World Heritage Sites in India (Updated till 15.09.2021)
- A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance. The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
- The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is composed of 21 UNESCO member states, elected by the General Assembly.
- 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.
- As on 31.08.2021, India has 40 world heritage sites that include 32 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties, and 1 mixed site.
- Recently, 06 sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The recently-included proposals are the Maratha military architecture in Maharashtra, the Hire Bengal megalithic site in Karnataka, Bhedaghat-Lametaghat of Narmada Valley & Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Ganga ghats in Varanasi, Temples of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.
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.
10 criteria for determining Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)
|(i)||to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;|
|(ii)||to 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;|
|(iii)||to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;|
|(iv)||to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;|
|(v)||to 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;|
|(vi)||to 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 other criteria.|
|(vii)||to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;|
|(viii)||to 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;|
|(ix)||to 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;|
|(x)||to 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.|
|World Heritage Sites of India (40)|
|Sl. No||Name of Site||State /UT||Category|
|1||Kaziranga National Park (1985)||Assam||Natural|
|2||Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)||Assam||Natural|
|3||Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016)||Bihar||Cultural|
|4||Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002)||Bihar||Cultural|
|5||Capitol Complex (2016)||Chandigarh||Cultural|
|6||Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)||Delhi||Cultural|
|7||Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993)||Delhi||Cultural|
|8||Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007)||Delhi||Cultural|
|9||Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)||Goa||Cultural|
|10||Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004)||Gujarat||Cultural|
|11||Rani Ki Vav (2014)||Gujarat||Cultural|
|12||Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017)||Gujarat||Cultural|
|13||Great Himalayan National Park (2014)||Himachal Pradesh||Natural|
|14||Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)||Karnataka||Cultural|
|15||Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987)||Karnataka||Cultural|
|16||Western Ghats (2012)||Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu||Natural|
|17||Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986)||Madhya Pradesh||Cultural|
|18||Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)||Madhya Pradesh||Cultural|
|19||Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)||Madhya Pradesh||Cultural|
|20||Ajanta Caves (1983)||Maharashtra||Cultural|
|21||Ellora Caves (1983)||Maharashtra||Cultural|
|22||Elephanta Caves (1987)||Maharashtra||Cultural|
|23||Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)||Maharashtra||Cultural|
|24||Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018)||Maharashtra||Cultural|
|25||Sun Temple, Konark (1984)||Odisha||Cultural|
|26||Hill Forts of Rajasthan||Rajasthan||Cultural|
|27||Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)||Rajasthan||Cultural|
|28||Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)||Rajasthan||Cultural|
|29||Keoladeo National Park (1985)||Rajasthan||Natural|
|30||Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)||Sikkim||Mixed|
|31||Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)||Tamil Nadu||Cultural|
|32||Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004)||Tamil Nadu||Cultural|
|33||Agra Fort (1983)||Uttar Pradesh||Cultural|
|34||Taj Mahal (1983)||Uttar Pradesh||Cultural|
|35||Group of Monuments, Fatehpur Sikri (1986)||Uttar Pradesh||Cultural|
|36||Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)||Uttarakhand||Natural|
|37||Sundarbans National Park (1987)||West Bengal||Natural|
|38||Mountain Railway of India (Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla (2008)||West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh||Cultural|
|39||Ramappa Temple (Rudreshswara)||Telangana||Cultural|
World Heritage Sites in India UPSC
CULTURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA UPSC (33)
- AGRA FORT (1983), UTTAR PRADESH
- 16th-century Mughal monument
- Fortress of red sandstone
- It comprises the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas
- Uttar Pradesh
- AJANTA CAVES (1983), MAHARASHTRA
- A series of rock-cut caves in the Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats)on the Waghora river near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
- 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments
- There are a total of 29 caves(all Buddhist) of which 25 were used as Viharas or residential caves while 4 were used as Chaitya or prayer halls.
- The caves were developed in the period between 200 B.C. to 650 A.D.
- The Ajanta caves were inscribed by the Buddhist monks, under the patronage of the Vakataka kings– Harishena being a prominent one.
- The Ajanta Caves are mentioned in the memoirs of several medieval-era Chinese Buddhist travellers to India and by a Mughal-era official of Akbar era in the early 17th century
- They were covered by jungle until accidentally “discovered” and brought to Western attention in 1819 by a colonial British officer Captain John Smith on a tiger-hunting party.
- The caves are in the rocky northern wall of the U-shaped gorge of the river Waghur, in the Deccan plateau.
- Reference of the Ajanta caves can be found in the travel accounts of Chinese Buddhist travellers Fa Hien(during the reign of Chandragupta II; 380- 415 CE) and Hieun Tsang (during the reign of emperor Harshavardhana; 606 – 647 CE).
- The figures in these cave were done using fresco painting.
- The outlines of the paintings were done in red colour. One of the striking features is the absence of blue colour in the paintings.
- The paintings are generally themed around Buddhism– the life of Buddha and Jataka stories.
- Ajanta style is also found in the Ellora Caves and other sites such as the Elephanta Caves, Aurangabad Caves, Shivleni Caves and the cave temples of Karnataka
- Connections with the art of Gandhara can also be noted, and there is evidence of a shared artistic idiom
- ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF NALANDA MAHAVIHARA AT NALANDA, BIHAR (2016)
- Remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rdcentury BCE to the 13th century CE.
- Includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important artworks in stucco, stone and metal.
- Considered to be the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent.
- Testifies to the development of Buddhism
- All students at Nalanda studied Mahayana, as well as the texts of the eighteen (Hinayana) sects of Buddhism.
- Jain thirthankara, Mahavira, spent 14 rainy seasons at Nalanda. Gautama Buddha too is said to have delivered lectures in a nearby mango grove named Pavarika and one of his two chief disciples, Shariputra, was born
- Xuanzang (also known as Hiuen Tsang) travelled around India between the years of 630 and 643 CE, and visited Nalanda first in 637 and then again in 642
- Vast amount of what came to comprise Tibetan Buddhism, both its Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, stems from the teachers and traditions at Nalanda.
- Also, the place of birth and nirvana of Shariputra, one of the famous disciples of Buddha
- BUDDHIST MONUMENTS AT SANCHI (1989), MADHYA PRADESH
- It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12thcentury A.D.
- Consists of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2ndand 1st centuries B.C.
- The main body of the stupa symbolises the cosmic mountain. It is topped by a ‘harmika’ to hold the triple umbrella, or ‘chhatraveli’, which represents the three jewels of Buddhism – the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha
- Buddha never visited Sanchi neither did foreign travellers like Hiuen Tsang
- The lion capital at Sanchi is similar to the one at Sarnath. The main difference between the two is that the monument at Sanchi depicts an abacus instead of a chakra.
- One of the oldest stone structures
- Originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE
- Sanchi Stupa is depicted on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of Rs 200
- Great Stupa also called Stupa No. 1, initially built under the Mauryas, and adorned with one of the Pillars of Ashoka (Ashokan Pillar-Wheel of Law-Four Lions)
- Ashokan Pillar-pillar has an Ashokan inscription (Schism Edict) and an inscription in the ornamental Sankha Lipi from the Gupta period. the commands it contains appear to be the same as those recorded in the Sarnath and Kausambi edicts, which together form the three known instances of Ashoka’s “Schism Edict”.
- The Sarnath capital is a pillar capital discovered in the archaeological excavations at the ancient Buddhist site of Sarnath
- Ashoka went to Bodh Gaya to visit the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha had his enlightenment, as described his Major Rock Edict No.8.
- Madhya Pradesh
- CHAMPANER-PAVAGADH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK (2004), GUJARAT
- Prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat.
- Panchmahal district
- Palaces, entrance gates and arches, mosques, tombs and temples, residential complexes, agricultural structures and water installations such as stepwells and tanks
- The Kalikamata Temple on top of Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year.
- The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.
- CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS (FORMERLY VICTORIA TERMINUS) (2004), MAHARASHTRA
- Example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture.
- The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models.
- Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture.
- CHURCHES AND CONVENTS OF GOA (1986)
- The churches and convents of Goa, particularly the Basilica of Bom Jesus indicate commencement of evangelization in Asia.
- The Basilica of Bom Jesus also houses the sacred tomb of St. Francis Xavier.
- These monuments are well known for spreading- Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art in major parts of Asia.
- ELEPHANTA CAVES (1987), MAHARASHTRA
- Located at Elephanta island or island of Gharapuri (literally- ‘City of Caves’) in the Sea of Oman, close to Mumbai.
- Contains a collection of rock-cut stone art connected to the Shaivite cult.
- It is a vital symbol of the greatness of Indian art, especially the huge high reliefs in the main cave.
- They were constructed around the mid-5th to 6th centuries AD.
- show syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist ideas and iconography
- two groups of rock-cut caves, hewn from solid basalt rock.
- artwork reverentially displays themes from Shaktism and Vaishnavism traditions of Hinduism as well
- Trimurti is considered a masterpiece and the most important sculpture in the caves
- Trimurti Shiva is flanked on its left by Ardhanarisvara (a half-Shiva, half-Parvati composite) and Gangadhara legend to its right
- ELLORA CAVES, MAHARASHTRA
- Nearly 100 Kms away from Ajanta caves in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra.
- It is a group of 34 caves– 17 Brahmanical, 12 Buddhist, and 5 Jain.
- These set of caves were developed during the period between the 5thand 11th centuries A.D. (newer as compared to Ajanta Caves) by various guilds from Vidarbha, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
- That is why the caves reflect a natural diversity in terms of theme and architectural styles.
- The Ellora complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
- The most remarkable of the cave temples is Kailasa (Kailasanatha; cave 16), named for the mountain in the Kailasa Range of the Himalayas where the Hindu god Shiva resides.
- Largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monuments
- also features sculptures depicting the gods, goddesses and mythologies found in Vaishnavism, Shaktism, Hindu Epics
- monuments were built during the Rashtrakuta dynasty
- occupies a relatively flat rocky region of the Western Ghats
- Built during the Rashtrakuta dynasty, which constructed part of the Hindu and Buddhist caves, and the Yadava dynasty, which constructed a number of the Jain caves
- Cave 10, a chaitya worship hall called the ‘Vishvakarma cave’ (“Carpenter’s Cave”)
- Hindu caves were constructed during the Kalachuris period
- Cave 21, also called Rameshwar Lena
- Cave 16, known as the Kailasa temple, Dashavatara temple, or Cave 15, is another significant excavation
- 05 Jain caves belonging to the Digambara sect, Jagannatha Sabha (Cave 33) is the second-largest Jain cave at Ellora
- FATEHPUR SIKRI (1986), UTTAR PRADESH
- Built during the second half of the 16thcentury by Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri or ‘The City of Victory,’ also served as the capital of the Mughal empire for a short time period.
- It contains an array of monuments and temples, including one of the largest mosques in India- the Jama Masjid.
- Settlement of the region since the Painted Grey Ware period.
- Sits on rocky ridge and modelled on Timurid forms and styles
- Built massively and preferably with red sandstone.
- Some of the important buildings in this city
- Buland Darwaza
- Jama Masjid
- Tomb of Salim Chishti
- Diwan-i-Aam (Public Audience)
- Diwan-i-Khas (Private Audience)
- Ibadat Khana
- Anup Talao
- Hujra-i-Anup Talao
- Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace
- Naubat Khana
- Pachisi Court
- Panch Mahal
- Birbal’s House
- Hiran Minar
- GREAT LIVING CHOLA TEMPLES (1987, 2004), TAMIL NADU
- Built by kings of the Chola empire, these temples manifest the precision and perfection of the Cholas in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
- This site includes three 11thand 12th– century temples: Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram, and Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
- The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram built by Rajendra the First in 1035 and the Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja the Second, feature vimana (sanctum tower) of 53m and 24m respectively.
- Airavatesvara Temple is one among a cluster of eighteen medieval era large Hindu temples in the Kumbakonam area. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It also reverentially displays Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions.
- Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. One of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of fully realized Tamil architecture. Built by Raja Raja Chola I. Built out of granite. Brass Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance.
- Gangaikondacholapuram Temple is a Hindu temple Completed in 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola I. Dedicated to Shiva and based on a square plan, but the temple reverentially displays Vaishnavism , Shaktism
- GROUP OF MONUMENTS AT HAMPI (1986), KARNATAKA
- This site was the last capital of the kingdom of Vijaynagar.
- These Dravidian temples and palaces were built by rulers of Vijaynagar between the 14th and 16th centuries.
- In 1565, the city was captured by Deccan Muslim Confederacy and pillaged for a period of 6 months, before being abandoned.
- Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara
- Tungabhadra River
- Ashokan epigraphy, and it is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Puranas of Hinduism as Pampaa Devi Tirtha Kshetra
- Located in hilly terrain formed by granite boulders
- Virupaksha temple is the oldest shrine
- Reliefs of Jain temples at Hampi includes Hemkut Jain temples, Ratnantraykut, Parsvanath Charan and Ganagitti Jain temples
- GROUP OF MONUMENTS AT MAHABALIPURAM (1984), TAMIL NADU
- This group of monuments was founded by Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries along the Coromandel coast of Bay of Bengal.
- These temples boast of intricate and unique architectural styles in the form of- rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries) and giant open-air reliefs such as- ‘Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance.’
- It also encloses the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures dedicated to the glory of Shiva.
- Seven Pagodas. The Shore Temple complex is near the Mamallapuram shore
- Krishna’s Butterball (also known as Vaan Irai Kal) and Krishna’s Gigantic Butterball) is a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline in the historical coastal resort town
- GROUP OF MONUMENTS AT PATTADAKAL (1987), KARNATAKA
- Pattadakal in Karnataka showcases a unique blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India, achieved under the Chalukya dynasty during the 7th and 8th centuries.
- It comprises nine Hindu temples as well as a Jain sanctuary including the Temple of Virupaksha, a masterpiece built in c.740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory.
- Hindu and Jain temples
- West bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalakote district
- Paṭṭadakallu or Raktapura
- Harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India
- Jain temple is only dedicated to a single Jina
- Virupaksha temple is an active house of Hindu worship
- Reflect a fusion of two major Indian architectural styles, one from north India (Rekha-Nagara-Prasada) and the other from south India (Dravida-Vimana).
- Other Temples
- Kadasiddheshwara temple
- Jambulinga temple
- Galaganatha temple
- Chandrashekhara temple
- Sangameshwara temple /Vijayeshvara temple
- Mallikarjuna temple
- Virupaksha temple
- Papanatha temple
- Jaina Temple
- HILL FORTS OF RAJASTHAN (2013), RAJASTHAN
- This site includes six majestic forts situated in Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jhalawar, all situated in the state of Rajasthan.
- The magnificent and stalwart exterior of the forts manifests the lifestyle and nature of the Rajput rule over this land from 8th to 18th centuries.
- These fortifications enclose urban centres, palaces, trading centres and temples, where various forms of art and culture flourished.
- Some of the urban centres, as well as most of the temples and other sacred places, have survived as the forts used natural resources such as- hills, deserts, forests etc for protection.
