M.P.’s Orchha makes it to tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
31st May, 2019
The architectural heritage of Orchha town in Madhya Pradesh which depict peculiar style of the Bundela dynasty have been included in UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites following a proposal sent by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to the U.N. body (UNESCO) on April 15, 2019 to include the sites in its list.
- Orchha is situated on the banks of the Betwa River. It is located around 80 km away from Tikamgarh district in Madhya Pradesh and 15 km from Jhansi of Uttar Pradesh.
- It was built by King Rudra Pratap Singh of Bundela dynasty in the 16th century A.D. The ancient town is famous for its Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha fort complex, Raja Mahal among others.
- The Bundela architecture has Mughal influence since the two dynasties were very close. The famous King of Bundela dynasty was Veer Singh Dev who was a close friend of Mughal emperor Jahangir and fought wars as Akbar’s aid.
- Orchha is also famous for its two elevated minaret called Saavan and Bhadon and its four palaces — Jahangir Palace, Raj Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Rai Praveen Mahal — and for its concept of open bungalows, stone work windows, animal statues depicting the culture of Bundelkhand.
- It is the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a king with a dedicated temple in his name called Sri Ram Raja Mandir.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list
- The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’ which is administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
- The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is composed of 21 UNESCO member states, elected by the General Assembly.
- A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance.
Criteria for inclusion in List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Any heritage or any historical site has to be first on the tentative list to be a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Once it makes it to the tentative list, then the proposal is sent to the UNESCO for inclusion in the final List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, only if the site:
- Contains significant natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity, including threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
- Associates with events, living traditions, ideas, beliefs, and artistic & literary works of outstanding universal significance.
- Considered as an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or has disappeared.
- Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
- Represents on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.
- Exhibits an important interchange of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world and depicts developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts or town-planning.
- Contains areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
- An archetype of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape that depicts significant stages in human history.
- Showcases traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use, which represents cultural or human interaction with the environment.
- Represents stages of earth's history - record of life, on-going geological processes, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.