over the world make a beeline to witness this grand fiesta.

The notification issued by the Visva Bharati University, reads, “Due to the imminent threat of coronavirus, any kind of Dol/Holi/Vasanta Utsav celebration and/or use of colors, etc. in hostels, ashram campus, university campus in both Santiniketan and Sriniketan, including all university premises, grounds, roads, classrooms, laboratories is strictly forbidden for all student and student hostel-boarders.”

“All students and hostel-boarders are further being warned of multiple fake and morphed messages that are being circulated on social media which ask people to celebrate Dol on Monday within the two university campuses. Please note that these are malicious and mischievous attempts to disestablish and disrespect the university and put us all at immense risk. Do not be misled. Do not spread such message,” it further reads.


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