- The UNESCO series has been increased to six forts. They consist of:
- Chittor Fort at Chittorgarh
- Kumbhalgarh Fort at Kumbhalgarh
- Ranthambore Fort at Sawai Madhopur
- Gagron Fort at Jhalawar
- Amer Fort at Jaipur
- Jaisalmer Fort at Jaisalmer
- HISTORIC CITY OF AHMEDABAD (2017), GUJARAT
- Located on the eastern bank of Sabarmati river, this city was founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century. It also served as the capital of the state of Gujarat for centuries.
- This city is a testimony to the harmonious existence of diverse religions on this land, exhibited by its architecture which includes the famous Bhadra citadel accompanied by various mosques, tombs as well as numerous Hindu and Jain temples.
- The urban fabric consists of densely- packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras).
- Sabarmati river. It was known as Ashaval or Ashapalli.
- There is some estimate of the size of city in works of the time: Ferishta, the Ain-i-Akbari, and the Mirat-i-Ahmadi.
- HUMAYUN’S TOMB, DELHI (1993)
- Built-in 1570, it has long-standing cultural significance because it was the first garden-tomb to be constructed in India.
- Tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun and first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent
- It is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty
- The Tombs of Battashewala Complex lie in the buffer zone
- Building was first to use its unique combination of red sandstone and white marble, and includes several elements of Indian architectural, like the small canopies, or chhatris surrounding the central dome, popular in Rajasthani architecture and which were originally covered with blue tiles
- Inspired by Persian architecture
- The combination of red sandstone and white marble was previously seen in Delhi Sultanate period tombs and mosques, most distinctively in the highly decorative Alai Darwaza gatehouse in the Qutub complex, Mehrauli
- represented a leap in Mughal architecture, and together with its accomplished Charbagh garden, typical of Persian gardens, but never seen before in India
- This tomb was the inspiration behind several architectural innovations including the Taj Mahal.
- Other Monuments
- Nila Gumbad or ‘Blue Dome’
- Nai-ka-Gumbad, or Barber’s Tomb
- Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia
- Arab Serai
- Afsarwala Tomb and mosque
- Bu Halima’s Tomb and Garden
- Tomb and mosque of Isa Khan
- JAIPUR CITY, RAJASTHAN(2019)
- It was founded in 1727 AD by the then Kachwaha Rajput ruler of Amber, Sawai Jai Singh II. It also serves as the capital city of the state of Rajasthan.
- The city was established on the plains and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture.
- The city’s urban planning shows an exchange of ideas from ancient Hindu and modern Mughal as well as Western cultures.
- Designed to be a commercial capital, the city has maintained its local commercial, artisanal and cooperative traditions to this day.
- The iconic monuments in the city include the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort etc.
- Jaipur has become the second city of the country after Ahmedabad to get the recognition of the World Heritage Site.
- KHAJURAHO GROUP OF MONUMENTS (1986), MADHYA PRADESH
- These temples were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached at its pinnacle between 950 and 1050.
- Only 20 temples remain, belonging to two different religions namely-Hinduism and Jainism, including the famous Temple of Kandariya decorated with intricately and beautifully carved sculptures.
- Group of Hindu temples and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district
- Famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism
- 10th-century Bhand Deva Temple in Rajasthan was built in the style of the Khajuraho monuments and is often referred to as ‘Little Khajuraho’.
- Reigns of the Hindu kings Yashovarman and Dhanga
- Temple site is within Vindhya mountain range in central India
- Largest surviving Shiva temple is Khandarya Mahadeva, while the largest surviving Vaishnava group includes Chaturbhuja and Ramachandra.
- Almost all Hindu temple designs, follow a grid geometrical design called vastu-purusha-mandala
- Temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern.
- Made of sandstone, with a granite foundation that is almost concealed from view.
- Khajuraho group of temples belong to Vaishnavism school of Hinduism, Saivism school of Hinduism and Jainism – nearly a third each.
- Represent one expression of many forms of arts that flourished in Rajput kingdoms
- MAHABODHI TEMPLE COMPLEX AT BODH GAYA (2002), BIHAR
- This temple was earlier built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C.However, the present structure dates back to the 5th or 6th centuries.
- It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick and considered to be one of the four sacred sites associated with the life of Gautama Buddha.
- Mostly made of brick covered with stucco, materials that are much less durable than stone
- A stylistic feature that has continued in Jain and Hindu temples to the present day, and influenced Buddhist architecture in other countries, in forms like the pagoda
- Temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid was derived from the design of the stepped stupas which had developed in Gandhara.
- The Mahabodhi Temple adapted the Gandharan design of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars
- Constructed of brick and is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India. It is considered to be a fine example of Indian brickwork, and was highly influential in the development of later architectural traditions
- Images of the site include Avalokiteśvara (Padmapani, Khasarpana), Vajrapani, Tara, Marichi, Yamantaka, Jambhala and Vajravārāhī. Images of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya and other Vedic deities are also associated with the site
- MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS OF INDIA (1999, 2005, 2008)
- This site includes three railways:
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway-West Bengal
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway-Tamil Nadu
- Kalka Shimla Railway-Himachal Pradesh
- The fourth railway, the Matheran Hill Railway, is on the tentative list
- All four are narrow-gauge railways, and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is also the only rack railway in India.
