World Heritage Day: 15 Indian contenders for UNESCO’s World Heritage List

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At present, India has 32 cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List, but as many as 46 sites, including Indian cities, monuments, archaeological sites, feature on UNESCO’s tentative list. This is a mandatory requirement before a site is finally considered for the nomination. Most of us are familiar with the line-up of India’s World Heritage List, but which are the contenders? From the cities of Delhi and Jaipur, to the temples of Binshupur and Harimandir Sahib, the list actually consists of many names that may come as a surprise that they’re not UNESCO sites already. Here are 15 of them. (Source: Whc.unesco.org)

1. Temples at Bishnupur, West Bengal

Temples at Bishnupur, West BengalBuilt in bricks and also in laterite, the temples at Bishnupur are mostly of Eka-Ratna type with a single tower upon a sloping roof and a square cell (Garbhagriha) flanked by a porch on each side with three multicusped arches (i.e. Lalji, Kalachand, Radhashyam, Jormandir and Nandalal). Besides these there are a few with multiple towers of Pancha Ratna types (Shyam Rai of A.D. 1643). The Jor Bangle temple (A.D.1655) bears a distinctive character with two Dochala structures joined together by a Charchala Sikhara at the top. The Rasmancha (A.D.1600) represents a singular architectural style with a pyramidal roof standing on a spacious laterite plinth. The sanctum is enclosed by three successive circomambulatory galleries. (Source: Bishnupur.wordpress.com)

2. Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar in Punjab

Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar in PunjabSri Harmandir Sahib (The abode of God), also Sri Darbar Sahib, and informally referred to as the Golden Temple, is the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar. Amritsar (literally, the tank of nectar of immortality) was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the center of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib. The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one, constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God’s spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God’s temporal authority. (Source: Vinish K Saini/Flickr)

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