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Rani ki vav (The Queen's Stepwell): Facts about a World Heritage Site

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) is situated at Patan in Gujarat state. It is located on the banks of the River Saraswati. It was built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are considered as a water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent. Rani-ki-Vav shows the ability of ‘ the craftsmens’  to build such an excellent stepwell.  The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft, 10 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan: Facts about a World Heritage Site

The hill forts of Rajasthan is a serial site, comprises six majestic forts of Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jhalawar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer. The architecture of these forts is spread in the area of about twenty kms. These forts are boasting the legacy of Rajputana Empire of 8th to 18th centuries. These forts used the natural defenses provided by the landscape: deserts, rivers, hills, and dense forests. These forts have big water harvesting structures which are still in use.

Mountain Railways of India: Facts at a Glance

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and the Kalka–Shimla Railway collectively got the status of World Heritage Sites in 1999. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (West Bengal) was opened in 1881. The formation of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a 46-km long metre-gauge single railway track was completed in 1908. The 96-km long single track of the Kalka Shimla Railway opened for traffic on November 9, 1903.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram: Facts about a World Heritage Site

The monuments at Mahabalipuram are situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu,India. It has near 40 sanctuaries, including the largest open-air rock relief in the world. These monuments includes: the Pancha Rathas of Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Draupadi Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and also Ganesha Ratha. It was tagged as World Heritage site in 1984.

Great Living Chola Temples: Facts about a World Heritage Site

The Great Living Chola Temples were constructed by rulers of the Chola Empire. These temples are scattered in the all over of southern Indian region and upto the neighbouring islands. The site comprises 3 temples of 11th- and 12th-century namely the, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram (built by Rajendra I, and completed in 1035), Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur and the Airavatesvara Temple (built by Rajaraja II) at Darasuram. The temples justify the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur: A World Heritage Site

The Jantar Mantar monument of Jaipur, Rajasthan is a compilation of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II. It was completed in 1738 CE. There are jantar-mantar in the whole India, namely Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. The main purpose of this observatory was to compile astronomical tables and predict the time and movements of the sun, earth and planets. Jantar-mantar of jaipur is world heritage site since 2010.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus): Facts at a Glance

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station in Mumbai, is an excellent   example of Victorian Gothic architecture in India. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. This Railway Station is used by more than three million commuters daily. The terminal was completed in 10 years commenced in 1878. This was the first terminus station in the subcontinent.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka: Facts at a Glance

Bhimbetka caves are located in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh. These Rock Shelters are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau.  Dr V. S. Wakankar (one of the most renowned archeologists), discovered these caves in 1958. The word 'Bhimbetka', derived from 'Bhim Baitka'. These caves are named after 'Bhima', one of the five Pandavas of Mahabharata. Bhimbetika simply means “sitting place of Bhima".

Group of Monuments at Hampi: Facts at a Glance

Hampi is situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka.  It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.  The empire boasted a massive army comprising close to a million men. In around 1500 AD Vijaynagar had about 500,000 inhabitants (supporting 0.1% of the global population during 1440-1540), making it the second largest city in the world. It is world heritage site since 1986.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park: Facts at a Glance

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Panchmahal district in Gujarat, India. It is located around the historical city of Champaner, a city which was built by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat. The Pavagadh hill composed of reddish-yellow coloured stone formation is one of the oldest rock formations in India. The hill rises to a height of nearly 800 meters from the mean sea level.

The Churches and Convents at Velha (Old) Goa: Facts at a Glance

The Churches and Convents at Velha (Old) Goa owe their existence to the Portuguese rule in this part of the western coast of India. The most comprehensive group of churches and cathedrals built during 16th to 17th century AD at Old Goa comprise of the following: Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se' Cathedral, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, Church of Lady of Rosary, Church of St. Augustine and Chapel of St. Catherine. These Churches and Convents declared as World Heritage Sites in 1986.

Humayun's Tomb (1993), Delhi: Facts at a Glance

Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begam, also known as Haji Begam, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. The tomb was constructed at a cost of 15 lakh rupees (1.5 million). Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian, was the architect employed by Haji Begam for this tomb.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (A World Heritage Site): Facts at a Glance

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period. It is a location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

32 World Heritage Sites in India identified by UNESCO

A UNESCO World Heritage Site can be any place such as a forest, lake, building, island, mountain, monument, desert, complex or a city; which has a special physical or cultural significance. Currently there are 981 World Heritage sites in the world. However 32 World Heritage Properties are in India out of which 25 are Cultural Properties and 7 are Natural Properties. Let’s have a look of all World Heritage Sites of India on yearly basis.

Indian Recipients of Ramon Magsaysay Award

The Ramon Magsaysay award was established in April, 1957. This award was created to commemorate Ramon Magsaysay, the late president of Philippines. The Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s premier prize and highest honour, celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.  The Award is presented in formal ceremonies in Manila, Philippines on August 31st, the birth anniversary of the much-esteemed Philippines President whose ideals inspired the Award’s creation. This award is given in 6 categories.

List of 15 Indian Contenders for UNESCO’s World Heritage Site

The UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. World Heritage Committee launched the Global Strategy for heritage list in India for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage sites. Tentative list of India’s world heritage sites in order to qualify for inclusion are Temples at Bishnupur,Golden Temple, Lotus Temple, Mughal Gardens and River Island of Majuli etc.

