Santiniketan (शांतिनिकेतन in Hindi শান্তিনিকেতন in Bengali) comprises two words, i.e., Santi which means peace and Niketan which means home. Santiniketan means the adobe of peace. Santiniketan is popularly known as Kabiguru’s abode. Maharshi Debendranath Tagore laid the foundation of Santiniketan.
The Union Government had first tried to get the World Heritage tag for Santiniketan in 2010. It mounted its campaign again in 2021, with a fresh dossier prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India in collaboration with Visva-Bharati authorities and submitted to UNESCO.
Finally, on September 17, 2023, UNESCO catalogued Santiniketan as a World Heritage site during the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia. Santiniketan marks the 41st World Heritage site of India.
Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free………
– Rabindranath Tagore
Santiniketan was established in 1901 as a residential school. In 1921, Visva-Bharati (A Central University and An Institution of National Importance) was started by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. It is located 160 km from Kolkata in the district of Birbhum.
The 19th-century structures, “Santiniketan Griha” and the “Kaanch Mandir,” popularly known as Upasana Griha, led to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The other attractions are Chhatim Tala, Uttarayan, Kala Bhavan, Sangit Bhavan, Ananda Pathshala, and many more. The structure of the entire Santiniketan is focused on the revival and reinterpretation of religious and spiritual ideas across the globe.
यत्र विश्वम् भवतिएकनीदम
Where the world makes a home in a single nest
Today, Visva-Bharati has two campuses, i.e., Santiniketan and Sriniketan – twin towns. Even today, Visva-Bharati is spreading Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a place of learning unfettered by religious and regional barriers.
The inscription of Santiniketan to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO will attract more people and enrich its vibrant arts and culture of the great legacy laid by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.