UNESCO team visits Santinekatan to assess world heritage tag

A UNESCO delegation made a two-day visit to Santinekatan to assess whether Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore`s abode of peace could be listed as a world heritage site.

Last Updated: Oct 08, 2010, 15:58 PM IST

Santinekatan: A UNESCO delegation
made a two-day visit to Santinekatan to assess whether Nobel
laureate Rabindranath Tagore`s abode of peace could be listed
as a world heritage site, officials said on Friday.

Led by Kai Wisa, Head of the International Council for
Monuments and Sites, the team evaluated Santiniketan as a
prospective World Heritage Site, university officials said.

After arriving here on Wednesday night, the
delegation, accompanied by officials from the Archaeological
Survey of India (ASI), visited the 150 acre complex of the
Visva-Bharati University and its surrounding areas.

They made a detailed study of different places in the
varsity like Rabindra Bhavana, Kala Bhavana, Upasana Griha,
Patha Bhavana and Sangeet Bhavana.

Besides holding a meeting with Vice-Chancellor Rajat
Kanta Ray, where Wisa enquired about different sculptures and
monuments in the sprawling campus, they also met all the heads
of different Bhavanas (departments).

ASI had sent a dossier to the UNESCO earlier this year
for inclusion of parts of Santiniketan on the world heritage
site list.

If accepted, the places that would get the world
heritage tag under the `culture` category were the ashram
complex, Uttarayan complex and the institutes of Visva-Bharati
and Sriniketan. The delegation also assessed the authenticity of the
supporting documents submitted to UNESCO, officials said.

Visva-Bharati authorities submitted a report to them
containing detailed information on different buildings there.

Before leaving for New Delhi yesterday, the UNESCO
representatives also met stakeholders of the area, including
locals, officials from the municipality and forest department.

Wasi and other members will hold a meeting with the
cultural ministry and then submit a confidential report to
UNESCO on the basis of which the decision to declare
Shantiniketan as a world heritage site will be taken.

After Tagore won the Nobel Prize in 1913,
Visva-Bharati, started as an experimental school in 1901,
bloomed into a full-fledged university.

Modelled on the lines of the ancient gurukul system,
it is one of the most prestigious universities of India
offering degree courses in a number of subjects.

The heritage status would help the varsity regain its
pride which had been sullied over the years following the
theft of Tagore`s Nobel medallion, frequent shutdowns and
political bickering.

PTI