Dholavira, the Harappan-era archaeological site in the Kutch district of Gujarat, received the World Heritage Site tag from UNESCO on Tuesday.
While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation in India to get the recognition.
The Harappan-era village earned the distinction at the 44th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at Fuzhou, China.
Recently, the UN body also included the Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple in Telangana in the list.
With this, India now has 40 world heritage sites. Only Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France have more.
The 40 world heritage sites in India:
1. Agra Fort
2. Ajanta Caves
3. Ellora Caves
4. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
5. Mountain Railways of India
6. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
7. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
8. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
9. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
10. Sun Temple, Konark
11. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
12. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
13. Red Fort Complex
14. Kaziranga National Park
15. Keoladeo National Park
16. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
17. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
18. Churches and Convents of Goa
19. Fatehpur Sikri
20. Group of Monuments at Hampi
21. The Taj Mahal
22. Elephanta Caves
23. Great Living Chola Temples 13
24. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
25. Sundarbans National Park
26. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
27. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
28. Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
29. Western Ghats
30. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat
31. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
32. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area
33. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar
34. Khangchendzonga National Park
35. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement
36. Dholavira, a Harappan-era city
37. Historic City of Ahmedabad
38. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai
39. Jaipur City, Rajasthan
40. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana
UNESCO, on its website, called Dholavira as ‘one of the best preserved urban settlements from the period in Southeast Asia’.
Discovered in the 1960s by ASI’s Jagat Pati Joshi, Dholavira has continuously been researched and excavated since 1990 by the archeological body and has also opened up new developments in the study of the Indus Valley Civilisation. There have been several other major sites uncovered from the Bronze-era civilization that include Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar and Lothal.
Dholavira has been noted for its spectacular planning and architecture.
What is a world heritage site?
A natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognised as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. These sites represent unique, or the most significant or best, examples of the world's cultural and/or natural heritage.
These sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO). World heritage sites include forests, lakes, monuments, buildings and cities.
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.