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UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Orchha Town of Madhya Pradesh added to Tentative List

A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance. The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

May 27, 2019 12:28 IST
Orchha Town of Madhya Pradesh

The Orchha town of Madhya Pradesh has been included in tentative list of the World Heritage Sites of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The move came after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sent a proposal in this regard to the UNESCO on April 15, 2019.

Orchha Town

Situated on the banks of the river Betwa, Orchha is located in Niwari district of Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

The site is around 80 km far from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh district and 15 km from Jhansi of Uttar Pradesh.

The town is celebrated for its rich and ancient architecture of Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha Fort Complex, and Raja Mahal among others.

It is famous for its two elevated minarets - Saavan and Bhadon; and four palaces - Jahangir Palace, Rai Praveen Mahal, Raja Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal.

It represents the concept of open bungalows, animal statues depicting the culture of Bundelkhand and stone work windows.

The site houses ‘Sri Ram Raja Mandir’. It is the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a King, not as a deity, with this dedicated temple in his name.

Orchha: A connect between Bundela & Mughal dynasties

Built by Bundela dynasty’s King Rudra Pratap Singh in the 16th century, the Orchha town boasts of Bundela architecture as well as Mughal influence due to the closeness of both the dynasties. Veer Singh Dev, King of Bundela dynasty, was a close friend of Mughal emperor Jahangir. King Dev also fought wars as Mughal emperor Akbar’s aid.

Criteria for inclusion in List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Any heritage or any historical site has to be first on the tentative list to be a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Once it makes it to the tentative list, then the proposal is sent to the UNESCO for inclusion in the final List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, only if the site:

Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius

Exhibits an important interchange of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world and depicts developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts or town-planning

Considered as an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or has disappeared

An archetype of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape that depicts significant stages in human history

Showcases traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use, which represents cultural or human interaction with the environment

Associates with events, living traditions, ideas, beliefs, and artistic & literary works of outstanding universal significance

Contains areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance

Represents stages of earth's history - record of life, on-going geological processes, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features

Represents on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals

Contains significant natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity, including threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list

A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance. The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is composed of 21 UNESCO member states, elected by the General Assembly.