Jaipur Jantar Mantar, Matheran Rly to vie for Heritage status

Jantar Mantar of Jaipur and Matheran Light Railway are in the race along with 30 other new sites for inscription on Unesco's World Heritage List.

The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for inscription of the sites when it meets for its 34th session in Brazil's capital Brasilia from July 25 to August 3.

The 19.97-km-long Matheran Light Railway, which runs from Neral to Matheran in Maharashtra's Raigad district, offer a rich and scenic expanse of the mountain area and its associated eco-sensitive zone.

The Jantar Mantar is located within the boundaries of the City Palace Complex site in Jaipur and its total area is about 1.86 hectares.

During this year's session - to be chaired by Joao Luiz Ferreira, Brazil culture minister and president of the World Heritage Committee - 35 parties to the World Heritage Convention will present properties for inscription. Three of those countries - Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tajikistan - have no properties inscribed on the Heritage List to date.

Thirty-two new properties were submitted for inscription on the Heritage List this year: six natural, 24 cultural and two mixed (i.e. both natural and cultural) properties, including four transnational nominations.

The committee will also review the state of conservation of the 31 World Heritage properties, including Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger and may decide to add to that list new properties whose preservation requires special attention.

To date, the World Heritage List recognises 890 properties of "outstanding universal value", including 689 cultural, 176 natural and 25 mixed properties in 148 states parties.

Cultural properties from India inscribed on the Heritage List are Agra Fort (1983), Ajanta Caves (1983), Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989), Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004), Churches and Convents of Goa (1986), Elephanta Caves (1987), Ellora Caves (1983), Fatehpur Sikri (1986), Chola Temples (1987), Monuments at Hampi (1986), Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984), Monuments at Pattadakal (1987), Humayun's Tomb at Delhi (1993), Khajuraho Monuments (1986), Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya (2002), Mountain Railways of India (1999), Qutb Minar (1993), Red Fort (2007), Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003), Sun Temple at Konark (1984) and Taj Mahal (1983).

The natural properties on the list are Kaziranga National Park (1985), Keoladeo National Park (1985), Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985), Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988) and Sundarbans National Park (1987).

Each year, the committee adds new sites to the List. The sites are proposed by the countries.

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