Three Indian sites listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites

It is the first time that any country got three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.

Jul 18, 2016 12:00 IST
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Complexe du CapitoleThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 17 July 2016 listed Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s works among its World Heritage Sites.

The listed works include Chandigarh’s Complexe du Capitole, Khangchendzonga National Park and Nalanda Mahavihara.

It is the first time that any country got three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.

The chosen works of Le Corbusier depict his contributions to the Modern Movement that emerged after World War I. His works emphasize on functionality, bold lines and materials such as concrete, iron and glass.

Three Indian sites listed in the World Heritage Sites are:

Complexe du Capitole, Chandigarh

The site comprises three buildings, i.e., Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and High Court.

Following the independence of India, the divided Punjab required a new capital as Lahore was now in Pakistan. Therefore, Le Corbusier was commissioned by first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru to build a new city of Chandigarh as the capital of Punjab.

The brief for the design was a city unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future.

Later, Corbusier and his team constructed large assembly and high court building, and also the major buildings in the city.

At present, many of the buildings are considered modernist masterpieces.

Khangchendzonga National Park and Mount Khangchendzonga:

The park is located at the heart of the Himalayan range in Sikkim.

It includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.

It is the first 'Mixed Heritage' site of India.

Besides these, Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites (Antigua and Barbuda) and Pampulha Modern Ensemble (Brazil) were also included in the list.

Who was Le Corbusier?

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner and writer.

He is also recognised as one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture.

His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India, and the Americas.

He prepared the master plan for the city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there.

What is World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, etc.) that is listed by UNESCO as being of special cultural or physical significance.

The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The committee is composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.

In India, there are 35(27 cultural and 7 natural sites and 1 mixed) World Heritage Sites.

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