Santiniketan finds its place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List


Context: Santiniketan, a town located in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore made it to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.


About Shantiniketan

  • Santiniketan which means ‘abode of peace’ started taking shape in 1901, and it was this place Tagore later put up the foundations of Visva Bharati University.
  • Santiniketan, earlier known as Bhubadanga, was owned by the Tagore family. 
  • In 1862, on a boat journey to Raipur, Rabindranath Tagore’s father Debendranath Tagore spotted this landscape of red soil and lush paddy fields and decided to build an ‘Ashram (hermitage)
    • He built a house Santiniketan “abode of peace“ that stands even today. 
    • The area was renamed Santiniketan as he found the place conducive to meditation. 
  • 48 years later in 1901, Rabindranath Tagore choose a vast tract of land and started a school on the ‘Brahmachary Ashram’ modelled on the ancient Indian Gurukul system
  • The school was later upgraded to a University and was renamed Visva Bharati that was described by the poet as “where the world makes a home in the nest”.



  • Attempts to get Santiniketan inscribed in the World Heritage List have been going on since 2010
  • Over the past few years, the ASI has also worked on the restoration of several structures in Santiniketan Griha, Konark, Upasana Griha Purba and Paschim Toran among others. 
  • The dossier by the Ministry of Culture proposing Santiniketan in 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”.


Imp for: UPSC Prelims, UPSC GS Mains Paper I

Topic: Art & Architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Site



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