Santiniketan in the tentative list for the UNESCO World Heritage list

Santiniketan, a cultural site located in West Bengal, has been recommended by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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  • The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has recommended Santiniketan, a cultural site in West Bengal, India, for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • The recommendation was made by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre comprising experts, heritage organizations, and companies.
  • Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy has expressed hope that the site will be formally inscribed on the World Heritage List in the World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September 2023.
  • The honor of being included on the World Heritage List would make Santiniketan the first university in India to receive this recognition.
  • The university, known as Visva-Bharati, was founded by Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.
  • The Vice-chancellor of the university, Bidyut Chakraborty, called it “great news and a matter of pride” for everyone associated with the institution and every citizen of India.

About Santiniketan

  • Santiniketan is a small town located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, and is around 165 kilometers north of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.
  • The town is known for its association with Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who established Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan in 1921.
  • Rabindranath Tagore, one of the most prominent figures of the Indian Renaissance, established Santiniketan as a place of learning and a center of art, culture, and literature.
  • Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Debendranath Tagore, built an ashram which later evolved into a university.
  • He was inspired by the ancient Indian Gurukul system of learning, where students lived with their teachers and learned through experience and practical knowledge.
  • In Santiniketan, Tagore developed a unique educational philosophy that emphasized the importance of a holistic education that blended traditional Indian knowledge with modern Western ideas.
  • The university he established there, Visva Bharati, was aimed at promoting the idea of universal humanism, where students from different cultures and backgrounds could come together to learn and appreciate different cultures.

Significance of Santiniketan

  • Santiniketan became a hub of cultural activity and attracted many artists, writers, and scholars.
  • It also played a significant role in the Indian freedom struggle and was a meeting place for many freedom fighters.
  • Today, it is a popular tourist destination and attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to experience its rich cultural heritage and visit the various museums, galleries, and cultural centers that are spread throughout the town.
  • The cultural site in Santiniketan is significant for its various structures, including the Santiniketan Griha and the Mandir.
  • These structures are historically important as they are associated with the founding of Santiniketan and represent the universal spirit of the revival and reinterpretation of religious ideals in Bengal and India.
  • The University of Santiniketan has important political figures in ceremonial roles. The President of India is known as the ‘Paridarsaka’ or visitor, the Prime Minister is the ‘Acharya’ or chancellor, and the governor of West Bengal is the ‘Pradhana’ or rector of the university.

About the UNESCO World Heritage list

  • The UNESCO World Heritage list is a collection of cultural and natural sites around the world that are deemed to have outstanding universal value and deserve protection for the benefit of all humanity.
  • The list is maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and includes sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Grand Canyon.
  • Sites on the list are recognized for their exceptional beauty, cultural significance, or scientific importance and are expected to be preserved for future generations.
  • The process of adding a site to the list involves a rigorous evaluation by UNESCO experts and approved by the World Heritage Committee, which is made up of representatives from 21 member states.
  • India has 40 sites that have been granted the UNESCO World Heritage tag, including 32 cultural sites like Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, and Mahabodhi Temple.

Tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage list

  • The Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a list of properties and sites around the world that have been nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List but have not yet been formally inscribed.
  • Countries can submit their tentative list of sites to UNESCO, which will then assess them and provide feedback.
  • The purpose of the tentative list is to allow countries to plan and prepare for the potential nomination of their sites as World Heritage Sites in the future.
  • It also helps to raise awareness about the importance of these sites and encourages their protection and conservation.
  • India has 52 sites on its tentative list, such as Temples at Bishnupur, Mattanchery Palace, Wild Ass Sanctuary, and Little Rann of Kutch.


Is Shantiniketan UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Santiniketan is not yet a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, it has been recommended by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The final decision on its inclusion will be made at the World Heritage Committee meeting in September 2023.

What is the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

The Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is an inventory of important cultural and natural sites that a country intends to nominate for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in the future. It is a preliminary step in the process of nominating a site for the World Heritage List and provides an opportunity for countries to prepare their tentative lists and to encourage the identification of new sites. The tentative list serves as an indication of a country’s potential for cultural and natural heritage, and can also help countries prioritize their resources and conservation efforts.


  • Shubham Mittal

    Shubham Mittal is a renowned current affairs writer and expert in government exam preparation, inspiring readers with insightful articles and guiding aspirants with his expertise.

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