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Madhya Pradesh’s New Entries in UNESCO’s Tentative World Heritage Sites List


Six new sites from Madhya Pradesh have been included in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS). This recognition underscores the cultural and historical significance of these sites, highlighting Madhya Pradesh’s rich heritage on the global stage.


GS I: Art and Culture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Features of Sites Recently Added to Tentative UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites (WHS)
  2. What is the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites?
  3. What are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Key Features of Sites Recently Added to Tentative UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites (WHS)

Gwalior Fort:
  • Location and Description: Situated atop a hill, Gwalior Fort offers panoramic views of the surrounding city.
  • Historical Significance: Founded in the 6th century AD by Rajput warrior Suraj Sen, it has witnessed a turbulent history of invasions, reconstructions, and changes in rulership, including periods under the Tomar ruler Maan Singh, Ibrahim Lodi, the Mughal Sultanate, Akbar, the Marathas, and British rule.
  • Architectural Highlights:
    • Ancient Temples: Houses several ancient temples like Teli ka Mandir, Chaturbhuj temple, Sas Bahu temples, and Gurdwara Data Bandi Chhor.
    • Mathematical Significance: Chaturbhuj temple features one of the oldest references to zero in mathematics.
  • Cultural and Strategic Significance: Known as Gopachala or Gopagiri in old Sanskrit inscriptions, it holds cultural, historical, and strategic importance.
Historical Group of Dhamnar:
  • Location and Description: Comprises 51 rock-cut caves, stupas, chaityas, and dwellings dating back to the 7th century AD.
  • Architectural Highlights:
    • Colossal Statue: Features a significant colossal statue of Gautam Buddha in the nirvana pose.
    • Historical Caves: Notable caves include Bari Kacheri and Bhima Bazar, known for their historical and architectural significance.
  • Historical Accounts: Mentioned in accounts by James Tod, James Fergusson, and Alexander Cunningham.
Bhojeshwar Mahadev Temple:
  • Location and Description: Located in Bhojpur, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses a massive Linga carved from a single stone.
  • Architectural Highlights:
    • Bhumija Style: Architecture follows the Bhumija style characterized by towering shikhara and ornate carvings.
    • Dravidian Influence: Main body and shikhara exhibit components influenced by Dravidian temple architecture.
Rock Art Sites of the Chambal Valley:
  • Location and Description: Hosts the world’s largest concentration of rock art sites across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Artistic Highlights:
    • Ancient Depictions: Showcases hunting and gathering scenes from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and later periods.
  • Geographical Features: Located in the hilly regions of Vindhyan, Satpura, and Kaimur ranges.
Burhanpur’s Khooni Bhandara:
  • Location and Description: An underground water management system in Burhanpur comprising eight waterworks built by Abdurrahim Khankhana.
  • Technological Features:
    • Persian Qanat Approach: Built using the Persian qanat approach and designed by Persian geologist, Tabkutul Arz.
  • Historical and Cultural Significance: Imported Persian technologies from Iran and Iraq during the Mughal era as useful public utilities.
Gond Memorial of Ramnagar, Mandla:
  • Location and Description: Cluster of monuments in the region formerly known as Gondwana, home to the largest heterogeneous tribe of India, the Gond tribe.
  • Monuments: Includes Moti Mahal, Raibhagat ki Kothi, Suraj Mandir (Vishnu Mandir), Begum Mahal, and Dalbadal Mahal.

What is the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites?

  • If a state considers a monument/site has cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List. Then the state prepares a list of such sites and sends it to UNESCO. The UNESCO after preliminary inspection accepts/rejects the monument and form a tentative list.
  • A position on a country’s tentative list does not automatically tender that site with world heritage status.
  • It is mandatory to put any monument/site on the Tentative List (TL) before it is considered for the final nomination dossier.
  • The sites will remain on the tentative list for a year, after which the government will decide which one of them to push for in their final dossier to UNESCO.
  • The tentative list is extremely important. This is because the World Heritage Committee cannot consider a nomination for the World Heritage List unless the property has already been included on the State party’s tentative list.

What are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of distinctive cultural or physical importance which is considered of outstanding value to humanity.
  • It may be a building, a city, a complex, a desert, a forest, an island, a lake, a monument, or a mountain.
  • They have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy as they have a special cultural or physical significance and outstanding universal value to the humanity.
  • Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.
  • At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. All the sites under the Ministry are conserved as per ASI’s Conservation Policy and are in good shape.
UNESCO World Heritage Committee
  • The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • India is NOT a member of this Committee.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024