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Taj Mahal - The World Heritage Site

Taj Mahal Tourist Information - The World Heritage Site

Taj Mahal is one of the most exquisite and beautiful monuments in the world, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. This white marble mausoleum is one of the most achingly beautiful architectural achievements in the world. It is considered to be a symbol of enduring love and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. This exceptional monument inscribed on the world heritage list in 1983 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seek to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Standards Set by UNESCO to qualify for World Heritage Site

To qualify for World Heritage Site the nominated sites must be of "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of the ten criteria.

Cultural criteria

1. It should represent a masterpiece of human creative genius.

2. It exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

3. It bears a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.

4. It should be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

5. It should be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.

6. It should be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria).

Natural criteria

1. It should contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.

2. It should be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.

3. It should be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.

4. It should contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-site conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Following are the World Heritage Sites in India

1. Taj Mahal (1983)

2. Agra Fort (1983)

3. Ajanta Caves (1983)

4. Ellora Caves (1983)

5. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)

6. Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)

7. Kaziranga National Park (1985)

8. Keoladeo National Park (1985)

9. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)

10. Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)

11. Fatehpur Sikri (1986)

12. Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)

13. Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)

14. Elephanta Caves (1987)

15. Great Living Chola Temples (1987, 2004)

16. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)

17. Sundarbans National Park (1987)

18. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)Sundarbans National Park (1987)

19. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)

20. Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (1993)

21. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)

22. Mountain Railways of India (1999, 2005)

23. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)

24. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)

25. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)

26. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)

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