NEW DELHI: Sarnath, where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon, Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Sikhism holiest shrine, Assam's river island Majuli and Mughal Gardens in Srinagar are among 46 Indian sites on UNESCO's tentative list for consideration for nomination as World Heritage Sites.
32 cultural and natural sites in India already figure in the World Heritage list, Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma told the Lok Sabha in a written reply today.
"Moreover, there are 46 sites including Indian cities, monuments, archaeological sites, on UNESCO’s tentative list, which is a mandatory requirement before a site is finally considered for the nomination," he added.
The tentative list includes Temples at Bishnupur in West Bengal; Mattanchery Palace, Ernakulam in Kerala; Group of Monuments at Mandu in Madhya Pradesh; Ancient Buddhist Site, Sarnath, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh; Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar in Punjab; and River Island of Majuli in midstream of Brahmaputra River in Assam.
The list also includes Mughal Gardens in Kashmir; Delhi - A Heritage City; Ekamra Kshetra – The Temple City in Bhubaneswar, Bahai House of Worship in New Delhi and Jaipur city of Rajasthan.
To another query, he said the two nomination proposals on cities -- 'Delhi’s Imperial Capital Cities' and 'The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai'-- were submitted to World Heritage Centre in January, 2014 in which Delhi was prioritized.
Before the 39th Session of World Heritage Committee in July 2015, however, the proposing State Party had requested UNESCO Secretariat for postponement of the consideration of the nomination of 'Delhi’s Imperial Capital Cities'.
The Culture Ministry filed Delhi's nomination in 2012, but the final dossier, prepared by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), with which the Sheila Dikshit government had signed an MoU in 2008, was sent to UNESCO in January 2014.
The walled city of Shahjahanabad (the Red Fort in the area is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site on its own), and the Lutyens’s Bungalow Zone, were included.
But just a month before UNESCO was to review nominations from across the world, the government withdrew its bid. "Once the city comes into that heritage list, you are unable to make some construction in the city plans and land use plans, so it will become difficult,” Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma was then quoted as saying.
Delhi's Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, Western Ghats, monuments of Hampi and Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus are among the UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites in the country.