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| Last Updated:: 29/03/2018

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Heritage 

 

 

 

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritages are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. 

 

 

World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity. Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, the Taj Mahal in India, the Grand Canyon in the USA, or the Acropolis in Greece are examples of the 1000+ natural and cultural places inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites List to date. 

 

 

What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. 

 

 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. 

 

 

Cultural heritage refers to monuments, groups of buildings and sites with historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. Natural heritage refers to outstanding physical, biological and geological formations, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants and areas with scientific, conservation or aesthetic value. 

 

 

 

UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to  

 

 

  • Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage; 
  • Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List; 
  • Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites; 
  • Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training; 
  • Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger; 
  • Support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation; 
  • Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage; 
  • Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage.

  

 

 

What is a World Heritage Site? 

 

 

 

  • A World Heritage Site is a place on earth having a special cultural or physical significance and outstanding universal value to the 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.

 

 

 

Who lists World Heritage Sites?

 

 

 

  • A world Heritage site is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which is based in Paris, France.
  • The International World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee establishes the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • The World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention (The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage or the World Heritage Convention), defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • Currently, India is a member of the World Heritage Committee.

 

 

 

How is a World Heritage Site selected?

 

 

 

  • The first step towards the listing is the nomination of a site by the respective government of a country.
  • The site should have an Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination.
  • To determine the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination, there are ten enlisted criteria.
  • The proposed nomination must satisfy at least one of these ten criteria.
  • The Nomination File is then evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union.
  • These bodies then make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.
  • The Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site.

 

 

 

Ten criteria for determining Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) 

 

 

  • represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  • exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a   cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  • bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  • be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological   ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  • be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with
  • contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  • be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  • be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  • contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation 

 

 

 

Benefits for countries and sites 

 

 

 

The overarching benefit of ratifying the World Heritage Convention is that of belonging to an international community of appreciation and concern for universally significant properties that embody a world of outstanding examples of cultural diversity and natural wealth. The States Parties to the Convention, by joining hands to protect and cherish the world's natural and cultural heritage, express a shared commitment to preserving our legacy for future generations. 

 

 

The prestige that comes from being a State Party to the Convention and having sites inscribed on the World Heritage List often serves as a catalyst to raising awareness for heritage preservation. 

 

 

A key benefit of ratification, particularly for developing countries, is access to the World Heritage Fund. Annually, about US$1 million is made available to assist States Parties in identifying, preserving and promoting World Heritage sites. Emergency assistance may also be made available for urgent action to repair damage caused by human-made or natural disasters. In the case of sites included on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the attention and the funds of both the national and the international community are focused on the conservation needs of these particularly threatened sites. 

 

 

Today, the World Heritage concept is so well understood that sites on the List are a magnet for international cooperation and may thus receive financial assistance for heritage conservation projects from a variety of sources. 

 

 

Sites inscribed on the World Heritage List also benefit from the elaboration and implementation of a comprehensive management plan that sets out adequate preservation measures and monitoring mechanisms. In support of these, experts offer technical training to the local site management team. 

 

 

Finally, the inscription of a site on the World Heritage List brings an increase in public awareness of the site and of its outstanding values, thus also increasing the tourist activities at the site. When these are well planned for and organized respecting sustainable tourism principles, they can bring important funds to the site and to the local economy. 

 

 

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 

 

 

 

 

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency for forwarding any request for World Heritage status to any Indian site whether cultural or natural.
  • Based on the proposals received from the Central or State Government agencies as well as management Trusts, etc., and after their due scrutiny, the Government forwards the nomination dossiers to the World Heritage Center.
  • India now has 36 sites, including 28 cultural properties, seven natural sites and one mixed site, notified as World Heritage Sites.
  • The latest entries in 2016 were – (1) Nalanda University (2) Capitol Complex and (3) Khangchendzonga National Park (mixed site)

 

 

 

                                                        

  

S.no

Heritage

Site

State

1

 

Cultural

 

 

 

 

Agra Fort (1983)

Uttar Pradesh

 

 

Ajanta Caves (1983)

Maharashtra

 

 

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016)

Bihar

 

 

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)

Madhya Pradesh

 

 

Capitol Complex (2016)

Chandigarh

 

 

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)

Gujarat

 

 

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)

Maharashtra

 

 

Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)

Goa

 

 

Elephanta Caves (1987)

Maharashtra

 

 

Ellora Caves (1983)

Maharashtra

 

 

Fatehpur Sikri (1986)

Uttar Pradesh

 

 

Great Living Chola Temples (1987,2004)

Tamilnadu

 

 

Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)

Karnataka

 

 

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)

Tamilnadu

 

 

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)

Karnataka

 

 

Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)

Rajasthan

 

 

Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)

Gujarat

 

 

Humayun's Tomb (1993)

Delhi

 

 

Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)

Madhya Pradesh

 

 

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)

Bihar

 

 

Mountain Railways of India (1999,2005,2008)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, The Kalka Shimla Railway

 

 

Qutb Minar and its Monuments (1993)

Delhi

 

 

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014)

Gujarat

 

 

Red Fort Complex (2007)

Delhi

 

 

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)

Madhya Pradesh

 

 

Sun Temple, Konârk (1984)

Odisha

 

 

Taj Mahal (1983)

Uttar Pradesh

 

 

The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)

Rajasthan

 

 

 

 

2

 

Natural

 

 

 

 

Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)

Himachal Pradesh

 

 

Kaziranga National Park (1985)

Assam

 

 

Keoladeo National Park (1985)

Rajasthan

 

 

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)

Assam

 

 

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988,2005)

Uttarakhand

 

 

Sundarbans National Park (1987)

West Bengal

 

 

Western Ghats (2012)

Kerala , Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra

 

 

 

 

3

 

Mixed

 

 

 

 

Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)

Sikkim

 

 

 

 

 

 

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