UNESCO World Heritage Sites

News: Six sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.


  • These proposals will remain in the tentative list for a year after which the government will decide which one of them to push for in their final dossier to UNESCO.
  • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection. These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
  • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
  • To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance.

Which are the 6 sites?

  1. Ghats of Varanasi
  • The Ganges riverfront of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has been vying for the UNESCO tag for several years now.
  • The Ganga river with its riverfront ghats also fulfil the criteria of Cultural Landscapes as designated in Article 1 of the Convention and specifically that of a cultural landscape/
  • It 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.
  1. 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 it’s capital between the 6th and 7th centuries and lavished upon its architectural gems that are a fine example of Dravidian styles.
  1. 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.
  • It is the largest tiger-occupied forest and also has the largest tiger population. The website also states the place has more than 50 rock shelters with paintings that are 1500 to 10,000 years old.
  1. 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.
  • This highlight how the formation of Military Landscape in the form of hill and sea forts as a response to hilly terrain in the area is of outstanding universal value.
  1. Megalithic site of Hire Benkal
  • The 2,800-years-old megalithic site of Hire Benkal in Karnataka is one of the largest prehistoric megalithic settlements where some funerary monuments are still intact.
  • 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.
  1. Bhedaghat-Lametaghat in Narmada Valley- Jabalpur
  • Bhedaghat, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of India, is a town in the Jabalpur district, around 25 km 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.