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World Heritage Day

Posted by
on April 18, 2014 at 04:22 PM

Today is 18th April – World Heritage Day. TFOD celebrates World Heritage Day; with a quick look at some of India’s World Heritage Sites!

© Courtesy of sources & research

World Heritage, as the term suggests, is anything – natural or manmade – that has special cultural, physical and historical significance; that deserves to be protected. Architecture, as a tangible art, outlives humans and stays on as proof of the time it was built in. it tells stories – of the people that lived, their political, social, economic and cultural values and ideologies. Across the planet, people have made buildings for living, working, praying, for celebrations and burials, for harvesting water and saluting their heroes. This therefore becomes one of the most significant aspects of World Heritage.

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. It is therefore imperative that we, as a race, make a commitment to protect and preserve it – for our future generations. The effort to preserve and protect the heritage has to necessarily be a sustained one; however, dedicating a ‘day’ to it, adds value to the ‘cause’. The special day offers an opportunity to raise public awareness about our diverse cultural heritage. The idea mooted by ICOMOS (International Council for Monuments and Sites) during a symposium in Tunisia on 18th April 1982; was later also approved in the UNESCO General Conference in November 1983. Subsequently a resolution was passed, declaring 18th April every year to be celebrated as “International Day for Monuments and Sites”; popularly known as World Heritage Day.

The aim of the International Day for Monuments and Sites is to encourage local communities and individuals throughout the world to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it. 18 April is celebrated all over the world by a wide range of organisations and many ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees. Events to celebrate the occasion include scientific conferences and symposia, exhibitions, photography competitions, excursions, press conferences, the awarding of prizes, releasing press releases, publishing magazine articles and projecting films, among others.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states' parties which are elected by their General Assembly. India has 30 listed World Heritage Sites from a total of 981 as of 2013. Conservation efforts to protect the listed sites are commendable; but there are equally commendable efforts taken by dedicated conservationists and organizations to protect and preserve beautiful monuments the world over – regardless of their ‘status’ in the World Heritage listing. 

Today, on the occasion of World Heritage Day, we, at The Future of Design applaud and salute the relentless efforts of all conservationists – as they are the true guardians of the future… 

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