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Why is it in the news?

  • Santiniketan, a town in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
    • The town’s name means ‘abode of peace,’ and it began taking shape in 1901 when Tagore laid the foundations for Visva Bharati University.
  • UNESCO announced the inclusion of Santiniketan on its World Heritage List, making it India’s 41st World Heritage Site.

More about the news

  • The Ministry of Culture proposed Santiniketan’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
    • The dossier highlights its significance as a place of cultural exchange that has influenced architecture, technology, arts, town planning, and landscape design.
  • Efforts to have Santiniketan recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site have been ongoing since 2010.
    • The recent proposal for its nomination began in the fiscal year 2020-21.
  • Santiniketan stands out as a unique cultural destination where Rabindranath Tagore aimed to bring the world together through architecture, arts, and landscape design.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been involved in restoring various structures in Santiniketan over the past few years.
  • Originally known as Bhubadanga, the area was owned by the Tagore family.
    • In 1862, Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Debendranath Tagore, decided to build an ‘Ashram’ or hermitage in this picturesque location, which was later renamed Santiniketan.
  • In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore selected a vast tract of land to start a school based on the ‘Brahmachary Ashram’ model, inspired by the ancient Indian Gurukul system.
    • This school eventually evolved into Visva Bharati University, described by Tagore as a place “where the world makes a home in the nest.”
  • UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • Established in 1945 with the goal of fostering intellectual and moral solidarity among humanity to promote lasting peace.
  • UNESCO is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • Its primary mission includes the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage worldwide, recognized for their outstanding value to humanity.
  • UNESCO administers the World Heritage Programme, which maintains the list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972, is the international treaty that guides UNESCO’s efforts in this regard.
  • The UNESCO also included the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas in Karnataka in the list.
    • This takes the total number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in India to 42.

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