6 UNESCO heritage sites added to tentative list in India


  • Recently, 6 UNESCO heritage sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Six of the nine sites submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India had been accepted by UNESCO for inclusion in the tentative list, which is a requirement before the final nomination of any site.
  • With the addition of these six sites, the UNESCO has 48 proposals in tentative list of India.

About the 6 UNESCO heritage sites

  • Ganga ghats in Varanasi
  • Temples of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu

    6 UNESCO heritage sites
    Source: The Hindu
  • Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh
  • Maratha military architecture in Maharashtra
  • Hire Bengal megalithic site in Karnataka
  • Bhedaghat-Lametaghat of Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh

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.
  • Satpura National Park, along with the adjoining Bori and Pachmarhi wildlife sanctuaries.

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”

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.

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

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.

Back to Basics

  • 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.
  • ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ has been submitted for nomination of World Heritage Site in 2019-2020.
  • Nomination dossiers of ‘Santiniketan, India’ and ‘Sacred Ensemble of Hoysalas’ have been submitted to UNESCO for the year 2021-22 cycle.

World Heritage Sites in India

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are important places of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.
  • India has the sixth largest number of sites in the world.
  • At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. All the sites under the Ministry are conserved as per ASI’s Conservation Policy and are in good shape.



Under Protection of Archaeological Survey of India (22)

Sl. No. Name of Site State
Agra Fort (1983) Uttar Pradesh
Ajanta Caves (1983) Maharashtra
Ellora Caves (1983) Maharashtra
Taj Mahal (1983) Uttar Pradesh
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) Tamil Nadu
Sun Temple, Konark (1984) Odisha
Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) Goa
FatehpurSikri (1986) Uttar Pradesh
Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) Karnataka
Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986) Madhya Pradesh
Elephanta Caves ( 1987) Maharashtra
Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987) Karnataka
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) Madhya Pradesh
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993) Delhi
QutbMinar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993) Delhi
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) Madhya Pradesh
Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) Gujarat
Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) Delhi
Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013)

(Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)

Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014) Gujarat
Archaeological Site of NalandaMahavihara(Nalanda University) at Nalanda (2016) Bihar


Under Protection of Ministry of Railways (2)

23. Mountain Railways of India Darjeeling,(1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla (2008) West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
24. ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) Maharashtra


Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (1)

25 Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002) Bihar


Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums (1)

26. The JantarMantar, Jaipur (2010) Rajasthan


Under Protection of Chandigarh Administration (1)

27. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016) Chandigarh


Under Protection of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (1)

28. Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017) Gujarat


Under Protection of Bombay Municipal Corporation (1)

29. Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018) Govt of Maharashtra


Under Protection of Jaipur Municipal Corporation (1)

30. Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019) Govt of Rajasthan



Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

31. Kaziranga National Park (1985) Assam
32. Keoladeo National Park (1985) Rajasthan
33. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985) Assam
34. Sunderbans National Park (1987) West Bengal
35. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005) Uttarakhand
36. Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
37 Great Himalayan National Park (2014) Himachal Pradesh



Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

38. Khangchendzonga National Park (2016) Sikkim

Source: The Hindu

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