Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rani-ki-Vav to figure in Unesco World Heritage list

Experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a body which has a special responsibility as adviser to Unesco on world heritage sites, has favoured including the 11th century Rani-ki-Vav step well in Patan in the list of world heritage monuments.

ICOMOS had communicated its decision to the ministry of culture last week. The council's opinion is the final step in inscribing the step well as a world heritage monument in its upcoming 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, scheduled in Doha, Qatar, from June 15-25.

Once declared a Unesco World Heritage site, Rani-ki-Vav will be second in Gujarat after the Champaner-Pavagadh group of monuments to earn this coveted status. The historic Walled City of Ahmedabad is still on the tentative list of Unesco.

ICOMOS has considered two outstanding universal values (OUV) - out of the total nine - for the step well, including "masterpiece of human creative genius" and a monument which stands for "significant stages in human history".

Shikha Jain, member secretary, advisory committee on world heritage in India, told TOI, "ICOMOS has suggested Rani-ki-Vav to be inscribed as a World Heritage site."

An ICOMOS team had visited Patan in September last year and conducted a detailed study. It even talked to locals on how they perceived the step well and what it meant to them. The ICOMOS team was led by professor Zhang Jie of Tsinghua University, China. Jie was associated with conservation of the Dong Village Cultural Landscape (CDVCL), which was hidden deep in mountain area of China Southwest. Other experts - Shikha Jain, and ASI officials Satyabhama Badrinath and K C Nauriyal - were also present during the inspection.

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