Gujarat's Rani-ki-Vav recognised as World Heritage site

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June 23: Rani-ki-Vav, an 11th century step-well in Gujarat, has been approved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO which described it as "exceptional example of technological development" in utilising ground water resources.

"Stepwell Rani-ki-Vav has been approved for inscription on the World Heritage list. The recognition was granted by the UNESCO at the World Heritage Committee Session currently on at Doha, Qatar," the Culture Ministry said here today.

"UNESCO has recognised this masterpiece as an exceptional example of technological development in utilising ground water resources in a single component, water management system and it illustrates the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions," it said in a statement.

Rani-ki-Vav, a unique type of Indian subterranean architectural structure, marks the zenith in the evolution of step-wells in India, it said, adding that it is a particularly large and complex example of a step=well with seven storeys of ornamented panels of sculptures and relief representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.

Following the flooding and disappearance of the Saraswati River due to geotectonic changes, the property was buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries and has been preserved underneath in an exceptional state of conservation by the Archaeological Survey of India.

It was nominated by ASI for the World Heritage List of UNESCO in February last year.

The inscription of Rani-ki-Vav on the World Heritage List as the single most example of a step-well is a testimony to the traditional water systems of India, it said.

There are already 30 World Heritage Sites in India -- 24 Cultural sites and six Natural properties. The Gujarat's step-well will be the 31st such site in the country.

Expressing happiness over inclusion of Rani-ki-Vav in UNESCO World Heritage List, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel hailed it as "one more achievement" of the state.

The famous 'Khushboo Gujarat Ki' campaign by the state Tourism Department also highlighted the Patan-based monument in one of their recent television commercials featuring mega star Amitabh Bachchan.

Official sources said the issue of the inclusion of Great Himalayan National Park, in Himachal Pradesh, in the list of World Heritage sites is likely to be taken up tomorrow during the ongoing 38th World Heritage Session at Doha, Qatar.

"Inclusion of a site in the list of World Heritage is the recognition of its outstanding universal values. This would also bring both the sites in the international tourism map, boosting the inflow of inbound tourists to these sites," they said.

PTI

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