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Chandigarh, Sikkim park make it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

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Le Palais de l'Assemblee - Chandigarh - Inde - 1965 - Le Corbusier - ©F.X. Bouchart - F.L.C./Le Corbusier /Artedia

Istanbul/New Delhi: UNESCO today listed Chandigarh and Sikkim’s national park home to the world’s third highest peak Mount Khangchendzonga among its World Heritage Sites, approving all three nominations linked to India this session. Today’s approval is besides the archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar entering the list at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul.

The meeting had resumed for a day today, after being suspended a day earlier due to a failed coup bid in Turkey which claimed over 260 lives.

The Paris-based body listed Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s works – including the Indian city of Chandigarh which he planned in the 1950s – among its World Heritage Sites. It said the 17 sites spread over seven countries are a “testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past”.


“The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh (India), the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo (Japan), the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina) and the Unite d’habitation in Marseille (France) reflect the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.

“These masterpieces of creative genius also attest to the internationalisation of architectural practice across the planet,” it said in an official statement. In another major recognition, Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park – home to the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga – made it to the list.

The Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. “Mythological stories are associated with this mountain and with a great number of natural elements (e.g. caves, rivers, lakes, etc.) that are the object of worship by the indigenous people of Sikkim. The sacred meanings of these stories and practices have been integrated with Buddhist beliefs and constitute the basis for Sikkimese identity,” the statement said.

A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as being of ‘special cultural or physical significance’.