- UNESCO is a specialized agency of the UN, whose objective is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms. Its headquarter is in Paris, France.
- The list of World Heritage sites is maintained by World Heritage Programme which is administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
UNESCO World Heritage Committee-
It is composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
- These are areas of importance of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, 1972.
- Italy has the highest numbers of World Heritage Sites in the world.
Criteria for Selection of World Heritage Sites
- These criteria are explained in the World Heritage Convention, 1972.
- These criteria are regularly revised by the World Heritage Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.
- Before the revised Operational Guidelines, World Heritage sites were selected based on six cultural and four natural criteria.
- With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines, only one set of ten criteria.
Tentative lists of Heritage Sites
- All countries are required to submit their Tentative Lists of places which they consider to be a cultural or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.
- Tentative Lists is not considered exhaustive and need to submit one year prior to the submission of any nomination.
- Countries are required to re-examine and re-submit their Tentative List at least every ten years.
- If any site is listed in World Heritage Sites, then it must be removed from the tentative list.
World Heritage Sites in India
- There are 38 (30 Cultural, 7 Natural and 1 Mixed) World Heritage Sites in India after the inclusion of Wall City of Jaipur in July 2019.
- First time from India two sites Agra fort and Ajanta Caves were included in World Heritage Sites in 1983.
- In 2016, the following three sites have been listed in World Heritage Sites-
(i) Nalanda Mahavihara University, Bihar
(ii) Capitol Building Complex– Chandigarh
(iii) Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
- In July 2017, Ahmedabad became India’s first city to be listed in World Heritage Sites.
- In July 2018, Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai listed as 37th World Heritage Sites from India.
- In July 2019, Walled City of Jaipur listed as 38th World Heritage Sites from India.
- Only one mixed-criteria site in India is Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim.
- The Ministry of Culture recommends one property every year for nomination to UNESCO.
Cultural Heritage sites in India
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Sun Temple, Konârak
Churches and Convents of Goa
Group of Monuments at Hampi
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Great Living Chola Temples 12
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
Qutb Minar and its Monuments
Mountain Railways of India (Includes Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway)
Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamilnadu
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
Red Fort Complex
The Jantar Mantar
Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort and Jaisalmer Fort)
Rani-ki-Vav at Patan
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University)
Capitol Building Complex - The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier
Historic City of Ahmadabad
Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles
Walled City of Jaipur
Natural Heritage sites in India-
Kaziranga National Park
Keoladeo National Park
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Sundarbans National Park
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra
Great Himalayan National Park-Conservation Area
Mixed Heritage site in India-
Khangchendzonga National Park