For India it is important that Delhi bags this title because it would give tourism a boost.
Before Delhi is accorded the tag of a World Heritage City, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation will be sending a team of archaeological experts here in June to examine the heritage sites in New Delhi and Shahjahanabad which had been included in the dossier submitted by the Union Culture Ministry.
“These experts will be from South-East Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Hong Kong who are more familiar with Indian monuments than archaeological experts from Europe and the United States. To ensure unbiased scrutiny of these sites, none of the experts will be from India,” said a senior official of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, which had submitted the dossier to UNESCO in January this year.
After examining the sites, the experts will prepare a report. “Based on the report, UNESCO will eventually decide whether to accord Delhi the status of a World Heritage City or not. The announcement would be made in June 2015.”
Interestingly, INTACH has compartmentalised New Delhi, which includes landmarks like Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House and Connaught Place, and other historical places like and Shahjahanabad built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th Century.
“In the dossier, we have highlighted the fact that New Delhi and Shahjahanabad are two imperial cities. While British architect Edward Lutyens was instrumental in designing New Delhi, which is now known as Lutyens’ Delhi, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan played a pivotal role in outlining the contours of Shahjahanabad. Since Shahjahanabad is dotted with some aesthetically constructed havelis, we are in the process of talking to their owners and restoring them. The dossier has been prepared in a way that Delhi is accorded the title of World Heritage City. India’s nominations have been rejected in the past because the presentations were not comprehensive. This time, we have even included colourful pictures of the sights with their names in the dossier,” said the INTACH official.
For India it is important that Delhi bags this title because it would give tourism a boost. “There will be more visitors to Delhi from various countries to see the hundreds of havelis in Shahjahanabad. We are planning to convert them into tourist lodges. More than tourism, we want to instil pride among the inhabitants of Delhi,” the official added.