The places of great Historical, Cultural and Traditional and Natural values are known as Heritage sites. The sites are preserved and conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India which comes under the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, currently headed by hon’ble Minister G Kishan Reddy.
In view of India’s vast historical background, there are around 3691 monuments and sites of historical importance. Out of these, 40 sites are accredited by UNESCO as world Heritage sites. So let’s know what a World Heritage site is?
What is a World Heritage Site?
The sites of outstanding universal value to culture and tradition are called World Heritage sites. The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural organization (UNESCO) has the authoritative Power to designate a site of universal importance as a World Heritage Site. In 1972, UNESCO world heritage convention was held and the signatory countries have a right to nominate sites of cultural and natural importance. India became the signatory of this convention on 14 November 1977.
Types of World Heritage Sites
World Heritage sites are categorized in three types.
Cultural Heritage: It comprises monuments, sculptures, buildings with great archeological styles, geological and physiographical formations including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, archeological sites etc. 32 out of 40 cultural sites are located in India.
Natural Heritage: Sites which are important from the perspective of Science, conservation of natural beauty are known as Natural heritage sites. 7 out of 40 Natural Heritage sites are located in India.
Mixed Category: Sites which fall under both aforementioned categories are considered mixed types of heritage sites. In India Kanchenjunga National Park is a mixed world Heritage site.
World Heritage day
World Heritage day has been observed every year on April 18, by the United Nations, since 1983. The day was proposed on 18 April 1982, by the International Council on Monuments and Sites which was approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983.
The day is commemorated to mark the significant efforts of various organizations working towards the preservation of our valuable heritages.
Theme of World Heritage Day 2022: “Heritage and Climate”
- World Heritage Sites Facts for UPSC
- India comes on number 6 with 40 World Heritage sites.
- The most recent site listed is Dholavira in 2021.
- Ajanta caves, Ellora caves, Agra fort and Taj Mahal are the first heritage sites to be listed from India in the 1983 session of the World Heritage Committee.
- Italy has the highest number of world heritage sites,58 followed by China 56 and Germany 51.
- A total 1,154 world heritage sites have been listed till July 2021 which exist across 167 countries.
- 26 countries are the signatories of the World Heritage Convention without any World Heritage site.
- The largest World Heritage site is Phoenix Islands with an area of 408,250 km square.
- In 1978 a total of 12 sites were designated as World Heritage sites for the first time.
- In India Maharashtra has 5, the highest number of heritage sites among all states and union territories.
- India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City is Ahmedabad.
- UNESCO has recognised Nalanda University, Bihar as a World Cultural Heritage site.
- Darjeeling Himalayan railway (1999), Nilgiri mountain railway (2005), Kalka Shimla railway (2008) and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai (2004) are the four Indian railway stations that are recognised as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
List Of Heritage Sites
|Name of WH Site||State Location||Year of Notification||Area (sq.km)|
|Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area||Himachal Pradesh||2014||905.4|
|Western Ghats||Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala||2012||7953.15|
|Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks||Uttarakhand||1988||630.00
|Sundarbans National Park||West Bengal||1987||1330.1|
|Kaziranga National Park||Assam||1985||429.96|
|Keoladeo National Park||Rajasthan||1985||28.73|
|Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||Assam||1985||391|
|Name of WH Site||State Location||Year of Notification|
|Historic City of Ahmedabad||Gujarat||2017|
|Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda||Bihar||2016|
|The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement||Chandigarh||2016|
|Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan||Gujarat||2014|
|Hill Forts of Rajasthan||Rajasthan||2013|
|The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur||Rajasthan||2010|
|Red Fort Complex||Delhi||2007|
|Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park||Gujarat||2004|
|Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)||Maharashtra||2004|
|Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka||Madhya Pradesh||2003|
|Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya||Bihar||2002|
|Mountain Railways of India||West Bengal||1999|
|Qutb Minar and its Monuments||Delhi||1993|
|Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi||Madhya Pradesh||1989|
|Great Living Chola Temples||Tamil Nadu||1987|
|Group of Monuments at Pattadakal||Karnataka||1987|
|Churches and Convents of Goa||Goa||1986|
|Fatehpur Sikri||Uttar Pradesh||1986|
|Group of Monuments at Hampi||Karnataka||1986|
|Khajuraho Group of Monuments||Madhya Pradesh||1986|
|Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram||Tamil Nadu||1984|
|Sun Temple, Konârak||Odisha||1984|
|Agra Fort||Uttar Pradesh||1983|
|Taj Mahal||Uttar Pradesh||1983|
|Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai||Maharashtra||2018|
Note: Two new recently added Cultural heritage sites are; Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple – Telangana – 2021
Dholavira ( A Harappan City) – Gujarat – 2021.