Puducherry Aims For UNESCO World Heritage City Recognition

INTACH, in collaboration with Puducherry, is all set to submit a proposal to secure UNESCO recognition for the city, showcasing its rich cultural heritage and unique Franco-Tamil architecture
Old Port Pier at Puducherry
Old Port Pier at PuducherryShutterstock

Puducherry, the charming coastal city on India's southeastern shores, is setting its sights on UNESCO World Heritage City recognition. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has meticulously drafted a proposal adhering to UNESCO's stringent guidelines, bringing Puducherry one step closer to achieving this prestigious designation.

Official Steps Taken

Ashok Panda, Co-convenor of the Puducherry chapter of INTACH, announced significant progress in Puducherry's quest for UNESCO recognition. Three pivotal milestones have been reached in this endeavour.

Firstly, the government has implemented regulations to safeguard the city's invaluable heritage sites and precincts. Secondly, establishing a State Level Heritage Conservation Committee underscores the commitment to preserving the city's rich cultural heritage. Lastly, a comprehensive list featuring 118 private and 13 religious buildings slated for heritage status has been proposed. Notably, this list was open for public feedback until August 31, 2023.

The French Quarter, also known as White Town, at Puducherry
The French Quarter, also known as White Town, at Puducherry Shutterstock

What Makes Puducherry Worthy?

To secure UNESCO World Heritage City status, Puducherry must meet UNESCO's exacting standards. The city must demonstrate "outstanding universal value" and align with at least one of UNESCO's ten criteria for inclusion in the tentative list. Puducherry's unique cultural landscape stands as a testament to its potential. It proudly boasts a remarkable architectural fusion, blending the elegance of French colonial buildings with the charm of traditional Tamil homes.

Currently, India boasts two cities, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, on UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage Cities list, while Delhi and Shantiniketan remain on the tentative list. As Puducherry tirelessly works towards its UNESCO aspirations, the Puducherry Planning Authority, in close collaboration with INTACH, is diligently crafting a comprehensive Heritage Management Plan, which is on track for completion in the near future.

In anticipation of UNESCO's impending visit, INTACH and heritage conservationists are advocating for the resolution of long-standing issues. Chief among these concerns are the city's traffic congestion and parking dilemmas.

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