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UNESCO declared Six Forts of Rajasthan as World Heritage Sites

Jun 22, 2013 18:07 IST

Six Forts of Rajasthan included in the list of World Heritage Site of UNESCO and won international recognition on 21 June 2013 in the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The six majestic forts include Amber (Jaipur), Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer, Ranthambhore (Sawai Madhopur) and Gagaron (Jhalawar).

In the official declaration of these forts as World Heritage Sites the WHC quoted “The eclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 km in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely States that flourished in the region from the 8th to the 18th centuries. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centres, palaces, trading centres and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music and the arts”

The WHC (World Heritage Committee) also noted that the landscapes (like hills, rivers, desert and dense forest) of the forts act as the natural defence system for them. These forts feature the extensive water harvesting systems, which are still in use by the locals of the region. The fortifications that spread up to 20 kilometer in circumference have effectively used the hilly terrains, along with the desert of Jaisalmer, the forests of Ranthambore and the river at Gagaron. These forts exhibit the important phase of development of the architectural typology of the era and traditional principles of India.

Several missions of the International Council of Monuments and Forts (ICOMOS) visited Rajasthan, since 2011 to discuss for the nominations of the Forts. The ICOMOS discussed the nominations in great details, with the Indian Advisory Committee on World Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and State Archeological Department. ICOMOS is advisory body to the UNESCO.

The World Heritage Committee
The World Heritage Committee meets once a year, and consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties to the Convention elected by their General Assembly. At its first session, the Committee adopted its Rules of Procedure of the World Heritage Committee.

The Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties. It has the final say on whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List. The Committee can also defer its decision and request further information on properties from the States Parties. It examines reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties and asks States Parties to take action when properties are not being properly managed. It also decides on the inscription or deletion of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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