India's Santiniketan Inscribed On UNESCO World Heritage List; Here's What PM Modi Said

Santiniketan is a university town over 160 km from Kolkata. It was originally an ashram built by Rabindranath Tagore's father.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Image Source: UNESCO</p></div>
Image Source: UNESCO

Santiniketan, where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore built Visva-Bharati more than 100 years ago, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site is located in Birbaum district, West Bengal.

In a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, UNESCO wrote, "New inscription on the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List: Santiniketan, #India. Congratulations!"

The decision to include Santiniketan in the list was taken at the 45th World Heritage Committee Meeting held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. India had been striving for a long to get a UNESCO tag for this cultural site.

PM Narendra Modi's Tweet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed delight at Shantiniketan becoming part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

"Delighted that Santiniketan, an embodiment of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's vision and India's rich cultural heritage, has been inscribed on the @UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a proud moment for all Indians," PM Modi said in a post on X.

Reactions To The Inclusion

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid homage to Tagore and said, "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 recognises the glory of the heritage place. Kudos to all who love Bengal, Tagore, and his messages of fraternity. Jai Bangla, Pranam to Gurudev."

The Archaeological Survey of India said, "A momentous achievement for India as Santiniketan, West Bengal, has been officially inscribed on @UNESCO's World Heritage List, becoming 41st World Heritage Property of India."

The ASI further said that Santiniketan embodies Rabindranath Tagore's visionary work. Founded in 1863 as an ashram, Tagore transformed it into a school and art centre in 1901, following the gurukul tradition. His vision, "Visva Bharati," focused on global unity, blending ancient, medieval and folk traditions.

Santiniketan crystallises Tagore's ideas and influences South Asian education and culture. It's a hub of intellectuals, artists, and craftspeople experimenting with Asian modernity, impacting 20th-century art, literature, and architecture.

Rich History of Santiniketan

Santiniketan is a university town over 160 km from Kolkata. It was originally an ashram built by Rabindranath Tagore's father Debendranath Tagore, where anyone, irrespective of caste and creed, could come and meditate on the one Supreme God, according to a description of the landmark on the official website of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Debendranath Tagore, also known as 'Maharshi', meaning one who is both a saint and sage, was a leading figure of the Indian Renaissance, it says. 'Among the structures built by the Maharshi was the Santiniketan Griha and the beautiful stained glass Mandir, or temple where worship is non-denominational. Both structures built in the second half of the 19th century are important in their association with the founding of Santiniketan and the universal spirit associated with the revival and reinterpretation of religious ideals in Bengal and India,' UNESCO website says.

Visva-Bharati which is located in Santiniketan, is one of the most prestigious universities in India with degree courses in humanities, social science, science, fine arts, music, performing arts, education, agricultural science and rural reconstruction.

The university was founded by Rabindranath Tagore. It was declared a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.Visva-Bharati is the sole central university of West Bengal and the prime minister is its chancellor.

(with inputs from PTI)