New Delhi / Istanbul: Capitol Complex of the City Beautiful Chandigarh, Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim, and Nalanda University have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO taking the total number of world heritage spots in Indian to thrity-five
Jury picked out the ‘The Complexe du Capitole’ of Chandigarh as an outstanding masterpiece by Le Corbusier, epitomising the solutions the legendary French architect sought to apply during the 20th century to “the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.”
The Capitol Complex is among 17 architectural masterpieces of Le Corbusier that comprise the “transnational serial property” and are spread over seven countries of Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan, and Switzerland.
The World Heritage Committee, which concluded its eight day session today at Istanbul, Turkey, observed that the architectural work of Le Corbusier was an “outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement… and was a testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past.”
“They were built over a period of a half-century, in the course of what Le Corbusier described as ‘patient research.’ The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh, India, the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan, the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata, Argentina, and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille, France, reflect the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society,” the Committee, chaired by Ambassador, Director General of Cultural Affairs and Promotion Abroad of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lale Ülker, noted in the citation.
“These masterpieces of creative genius also attest to the internationalisation of architectural practice across the planet,” it added.
The UNESCO also inscribed Khangchendzonga National Park located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India in Sikkim as World Heritage Site.
The Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.
“Mythological stories are associated with this mountain and with a great number of natural elements such as caves, rivers, lakes, etc. that are the object of worship by the indigenous people of Sikkim. The sacred meanings of these stories and practices have been integrated with Buddhist beliefs and constitute the basis for Sikkimese identity,” the Committee observed.
In New Delhi, as soon as the news broke, the Minister of Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma congratulated the India team led by Ambassador of India to UNESCO Ruchira Kamboj. “Very well
done. Congratulations to everyone involved. We are proud of you,” Dr Sharma tweeted.
Ms Kamboj, who indicated earlier in the day that the two sites were potential candidates for the World Heritage Site inscription by the evening, said the result was just “awesome” and reflected “immense goodwill” for India.
The cradle of Budhism, Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda in Bihar comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas – residential and educational buildings – and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
“Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions,” the Committee noted.
WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA
Agra FortAjanta Caves
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Sun Temple, Konârak
Kaziranga National Park
Keoladeo National Park
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Churches and Convents of Goa
Group of Monuments at Hampi
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Great Living Chola Temples 12
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Sundarbans National Park
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
Mountain Railways of India
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
Red Fort Complex
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar
Khangchendzonga National Park
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement
Pradeep Rana has worked for over 16 years with The Times Of India, PTI, and Indian Express before joining Japanese channel NHK World as South Asia correspondent. At Times of India he has been awarded for best medical reporting. Later, he moved to US Embassy in Delhi as Media Analyst. He has been editor of a medical book and magazines on travel, pets, and technology. A wildlife and nature enthusiast, well travelled in Himachal, Uttarakhand and North East.