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Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 17 Mar 2011 02:12 | Edited by: Solivagant 
In common with a number of other contributors to this site (including our illustrious and intrepid Webmaster!) my wife and I have recently visited several Indian WHS. I am still mulling over my impressions and issues arising for reviews and possible postings. As part of this process I have carried out my own personal "overview" of Indian WHS (I am just 5 short of "completion" now!) and T List sites.
There are a lot of interesting issues and I think India justifies its own "thread" on this Forum - hence this post!
Below is my analysis of sites by Indian State/Territory (with their populations in brackets) as background for future comment.

Andrha Pradesh (75m)
WHS - 0
T List - 2 (Golconda, Qutb Monuments etc Hyderabad)
Arunchal Pradesh (1m)
WHS - 0
T List - 1 (Namdapha NP)
Assam/Asom (26m)
WHS - 2 (Kaziranga, Manas)
T List - 1 (Majuli Island)
Bihar (83m)
WHS - 1 (Mahabodi)
T List - 3 (Narlanda, Sasaram, Silk Rd)
Chhatisgarh (21m)
Goa (1.5m)
WHS - 1 (Churches + Convents)
T List - 0 (Poss some W Ghats?)
Gujarat (51m)
WHS - 1 (Champaner)
T List - 3 (Dholavira, Ran-ki-Vav Patan , Wild Ass Sanct)
Haryana (21m)
WHS - 1 (Mountain Railways Kalka to Shimla)
Himachal Pradesh (6m)
WHS - 1 (Mountain Railways Kalka to Shimla)
T List - 2 (Great Himalayan NP, Mountain Railways - Kangra)
Jammu + Kashmir (10m)
WHS - 0
T List - 3 (Alchi, Hemis -both Ladakh, Mughal Gardens - Kashmir)
Jharkand (27m)
Karnataka (53m)
WHS - 2 (Pattadakal, Hampi)
T List - 1 (W Ghats)
Kerala (32m)
WHS - 0
T List - 2 (Mattanchery Palace, W Ghats)
Madya Pradesh (60m)
WHS - 3 (Khajuraho, Sanchi, Bhimbetka)
T List - 2 (Mandu , Maharajah Railways)
Maharastra (97m)
WHS - 4 (Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Chhatprati Shivaji Stn)
T List - 3 (W Ghats, Mountain Railways - Matheran, Churchgate extn),
Manipur (2.3m)
Meghalaya (2.3m)
Mizoram (.9m)
Nagaland (2m)
Orissa/Odisha (37m)
WHS - 1 (Konarak)
T List - 1 (Bhitarkanika Cons Area)
Punjab (24m)
WHS - 0
T List - 3 (Chandigarh, Amritsar Temple, Silk Rd)
Rajasthan (56m)
WHS - 2 (Keoladeo, Jantar Mantar)
T List - 1 (Desert NP)
Sikkim (.5m)
WHS - 0
T List - 1 (Kangchendzonga NP)
Tamil Nadu (66m)
WHS - 3 (Mahabalipuram, Chola Temples, Mountain Railways - Niligri)
T List - 2 (W Ghats, Silk Rd)
Tripura (3m)
Uttar Pradesh (191m)
WHS - 3 (Taj Mahal, Fatepur Sikri, Agra Fort)
T List - 2 (Sarnath, Silk Rd)
Uttarkhand (8m)
WHS - 1 (Nanda Devi)
T List - 1 (Oak Grove School)
W Bengal (80m)
WHS - 2 (Sundarbans, Mountain Railways - Darj)
T List - 2 (Santinatikan, Neora Valley NP)

Andaman Islands (.3m)
Chandigharh (.9m)
Dadra (.2m)
Daman/Diu (.1m)
Lakshadweep (.03m)
New Delhi (13m)
WHS - 3 (Humuyans Tomb, Qutb Minar, Red Fort)
T List - 1 (Silk Rd)
Pondicherry (.9m)
WHS - 0
T List - 1 (Silk Rd)

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 17 Mar 2011 03:39 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Anyone who travels in India and China surely can't avoid continually making comparisons regarding their respective development trajectories. Similarly, regarding their differning approaches to "WHS". Since 2000 China has inscribed 17 sites - reaching 40, whilst India has inscribed just 6 - reaching 28. To what extent is this illustrative of wider cultural differences between the 2 countries?