Peacock the National Bird of India: Facts at a Glance

Generally most people use the term "peacock" to describe both male and female birds, but peacock is actually a name that refers to male peafowl. Peafowl belong to pheasant family. These birds are native to Asia. There are two species of peafowl: Indian Peafowl and Green Peafowl. Both types are counted in the list of endangered species because of the habitat loss, smuggling and predation. Peacock is the national bird of India.

Vande Mataram (The National Song of India): Facts at a Glance

Mr. Bankimchandra wrote the song ‘Vande Mataram’ on 7th November, 1875. This song had been published in the novel ‘Anandmath’ by Bankimchandra. The vocabulary used in this song is influenced by Sanskrit. The said book contains information about the violent revolt of Sanyasis against injustice inflicted by Muslims and the British in Bengal in the year 1772. It was adopted on january 24, 1950, providing it equal status with national anthem. It was sung for the first time at the congress session of 1896.

The National Anthem of India: Crucial Facts at a Glance

The National Anthem of India isJana Gana Mana" was written in Bengali by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1911. It was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. For the time it was sung at the Kolkata Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. A formal completion of the national anthem takes fifty-two seconds.

Royal Bengal Tiger: The National Animal of India

The Tiger (Panthera Tigris) is the national animal of India. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. Till 1972, Lion was the national animal of India. Later on it was replaced by the Tiger. The combination of stamina, strength, agility and tremendous power has made the tiger as the national animal of India.  The population of tigers is estimated to be about 2226 in 2014. Karnataka has the largest numbers of tigers in India.

General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR): Principles, implications and its Procedure

GAAR (General Anti-Avoidance Rules) is a tool for checking aggressive tax planning especially that transaction or business arrangement which is/are entered into with the objective of avoiding tax. It has been introduced in India due to VODAFONE case ruling in favour of this company by the Supreme Court. For example: “A” makes a company XYZ to sell product C. The company B pays 35% tax, but if “A” himself sold the products he would pay 40% tax. “A” has formed the company only to save 5% tax.

Sahitya Akademi Awards: Facts at a Glance

The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954. The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages (23). The Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation.

India’s Highest Civilian Award (Bharat Ratna): and Facts at a Glance

Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour given for marvelous service towards advancement of art, literature, science and sports in recognition of public service of highest order. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. There is no provision that Bharat Ratna should be given to Indian citizens only. The award has been awarded to a neutralized Indian citizen, mother Teresa (1980), and two non Indians- khan Abdul gaffer khan and Nelson Mandela. It is not mandatory that Bharat Ratna should be awarded very year.

Saraswati Samman: Crucial facts at a Glance

The Saraswati Samman is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works. It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India. The Saraswati Samman is given by K.K. Birla foundation for 22 Indian language listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. It is commenced in 1991.

India’s Highest Literary Award (Jnanpith Award): Facts at a Glance

The jnanpith ward is the highest literary honour conferred in the republic of India. It was founded by the sahu Jain family, the publisher of the times of India. The award was instituted in 1961. An Indian citizen who writes in any of the official languages of India is eligible for the honour. So far Kannada writers have won 7 awards (highest any for any language). Eminent Gujarati novelist Raghuveer Chaudhary has been chosen for the prestigious Jnanpith Award for 2015.

Indian Gallantry Awards: Facts at a Glance

The conclusion of British Rule in India saw the end of the old institution of British honours and awards. Independent India saw the introduction of awards such as Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Shaurya Chakra etc.  Param Vir Chakra (Pvc) is the highest gallantry award for officers and other enlisted personnel of all military branches of India for the highest degree of valor in the presence of the enemy.

Padma Awards (The Award of Excellence): 15 Facts at a Glance

Padma Awards, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri are given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field including service rendered by Government servants. The recommendations for Padma Awards are received from the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, Central Ministries/Departments, Institutions of Excellence, etc. which are considered by an Awards Committee. On the basis of the recommendations of the Awards Committee, and after approval of the Home Minister, Prime Minister and President, the Padma Awards are announced on the eve of the Republic Day.

The Sun Temple of Odisha: Sixteen facts at a Glance

An Architecture Marvel of India's heritage, Konark Sun Temple, commonly known as Konark is situated in the eastern state of Odisha (earlier known as Orissa), India and is one of the eminent tourist attractions. Konark houses a massive temple dedicated to the Sun God. The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combines it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to Sun God.

The Temples at Khajuraho: Fifteen facts at a Glance

Khajuraho Temples (in Madhya Pradesh) are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. These temples were built by the Chandella rulers between AD 900 and 1130. It was the golden period of Chandella rulers. It is presumed that every Chandella ruler has built at least one temple in his lifetime. So all Khajuraho Temples are not constructed by any single Chandella ruler, rather building Temples was a tradition of Chandella rulers and followed by almost all rulers of Chandella dynasty.

Qutub Minar complex: Symbol of Indo-Islamic Afghan Architecture

Qutb Minar was built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base to give calls for prayer. Its surrounding contains Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built in 1311). The building process of Qutub Minar took a long time (about 75 years). Its construction was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1193 and finished by Iltutmish.

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