Context:

Six sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Six of the nine sites submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India had been accepted by UNESCO for inclusion in the tentative list, which is a requirement before the final nomination of any site.

Relevance:

GS-I: Art and Culture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
  2. More about selection and protection of World Heritage Sites
  3. World heritages sites of India
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Committee

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.

More about selection and protection of World Heritage Sites

  • The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
  • To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

What are the recently proposed sites by India?

The recently-included proposals are:

  1. Maratha military architecture in Maharashtra,
  2. The Hire Bengal megalithic site in Karnataka,
  3. Bhedaghat-Lametaghat of Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh,
  4. Ganga ghats in Varanasi,
  5. Temples of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu,
  6. The Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

World heritages sites of India

S.No.Name of SiteState
1Agra Fort (1983)Uttar Pradesh
2Ajanta Caves (1983)Maharashtra
3Ellora Caves (1983)Maharashtra
4Taj Mahal (1983)Uttar Pradesh
5Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)Tamil Nadu
6Sun Temple, Konark (1984)Odisha
7Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)Goa
8FatehpurSikri (1986)Uttar Pradesh
9Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)Karnataka
10Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986)Madhya Pradesh
11Elephanta Caves (1987)Maharashtra
12Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004)Tamil Nadu
13Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)Karnataka
14Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)Madhya Pradesh
15Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)Delhi
16Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)Delhi
17Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)Madhya Pradesh
18Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004)Gujarat
19Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007)Delhi
20Hill Forts of Rajasthan Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013) (Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)Rajasthan
21Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patna (2014)Gujarat
22Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda (2016)Bihar
23.Mountain Railways of India Darjeeling,(1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla (2008)West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
24.Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)Maharashtra
25Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002)Bihar
26.The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)Rajasthan
27.The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)Chandigarh
28.Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017)Gujarat
29.Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018)Govt of Maharashtra
30.Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)Govt of Rajasthan
31.Kaziranga National Park (1985)Assam
32.Keoladeo National Park (1985)Rajasthan
33.Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)Assam
34.Sunderbans National Park (1987)West Bengal
35.Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)Uttarakhand
36.Western Ghats (2012)Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
37Great Himalayan National Park (2014)Himachal Pradesh
38.Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)Sikkim

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

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