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The places of great Historical, Cultural and Traditional and Natural values are known as Heritage sites. The sites are preserved and conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India which comes under the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, currently headed by hon’ble Minister G Kishan Reddy.

In view of India’s vast historical background, there are around 3691 monuments and sites of historical importance. Out of these, 40 sites are accredited by UNESCO as world Heritage sites. So let’s know what a World Heritage site is?

What is a World Heritage Site?

The sites of outstanding universal value to culture and tradition are called World Heritage sites. The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural organization (UNESCO) has the authoritative Power to designate a site of universal importance as a World Heritage Site. In 1972, UNESCO world heritage convention was held and the signatory countries have a right to nominate sites of cultural and natural importance. India became the signatory of this convention on 14 November 1977.

Types of World Heritage Sites

World Heritage sites are categorized in three types.

Cultural Heritage: It comprises monuments, sculptures, buildings with great archeological styles, geological and physiographical formations including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, archeological sites etc. 32 out of 40 cultural sites are located in India.

Natural Heritage: Sites which are important from the perspective of Science, conservation of natural beauty are known as Natural heritage sites. 7 out of 40 Natural Heritage sites are located in India.

Mixed Category: Sites which fall under both aforementioned categories are considered mixed types of heritage sites. In India Kanchenjunga National Park is a mixed world Heritage site.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India

World Heritage day

World Heritage day has been observed every year on April 18, by the United Nations, since 1983. The day was proposed on 18 April 1982, by the International Council on Monuments and Sites which was approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983.

The day is commemorated to mark the significant efforts of various organizations working towards the preservation of our valuable heritages.

Theme of World Heritage Day 2022: “Heritage and Climate”

  • World Heritage Sites Facts for UPSC
  • India comes on number 6 with 40 World Heritage sites.
  • The most recent site listed is Dholavira in 2021.
  • Ajanta caves, Ellora caves, Agra fort and Taj Mahal are the first heritage sites to be listed from India in the 1983 session of the World Heritage Committee.
  • Italy has the highest number of world heritage sites,58 followed by China 56 and Germany 51.
  • A total 1,154 world heritage sites have been listed till July 2021 which exist across 167 countries.
  • 26 countries are the signatories of the World Heritage Convention without any World Heritage site.
  • The largest World Heritage site is Phoenix Islands with an area of 408,250 km square.
  • In 1978 a total of 12 sites were designated as World Heritage sites for the first time.
  • In India Maharashtra has 5, the highest number of heritage sites among all states and union territories.
  • India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City is Ahmedabad.
  • UNESCO has recognised Nalanda University, Bihar as a World Cultural Heritage site.
  • Darjeeling Himalayan railway (1999), Nilgiri mountain railway (2005), Kalka Shimla railway (2008) and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai (2004) are the four Indian railway stations that are recognised as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.

List Of Heritage Sites

A B C D
Name of WH Site State Location Year of Notification Area (sq.km)
Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area Himachal Pradesh 2014 905.4
Western Ghats Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala 2012 7953.15
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks Uttarakhand 1988 630.00
87.50
Sundarbans National Park West Bengal 1987 1330.1
Kaziranga National Park Assam 1985 429.96
Keoladeo National Park Rajasthan 1985 28.73
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary Assam 1985 391
A B C
Name of WH Site State Location Year of Notification
Historic City of Ahmedabad Gujarat 2017
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda Bihar 2016
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement Chandigarh 2016
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan Gujarat 2014
Hill Forts of Rajasthan Rajasthan 2013
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur Rajasthan 2010
Red Fort Complex Delhi 2007
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park Gujarat 2004
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) Maharashtra 2004
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Madhya Pradesh 2003
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya Bihar 2002
Mountain Railways of India West Bengal 1999
Humayun’s Tomb Delhi 1993
Qutb Minar and its Monuments Delhi 1993
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi Madhya Pradesh 1989
Elephanta Caves Maharashtra 1987
Great Living Chola Temples Tamil Nadu 1987
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal Karnataka 1987
Churches and Convents of Goa Goa 1986
Fatehpur Sikri Uttar Pradesh 1986
Group of Monuments at Hampi Karnataka 1986
Khajuraho Group of Monuments Madhya Pradesh 1986
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu 1984
Sun Temple, Konârak Odisha 1984
Agra Fort Uttar Pradesh 1983
Ajanta Caves Maharashtra 1983
Ellora Caves Maharashtra 1983
Taj Mahal Uttar Pradesh 1983
Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai Maharashtra 2018
Jaipur City Rajasthan 2019

Note: Two new recently added Cultural heritage sites are; Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple – Telangana – 2021
Dholavira ( A Harappan City) – Gujarat – 2021.

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