Two New Sites of South Asia now on World Heritage List
The recently concluded 38th session of the World Heritage Committee which was held in Doha, Qatar, from 15 to 25 June 2014 has approved two sites from India to be inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. With the addition of Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat, a Cultural Site and Great Himalayan National Park, a Natural Site India the total number of World Heritage Sites rises to 32.
The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention.
The essential functions of the World Heritage Committee are:
To identify, on the basis of nominations submitted by States Parties, cultural and natural properties of Outstanding Universal Value which are to be protected under the Convention, and to inscribe those properties on the World Heritage List;
To monitor the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, in liaison with States Parties; decide which properties included in the World Heritage List are to be inscribed on or removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger; decide whether a property may be deleted from the World Heritage List.
To examine requests for International Assistance financed from the World Heritage Fund.
Name of the Site: Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (Cultural Site)
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture. Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank of 9.5 by 9.4 metres, at a depth of 23 metres. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft, 10 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep.
Great Himalayan National Park (Natural Site)
Great Himalayan National Park (GHNPCA) is located in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh and is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests. The 90,540 ha property includes the upper mountain glacial and snow melt water source origins of several rivers, and the catchments of water supplies that are vital to millions of downstream users. The GHNPCA protects the monsoon-affected forests and alpine meadows of the Himalayan front ranges. It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes 25 forest types along with a rich assemblage of fauna species, several of which are threatened. This gives the site outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation.
Bamiyan declared as the SAARC CULTURAL CAPITAL for 2015
As a result of one of the initiatives of the SAARC Cultural Centre, the historic city of Bamiyan in Afghanistan has been declared as the First SAARC CULTURAL CAPITAL for 2015. This declaration was made at the conclusion of a visit by a delegation of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Colombo, to Kabul and Bamiyan on the third week of June. A series of year-long cultural events with a national but with an overall South Asian dimension will be organized at Bamiyan to celebrate its status as the First SAARC CULTURAL CAPITAL for the whole of South Asian region.
Dr. Sanjay Garg, Deputy Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, reading out the declaration announcing Bamiyan as the SAARC Cultural Capital for 2015 at Kabul on 21 June 2013. Seen with him are (from left): Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, Dr. Sayed Makhdom Raheen, Hon'ble Minister of Information and Culture, Government of Afghanistan, and Mr. Sayed Mossadeq Khalili, Hon'ble Deputy Minister for Culture, Government of Afghanistan.
View of the niche that once contained the statue of the Giant Buddha at Bamiyan
SAARC CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON PREPARATION OF PROPOSALS OF NEW SITES FOR INCLUSION IN THE UNESCO’S WORLD HERITAGE LIST