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Day 1 – Q 2.What are world heritage sites? How do they get selected? Can you name at least 5 such sites from India? Also discuss their cultural significance.

2. What are world heritage sites? How do they get selected? Can you name at least 5 such sites from India? Also discuss their cultural significance.

विश्व धरोहर स्थल क्या हैं? उनका चयन कैसे किया जाता है? क्या आप भारत के कम से कम 5 ऐसे स्थलों का नाम बता सकते हैं? साथ ही उनके सांस्कृतिक महत्व पर चर्चा करें।


World Heritage Sites are sites that are listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that are of special, cultural or physical significance and heritage. These sites around the world are considered to be of outstanding value to humanity and belonging to the international community.


The World Heritage Sites are identified, protected and preserved according to the international treaty called The Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. These sites are considered under a list maintained by the International World Heritage Programme administered by UNESCO World Heritage Committee.


Selection criteria for the sites:

To be selected, the sites nominated by each country should be of outstanding value and meet at least one of the ten criteria.

  • To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  • 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;
  • To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization this is living or which has disappeared;
  • To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape this illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • 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;
  • 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);
  • To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  • 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;
  • to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  • 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.

(Note: Need not remember all the points verbatim, but can write the points in a simple manner.)

There are 37 UNESCO WHS in India, including 29 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed heritage.

  • Taj Mahal, Agra : located on the right bank of the Yamuna River in a vast Mughal garden, It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.The Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture.
  • Ellora Caves, Maharashtra: These 34 monasteries and temples in Maharashtra dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of ancient India to life. Not only is the Ellora complex a unique artistic creation and a technological exploit but, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.
  • Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai: Having become a global trading centre, the city of Mumbai implemented an ambitious urban planning project in the second half of the 19th century, creating a unique style that has been described as Indo-Deco. These two ensembles bear testimony to the unique blend between the European and Indian values over time.
  • Western Ghats: An exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism is found here. It is also includes some of the best representatives of tropical evergreen forests.
  • Khangchendzonga National Park: Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India (State of Sikkim), the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.


Our cultural and natural heritages are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, and must be preserved and protected as a legacy for future generations to come.

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