We know that China will go hell-for-leather once it has decided to inscribe a site populations are ruthlessly moved and expenditure seems to be unlimited. We also know that inscribed sites become very "Disneyfied" with a massive new tourism infrastructure which often encroaches within the sites themselves. China is certainly not lily white when it comes to maintaining the integrity of its inscribed sites cash is king in China!!.

Both India and China are "corrupt" countries India is 87th on the Transparency International index of 178 countries at 3.3 whilst China struggles up to 78th at 3.5. In practical terms probably not a lot of difference! But China's corruption seems to facilitate activity whilst that of India is just stultifiying. If a Chinese city decides to inscribe a site one can imagine vast amounts of money changing hands under the table issuing contracts and pocketing compensation payments etc whilst the whole process proceeds apace. In India no doubt some politicians of the various parties are accepting backhanders to "agree" progress but no doubt also many are accepting money to disagree and generally oppose progress.

And then there is the "efficiency" issue. Cultural generalisations across nations can be odious and parts of the Indian economy certainly produce results (financially at least) but there remains an incompetence and fatalism in so much of daily life which militates against "quality" progress, despite an education system which produces people with excellent technical skills. In China the "visions" always seem to be set higher and this usually shows in the results too.

The chequered progress on the inscription of Majuli seems a typical case in point. China's ruthless and immediately successful determination to get the Danxia Landform inscribed compares significantly (I don't say "favourably" since many aspects of China's ruthlessness are less acceptable than India's flawed democratic processes!) with India's bumbling and repeated failure to do the necessary for Majuli. Other T List sites which India has tried to progress e.g Chandigarh and Santinikaten have exhibited similar failures.

India's inscribed sites may not suffer from China's tourism overdevelopment but they do suffer from physical neglect - both to their core fabric from poor maintenance and protection and to their environment from pollution and India's infamous infrastructural weaknesses. We visited 7 new sites including ones with large visitor numbers and others where we were almost the only tourists present. Most exhibited what might be called "management problems"! Champaner , Bimbetka and Hampi all provide interesting examples of managing WHS in India which I will try to cover in future reviews.

By chance, we spent a full "day" in Hyderabad between consecutive overnight train arrivals and departures. We had not previously visited India's 6th largest city with its population of over 6 million. Parts of it are booming as it grows apace on IT, Business Process Outsourcing and entertainment. But the centre remains typically "Indian" with a massive increase in motor transport seeming the main change from the India we remembered over the last 35 years. As capital of Andrha Pradesh we were told that it felt the lack of any WHS in what is one of India's most populous states. Yet India's T List has 2 entries for sites in Hyderabad including the duplication of Golconda Fort (which fact alone says something about India's "efficiency"!!) and a Nomination File has been produced, apparently for consideration in 2012. We visited these T List sites and enjoyed them but fear that they stand little chance of achieving inscription unless significant managerial activity and "quality" expenditure is invested in overcoming manifest weaknesses. I will cover the situation in more detail in a future review!

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 29 Apr 2011 03:53 | Edited by: Solivagant 
As Winterkjm has reminded us in "New Tentative Lists", India has just added Ahmadabad to its T List the result of a long term campaign to gain "World Heritage City" status for the city which must still have a fair way to go! The following link from 2010 is typical - but note the confident phrase "Ahmadabad is sure to be the first Indian city to gain World Heritage City status it was evident from UNESCO"!!

In fact India seems particularly obsessed with the "idea" of "World Heritage Cities" and several are apparently engaged in trying to achieve this status. These include :-

Delhi amazingly since it already has 3 individual sites




Hyderabad n-world-heritage

Allahabad itage-city-signature-campaign-assam-visit

I know of no other country where the phrase "World Heritage City" looms so large. India seems particularly concerned that none of its cultural sites actually includes a "living city" whereas the List contains numerous such cities elsewhere around the world. As the Delhi campaign indicates, even already having 3 individual sites inscribed from within a city, doesn't apparently meet the ambition!!

The T List entry for Ahmadabad contains this illuminating statement
"To the casual tourist, many of Ahmadabad's monuments may seem to lack elegance, encumbered as they often are by drab and totally indiscriminate accretions to them, and modem installations around and within them. But with a modicum of generous consideration for a city that has overgrown itself, the beauty and ingenuity of many a dome, screen, or minar composition of the edifices will in any case be appreciated."

