Santiniketan finds its place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

World body makes announcement on Sunday; Mamata says town, nurtured by Tagore, has been supported by Bengal; Culture Ministry says it exhibits important interchange in human values

Santiniketan, a town established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, made it to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List on Sunday. Located in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, Santiniketan, which means “abode of peace”, started taking shape in 1901 and is the place where Tagore laid the foundations of Visva-Bharati University.

“New inscription on the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List: Santiniketan, #India. Congratulations!” the world body said. Santiniketan becomes India’s 41st World Heritage Site to join the UNESCO List.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, expressing happiness over the inclusion, said that 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 the 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,” Ms. Banerjee said on the social media platform X.

The dossier by the Culture Ministry proposing Santiniketan’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List points out that the “place exhibits an important interchange in human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning or landscape design”.

Attempts to get Santiniketan inscribed on the World Heritage List have been going on since 2010. “Work on the latest proposal for nomination of Santiniketan as UNESCO World Heritage Site began in the financial year 2020-21,” said Subha Majumder, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who worked on the restoration of several structures of Santiniketan. Over the past few years, the ASI has been restoring several structures in the neighbourhood.