UNESCO Heritage Sites Added In India


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    Recently, Six cultural heritage sites from India have been added to the UNESCO tentative list of world heritage sites.

    • The submissions were made by the Archaeological Survey of India, which is responsible for the conservation and preservation of Indian monuments.


    • With the addition of these six sites, UNESCO has 48 proposals in the tentative list of India. 
      • As per Operational Guidelines, 2019, it is mandatory to put any monument/site on the Tentative List (TL) before it is considered for the final nomination dossier.
      • As per rules, any country can submit the nomination dossier after one year of it being on the TL. 

    Image Courtesy: IE

    Six Cultural Heritage Sites

    • Satpura National Park
      • It is located in Madhya Pradesh and is home to 26 species of the Himalayan region including reptiles, and 42 species of Nilgiri areas. It is the largest tiger-occupied forest and also has the largest tiger population.
      • One of the criteria on which the national park made it to the tentative list includes “its beautiful silence where one can even hear the snoring of the beers and roaring of the tigers clearly with such stunning exceptional visual delights”. 
      • ‘Moreover, its location adds on to its aesthetic and incredible values.

    Image Courtesy: Zigya

    • Ghats of Varanasi
      • Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges.
      • The city has 88 ghats. Most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while two ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites
      • Most Varanasi ghats were rebuilt after 1700 AD when the city was part of the Maratha Empire. 
        • The patrons of current ghats are Marathas, Shindes (Scindias), Holkars, Bhonsles, and Peshwes (Peshwas). 
      • Varanasi’s riverfront mainly falls “into the second category of cultural properties, i.e: groups of buildings, groups of separate or connected buildings because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science.
        • The Ganga river with its riverfront ghats also fulfil the criteria of Cultural Landscapes as designated in Article 1 of the Convention and specifically that of a cultural landscape “that retains an active social role in contemporary society closely associated with the traditional way of life.

    Image Courtesy: Hoildify

    • Megalithic site of Hire Benkal
      • Hirebenkal is one of the largest megalithic sites in Karnataka, India. 
      • The 2,800-years-old megalithic site of Hire Benkal has made it to the tentative list owing to the fact that it is one of the largest prehistoric megalithic settlements where some funerary monuments are still intact.
      • According to scholars, the granite structures are burial monuments that may also have served many ritual purposes. 
        • Due to the extremely valuable collection of Neolithic monuments, the site was proposed for recognition.
      • There are different types of megalithic monuments at Hirebenkal. 
        • Several are dolmens – 3-sided chambers, with or without port-holes, and with a large stone, slabs called capstones forming their roofs.
        •  Buried and semi-buried dolmens called cists and dolmenoid cists are sometimes found arranged in circles.
        • Other structures are irregular polygonal chambers and rock shelter chambers. Based on the typologies and technologies used, researchers date these megaliths to between 800-200 BC.

                                                                                                          Image Courtesy: Earth Is Mysterious 

    • Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra
    • There are 12 forts in Maharashtra dating back to the era of the 17th-century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji. 
      • They are namely Shivneri (the birthplace of Shivaji); Raigad (the capital fort rebuilt for the coronation of the Maratha king), Torna (the first fort of the Maratha empire), Rajgad, Salher-Mulher, Panhala, Pratapgad, Lohagad, Sindhudurg, Padmadurga (Kasa), Vijaydurg and Kolaba.
    • “The theme for the serial nomination of these forts is ‘Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra and Guerrilla Warfare’ with this theme, the directorate will highlight how the formation of Military Landscape in the form of hill and sea forts as a response to hilly terrain in the area is of outstanding universal value.

                                                                                                                      Image Courtesy: IE

    • Bhedaghat-Lamheta Ghat in Narmada Valley- Jabalpur
    • Bhedaghat, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of India, is a town in the Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh (India), around 25 km from Jabalpur.
    • It is known for its marble rocks and their various morphological forms on either side of the Narmada river which flows through the gorge.
    • It has also been observed that the magical marble mountains assume different colours and even shapes of animals and other living forms as one moves through them.’
    • Several dinosaur fossils have been found in the Narmada valley, particularly in the Bhedaghat-Lamheta Ghat area of Jabalpur
      • In 1828, the first Dinosaur fossil was collected from Lameta Bed by William Sleeman. 


    Image Courtesy: The Week 

    Temples of Kanchipuram

    • The temple town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu is dotted with ancient temples that are architectural marvels and a visual treat.
    • It is synonymous with spirituality, serenity, and silk.
    • It is situated on the banks of River Vegavathi, this historical city once had 1,000 temples, of which only 126 (108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava) now remain. 
    • Its rich legacy has been the endowment of the Pallava dynasty, which made the region it’s capital between the 6th and 7th centuries and lavished upon its architectural gems that are a fine example of Dravidian styles.

    Image Courtesy: Tamilnadu Tourism

    World Heritage Site

    • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and space that requires special protection.
    • These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
    • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.
    • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
    • Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.

    Source: TH