These Indian Sites Are On The 2023 Tentative World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee meets in September to add new sites to the World Heritage List. There are two from India
Upasana Griha in Shantiniketan
Upasana Griha in ShantiniketanWikiCommons

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is meeting in September in Riyadh to inscribe new sites on the World Heritage List. Among the ones from India are Shantiniketan and the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas.

UNESCO and Saudi authorities will hold a press conference, which will be broadcast online on September 11.

The Committee will examine the state of conservation of 260 sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List, 55 of which are also on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

From September 16, the World Heritage Committee will begin examining the nominations of sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List, starting with the nominations that could not be examined last year.

The Sites On The Tentative List

The 50 candidate sites include natural sites such as the Hyrcanian Forests in Iran, the Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua in Congo, the Volcanoes and Forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons of Northern Martinique in France, the Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia, ‘Uruq Bani Ma’arid in Saudia Arabia, and Ha Long Bay—Cat Ba Archipelago in Vietnam.

The cultural sites include Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba in Benin, Koh Ker: Archeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar in Cambodia, the Tr’ondëk-Klondike in Canada, the Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er in China, Shantiniketan in India, Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas of India, and the Viking-Age Ring Fortresses of Denmark.

The World Heritage Committee has placed 1,157 sites on the World Heritage List in 167 countries to date. The Committee is in charge of implementing the World Heritage Convention and is made up of delegates from the 21 States Parties that have ratified it.

Wall panel sculpture in the Kedareshwara temple at Halebidu
Wall panel sculpture in the Kedareshwara temple at HalebiduDinesh Kannambadi/WikiCommons

About The Indian Sites On The List

Shantiniketan: Shantiniketan is a university town that was set up nu Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. It was Tagore’s father, Maharshi Debendranath, who chanced upon a serene piece of land in 1861 and decided to build his hermitage called Shantiniketan (Abode of Peace). So when Tagore decided to build his ‘back to nature’ ashram-style school in 1901, he chose the leafy precincts around Santiniketan. Gradually, the small school expanded to the university Viswa Bharati.

Shantiniketan Griha is the first building that Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Debendranath, built in 1863. The Upasana Griha (prayer hall) has colourful stained-glass work—a cross between Gothic church and Gujarati styles. Patha Bhavan, a building with lively fresco paintings by Nandalal Bose, was built in 1899.

Popular attractions include the Museum (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and the Uttarayan complex (the five houses where Tagore stayed at different times).

The Hoysala Temples of Belur in Karnataka: These sacred ensembles have been on the tentative list of UNESCO, since 2014. Currently, all three Hoysala Temples are protected monuments under the Archeological Survey of India. As the UNESCO site says, during their reign, the Hoysalas built more than 1,500 temples all across their empire of which only a little over 100 survive today. Art historians recognise the exceptionally intricate sculptural artistry of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur and the Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebid to be among the masterpieces of South Asian art making the name of Hoysala synonymous with artistic achievement.

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