- QUTUB MINAR AND ITS MONUMENTS, DELHI (1993)
- Qutub Minar was built in red sandstone in the early 13th century, in Delhi.
- It is 72.5 m high, with diameters of 14.32 m and 2.75 m at its base and peak respectively.
- The tower is surrounded by various aesthetically-pleasing treasures, for instance- the Alai Darwaza built-in 1311 as well as two mosques including the Quwwatu’l-Islam, the oldest mosque in northern India.
- The Alai Minar and the Iron pillar.
- Alai Darwaza is a main gateway from southern side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque
- The domed gateway is decorated with red sandstone and inlaid white marble decorations, inscriptions in Naskh script
- The Slave dynasty did not employ true Islamic architecture styles and used false domes and false arches.
- Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque (also known as the Qutub Mosque or the Great Mosque of Delhi) was commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, founder of the Mamluk or Slave dynasty and built using the ruins of 27 Hindu and Jain temples. First mosque built in Delhi after the Islamic conquest of India and the oldest surviving example of Ghurids architecture in Indian subcontinent/
- Reminiscent in style and design of the Adhai-din-ka Jhonpra or Ajmer mosque at Ajmer, Rajasthan, also built by Aibak during the same time
- A Jain temple, which the Jains called elbut-khana
- Other Features
- Iron pillar inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script
- Tomb of Iltutmish
- Tomb of Imam Zamin
- Alauddin Khilji’s tomb and Madrasa
- Alai Minar of Khalji
- Zafar Mahal, the Jahaz Mahal next to Hauz-i-Shamsi lake
- RANI-KI-VAV (THE QUEEN’S STEPWELL) AT PATAN, GUJARAT (2014)
- Situated on the banks of Saraswati river, this stepwell was built as a memorial to a king.
- Stepwells are considered to be easily accessible underground water resources and storage systems, which have been constructed in the Indian subcontinent since the 3rd millennium B.C.
- This stepwell flaunts the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, designed in the form of an inverted temple to emphasize the sanctity of water and is endowed with more than thousand sculptures depicting a combination of religious, mythological and secular imagery.
- Chaulukya dynasty
- India’s “Cleanest Iconic Place” at the 2016 Indian Sanitation Conference
- Nanda-type stepwell
- RED FORT COMPLEX (2007), DELHI
- This was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the capital of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and is named after its immense walls of red sandstone.
- The Red Fort Complex in entirety, includes the Red Fort as well as Salimgarh fort built-in 1546 by Islam Shah Suri.
- Red Fort is a reflection of the acme of Mughal architectural innovation and craftsmanship. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each structure mirrors architectural elements derived from a combination of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions.
- The row of pavilions is connected by a continuous water channel known as Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise).
- Main residence of the Mughal Emperors
- Originally red and white, its painting is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal.
- Every year on India’s Independence Day (15 August), the prime minister of India hoists the national flag
- The Lahori Gate is the main gate
- Naubat Khana
- Diwan-i-Aam, the Public Audience Hal-place for the official affairs of commoners who sought after legal matters such as tax issues, hereditary complications
- Pavilions are connected by a canal, known as the Nahr-i-Bihisht (“Stream of Paradise”)
- The Khas Mahal was the emperor’s apartment.
- Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) constructed of white marble, inlaid with precious stones.
- The baoli or step-well, believed to pre-date the Red Fort, is one of the few monuments that were not demolished by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
- The hammam were the imperial baths, consisting of three domed rooms with white marble patterned floors
- Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque / Hira Mahal (“Diamond Palace”)
- Hayat Bakhsh Bagh and the Shahi Burj is the quarter of the imperial princes
- ROCK SHELTERS OF BHIMBETKA (2003), MADHYA PRADESH
- These shelters are located within the foothills of Vindhya range, on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau.
- Unearthed in the form of five clusters of natural rock shelters exhibiting paintings that date back to the Mesolithic, and other periods succeeding it.
- The cultural traditions of the inhabitants in surrounding areas are very similar to those displayed in the paintings.
- Prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods
- Bhimbetka site has the oldest-known rock art in India
- As of February 2021, Dickinsonia (Dickinsoniais an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, China, India, Russia and Ukraine) has been reported at Bhimbetka.
- Feature prehistoric cave paintings show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting.
- Inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, embedded in sandstone rocks
- Seven hills: Vinayaka, Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakha Juar (east and west), Jhondra and Muni Babaki Pahari
- Barkheda has been identified as the source of the raw materials used in some of the monoliths discovered at Bhimbetka
- These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bison, tigers and rhinoceroses.
- weapons used by hunters: barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows
- Contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains, exchanging goods with them.
- Schematic and decorative style and are painted mainly in red, white and yellow.
- The colors used by the cave dwellers were prepared by combining black manganese oxides, red hematite and charcoal.
- SUN TEMPLE, KONARK (1984), ODISHA
- Konark Sun Temple, located in East Odisha near the sacred city of Puri.
