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Discovering Santiniketan: A Guide to Hidden Gems and Local Favorites


After nine months of observation, it is clear that most good things in Santiniketan are kept secret. It's akin to finding a hidden jackpot in National Casino. Discovering Santiniketan's quaint cafes and shops requires extensive exploration. They are nestled in secluded areas, away from the main tourist paths. This compilation is a resource for busy people. It saves them from having to unearth all the hidden gems in this charming town.

Top Dining Spots in Santiniketan

Aarhani is one of the top lunch spots in Santiniketan. It offers tasty home-cooked Bengali food at a low fixed price. It also has lots of space for gatherings. Reservations are advised a day in advance.

Must-Visit Shops and Boutiques

Alcha in Santiniketan, located in Ratanpally, is a chic, eco-friendly boutique. It offers unique, handmade clothes, jewelry, and home items. Located off the beaten path, it can be accessed via the primary market.

Bonolakshmi and Barashaler Ranna Ghor are family-run restaurants about 10 km away in Sriniketan. They are known for their fresh, farm-to-table meals. Next to a hotel and organic farm, they offer local delicacies like jams and honey—Bengali families like them on holidays. You should reserve lunch by 9 AM.

Unique Cafes and Hangout Spots

Chayyaghar Café is near Alcha in Ratanpally. It offers tasty, cheap food and has a rotating art gallery. The cold coffee, priced at only 20 Rs. a glass, is particularly notable.

Ocampo is a café and boutique in Shyambati. It serves decent food and offers a stunning rooftop view at sunset. Next to it is Sonar Beni, a shop selling jute products. Below it is Bachu-da's yoga studio, a community space open weekdays from 6:30-9:00 PM.

Tanzil is next to Santiniketan Residency in Shyambati. It is known for having the best brownies in town. It also sells stylish home décor and clothing from across India and is open only in the evenings.

Sonajhuri Haath is a famous tourist spot. It is primarily known for the Saturday market near the Shakuntala Hotel. The momos sold in front of the Ram Shyam Hotel gate come recommended.

Ankita Handicrafts is in Amar Kutir. It is run from Sonali Dey's home. The shop offers good deals on saris, scarves, and fabric. As a fixed-price store, it provides a wide range of clothing and home décor.

Exploring Santiniketan's Art and Culture

It is a must-visit for those who like ceramics or well-curated spaces. The studio is down the street from SVAAD. Lipi, a Kala Bhavan graduate, manages it. It employs almost 20 locals. The studio welcomes students from abroad and showcases meticulously crafted ceramics.

Discoveries Beyond Santiniketan

Ghare Baire is in the Gitanjali Heritage Complex next to the cinema. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. Next to it is Bichitra, a boutique selling ceramics, clothes, and home goods. The gardens provide a perfect setting for an afternoon escape.

The Green Chilli is in Bhubandanga on the way to Bolpur. It serves a mix of Chinese and Indian food from the "continental" style. The restaurant is known for good, cheap food. It is popular among nearby visitors.

9X9 is a continental restaurant near the Santiniketan Tourist Lodge. It offers good tandoori and Indian food. The restaurant also has excellent Wi-Fi and is a viable option for solo dining. It boasts a significant collection of magazines.

Student Hotspots and Evening Markets

The shops in Ratanpally open every evening after 5 PM. They are famous for their cheap and tasty food, from mango lassi to kathi rolls and dosas. Oroshri Market is ideal for a quick evening snack. Suruchi offers tasty laccha paratha and veg chow. Kasahara is behind Sangeet Bhavan. It has a charming rural setting with outdoor seating, but service may need to be faster.

This guide aims to offer a complete intro to the lesser-known spots in Santiniketan. It will show visitors the depth and diversity of experiences there.


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