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Karnataka’s Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas & West Bengal’s Santiniketan Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

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Santiniketan in West Bengal(WB) and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas in Karnataka were inscribed on the  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list.

  • Santiniketan is the 41st and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas is the 42nd World Heritage site in India.
  • Both were listed under the Cultural heritage category.

This was announced during the 45th extended session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO being held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 10 to 25 September 2023.

Note: At present, India has a total of 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites, which includes 7 natural heritage sites, 1 mixed heritage site and 34 Cultural Heritage sites.

Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas:

i.It is a serial nomination of the three most representative examples of Hoysala-style temple complexes.

  • The Channakeshava temple in Belur(Hassan District)
  • The Hoysalevara temple in Halebidu(Hassan District)
  • The Keshava temple in Somanathapura(Mysore District)

ii.The ancient site has been part of UNESCO’s Tentative list since 2014 for its rich cultural and historical heritage.

iii.It is Karnataka’s 4th World Heritage Sites. The other three include the Hampi Monuments of Vijayanagara(1986), Pattadakal Temples complex of the Chalukyan era(1987) and the Western Ghats(2012).

iv.They are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its conservation and maintenance will be done by the Ministry of Culture

  • The state government will ensure the conservation of state-protected monuments which are around these three Hoysala monuments.

v.They were built in 12th -13th  centuries which has a basic Dravidian architecture but shows strong influences of Bhumija architecture widely used in Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India and the Karnataka Dravida architecture by Kalyani Chalukyas.

About Hoysala Empire: 

i.The Hoysala emperors ruled the present day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for more than 3 centuries with the initial capital as Belur, then later changed to Halebidu.

ii.Sala was the founder of Hoysala dynasty and other few rulers were Vishnuvardhana, Narasimha I, Narasimha III, Veera Ballala III etc,.


i.Shantiniketan was established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and his father Debendranath Tagore in 1901 in Birbhum district of West Bengal.

  • It is an ensemble of historic buildings, landscapes and gardens, pavilions, artworks, and continuing educational and cultural traditions.

ii.It is the third World Heritage Site of West Bengal after Sundarban National Park (1987) and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1999).

iii.A ‘world university’ was established at Santiniketan in 1921, recognising the unity of humanity or “Visva Bharati”.

iv.National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was inspired by the model of education the Nobel laureate had introduced at Santiniketan.

v.France-based International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), recommended the site to UNESCO’s heritage list.

Other new sites:

UNESCO also inscribed many new sites.  Click here.

About World Heritage Site: 

i.A world heritage site can be either cultural or natural areas or objects which are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for having outstanding universal value.

  • These sites are usually considered to have cultural significance to all the people in the world.

ii.UNESCO seeks to protect and preserve such sites through the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This international treaty was drawn up in 1972.

iii.World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Recent Related News:

International Day for Monuments and Sites, also known as World Heritage Day, is annually observed across the globe on April 18 to create global awareness about the significance of historical, heritage, and cultural monuments, and measures to protect them so that future generations can also witness them and embrace the rich heritage of the world.

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO):
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France
Established in – 1945 (came into force in 1946)