- Built-in 13thcentury by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1238-1264). Its scale, refinement, and conception represent the strength and stability of the Ganga Empire as well as the value systems of the historic milieu.
- The temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot. It is dedicated to the Sun God. In this sense, it is directly and materially linked to Brahmanism and tantric belief systems.
- The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work.
- It marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecturedepicting the grace, the joy, and the rhythm of life all its wondrous variety.
- There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun temple. Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and others say the 12 months.
- The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week.
- Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konark, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.
- Konark is the invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originating in Kashmir during the 8th century, finally reached the shores of Eastern India.
- Also known for its erotic sculptures of maithunas
- The stone temple was made from three types of stone. Chlorite, Laterite and Khondalite
- TAJ MAHAL (1983), AGRA, UTTAR PRADESH
- The Taj Mahal (Agra) is a mausoleum of white marble built by the Mughal emperor, Shahjahanin memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It stands on the banks of the river Yamuna.
- The construction of the Taj Mahal was completed within a period of 17 years from 1631 to 1648 AD.
- The Taj Mahal was declared a centrally protected monument of national importance in December 1920.
- Considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
- It is famous for its unique layout, perfection in symmetry and inlay work.
- Indo-Islamic and earlier Mughal architecture
- Bordered on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls
- THE ARCHITECTURAL WORK OF LE CORBUSIER (2016), CHANDIGARH
- This transnational serial property includes 17 sites spread across 7 countries stands as a testimony of a new form of architectural expression weaved with modern traditions.
- These sites, in totality, propagate ideals of the Modern movement and are also considered as a significant response to fundamental issues of architecture and society in the 20th
- Complexe du Capitole, Chandigarh, The Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan), the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina), Unité d’habitation in Marseille (France) etc, are some of the well-known sites included in this property.
- THE JANTAR MANTAR, JAIPUR (2010), RAJASTHAN
- Built in the early 18thcentury, Jantar Mantar is designed to observe astronomical positions with the naked eye.
- A set of 20 main instruments are installed in this site to make accurate observations built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II
- It is a manifestation of astronomical skills and knowledge, dating back to the Mughal times.
- Features the world’s largest stone sundial
- An example of the Ptolemaic positional astronomy
- The Kanmala Yantraprakara is one that works in two systems and allows transformation of the coordinates directly from one system to the other
- VICTORIAN GOTHIC AND ART DECO ENSEMBLES OF MUMBAI (2018), MAHARASHTRA
- This site includes a collection of public buildings designed in Victorian Neo-Gothic style in the 19thcentury and Art Deco style in the 20th
- Both the styles are intermingled with Indian architectural elements.
- For instance- The buildings designed in Victorian Neo-Gothic styles are endowed with balconies and verandas.
- Similarly, the Indo- Deco is a term used to describe the style emerged after adding Indian elements to Art Deco imagery and architecture.
- KAKATIYA RUDRESHWARA RAMAPPA TEMPLE, TELANGANA
- Located in the village of Palampet in Telangana. Mulugu District.
- Shiva temple
- Kakatiyan period (1123–1323 CE)
- Vimana of the temple is made of lightweight porous ‘floating bricks,’
- Close to the Ramappa Cheruvu, a Kakatiya-built water reservoir
- Marco Polo, during his visit to the Kakatiya empire, allegedly called the temple “the brightest star in the galaxy of temples
- Main structure is in a reddish sandstone, but the columns round the outside have large brackets of black basalt which is rich in iron, magnesium and silica
- Carved as mythical animals or female dancers or musicians
- 1st world heritage site in Telangana.
- It is one of the very few temples in the world named after its sculptor.
- The chamber of the temple is crowned by a ‘shikharam’ and surrounded by ‘pradakshinapatha’.
- DHOLAVIRA: A HARRAPAN CITY, GUJARAT
- An archaeological site at Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District
- Most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE
- Water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures.
- Contains ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization/ Harappan city
- City Artefacts-copper, shell, stone, jewellery of semi-precious stones, terracotta, gold, ivory
- Interregional trade links
- Location is on the Tropic of Cancer
- Located on Khadir bet island in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in the Great Rann of Kutch
- The other major Harappan sites discovered so far are Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar and Lothal.
NATURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA UPSC (07)
- GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK (2014), HIMACHAL PRADESH
- Located in western part of Himalayan mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh, this Park is well known for its high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests.
- located in Kullu district
- It also encloses glacial and snow meltwater sources of several rivers as well as the catchment area.
- It is a biodiversity hotspot with 25 types of forests inhabited by myriads of faunal species, several of which are threatened.
- at the junction of world’s two major biogeographic realms: the Indomalayan realm to the south and the Palearctic realm to the north.
- According to the Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) survey of Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary and Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh have performed the best among the surveyed protected areas.
- Blue sheep, snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan tahr, Ibex and musk deer.
- The subalpine zone is richest in species, followed by the alpine and upper temperate zones.
- The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has listed parts of the Himalaya in its Global 200 analysis of critical ecosystems (since 2001), and GHNP is within one of them.
- The boundaries of GHNP are also contiguous with: the Pin Valley National Park in the Trans-Himalaya range; the Rupi Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sutlej watershed; and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary in Parvati valley
- 10% of the world’s known plant species can be found in GHNP.
- KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK (1985), ASSAM
- It is located in the State of Assamand covers 42,996 ha. It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain.
- It was declared as a National Park in 1974.
- Located in the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts
- It has been declared atiger reserve since 2007. It has a total tiger reserve area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.
- It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Sitein 1985.
- It is recognized as an Important Bird Areaby BirdLife International.
- It is the home of the world’s most one-horned rhinos.
- Much of the focus of conservation efforts in Kaziranga is focused on the ‘big four’ species— rhino, elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, and Asiatic water buffalo.
- The 2018 census had yielded 2,413 rhinos and approximately 1,100 elephants.
- As per the figures of tiger census conducted in 2014, Kaziranga had an estimated 103 tigers, the third-highest populationin India after Jim Corbett National Park (215) in Uttarakhand and Bandipur National Park (120) in Karnataka.
- Kaziranga is also home to 9 of the 14 species of primates found in the Indian subcontinent.
- The National Highway 37passes through the park area.
- The park also has more than 250 seasonal water bodies, besides the Diphlu Riverrunning through it.
- KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK (1985), RAJASTHAN
- This wetland is located in the state of Rajasthan and served as a duck shooting reserve till the end of 19th
- Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
- However, soon enough the hunting ceased and the area was declared a national park in 1982.
- This National Park is home to 375 bird species and various other life forms.
- It also serves as a wintering ground to Palaearctic migratory waterfowl, critically endangered Siberian Crane as well as to globally threatened- Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle.
- It is acclaimed for its resident population of non-migratory breeding birds.
- One third of the Keoladeo National Park is wetland with mounds, dykes and open water with or without submerged or emergent plants.
- A similar habitat with short grasses, such as Cynodon dactylon and Dichanthium annulatum also exists.
- The site was added to the Montreux Record, 4 July 1990 due to water shortage and an unbalanced grazing regime”.
- MANAS WILDLIFE SANCTUARY (1985), ASSAM
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot located in Assam.
- A national park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve
- Sprawls alongside Manas river major tributary of Brahmaputra River
- A range of forested hills, alluvial grasslands and tropical evergreen forests are responsible for the breathtaking beauty and serene environment of the site.
- Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog.
- Famous for its population of the wild water buffalo
- Located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya
- NANDA DEVI AND VALLEY OF FLOWERS NATIONAL PARKS (1988, 2005), UTTARAKHAND
- Both of these National Parks are exceptionally beautiful high-altitude West Himalayan landscapes and fall within the boundaries of the state of Uttarakhand.
- Nanda Devi National Park boasts rugged and high-mountain wilderness and is dominated by India’s second-highest mountain-the peak of Nanda Devi. The Valley of Flowers, in contrast, flaunts aesthetically pleasing meadows of alpine flowers.
- Numerous kinds of floral and faunal species reside in these parks, along with a significant population of globally threatened species including- Snow leopard, Himalayan Musk Deer etc.
- Encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya
- Nanda Devi National Park is dominated by the 7,817 m peak of Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain which is approached through the Rishi Ganga gorge
- Breath-taking beautiful meadows of alpine flowers
- Naturally well protected due to their inaccessibility.
- The park lies in Chamoli district, within the Garhwal Himalaya. It comprises the catchment area of the Rishi Ganga, an eastern tributary of Dhauli Ganga which flows into the Alaknanda River at Joshimath.
- The upper Rishi Valley, often referred to as the ‘Inner Sanctuary’, is fed by Changbang, North Rishi and North Nanda Devi glaciers to the north and by South Nanda Devi and South Rishi glaciers to the south of the Nanda Devi massif. There is an impressive gorge cutting through the Devistan-Rishikot ridge below the confluence of the North and South Rishi rivers.
- The Trisuli and Ramani glaciers are features of the lower Rishi Valley or ‘Outer Sanctuary’, below which the Rishi Ganga enters the narrow, steep-sided lower gorge.
- The Valley of Flowers national park located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. Situated, approximately 3255m above sea level, this splendid park is spread across 87.5 sq km of land.
- The valley has three sub-alpines between 3,200m and 3,500m which is the limit for trees, lower alpine between 3,500m and 3,700m, and higher alpine above 3,700m.
- SUNDARBANS NATIONAL PARK (1987), WEST BENGAL
- The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world, lies across India and Bangladesh on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna riverson the Bay of Bengal.
- A National park, Tiger reserve, Ramsar site and Biosphere reserve
- It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1987.
- The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats, and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests,and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes.
- The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species, the Bengal tiger, and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.
- It is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the estuarine crocodile, Royal Bengal Tiger, Water monitor lizard, Gangetic dolphin and olive ridley turtles.
- Delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.
- bound by the river Matla in the west
- rivers Kalindi and Harinbhanga and Raimongal in the east form the international boundary with Bangladesh, south of the Reserve lies the Bay of Bengal, northwest is bounded by rivers Bidya, Gomdi
- Saltwater crocodile /Bengal Tigger
- WESTERN GHATS (2012)
- Western Ghats consist of a chain of mountains running parallel to India’s Western Coast and passing from the states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- Also known as Sahyadri and extend from the Satpura Range in the north, stretching from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu
- One of the eight hotspots of biological diversity in the world and one of the world’s ten “hottest biodiversity hotspots.”