The question is, I guess, whether ICOMOS/UNESCO will show this "modicum of generous consideration" for Ahmadabad, or for that matter, any other Indian city!!!
I personally find it difficult to conceive of any Indian "living" city centre meeting the requirements of authenticity and management or is this an excessively Eurocentric view? Is there any real reason why the centres of Damascus, Cairo, Kathmandu, Lijiang and Luang Prabang for instance should be capable of inscription whilst Ahmadabd (which, among other things, is famous for its "Pols" see - ) is not? I suspect it has become much harder over recent years to get significant parts of living city centres inscribed especially where they do not have access to the legal framework and funds available in "developed" cities such as Amsterdam (which achieved the status in 2010 of course). Also there in the case of some cities there has been a subtle retreat from apparent "full" inscription as the requirements for definition and documentation of the inscribed areas have grown thus Kathmandu underwent a significant "redefinition" of its boundaries in 2006 to just 7 limited sites from within the previously undefined and apparent entire "Kathmandu Valley" of 1979 (even though it kept this as its name)!!

This review of the problems of Hyderabad in getting even a part of its heritage inscribed could be written about ANY Indian city :-
"It doesn't take an expert to discover the reason why the WHS tag has been evading Golconda. As per the Ancient Monuments Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958, the area within 100 metres of a monument (in some cases it is 300 metres) is prohibited and no construction activity is allowed. But there are more than 1,000 houses in the prohibited area of Golconda fort and nearly 25 dwellings within 30 feet of the fort wall.
The tombs complex had a good buffer zone before with no encroachments. Now, encroachments have attained menacing proportions in the fort zone with the authorities expressing helplessness on the ground that the area has been inhabited by people for centuries. A large number of dwellings inside and outside the fort, especially near Moti Darwaza and Banjara Darwaza, and slums along the fort walls do not cut a pretty picture. More houses are coming up atop the hill leading to the fort, all this even as officials look the other way.
"No official will dare demolish the constructions at this stage, clearly under political pressure. No political party will antagonise the locals, more so when there is a talk about GHMC elections," says Sajjad Shahid, Intach member.
Moreover, doubts are being expressed on the upkeep of the fort and the tombs. Asserting that rampant encroachments in the prohibited as well as regulated zones are the biggest stumbling blocks for the fort from securing the WHS status, Shahid says: "Just brushing up the fort and the tombs here and there whenever a Unesco official visits them won't do. In fact, the conservation standards followed by the babus leave a lot to be desired."
Hyderabad district collector Navin Mittal admits that the administration is aware of the encroachments. "It is difficult to monitor the encroachments, more so when there is stiff resistance from the dwellers, some of whom have patta lands within the fort," he says."

I suspect matters are no better in those other Indian cities which are clamoring for "World Heritage city" status even the tactic (albeit "short" of going for a "World Heritage city"!) of limiting the inscribed area to a small neighbourhood won't overcome the problem of previous uncontrolled and unauthentic development right up to any selected building nor to the problem of control of future developments in a country whose "democracy" and administration may have its faults but, quite rightly, finds it difficult to adopt the "clearance by diktat" policies used in countries such as China when faced with similar problems! The trouble is that I doubt if there are even any historic neighbourhoods of Indian cities which haven't been disfigured by "indiscriminate accretions" as the Ahmedabad T List entry calls them - in which case the only way out would seem to be significant clearances of such structures with all the political downsides identified for Hyderabad! UNESCO/ICOMOS perhaps need to consider whether a "less than ideal" interpretation of authenticity/required management practices in order to allow at least what is in situ today to be inscribed, with the hope that once "inside the fold" small incremental improvements could be made, might be better than total rejection and the complete destruction of what does still remain.
Indeed the number of Indian sites which have been inscribed despite ICOMOS having reservations about the lack of management plans etc could demonstrate that this has been happening already. If so the results so far have not really demonstrated that significant influence can be exerted on such inscribed sites. Alternatively of course the fact that the WHC ignored ICOMOS might be more due to political aspects than to any deep "strategy"!

Author Solivagant
#4 | Posted: 18 May 2013 15:07 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We are currently discussing the nature of the changes made by India to its "Hill Forts of Rajasthan" nomination between its near rejection at the 2012 WHC to its probable inscription at the 2013 WHC.
It certainly seems that Jaisalmer has been added to the 5 forts included in the 2012 Nomination plus, according to one article, some improvement to the OUV statement

In searching around for more information I came across this article which dates to just before the 2012 WHC at st Petersburg. Titled "Prime Minister's Office trims jumbo delegate list for culture junket" It paints quite an amusing picture of Indian bureaucrats being thwarted from enjoying their trip to St Petersburg!

