Pink City Jaipur gets UNESCO World Heritage Site

Narendra Modi: Jaipur is a city associated with culture and valour. Elegant and energetic, Jaipur’s hospitality draws people from all over. Glad that this city has been inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

The historic walled city of Jaipur, known for its iconic architectural legacy, on Sunday made its entry into the UNESCO’S world heritage list. The decision to designate the city as a heritage site was taken during the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.

The UN agency also made the announcement in a tweet:

Welcoming the decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Glad that this city has been inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.”

With Jaipur’s inclusion, the number of heritage sites across India that are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, has grown to 38, including 30 cultural properties, seven natural properties and one mixed site. Ahmedabad became the first Indian city to get into the prestigious list in 2017.

India had proposed the nomination of Jaipur as an “exceptional urban example in indigenous city planning and construction in South Asia”, before the World Heritage Committee, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement. “Besides an exemplary planning, its iconic monuments such as the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal excel in artistic and architectural craftsmanship of the period,” it added.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the recognition would boost tourism and benefit the local economy. “It is a matter of great pride that our Pink City, Jaipur has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It will add to the glory of capital city of Rajasthan,” Gehlot said in a tweet.

The director of UNESCO India Office, Eric Falt, said the tag “celebrates yet another of India’s outstanding heritage sites, only one year after the successful nomination of the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai in 2018”.

“I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate the government of India, the state of Rajasthan and the city of Jaipur on this successful nomination”, Falt said.

By listing Jaipur as a World Heritage site, the World Heritage Committee acknowledges the “city’s outstanding value as a cultural property”, UNESCO India Office said.

A senior official said the International Council on Monuments and Sites had inspected the city in 2018 post the nomination.

“The fortified city of Jaipur, in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II. Unlike other cities in the region located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was established on the plain and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture,” the UNESCO India Office said in a statement.

The streets feature continuous colonnaded businesses that intersect in the centre, creating large public squares called ‘chaupars’. Markets, stalls, residences and temples built along the main streets have uniform facades, it said.

A statement from UNESCO said, “The city’s urban planning shows an exchange of ideas from ancient Hindu and modern Mughal as well as Western cultures. The grid plan is a model that prevails in the West, while the organisation of the different districts refers to traditional Hindu concepts. Designed to be a commercial capital, the city has maintained its local commercial, artisanal and cooperative traditions to this day.”

Apart from Jaipur, seven other cultural sites have also been designated as World Heritage List. These include the Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain, the Budj Bim cultural landscape in Australia, the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu city in China, the Ombilin coal mining heritage of Indonesia’s Sawahlunto, the mounded tombs of ancient Japan, and Megalithic Jar Sites in Laos’ Xiengkhouang.

In addition to Jaipur, the committee had examined 36 nominations for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the session.

The countries that supported India’s nomination are Brazil, Bahrain, Cuba, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, China, Guatemala, Uganda, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Angola, St Kitts and Nevis. Australia and Norway initially proposed a referral, but, after the debate, they agreed for the inclusion of Jaipur, the Ministry of Culture said.

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. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

The World Heritage Committee is also examining the state of conservation of 166 sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List, 54 of which also figure on the List of World Heritage in Danger. To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.

(With inputs from PTI).

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