May 20, 2021 2:10:32 pm
Six Indian sites, including the temples of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the Ganga ghats in Varanasi, and the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, the Ministry of Culture, recently announced.
Delighted and proud that @ASIGoI had submitted a proposal for India’s 9 places for inclusion in tentative list of UNESCO, where six sites have selected in Tentative Lists of @UNESCO World Heritage Site. pic.twitter.com/CImxnYozR3
— Ministry of Culture (@MinOfCultureGoI) May 19, 2021
The submissions were made by Archaeological Survey of India, which is responsible for the conservation and preservation of Indian monuments.
“Delighted and proud that @ASIGoI had submitted a proposal for India’s 9 places for inclusion in the tentative list of UNESCO, where six sites have selected in Tentative Lists of @UNESCO World Heritage Site,” the tweet read.
The six sites are namely Satpura Tiger Reserve, Iconic riverfront of the historic city of Varanasi, Megalithic site of Hire Benkal, Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra, Bhedaghat-Lametaghat in Narmada Valley- Jabalpur, and temples of Kanchipuram.
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. India has 48 sites in the TL as of now. As per rules, any country can submit the nomination dossier after one year of it being on the TL. So we can utilise this time to prepare the nomination dossiers,” reported PTI.
Here’s what to know about these sites.
Satpura Tiger Reserve
Located in Madhya Pradesh, the Satpura National Park is home to 26 species of the Himalayan region including reptiles, and 42 species of Nilgiri areas, as per whcunesco.org. It is the largest tiger-occupied forest and also has the largest tiger population. The website also states the place has more than 50 rock shelters with paintings that are 1500 to 10,000 years old.
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. One can enjoy an adventurous time in Satpura National park, which is rich in its biodiversity and can feel the wildlife very closely’, the website states.
Ghats of Varanasi
The Ganges riverfront of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has been vying for the UNESCO tag for several years now. According to a paper ‘Varanasi as Heritage City (India) on the scale of the UNESCO World Heritage List: From Contestation to Conservation’, Varanasi’s riverfront mainly falls “into the second category of cultural properties, i.e: groups of buildings, groups of separate or connected buildings which, 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 fulfill 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, and in which the evolutionary process is still in progress“ and an associative cultural landscape “by virtue of powerful religious, artistic, cultural associations of the natural element”, mentioned author Prof Rana P B Singh, Department of Geography, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
Megalithic site of Hire Benkal
The 2,800-years-old megalithic site of Hire Benkal in Karnataka 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.
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’,” said Tejas Garge, director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. 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,” Garge told indianexpress.com.
Bhedaghat-Lametaghat in Narmada Valley- Jabalpur
Another iconic site from Madhya Pradesh, Bhedaghat, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of India, is a town in the Jabalpur district, around 25 kms 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, states whcunesco.org. ‘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 Bhedaghat-Lametghat area of Jabalpur. In 1828, the first Dinosaur fossil was collected from Lameta Bed by William Sleeman. River Narmada narrows down on its way through marble rocks and plunges in a waterfall giving out the appearance of a smoke cascade, the website mentions.
Temples of Kanchipuram
Synonymous with spirituality, serenity, and silk, the temple town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, is dotted with ancient temples that are architectural marvels and a visual treat, states incredibleindia.org. 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 its capital between the 6th and 7th centuries and lavished upon its architectural gems that are a fine example of Dravidian styles.
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