Kolkata, Sept 18: Santiniketan, the historic town in West Bengal known for Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University, has received recognition as it is now a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The decision to include Santiniketan was made during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Saudi Arabia.

This recognition was a long-cherished goal for India, with efforts dating back to 2011. UNESCO’s declaration was met with pride and enthusiasm from leaders and residents alike.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his delight at the news, describing Santiniketan as an embodiment of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s vision and India’s rich cultural heritage. He deemed it a proud moment for all Indians.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in Spain at the time, also celebrated UNESCO’s decision. She highlighted Santiniketan’s significance as a source of pride for the state and praised the contributions of the people of Bengal in nurturing and supporting it over generations. She emphasized the government’s efforts to enhance Santiniketan’s infrastructure over the past 12 years, which played a role in gaining global recognition.

Santiniketan’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List marks a significant milestone for the region. It became Bengal’s first human-made historic site to achieve this prestigious status, joining the ranks of the Sunderbans biosphere and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Santiniketan, originally founded by Rabindranath Tagore in the late 19th century, has played a crucial role in India’s cultural and educational landscape. It houses the Visva-Bharati University, which Tagore envisioned as a place of learning, creativity, and a bridge between the East and West. The university remains a hub of cultural and intellectual activities, attracting students and scholars from across the globe.

UNESCO’s recognition not only honors the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore but also showcases the rich cultural heritage of India. Santiniketan’s inclusion in the World Heritage List underscores its historical and cultural significance, making it a symbol of pride for the nation.