Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

3 more sites added to UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Heritage Cites

Mains level: Not Much

Gujarat’s Vadnagar town, the iconic Sun Temple at Modhera, and the rock cut sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura have been added to the tentative list of UNCESO World Heritage Sites.

What is UNESCO tentative list?

  • The UNESCO tentative list is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination.
  • With these 3 sites, India now has 52 sites on UNESCO Tentative List.

About the sites

(1) Sun Temple, Modhera


  • The Sun Temple at Modhera is located on the left bank of the river Pushpavati, a tributary of river Rupan in Becharaji taluka of Mehsana district.
  • The temple description states that it is built in Maru-gurjara architectural style, consists of the main temple shrine (garbhagriha), a hall (gadhamandapa), an outer hall or assembly hall (Sabhamandapa or rangamandapa) and a sacred pool (Kunda), which is now called Ramakunda.
  • This east-facing temple is built with bright yellow sandstone.
  • It is the earliest of such temples which set trends in architectural and decorative details, representing the Solanki style at its best.

(2) Vadnagar


  • Vadnagar is a historic town, which had continuous habitation for more than 2,700 years.
  • A multi-layered historic town, the history of Vadnagar stretches back to nearly 8th century BCE.
  • The town still retains a large number of historic buildings that are primarily religious and residential in nature.
  • It has evolved with time and has an early historic fortified settlement, hinterland port, centre for industries of shells and beads, late medieval town, religious centre/temple town, a significant junction on trade routes and mercantile town.
  • Rampart datable to second century BCE, fortification along the lake from third-fourth century CE, findings of Indo-Pacific glass beads and marine shells, palaeo-seismic evidence evidently point towards historical authenticity of the town.

(3) Unakoti


  • Located in the northeastern region of Tripura, Unakoti is known as an ancient holy place associated with Shaiva worship.
  • It is famously known as the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’
  • The structures of the rock-cut sculptures are gigantic and have distinct mongoloid features and display almost the same mystical charm as the spellbinding figures in the Angkor Wat temple of Cambodia.

Back2Basics: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties.
  • The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
  • To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee

  • The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • India is NOT a member of this Committee.


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