Durga Puja inscribed on UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ list


Guwahati: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday (December 15) announced that the Durga Puja in Kolkata has been inscribed on the Organization’s ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.

The decision to include Durga Puja in the list was taken during the 16th session of the annual convention of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage held online from December 13 to December 18.

Taking to Twitter, UNESCO congratulated India. “Durga Puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the Intangible Heritage list. Congratulations India,” the tweet read.

Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the decision a ‘matter of great pride and joy for every Indian’.

“A matter of great pride and joy for every Indian! Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And, Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have,” PM Modi tweeted.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also underlined that Durga Puja is not just a festival, but an emotion.

“Proud moment for Bengal! To every #Bengali across the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is an emotion that unites everyone. And now, #DurgaPuja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We are all beaming with joy!” she tweeted.


UNESCO in a press release said that the Durga Puja festival has come to signify “home-coming” to one’s roots.

“Durga Puja is seen as the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers,” UNESCO added.

With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.

In recent years, the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) elements that saw inscriptions are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017), Yoga (inscribed 2016) among others.