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Santiniketan makes its way into UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Historic cultural and educational hub established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore becomes India’s 41st addition to the prestigious list

Santiniketan makes its way into UNESCO’s World Heritage List
[Source photo: Rabindra Bhavan Archives]

The UNESCO has officially inscribed Santiniketan on its World Heritage List, elevating the historic cultural and educational hub established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore to global prominence as India’s 41st addition to this prestigious list.

The recognition came at the 45th World Heritage Committee meeting held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.

The UNESCO committee, comprising representatives from 21 nations, reached a unanimous agreement to inscribe the emblematic site onto the prestigious World Heritage List.

UNESCO celebrated this accolade through a post on the social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), where it shared: “New inscription on the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List: Santiniketan, #India. Congratulations!”

A journey that began with its initial nomination in 2010 came to fruition, marking a significant milestone in India’s cultural landscape.

In this remarkable setting is the renowned Visva Bharati University, a place where the vision of its founder, Rabindranath Tagore, continues to thrive.

Established with the core principle of fostering a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the world, the university has been a beacon of knowledge and cultural harmony.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi serves as chancellor of Visva Bharati University due to the university’s unique governance structure, where the Prime Minister of India automatically holds the position of chancellor.

PM Modi called this a “proud moment for all Indians.”

The Archaeological Survey of India also took to X to share this “momentous achievement.”

“A momentous achievement for India as Santiniketan, West Bengal, has been officially inscribed on @UNESCO’s World Heritage List, becoming (the) 41st World Heritage Property of India,” they wrote.

West Bengal state chief minister Mamata Banerjee also shared on X how the government of West Bengal has significantly added to Santiniketan’s infrastructure in the past 12 years.

“Glad and proud that our Santiniketan, the town of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, is now finally included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Biswa Bangla’s pride, Santiniketan was nurtured by the poet and has been supported by people of Bengal over the generations. We from the government of West Bengal have significantly added to its infrastructure in last 12 years and the world now recognizes the glory of the heritage place. Kudos to all who love Bengal, Tagore, and his messages of fraternity. Jai Bangla, Pranam to Gurudev,” she wrote.

Established in 1863 initially as an ashram by Debendranath Tagore, Santiniketan underwent a transformation under the visionary leadership of Rabindranath Tagore.

In the year 1901, Tagore reimagined this idyllic haven, flanked by two rivers, and shaped it into an educational institution and a thriving center for the arts.

His approach to education was deeply rooted in the revered Indian tradition of gurukul, where knowledge was imparted in an intimate and holistic manner, fostering a connection between teacher and student.

After elevating it to Visva Bharati University, Tagore instilled a profound motto for Santiniketan, “Yatra visvam bhavatyeka nidam (Where the world makes a home in a single nest),” which encapsulated the institution’s commitment to global aspirations and universal knowledge.


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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