The Harappan city of Dholavira, in present-day Gujarat, was on Tuesday named the 40th Indian site on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
UNESCO’s announcement came just days after another site, Ramappa Temple in Telangana, was admitted to the list on Sunday.
“The ancient city of Dholavira is one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). Discovered in 1968, the site is set apart by its unique characteristics, such as its water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures,” UNESCO said.
A range of artefacts of copper, shell, stone, jewellery, terracotta and ivory had been found at the site. “The two newly inscribed World Heritage Sites offer great insight into the knowledge and ways of life of earlier societies, customs, and communities,” UNESCO said.
Located in the Kutch district, Dholavira is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilisation dating back to about 4,500 years ago. The site had been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014 and India had submitted its dossier in January 2020, a Culture Ministry statement said.
Delighted, says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a series of tweets that he was delighted by the development.
“Dholavira was an important urban centre and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology. I first visited Dholavira during my student days and was mesmerised by the place. As CM of Gujarat, I had the opportunity to work on aspects relating to heritage conservation and restoration in Dholavira. Our team also worked to create tourism-friendly infrastructure there,” Mr. Modi said.
Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy said the inclusion of Dholavira was another feather in India’s cap, putting it in the league of countries with 40 or more World Heritage sites. Ten of these sites had been added since 2014, when the Modi government first came to power, he said.
“With this successful nomination, India has 40 world heritage properties overall, which includes 32 cultural, seven natural and one mixed property,” the Culture Ministry said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said via a tweet: “It is a matter of immense pride that the @UNESCO has conferred the World Heritage tag to Dholavira, a Harappan city in Kutch. This shows the firm commitment of our Honourable Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji towards promoting Indian culture and heritage.”