In 1972, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted a resolution with overwhelming enthusiasm creating thereby a 'Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage'. The main objectives were to define the World Heritage in both cultural and natural aspects; to enlist Sites and Monuments from the member countries which are of exceptional interest and universal value, the protection of which is the concern of all mankind; and to promote co-operation among all Nations and people to contribute for the protection of these universal treasures intact for future generations.
The List of recorded sites on the World Heritage now stands at 812 which include both cultural and natural wonders, and endowment that is shared by all mankind and the protection of which is the concern of the entire mankind. These include 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed properties in 137 state parties. India is an active member State on the World Heritage from 1977 and has been working in close co-operation with other International agencies like ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and ICCROM (International Centre for the study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).
There are 27 World Heritage Properties in India out of which 22 are Cultural Properties and 5 are Natural Properties.
Mountain Railways of India The Mountain Railways of India are three fully operational railway tracks that are fine examples of 19th century technology and the changes they brought with them. These railways built during the British colonial period stimulated population movements between the plains and the mountains.
The site includes the following 3 railway systems: - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway: the first of the railways to become a WHS; it is a 86 km long narrow gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, built 1879-1881. It uses zigzags, with traction reversal and spirals. - Nilgiri Mountain Railway: a rack railway of 46 km long between Mettupalayam and Ooty in Tamil Nadu; it includes original stations, rolling stock and steam locs. - Kalka-Shimla Railway: a narrow gauge railway from Kalka to Shimla in North-West India. It uses very heavy and complex engineering, including multi-arch viaducts, tunnels, retaining walls and a very large number of curves, in order to overcome the mountain conditions.
Hopes brighten for Western Ghats getting heritage status New Delhi, Jun 27 (PTI) Government''s hopes to get UNESCO heritage status for 39 sites in the Western Ghats have brightened with the World Heritage Committee deciding to give a ''referral'' status to India''s case. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had recommended to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) to ''defer'' the consideration of India''s proposal in its ongoing 35th session in Paris. ''Deferral'' means request for more information, revisit of IUCN technical evaluation mission and submission of revised nomination dossier about all 39 sites in the Western Ghats by India. "In nutshell, ''Deferral'' means starting the process de-novo (afresh)," an Environment Ministry statement said today. However, India''s official delegation to the WHC session, comprising senior Ministry officials Jagdish Kishwan, A K Srivastava and Dr Vinod B Mathur, prepared the country''s brief against IUCN recommendation on ''deferral'' and interacted with the delegations of the 21-member WHC to highlight the strengths of the proposal. "Based on the technical arguments put forward by the Indian delegation, several members of the WHC got convinced of the merits of India''s proposal and decided to go for the option of ''referral'' instead of ''deferral''," the statement said. The Australian delegation formally moved a proposal to the WHC seeking amendment of the draft decision. "When the matter came up for discussion, 11 countries led by Egypt and Brazil and followed by Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Cambodia, China, Jordan, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa came out strongly in support of ''referral", it said.