- older than the Himalayas
- They also influence the Indian monsoon weather patterns that mediate the warm tropical climate of the region and act as a barrier to rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west.
- Mountainous faulted and eroded edge of the Deccan Plateau
- Basalt is the predominant rock found.
- Other rock types found are charnockites, granite gneiss, khondalites, leptynites, metamorphic gneisses with detached occurrences of crystalline limestone, iron ore, dolerites and anorthosites. Residual laterite and bauxite ores
- The foothill region east of the Ghats in Maharashtra is known as Desh, while the eastern foothills of the central Karnataka state is known as Malenadu.
- The range is known as Sahyadri in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats at the Nilgiri mountains in northwestern Tamil Nadu.
- Anamudi (2,695 m (8,842 ft)) being the highest peak
- Western Ghats are also home to tropical evergreen forests, as well as to 325 globally threatened species.
- The range starts near the Songadh town of Gujarat, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Marunthuvazh Malai, Swamithope near the southern tip of India in Tamil Nadu. (06 States)
- The major river systems originating in the Western Ghats are the Godavari , Kaveri, Krishna , Thamiraparani and Tungabhadra rivers.
- These rivers flow to the east due to the gradient of the land and drain out into the Bay of Bengal. Major tributaries include the Bhadra, Bhavani, Bhima, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Hemavathi and Kabini rivers. The Periyar, Bharathappuzha, Pamba, Netravati, Sharavathi, Kali, Mandovi and Zuari rivers flow westwards towards the Western Ghats, draining into the Arabian Sea
- “Cherrapunji of southwest India” or the “rain capital of southwest India”.
- Home to four tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregions – the North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, North Western Ghats montane rain forests, South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, and South Western Ghats montane rain forests
- Major Attractions-Nilgiri tahr, Malabar large-spotted civet (CE), snake family Uropeltidae, Purple Frog, Langur, Gaur, Lion-tailed macaque etc
- The dominant forest type here is Tropical rainforest. Montane forests and Tropical moist forests
- Among the threatened freshwater molluscs are the mussels Pseudomulleria dalyi, which is a Gondwanan relict, and the snail Cremnoconchus, which is restricted to the spray zone of waterfalls
MIXED WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA (01)
- KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK(2016), SIKKIM
- First “Mixed Heritage” site of India.
- A national park and a Biosphere reserve
- Situated in the North and West Sikkim districts
- Dominated by the world’s third-highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.
- In the north it adjoins the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in Tibet, and in the west the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in Nepal
- Flora-Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow and includes Alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes
- The Park comprises steep-sided valleys, snow-
- clad mountains and various lakes and glaciers including the 26km long Zemu glacier, located around the base of Mount Khangchendzonga.
- It covers almost 25% of the state of Sikkim and ensures a habitable environment for various endemic as well as threatened, plant and animal species.
- KNP is home to a sacred site of one of the world’s leading religious traditions. The notion of beyul or hidden sacred land,which extends to all of Sikkim, but has its heart in the territory of Khangchendzonga National Park, is important in Tibetan Buddhism, not only intrinsic to Sikkim but in the neighboring countries and beyond.
- The multi-layered sacred landscape of Khangchendzonga and the cultural and religious relevance of the hidden land (beyul in Tibetan Buddhism and Mayel Lyang, in Lepcha tradition) is specific to Sikkim and is a unique example of co-existence and exchange between different religious traditions and people.
- The indigenous religious and cultural practices of the Lepchawith regard to the ecology and the specific properties of local plants stands as an example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.
- Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, the Gateway to Eastern Ghats, is a significant ecosystem and a wildlife corridor in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve between the Western Ghats and the rest of the Eastern Ghats and a genetic link between the five other protected areas which it adjoins, including the Billigiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sigur Plateau, Mudumalai National Park, Bandipur National Park and the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
- In 2006, India applied to the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) for the Western Ghats to be listed as a protected World Heritage Site. In 2012, the following places were declared as World Heritage Sites:
- Kali Tiger Reserve, Dandeli, Karnataka
- Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Tamil Nadu
- Mundigekere Bird Sanctuary, Sirsi, Karnataka
- Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
- Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
- Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala
- Srivilliputtur Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
- Eravikulam National Park, Kerala
- Grass Hills National Park, Tamil Naduand Kerala
- Karian Shola National Park, Karnataka
- Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Silent Valley National Park, Kerala
- Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Mukurthi National Park, Tamil Nadu
- Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary
- Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka
- Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra
- Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
- Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
- Chandoli National Park, Maharashtra
- Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
- Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Pambadum Shola National Park, Kerala
- Anamudi Shola National Park, Kerala
- Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary
- Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
- Mathikettan Shola National Park, Kerala
- Kurinjimala Sanctuary, Kerala
- Karimpuzha National Park, Kerala
- Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ranipuram National Park
- Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
- Palani Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Tamil Nadu
- Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
- Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
- Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka
- Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu
- Mudumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu
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