There are certain places on earth with special cultural or physical significance and outstanding universal value to humanity. These places are often regarded as World Heritage Sites. These places can be diverse in nature such as a building, a city, a complex, a desert, a forest, an island, a lake, a monument, or a mountain. From UPSC Prelims Exam point of view, these places could be of huge importance. The trend of the previous year's paper reflects that questions based on these places have made their presence around the years. The status of the world heritage site is accorded by an International organization UNESCO. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of United Nations that is responsible for the promotion of world peace and security through international cooperation. The headquarter of UNESCO is situated in Paris.
The art and culture has become an indispensable part of UPSC Syllabus in the past few years both in prelims and mains exams. This area has not only seen the influx of questions in the past few years but it has given Goosebumps to many aspirants owing to its difficulty level and broader horizon. There is no set guidelines or strategy that work solely for the preparation of this section. Also, there is no fixed study material or resources that can be followed for sure shot success pertaining to this area. Because of all these hindrances, the subject seems difficult and hard to unpredictable. To overcome these problems one needs to make a structured approach towards the subject and need to understand the motive behind asking such questions. As far as the UNESCO Heritage Sites questions are concerned they remain in news around the years. This requires an aspirant to have a birds-eye view of such news and events.
Now the question arises that what should be the proper approach to prepare this section. The answer lies in the question itself. One should stick to the basic approach regarding the preparation of this section. The world heritage site is more or less dynamic in nature but the places could have historical political or social linkage. For example, the Group of Temples in Khajuraho is situated in Chatarpur Madhya Pradesh. These temples were built by Chandela Kings. Chandela Dynasty belongs to Medival History topic. While studying Khajuraho one should also give equal weightage to the historical portion also. At the same time, the emphasis should be given to interlinking the static and dynamic portion.
The books and materials that could be followed for the same is a website of CCRT, NCERT Books, India Year Book, and UNESCO site. The website india.gov.in could also be a source for genuine and authentic information. However one can outsmart the work by referring to Fact File on UNESCO World Heritage Sites released by GS Score. This fact file consists of all relevant information related to World Heritage Sites and about the place where they are situated.
Apart from memorizing the above-mentioned facts, one should also have a fair idea regarding the Indian Governmental agencies are responsible for the recognition and recommendation of such sites to UNESCO. For example The nodal agency for forwarding any request for World Heritage status to any Indian site whether cultural or natural is The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Based on the proposals received from the Central or State Government agencies as well as management Trusts, etc., and after their due scrutiny, the Government forwards the nomination dossiers to the World Heritage Center.
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