Santiniketan becomes 41st UNESCO World Heritage site in India

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Santiniketan becomes 41st UNESCO World Heritage site in India

In September 2023, Santiniketan, located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, became the 41st UNESCO World Heritage site in India. It is a place where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore built Visva-Bharati. This decision was taken during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee, which is currently underway in Saudi Arabia. In this article, we will learn about the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.

What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

  • Places that are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • Aim: To protect the Natural Heritage and World's Cultural

  • The Convention regarding the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was accepted by UNESCO in 1972.

Criteria for UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

UNESCO recognizes any site as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the basis of the following Criteria -

1. Interchange of values

2. Human creative genius

3. Significance in human history

4. Testimony to cultural tradition

5.  Natural phenomena or beauty

6. Traditional human settlement

7. Significant ecological and biological processes

8. The significant natural habitat for biodiversity

9. Major stages of Earth’s history

10. Heritage associated with events of universal significance

About Santiniketan:

  • A town in West Bengal, Santiniketan has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

  • This decision was taken at the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia.

  • With the inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list, this site becomes 41st UNESCO site in India.

  • About Santiniketan

    • Established in: 1901

    • Established by: Rabindranath Tagore (Poet and philosopher)

    • It was a residential school for art based on ancient Indian traditions.

    • A ‘world university’, which was established in 1921 at Santiniketan was also recognized as the unity of humanity or “Visva Bharati”.

  • About Rabindranath Tagore:

    • Born on: 7 May 1861

    • Pen name: Bhanusimha

    • Notable works: Gitanjali, Ghare-Baire, Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata, Gora, Jana Gana Mana, Amar Shonar Bangla

    • Nobel Prize: 1913 (Nobel Prize in Literature)

    • He was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize for Gitanjali.

Latest Update: 

On 18th September 2023, the UNESCO committee has also recognized the Hoysala Temples as the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. 

About Hoysala Temples:

  • Location: Karnataka

  • Since 15th April, 2014, it has been in the n UNESCO's Tentative list.

  • Built in: 12th-13th centuries

  • Three components of Hoysalas temples: Belur, Halebid, and Somnathapura

  • The three temples of Hoysalas are protected monuments of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India).

About Chennakeshava Temple, Belur:
  • Construction was started in 1117 AD.

  • It took 103 years to complete.

  • Dedicated to: Lord Vishnu (known as Chennakesava)

About Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu:
  • Built in: 1121CE 

  • Dedicated to: Lord Shiva

About Keshava Temple, Somanathapura:
  • Dedicated to: Lord Krishna

  • Three form of Lord Krishna i.e. Janardhana, Keshava and Venugopala are worshipped.

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

S.no

Name of Sites

Details

Agra Fort

  • The construction of the fort was started by Akbar between 1565 and 1573.

  • Situated on: Yamuna River

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1983

Ajanta Caves

  • It is a series of rock-cut caves.

  • Location: Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) on Waghora River near Aurangabad in Maharashtra

  • Number of Caves: 29 caves (all Buddhist)

  • Developed in: Between 200 BC to 650 AD

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1983

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara

  • The Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara is located at Nalanda, Bihar.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2016

  • Founded by: Kumargupta I (Gupta dynasty)

The Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

  • The Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi is located in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.

  • Three main stupas are stupa 1, stupa 2, and stupa 3.

  • Built by: Ashoka

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

  • The Archaeological Park of Champaner-Pavagadh is located in Gujarat.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2004

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which was formerly Victoria Terminus, is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2004

  • It was designed by British architectural engineer Frederick William Stevens.

  • It was designed in the style of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture.

  • Construction period: 1878 - 1887

Churches and Convents of Goa

  • Churches and convents of Old Goa is located in in Goa Velha (or Old Goa), Goa.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1986

  • The Old Goa was founded in the fifteenth century.

  • It was founded by the Sultanate of Muslim rulers of Bijapur as a port on the banks of the Mandovi River.

Dholavira: a Harappan City

  • In 2021, Dholavira: a Harappan City was recognised as the 40th UNESCO World Heritage Site of India.

  • It is located in Kachchh District, Gujarat.

  • About Dholavira:

    • Discovered in: 1968

    • Discovered by: Archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi

    • The site contains ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization /Harappan city.

Elephanta Caves

  • Elephanta Caves was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

  • It is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • It is the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and the epitome of Hindu cave culture.

Ellora Caves

  • Ellora Caves was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

  • Location: Sahyadri range of Maharashtra

  • Number of Caves: 34 caves (17 Brahmanical, 12 Buddhist and 5 Jain)

  • The cave temples is Kailasa (Kailasanatha; cave 16) is also located here.

Fatehpur Sikri

  • Fatehpur Sikri, which was recognized as a World Heritage Site, was built by Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar.

  • It was built in honor of the great Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti.

  • Location: Agra, Uttar Pradesh

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1986

Great Living Chola Temples

  • The Great Living Chola Temples was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

  • Built by: Chola Empire Kings

  • The site includes three great Temples:

    • The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur,

    • The Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram

    • The Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

  • The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram was built by Rajendra I and completed in 1035.

