The World Heritage Sites listing by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) aims to promote awareness and safeguarding of heritage sites considered to have outstanding value for all humanity. There are 38 such sites in India, as of May 2021, which include 30 cultural sites, seven natural sites and one mixed site.
A must read for every cultural enthusiast
- Revanta Sarabhai
This treasure trail begins deep in the jungles of central India, with the spirited figures that shimmer on the prehistoric cave walls of Bhimbetka. Caves of another kind draw us westwards, to the radiant artistry of the rock-cut sanctuaries of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta Caves. Further north and east are monuments materially associated with the birth and spread of Buddhism across the subcontinent, all urgent testimonies to India’s tolerant past. Elsewhere in the south, mighty stone temples rise in the air, from the Chola temples to the ruins of Hampi, and, in the east, from the Sun Temple to Khajuraho, presenting sacred and profane visions of faith. Other masterpieces of pluralism borrow from Hindu, Jain and Islamic traditions to fashion a distinct identity, like the Taj Mahal or Rani-ki-Vav, both expressions of grief turned into beauty. Finally, even very old cultures must come into the new, finding novel vocabularies from colonial masters and Christian Europe, as in the railways chugging up snowy Darjeeling, or Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh.
India’s natural odyssey takes us through forested glades that dot the country, harbouring flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. From the gelid slopes of the Himalayas and their associated spiritual manifestations to the many wildlife sanctuaries, the natural and mixed properties include biospheres of exceptional beauty and sites of long interaction between people and the landscape.
Incredible Treasures is an eloquent homage to India’s long, layered history, bearing witness to its rich biodiversity and the creativity and influence of multiple communities, crafts and religious traditions."
• Foreword: Amitabh Kant
• Introduction: Shikha Jain and Vinay Sheel Oberoi
• Cultural Sites
○ Vanguards of Enlightenment
○ From the Rock Shelters to the Stupa and the Temple
- Patrons of Stone
○ Creators of A Syncretic Legacy
○ Monuments, Mausoleums, Forts and Cities
○ Colonial Designers and Modern Architects
○ New Forms for an Old Civilisation
• Natural Sites
○ The Sylvan Landscapes of India
○ Museums of Rajasthan From the Himalayas and Eastern Forests to the Western Ghats
• Mixed Site
○ The Mountain God
○ An Icy Summit
• Sonali Ghosh and Shikha Jain
• The Nomination Process
• Sites on the Tentative List
• About the Contributors
• Image Credits
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