38th UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF INDIA

RELEVANCE – UPSC GS PRELIMS & GS MAINS – I (Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.)

On July 6, Jaipur , the Pink City was inscribed as a World Heritage Site, making it the 38th Indian entry to be added to the list of 1121 such spots across the world.

India ranks sixth now

In the past 6 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed eight of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO . India now has overall 38 World Heritage Inscriptions with 30 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

For World Heritage Sites in India refer to the link

World Heritage Sites in India

About Jaipur

The fortified city of Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II. Unlike other cities in the region located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was established on the plain and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture.

The grid plan is a model that prevails in the West, while the organization of the different districts refers to traditional Hindu concepts. Designed to be a commercial capital, the city has maintained its local commercial, artisanal and cooperative traditions to this day.

Image result for grid plan in jaipur

The City of Jaipur is an exceptional urban example in indigenous city planning and construction in South Asia. Unlike other medieval cities of the region, Jaipur was deliberately planned as a new city on the plains open for trade as opposed to hilly terrain and military cities of past, though its planning still ensured a response to the surrounding hill tops in all directions.

The site selected within the valley that lay to the south of Amber hills was comparatively flat and unmarred by any previous construction. Besides an exemplary planning, its iconic monuments such as the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal excel in artistic and architectural craftsmanship of the period.

Jaipur is an expression of the astronomical skills, living traditions, unique urban form and exemplary foresighted city planning of an 18th century city from India.

What is a World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is a location having an “Outstanding Universal Value”. According to the World Heritage Convention’s Operational Guidelines, an Outstanding Universal Value signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”

Categories of World Heritage Sites

The Sites fall into three categories: cultural heritage, natural heritage, and mixed heritage (cultural as well as natural).Of the 1121 World Heritage Sites in the world, 869 are cultural, 213 are natural, and 39 are mixed.

Cultural heritage entails an Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of history, art or science, and includes monuments, groups of buildings, and sites which are the combined work of nature and human agency. Examples include the Taj Mahal, the Statue of Liberty, and the Sydney Opera House.

The Sites under natural heritage are those having an Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty, such as the Sundarbans Natural Park or the Victoria Falls.

Who selects the Sites?

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets at least once every year, generally in June/July, to deliberate the addition, removal, or modification of items on the list of World Heritage Sites. The Committee comprises of 21 members selected from amongst 192 States Parties (signatories) of the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, also called the World Heritage Convention.

How do countries get their preferred spots included?

According to the Guidelines, the State Parties prepare a Tentative List, or the “inventory of those properties situated on its territory which each State Party considers suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List.”. A nomination document is then prepared in this regard based on which the application is considered by the Committee.

In India, the Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU), and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are the bodies which play a key role in this regard.

After receiving nominations from the State Parties, the Committee then puts them through a rigorous examination before any new location can qualify as a World Heritage Site.

What happens after a World Heritage Site is declared?

Most importantly, getting featured on the list of World Heritage Sites affords the location a coveted status, driving up demand for travel and tourism from around the world geared towards it.

At the same time, a heavy onus is placed on the government of the country in which the Site is located for its conservation and upkeep. The Committee conducts regular audits at declared Sites, and can place a spot that is seriously threatened on the List of World Heritage in Danger. If the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is destroyed, the Committee can consider deleting the property from the World Heritage List