Santiniketan gets UNESCO World Heritage Site

 Monday, September 18, 2023 


Santiniketan, a small town located in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, has earned a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This recognition holds immense significance as Santiniketan was the abode of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, where he spent a significant portion of his life and made profound contributions to literature, art, and education.

UNESCO officially announced this inclusion on September 17th during the Extended 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from September 10th to 25th. This new addition to the World Heritage List highlights the rich cultural and historical importance of Santiniketan.

Santiniketan is renowned for being the birthplace of Visva Bharati, often referred to as the “world university.” Established in 1921, Visva Bharati is Bengal’s only central university, and its Chancellor is the Prime Minister of India. The institution’s legacy is deeply intertwined with Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of education, which emphasized a harmonious blend of arts, culture, and intellectual pursuits.

India had long sought UNESCO recognition for Santiniketan, and this achievement comes after rigorous efforts by the Indian government. The landmark was recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List a few months ago by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an international advisory body. The campaign to secure this designation began in 2010 and was reinvigorated in 2021 when a fresh dossier was prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India, with the collaboration of Visva Bharati authorities, and submitted to UNESCO.

Santiniketan’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List not only acknowledges its cultural significance but also opens up opportunities for its preservation and promotion, ensuring that Tagore’s legacy and the unique educational philosophy he championed continue to be celebrated and protected for generations to come.

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