Among the comments made was this
"On June 12, 2012, Mail Today had reported that India's nominations for this year - the hill forts of Rajasthan and the Western Ghats - in cultural and natural categories, respectively, have been turned down by the Unesco technical committee. So far India has nothing to offer unless it manages to get one nomination listed through back-channel diplomacy using its clout as a committee member."

Well the "clout" of "back-channel diplomacy" achieved wonders, turning the 2 problem nominations into 1 inscription and 1 referral which looks as if it has been successful just 1 year later! It just shows what can be achieved by having a representation on the WHC!! /202187.html

I notice that, among the cut-down list of delegates, was Shikha Jain who was one of the consultants who put together the 2012 nomination (including choosing which forts would be nominated). India today commented "The UN heritage panel's rejection has stunned the ASI and heritage buffs in the Capital, who have questioned the lakhs of rupees being spent on consultancy to get proposals prepared for nominations. Still, these are getting rejected at regular pace." I wonder if she kept the job for 2013?

Author winterkjm
#5 | Posted: 7 Dec 2013 14:07 
Can anyone make sense of this? Does this mean the Le Corbusier nomination will be evaluated by UNESCO in 2015? Or will the nomination dossier be sent to UNESCO in 2015 for evaluation in 2016. I was leaning toward the later. digarh-in-2015.html

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 7 Dec 2013 16:10 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Does this mean the Le Corbusier nomination will be evaluated by UNESCO in 2015?

Anything to do with such matters in India is unlikely to be "as reported" both because of
a. the politics State governments and officials wanting to appear to be doing something or at least not wanting to be blamed for nothing happening
b. the lack of understanding and totally unjustified optimism of journalists and their "briefers"

I have found a few other documents from the past year relevant to this subject

1. An undated Draft of the "Chandigarh 2031 Master Plan". I noted this paragraph "However, India could not join the serial nomination along with France and other state parties and it was advised by Permanent Representative of India (PRI) that India should submit a separate nomination of Chandigarh for extension. The serial nomination submitted by France along with other State parties were recommended deferral by ICOMOS and now it has been stated by the French Government that they will submit a fresh nomination dossier with India. The PRI to UNESCO based on the recommendations of ICOMOS has advised that the revised nomination dossier should focus on 10-12 buildings along with their complete documentation indicating date of construction, it's administrative control and photographs of buildings rather than their architects and the urban plans of the entire city which should be forwarded to the Archaeological Survey of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI. ASI would take a decision in principle in consultation with the PRI to UNESCO for revised nomination dossier once the details of buildings are made available."

Since this paragraph refers to the "Deferral" of the nomination it should strictly be referring to the 2011 nomination NOT the 2008 nomination which was actually "Referred" by the WHC (although ICOMOS had actually recommended a "Deferral" in that year too) - in which case the document dates to after mid 2011. The 2008 nomination does indeed refer to India's "late" withdrawal of Chandigarh from that nomination so the comment about deciding to submitting a (later) separate nomination fits with the known facts. If it IS referring to the 2011 deferral it is interesting that it is says that the French government will submit "a fresh nomination dossier with India". Such a recent "change of tack" by France hasn't been reported anywhere else to my knowledge and the 2011 deferral didn't seem to require that Chandigargh be brought back in (though the 2008 AB did seem to regret the lack of Chandigarh which, it thought, ruined the nomination's claims regarding Town Planning OUV).

2. This newspaper report of Feb 1 2013 which stated that India had missed the Jan 31 2013 deadline for the Nomination dossier!!! itage-status/ . Missing deadlines seems to be a habit for India as far as World Heritage is concerned!! If I were responsible for progressing the French Le Corbusier nomination I don't think I would want to link progress in that regard to possible actions by India!!

3. This very recent report from the Times of India ritage-status-for-Chandigarh/articleshow/26990445.cms refers to the same "(non)- event" as the Daily Pioneer report cited by Winterkjm above but describes a "Jan 1" deadline without mentioning a year although states that it "is not far away". Whether 1 Jan should have been 31 Jan isn't clear.

So no great clarity on this matter either on whether any future renomination of the Works of Le Corbusier will include Chandigarh or on when that re-nomination might be!

Author Durian
#7 | Posted: 22 Dec 2013 19:12 
I just read reviews on Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Paul Tanner and Ian Cade as well as our dear Els about no permission to see inner interior of the station. Good News! I did some research and found out that now Indian Railways has daily tour to see inside the station. See the link -an-absolute-stunner/

Author Durian
#8 | Posted: 22 Dec 2013 19:33 
Can anyone make sense of this? Does this mean the Le Corbusier nomination will be evaluated by UNESCO in 2015? Or will the nomination dossier be sent to UNESCO in 2015 for evaluation in 2016. I was leaning toward the later.

