Santiniketan: UNESCO World Heritage Recognition

Santiniketan, the cultural and educational hub in West Bengal founded by poet Rabindranath Tagore, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The announcement was made during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia.

Established in 1901, Santiniketan was initially a residential school based on Indian traditions and the vision of global unity transcending religious and cultural boundaries. In 1921, it evolved into a “world university” known as “Visva Bharati.” Santiniketan’s unique architectural style, blending ancient, medieval, and folk traditions from Asia. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed pride in this recognition, highlighting the government’s efforts to enhance Santiniketan’s infrastructure.

What is the significance of Santiniketan being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The UNESCO World Heritage status acknowledges Santiniketan’s cultural and educational importance, preserving its unique architectural heritage and promoting global awareness of Rabindranath Tagore’s legacy.

What is the history and founding philosophy of Santiniketan?

Santiniketan began as an ashram established by Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Debendranath Tagore, with the vision of a sanctuary for meditation and unity among individuals, regardless of caste or creed.

How does Santiniketan’s architectural style differ from the prevalent influences of its time?

Santiniketan’s architectural style represents a departure from British colonial and European modernist influences of the early 20th century. It draws from ancient, medieval, and folk traditions across Asia, embracing a pan-Asian modernity.

What role did Abha Narain Lambah play in securing Santiniketan’s UNESCO nomination?

Abha Narain Lambah, a renowned conservation architect, played a pivotal role in crafting the UNESCO nomination dossier for Santiniketan. She expressed her exuberance upon its inclusion in the list.

How has the government of West Bengal contributed to Santiniketan’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The government of West Bengal has invested in enhancing Santiniketan’s infrastructure over the last 12 years, contributing to the site’s recognition on the global stage.

What is the significance of the Santiniketan Griha and the stained-glass Mandir in Santiniketan’s history?

These architectural structures, created in the 19th century, hold historical importance in Santiniketan’s founding and its association with the universal spirit, signifying a revival of religious ideals in Bengal and India.



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