Santiniketan and the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas added to list of World Heritage sites
The historic West Bengal town of Santiniketan and the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, a series of 12th- and 13th-century temples in Karnataka, have both been added to UNESCO’s renowned World Heritage List.
India now has 42 sites on the List after UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which is currently meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, added Santiniketan on 17 September and the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas a day later.
Santiniketan was established in 1901 by Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize-winning poet and philosopher. The town, which includes a residential school, an art centre and a ‘world university’, was created based on a vision of the unity of humanity, one that transcends religious and cultural boundaries.
Santiniketan is directly and tangibly associated with the ideas, works and vision of Tagore and his associates, pioneers of the Bengal School of Art and early Indian Modernism.
The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas – namely the Channakeshava temple in Belur, the Hoysaleshvara temple in Halebidu and the Keshava temple in Somanathapura -- are considered the most representative examples of temple complexes from the Hoysala empire in southern India.
The Hoysala style of temple was distinct from those of neighbouring kingdoms. Its shrines are characterized by hyper-real sculptures and stone carvings that cover the entire architectural surface.
The World Heritage Convention, adopted by UNESCO in 1972, strives to safeguard exceptional places for future generations, recognizing their universal value and the need for international cooperation in their protection.
UNESCO encourages the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization