Santiniketan, a town with deep historical and cultural significance in West Bengal, India, has been officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This prestigious recognition was announced during the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which convened in Saudi Arabia on September 17. UNESCO, in a recent social media post on Twitter, shared the joyous news.
The tweet from UNESCO read, "BREAKING! New inscription on the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List: Santiniketan, #India. Congratulations!" This announcement marks a significant milestone for Santiniketan, which holds a special place in India's cultural and educational heritage.
Founded in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, Santiniketan began as a residential school and an artistic hub rooted in ancient Indian traditions. Tagore envisioned Santiniketan as a place that transcended religious and cultural boundaries, emphasizing the unity of humanity. This vision led to the establishment of a 'world university' in 1921, known as "Visva Bharati," which continues to thrive within Santiniketan.
What sets Santiniketan apart from other heritage sites is its distinctive architectural and cultural identity. Unlike the prevailing British colonial architectural styles of the early 20th century or European modernism, Santiniketan represents a unique blend of pan-Asian modernity. It draws inspiration from ancient, medieval, and folk traditions from across the Asian region, reflecting a rich tapestry of cultural influences.
India has long aspired to secure UNESCO recognition for this culturally significant site, situated in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. The recommendation for Santiniketan's inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list was made by The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Union Minister for Culture and Tourism, G. Kishan Reddy, enthusiastically shared the news on Twitter. He stated, "Great news for India on the Jayanti of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Santiniketan, West Bengal, has been recommended for inscription to the World Heritage List by ICOMOS, the advisory body to UNESCO World Heritage Centre."
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