Latest update 467/

not sure for Chandigrah but at least we know that 2015 is Imperial Delhi and 2016 is Nalanda

Author kkanekahn
#9 | Posted: 31 Jan 2014 03:49 
I think now emphasis is given to only north and west India.(hill fort of Raj, Jantar Mantar,Rani ki vav ,Red fort and Delhi city, Bihar).

I do not know why East and south India is so neglected

Author kkanekahn
#10 | Posted: 1 Feb 2014 14:41 
India selected 57 sites for revised tentative list out of 238 sites including 6 cultural landscapes.
Total of 238 properties were proposed out of which 162 were cultural and 76 were natural, mixed or cultural landscapes.

Author Solivagant
#11 | Posted: 2 Feb 2014 03:03 | Edited by: Solivagant 
India selected 57 sites for revised tentative list out of 238 sites including 6 cultural landscapes.

Whilst doing some (unsuccessful! Can you help kkanekhan?) Googling to see if I could discover any information about the 238 sites recently considered by India for inclusion in its new Tentative List I came across this very recent (2013) document from the Indian "Controller and Auditor General". It reviews the performance of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in relation to World Heritage Sites.

It might be of interest in highlighting some realities about management problems regarding WHS in India (which is going to be typical of such problems in many other countries).
a. Physical aspects - particularly Red Fort and Ajanta
b. Preparation of Nominations - Potential corruption, incompetence etc particularly relating to the problems faced by Santinikaten and Majuli with their, to date, failed nominations are highlighted. It helps understand India's "poor" performance in gaining new inscriptions compared with that of China

Having just reviewed both Harappa and Moenjodaro in Pakistan following our recent visits there, I was also interested to note that India had got as far as preparing a nomination for its own "Harappan" sites (Dholavira plus others not on the T List) - but stopped work before anything was submitted. I wonder why India chose those for progressing? Was it wanting to "get one over" on Pakistan!! It would of course be better for both those countries if they worked together for a transboundary extension of Harappan sites - but, unfortunately it won't happen.
It would also appear that India has been preparing a nomination for the extension of Pattadakal to include Aihole and Badami. As yet I have never got round to revieiwng Pattadakal but its nomination history includes its choice by India over nearby Aihole despite Aihole's many merits. Aihole's main downside was that of very close human habitation. In such a case China would of course have acted very differently and just moved everyone, without much consideration of the impact upon them. Not so easy in India! -

The audit Report - udit/recent_reports/union_performance/2013/Civil/Report_18/chap_3.pdf

Author kkanekahn
#12 | Posted: 2 Feb 2014 06:10 
I searched statewise to know about these 238 nominations. But after google search, I found nearly 100 sites. Many of which are not upto the potential and they do not make to revised tentative list.

Some of the revised tentative list properties are already disclosed to public.
They are Fort St.George in Chennai, Chettinad, Kazhugumalai rock sculptures and Pulikat Lake, Charaideo Sivasagar, Lord Sri Ranganathar temple in Srirangam, Padmanabhapuram palace, Kakitiya in Warangal (fort,Ramappa temple), Little and great rann of kutch , Gir and Girnar tus-tentative-list-279577 manabhapuram-palace/article4827456.ece
The list includes some sites in previous list.
Art deco(mumbai), Majuli, Nalanda, Ahmedabad

However if you want I can upload a photo regarding the type of tentative list site( It is a comparision between previous and revised TL) or email it.

Author kkanekahn
#13 | Posted: 2 Feb 2014 06:35 | Edited by: kkanekahn 
There are a few properties, such as sites related to Buddha's life and ancient universities that could potentially become trans-boundary are also suggested for future revision .

A new spice route is also added along with silk route in the revised list.

Author jonathanfr
#14 | Posted: 2 Feb 2014 06:36 
Hello, I'm interested to know the revised tentative list of India (100 or 238 does not matter but a long list). thank you

Author kkanekahn
#15 | Posted: 2 Feb 2014 06:42 | Edited by: kkanekahn 
revised tentative list of India

Only 57 are added in the revised tentative list. There are 238 nominations for the revised TL.
I found nearly 100 from 238 through google and obviously many of them are not WH material.
If you want these list then I have to search again and obviously it would take more time.

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