In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in France declared April 18th as the international day for monuments and sites or the World Heritage Day, which was approved by the general assembly of UNESCO in 1983 with an aim to boost awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind.
In total, there are 1052 World Heritage Sites (as of July 2016) situated in 165 state parties. Out of which, India is home to 35 World Heritage Sites which includes 27 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed sites.
Some of these sites are extremely popular such as the Taj Mahal in Agra, Khajuraho group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh, Humayun’s Tomb, the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort in Delhi etc. Sites like these are known to the world for their resplendence and natural history and are visited by millions of tourists every year.
However, there are some lesser known places in our country, which are designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites and that are of equal importance in regards to out cultural or natural heritage. So, on this World Heritage Day, we bring to you a list of 6 Heritage Sites in India that you probably didn’t know about:
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus):
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in: 1887-1888
Nominated: July 2nd, 2004
Significance: The CST is a historic railway station in Mumbai, which serves as the headquarters of Central Railways. It is one of the busiest railway stations in India. Designed by consulting architect Frederick Stevens, the station is an outstanding example of the meeting of two cultures. This Gothic style architectural landmark was formerly known as Victoria Terminus in honour of the Queen and Empress Victoria. However, in response to the demands by the Shiv Sena, the state government renamed the station as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in 1996.
Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Established in: 15th century
Significance: With a wall that extends over 38 km long, the Kumbhalgarh fort has the second largest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China and the second largest fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh fort. The fort was built by Rana Kumbha and is also the birthplace of the great king and warrior of Mewar, Maharana Pratap. In 2013, UNESCO declared Kumbhalgarh along with five other forts of Rajasthan as World Heritage Sites. These six forts are known as Hill Forts of Rajasthan and include the most important fort in Mewar, the Chittorgarh fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort and the Jaisalmer Fort. This fort complex includes palaces, Hindu and Jain temples, urban centres and trading centres.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Location: Bhojpur Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh
Established: About 30,000 years ago
Significance: The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are spread in sandstone formations extending over an area of around 25,400 acres. The rock shelters, which were discovered in 1957, comprise of a group of five clusters of rock shelters with paintings that are inferred to date from the Mesolithic period right through to the Historical period, with the 21 villages surrounding them reflecting the traditions displayed in the rock paintings.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Location: Bagalkot, Karnataka
Established in: 8th century
Significance: The group of monuments in Pattadakal cover a remarkable series of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary in northern Karnataka. In this group of temples, the Virupaksha Temple, built between 740 and 745 A.D., is considered to be the most outstanding architectural edifice. The temples represent a significant fusion of the architectural features of northern and southern India.
Mountain Railways: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka-Shimla Railway
Location: Darjeeling, Ooty and Himachal Pradesh respectively
Established in: 19th and early 20th century
Nominated: 1999, 2005 and 2008 respectively
Significance: The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listing of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The three Mountain Railways of India have been stated as World Heritage Sites for being outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain.
Khangchendzonga National Park
Established in: 1977
Nominated: July 17th, 2016
Significance: The Khangchendzonga National Park has a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests. The national park also has the World’s third largest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.
There’s absolutely no denying the fact that India is among one of the top countries globally in terms of world heritage sites and these sites in our country are considered to be of immense cultural and natural importance in the world.
Information source: wikipedia