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PM Modi’s birthplace among 3 new sites in UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage List

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthplace Vadnagar has been included in the tentative list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites

Three more heritage sites in India have made it to the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites making the total to 52. These are Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthplace and hometown Vadnagar and Sun Temple at Modhera, both located in Gujarat’s Mehsana district. The third site is the rock-cut relief sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura.

According to the UNESCO website, a Tentative List “is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination.”

Vadnagar is a historic town where human habitation dates back to more than 2,700 years. Its evolution over a period of time is reflected in its early historic fortified settlement, hinterland port, centre for industries of shells and beads, late medieval town, religious centre/temple town, and a significant junction on trade routes and mercantile town.

The historical authenticity of the town is proved by fortification along the lake dating back to 3rd and 4th CE and discovery of Indo-Pacific marine shells and glass beads.

As per UNESCO website: “The present urban fabric of the town effectively showcases the continuity of the historic planning and architectural design elements. The continuity of the historic town proves its resilience/outstanding universal value unlike the site like Harappa and Kalibangan, which were abandoned eventually.”

Sun Temple Modhera
Located in Mehsana district in Gujarat, Sun Temple has made it to the tentative list

Modhera’s Sun Temple is situated on the left bank of Pushpavati river in Becharaji taluka of Mehsana district. It was built in Maru-Gurjara architectural style. The temple includes the main temple shrine (garbhagriha), a hall (gadhamandapa), an outer hall or assembly hall (Sabhamandapa or rangamandapa) and a sacred pool (Kunda), which is now called Ramakunda. Facing east, the temple has been constructed using bright yellow sandstone.

Unakoti which literally means one less than a crore is a place of worship celebrating Lord Shiva. One of the prime tourist spots in India, it is located in the Kailashahar sub-division of Tripura. There are two types of images in Unakoti — rock-carved figures and stone images. Standing out among them is the central Shiva head known as Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava which is 30 feet high and includes an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high.

Shiva Head Unakoti
The rock-carved figures and stone images of Tripura’s Unakoti are now part of the list

The announcement regarding this inclusion was made by G. Kishan Reddy, Union Culture Minister on his Twitter. His post read: “Congratulations India! India adds 3 more sites to @UNESCO’s Tentative List: 01 Vadnagar – A multi-layered historic town, Gujarat; 02 Sun Temple, Modhera and its adjoining monuments; 03 Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District.”

His tweet was shared by the Archaeological Survey of India.