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Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Now Includes Vadnagar Town, Modhera Sun Temple & Unakoti Sculptures

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Vadnagar town, Modhera Sun Temple, Unakoti sculptures added to UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage SitesAccording to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), 3 new Cultural Sites in India have been added to the provisional list of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. They are as follows:

  • Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat and its adjoining monuments
  • Vadnagar – A multi-layered Historic town, Gujarat, which is also the birthplace of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi
  • Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District, Tripura

The UNESCO tentative list is a “inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination,” and it highlights India’s immense natural and cultural heritage diversity.

  • With this addition, India currently has 52 sites on the UNESCO Tentative List.

Description About The 3 Cultural Sites

Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat

i.The Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat, is dedicated to Surya Dev and is situated on the left bank of the Pushpavati River, a tributary of the River Rupan.

  • It is the earliest of such temples, setting trends in architectural and decorative features and perfectly illustrating the Solanki style.

ii.Its components—the main temple shrine (garbhagriha), a hall (gadhamandapa), an outer hall or assembly hall (Sabhamandapa or rangamandapa), and a sacred pool (Kunda), now known as Ramakunda—are all built in the Maru-gurjara architectural style.

  • This east-facing temple is built of bright yellow sandstone.

Vadnagar – A multi-layered Historic town, Gujarat

i.Vadnagar is a municipality in Mehsana district of Gujarat.

  • It is a multi-layered historic town that has been inhabited continuously for more than 2,700 years, dating back nearly to the 8th century BCE (Before Common Era).

ii.The town still has a significant number of historic buildings, mostly residential and religious in nature.

  • The historic town’s survival demonstrates its resilience and exceptional universal value, in contrast to places such as Harappa and Kalibangan, which were eventually abandoned.

Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Tripura

i.Unakoti, the chiselled “Angkor Wat of the North-East,” is a series of Shaivite rock sculptures found in the northern region of Tripura.

  • It is renowned as an ancient holy site associated with Shaiva worship.

ii.Unakoti, located in the Raghunandan hills about 180 kilometres from Agartala, is home to massive bas-relief sculptures from the 8th and 9th centuries.

Key Points:

i.The 52 “Sites on the Tentative List,” as defined by UNESCO, also include Temples in Bishnupur, West Bengal (added to the list in 1998), Mattanchery Palace in Kerala (added in 1998), Wild Ass Sanctuary, and Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat (added in 2006).

ii.So far in 2022, 6 Indian sites have been included to the tentative list.

iii.There are 40 sites in India that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • These include 32 “cultural sites” such the Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Harappan era site at Dholavira in Gujarat, the Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, the Red Fort complex in Delhi, and the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in Bihar.

More information about UNESCO-listed Indian sites can be found here

Recent Related News:

i.In November 2022, the “2022 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation” (Heritage Awards) were awarded to 13 award-winning projects from 6 different countries across the Asia-Pacific region. The 6 nations are Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Nepal and Thailand.

ii.The “Award of Excellence” in the “2022 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation” has been awarded to the heroic restoration of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

About the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):

Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Established – 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Members – 193 Members and 10 Associate Members
Headquarters – Paris, France