  • During the period of Rajaraja II, the Airavatesvara temple complex was built.

The Group of Monuments at Hampi

  • Location in: Hampi, Karnataka

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1986

  • It was a capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

  • The group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

  • Location: Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai (TN)

  • Founded by: Pallava king Narasimhavarman I (7th century AD)

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

  • Location: Bagalkot district, Karnataka.

  • It is also called Raktapura.

  • It is a complex of Hindu and Jain temples in northern Karnataka.

  • Architecture: Chalukyan

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1987

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

  • It is a serial site that comprises six majestic forts.

  • These six forts are - Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2013

Historic City of Ahmedabad

  • Founded by: Ahmad Shah I (Gujarat Sultanate)

  • Founded in: 1411

  • The Historic City of Ahmedabad was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

Humayun's Tomb

  • Located in: Delhi

  • Built by:  Biga Begum (Hajji Begum)

  • Built between:1569-70 (14 years after his death)

  • Architect of tomb: Mirak Mirza Ghiyath

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1993

Jaipur City

  • Jaipur City was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located in Rajasthan.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2019

  • Founded in: 1727

  • Founded by: Sawai Jai Singh II

Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple

  • Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is located in Palampet, Telangana.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2021

  • Main Temple: Shiva temple

  • It was built during the Kakatiyan period under rulers Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

  • It is located in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

  • It is a magnificent example of the Nagara style of temples.

  • Collection of Hindu and Jain temples

  • Located in: Vindhya Mountain range

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

  • It is located in Bihar.

  • It is particularly related to the attainment of Enlightenment (Bodhi) by Mahatma Buddha.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2002

  • The other three are sites which are related to Mahatma Buddha:

    • Lumbini (Birth) in Nepal,

    • Sarnath (Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana - 1st Sermon)

    • Kushinagar (Mahaparinirvana- death) in Uttar Pradesh

Mountain Railways of India

  • It consists of three railways i.e. (1) Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, (2) Nilgiri Mountain Railways, and (3) Kalka Shimla Railways

  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railways: It is a gauge track that connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling and was recognized as a UNESCO site in 1999.

  • Nilgiri Mountain Railways: It is located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, and was recognized as a UNESCO site in 2005.

  • Kalka Shimla Railway: It is located in the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh, which was recognized as a UNESCO site in 2008.

Qutb Minar and its Monuments

  • It is located in New Delhi.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1993

  • Qutb Minar’s red sandstone tower is 72.5 m high.

  • Its construction was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak (1206-1210) in 1193.

  • The construction was completed by Iltutmish (1211-1236).

Rani-ki-Vav

  • It is located in Patan, Gujarat.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2014

  • Located on: Saraswati River

  • Built by: Solanki dynasty’s queen Udayamati (Memorial to her deceased husband Bhimdev I)

Red Fort Complex

  • Built by: The palace fort of Shahjahanabad (The new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan)

  • It was built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546.

  • It is the fusion of the Timurids and Persian architectural styles.

  • Architect by: Ustad Ahmad Lahauri

  • Indo-Islamic and Mughal architectural styles.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2007

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

  • The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains, Madhya Pradesh.

  • UNESCO Heritage Site: 2003

Sun Temple

  • Konark Sun Temple is located in Odisha.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1984

  • Built-by: King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1238-1264)

Taj Mahal

  • Location on: Bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, Uttar Pradesh

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1983

  • Built by: Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan

  • It was built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal

  • Construction: 1632 AD - 1648 AD.

  • Taj Mahal’s Main architect: Ustad-Ahmad Lahori

Jantar Mantar

  • Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan

  • UNESCO World Heritage site: 2010

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles

  • UNESCO World Heritage site: 2018

  • Location: Mumbai

Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Natural category in 2014.

  • Location: Himachal Pradesh

Kaziranga National Park

  • Location: Golaghat, Nagaon, and Sonitpur districts of Assam

  • Famous for: One-horned Rhinoceros

  • UNESCO World Heritage site: 1985

Keoladeo National Park

  • Formerly, it was also known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

  • Famous for: Bird breeding and feeding grounds

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1985

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Located in: Assam

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1985

  • Famous for: Tigers and Tiger conservation

Valley of Flowers National Parks and Nanda Devi

  • Location: Chamoli district, Uttarakhand

  • India’s Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi were recognized as UNESCO Heritage sites in 1988, and later it was extended in 2005.

Sundarbans National Park

  • It covers 10,000 km2 of land and water in the Ganges delta.

  • Famous for: World's largest area of mangrove forests

  • UNESCO site: 1987

Western Ghats

  • UNESCO site: 2012

  • It covers six states of India i.e. Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Gujarat.

Khangchendzonga National Park

  • Location: Sikkim

  • UNESCO site: 2016

Architectural Work

of Le Corbusier

(Capitol Complex)

  • Location: Chandigarh

  • UNESCO site: 2016

Latest Inclusion to UNESCO World Heritage Site:

  41. 

Santiniketan

  • It is located in West Bengal

  • It became the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site of India in 2023.

   42. 

Hoysala temples               

  • Location: Karnataka

  • It became the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site of India in 2023.

Read also: Important UNESCO World Heritage Site GK Questions

 

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