Ancient Culture History Prelims cum Mains

Jaipur walled city now a world heritage site

In News:

  • The historic walled city of Jaipur, also referred to globally as the Pink City, known for its iconic architectural legacy, recently made its entry into the UNESCO’S world heritage list.
  • The decision to designate the city as a heritage site was taken during the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.


News Summary

  • With the inclusion into the list, Jaipur has become the second city of the country after Ahmedabad to get the recognition.
  • The recognition would boost tourism and benefit the local economy of the Jaipur.
  • Apart from Jaipur, seven other cultural sites have also been designated as World Heritage List. These include :
    • The Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain
    • The Budj Bim cultural landscape in Australia
    • The archaeological ruins of Liangzhu city in China
    • The Ombilin coal mining heritage of Indonesia’s Sawahlunto
    • The mounded tombs of ancient Japan
    • The Megalithic Jar Sites in Laos’ Xiengkhouang


  • As per UNESCO, the recognition was made as Jaipur’s town planning shows an “interchange of ancient Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas” that shaped the city.
  • The city houses various architectural styles, an example of the amalgamation of cultures.
  • UNESCO noted that Jaipur was also an exceptional example of a late medieval trade town in South Asia and defined new concepts for a thriving trade and commercial hub.
  • In addition, the city is associated with living traditions in the form of crafts that have national and international recognition.


Jaipur: India’s first planned city

  • The fortified city of Jaipur in Rajasthan was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II.
  • It is also one of the first planned cities in India.
  • The chief architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya designed and built the city on the concepts of ‘shilp shastra’ and ‘vastu shastra’.
  • The walled city is roughly divided into nine rectangular sectors with straight roads intersecting only at right angles.
  • The city is a confluence of the ancient Indian tradition of Vastu, medieval Mughal luxury and distinct idiom of Rajput chivalry.
  • A massive wall encircles the city and nine city gates provide access from various directions. The city took four years to build and was completed in 1727.
  • The streets feature continuous colonnaded businesses that intersect in the centre, creating large public squares called ‘chaupars’.
  • Markets, stalls, residences and temples built along the main streets have uniform facades.


World Heritage Site

  • World Heritage Sites are cultural and/or natural sites considered to be of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, which have been inscribed on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee.
  • These places or buildings are thought to:
    • have special importance for everyone
    • represent unique, or the most significant or best, examples of the world’s cultural and/or natural heritage
  • World Heritage status is a high accolade that brings with it responsibilities and international scrutiny.

Criteria for assessing Outstanding Universal Value

It is a site that should

  1. represent a masterpiece of human creative genius
  2. exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design
  3. bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared
  4. be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stage(s) in human history
  5. be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change
  6. be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria)
  7. contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance
  8. be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features
  9. be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals
  10. contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.



  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to protect and preserve World Heritage sites through the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

World Heritage Convention

  • It is the convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
  • This international treaty was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972.
  • It is based on the premise that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should therefore form part of the common heritage of humankind.

World Heritage listing process

  • The nomination of a site is listed by the respective government of a country.
  • The site should satisfy at least one of the ten criteria of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination.
  • The World Heritage Committee assesses nominated places against set criteria and makes the final decision as to the places that are included on the World Heritage List.

Significance for a site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List

  • The resulting prestige often helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation.
  • Greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties.
  • A country may also receive financial assistance and expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for the preservation of its sites.

Image result for jaipur


Cultural Sites of India

  • Ajanta Caves (1983) of Maharashtra
  • Ellora Caves (1983) of Maharashtra
  • Agra Fort (1983) of Uttar Pradesh
  • Taj Mahal (1983) of Uttar Pradesh
  • Sun Temple, Konarak (1984) of Odisha
  • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) of Tamil Nadu
  • Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) of Goa
  • Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986) of Madhya Pradesh
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) of Karnataka
  • Group of Monuments, FatehpurSikri (1986) of Uttar Pradesh
  • Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987) of Karnataka
  • Elephanta Caves ( 1987) of Maharashtra
  • Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) of Tamil Nadu
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) of Madhya Pradesh
  • Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993) of  Delhi
  • Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993) of Delhi
  • Mountain Railway of India ( Darjeeling,1999) of West Bengal,
  • Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002) of Bihar
  • Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) of Madhya Pradesh
  • Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) of Gujarat
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) of Maharashtra
  • Nilgiri (2005) of Tamil Nadu
  • Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) of Delhi
  • Kalka-Shimla(2008) of Himachal Pradesh
  • Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) of Rajasthan
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013)
  • Rani ki Vav (2014) of Gujarat
  • Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016) of Bihar
  • Capitol Complex (2016) of Chandigarh
  • Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)
  • Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018)
  • Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)

Natural Sites of India                                                                            

  • Kaziranga National Park (1985): Assam
  • Manas Wild Life Sanctuary (1985): Assam
  • Keoladeo National Park (1985): Rajasthan
  • Sunderban National Park (1987): West Bengal
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005): Uttarakhand
  • Western Ghats (2012): Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
  • Great Himalayan National Park (2014): Himachal Pradesh

Mixed Site

  • Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) (2016) of Sikkim

Important World Heritage Sites of the World

  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Pyramids, Egypt
  • Bagan, Myanmar
  • Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Great Wall of China
  • Roman Colosseum, Italy
  • Acropolis, Greece
  • Stonehenge, England
  • Borobudur, Indonesia
  • Mesa Verde, USA
  • Terracotta Army, China
  • Petra, Jordan
  • Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
  • Lascaux and Lascaux II, France
  • Chichen Itza, Mexico


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