Culture: May 2021 Current Affair Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : Culture: May 2021 Current Affair Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


	
79	 																																																																													
8.	CULTURE	
8.1.	TENTATIVE	LIST	OF	UNESCO	WORLD	HERITAGE	SITES	
Why in news? 
Six sites submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India had been accepted by UNESCO for inclusion in the 
tentative list, which is a requirement before the final nomination of any site.  
About World Heritage Sites 
• A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or 
natural significance which is exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common 
importance for present and future generations of all humanity”. 
? These sites are nominated by UNESCO as embodied in an international treaty called the ‘Convention 
concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’ adopted in 1972. 
• Nomination process:  
? Tentative List: It is the first step a country must take by making an ‘inventory' of its important natural 
and cultural heritage sites located within its boundaries.  
? The Nomination File: After UNESCO includes a property in the Tentative List, that country has to prepare 
a nomination document with necessary documentation and maps. This is sent for evaluation to the 
advisory bodies. 
? Final Inscription: Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the World Heritage 
Committee to make the final decision on its inscription on the World Heritage Lists. 
• World Heritage Sites in India: There are 38 sites inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list (30 cultural + 7 
natural+ 1 mixed). 
• Italy and China have the largest number of sites (55 each). 
About the six sites: 
Iconic riverfront 
of the historic city 
of Varanasi (Uttar 
Pradesh) 
 
• The 6.5km long riverfront of River Ganga presents a view of the magnificent architectural row 
of lofty buildings, holy sites and ghats. 
? There are 84 stepped ghats, which is a unique Indian typology of an architectural interface 
of the river with the land 
? Five ghats called Panchatirthis are mentioned in the ancient text Matsya Purana: 
ü Asi 
ü Dashashvamedha 
ü Manikarnika 
ü Panchaganga (believed to be the meeting point of the five rivers- Ganga, Yamuna, 
Sarasvati, Kirana and the Dhutpapa) 
ü Adi Keshava 
• Besides Hinduism, Varanasi is also linked to the cultural, spiritual and religious traditions of 
other major religions: 
? Lord Buddha gave his first sermon "Turning the wheel of Law" in 528 BC at Sarnath near 
Varanasi. 
? According to Jain tradition, it is the birthplace of the 4 Jain Tirthankaras-Suparshvanath 
(7th), Chandraprabhu (8th), Shreyanshnath (11th) and Parshvanath (23rd) 
? Guru Nanak visited Varanasi twice in the 16th century. 
? The Alamgir mosque on Panchganga ghat was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. 
• Other traditions practised here include wooden toy making, saree making, silk weaving, metal, 
wood and terracotta handicrafts, paintings, the use of Sanskrit language and Vedic chanting. 
Temples of 
Kanchipuram 
(Tamil Nadu) 
• Situated on the banks of River Vegavathi, the historic temple town of Kanchipuram once had 
1,000 temples, of which only 126 (108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava) now remain. 
• Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava dynasty from 6th to 9th century CE, under whom 
the Dravidian style of temple architecture began and flourished. 
• Of the 11 temples identified under this nomination, some important ones are: 
? Kailasanathar Temple: Built by the Pallava king Rajasimha I (Narasimhavarman II), it is the 
oldest structure in Kanchipuram. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum contains a unique 16-
sided shivalinga carved out of black granite. 
Page 2


	
79	 																																																																													
8.	CULTURE	
8.1.	TENTATIVE	LIST	OF	UNESCO	WORLD	HERITAGE	SITES	
Why in news? 
Six sites submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India had been accepted by UNESCO for inclusion in the 
tentative list, which is a requirement before the final nomination of any site.  
About World Heritage Sites 
• A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or 
natural significance which is exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common 
importance for present and future generations of all humanity”. 
? These sites are nominated by UNESCO as embodied in an international treaty called the ‘Convention 
concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’ adopted in 1972. 
• Nomination process:  
? Tentative List: It is the first step a country must take by making an ‘inventory' of its important natural 
and cultural heritage sites located within its boundaries.  
? The Nomination File: After UNESCO includes a property in the Tentative List, that country has to prepare 
a nomination document with necessary documentation and maps. This is sent for evaluation to the 
advisory bodies. 
? Final Inscription: Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the World Heritage 
Committee to make the final decision on its inscription on the World Heritage Lists. 
• World Heritage Sites in India: There are 38 sites inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list (30 cultural + 7 
natural+ 1 mixed). 
• Italy and China have the largest number of sites (55 each). 
About the six sites: 
Iconic riverfront 
of the historic city 
of Varanasi (Uttar 
Pradesh) 
 
• The 6.5km long riverfront of River Ganga presents a view of the magnificent architectural row 
of lofty buildings, holy sites and ghats. 
? There are 84 stepped ghats, which is a unique Indian typology of an architectural interface 
of the river with the land 
? Five ghats called Panchatirthis are mentioned in the ancient text Matsya Purana: 
ü Asi 
ü Dashashvamedha 
ü Manikarnika 
ü Panchaganga (believed to be the meeting point of the five rivers- Ganga, Yamuna, 
Sarasvati, Kirana and the Dhutpapa) 
ü Adi Keshava 
• Besides Hinduism, Varanasi is also linked to the cultural, spiritual and religious traditions of 
other major religions: 
? Lord Buddha gave his first sermon "Turning the wheel of Law" in 528 BC at Sarnath near 
Varanasi. 
? According to Jain tradition, it is the birthplace of the 4 Jain Tirthankaras-Suparshvanath 
(7th), Chandraprabhu (8th), Shreyanshnath (11th) and Parshvanath (23rd) 
? Guru Nanak visited Varanasi twice in the 16th century. 
? The Alamgir mosque on Panchganga ghat was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. 
• Other traditions practised here include wooden toy making, saree making, silk weaving, metal, 
wood and terracotta handicrafts, paintings, the use of Sanskrit language and Vedic chanting. 
Temples of 
Kanchipuram 
(Tamil Nadu) 
• Situated on the banks of River Vegavathi, the historic temple town of Kanchipuram once had 
1,000 temples, of which only 126 (108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava) now remain. 
• Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava dynasty from 6th to 9th century CE, under whom 
the Dravidian style of temple architecture began and flourished. 
• Of the 11 temples identified under this nomination, some important ones are: 
? Kailasanathar Temple: Built by the Pallava king Rajasimha I (Narasimhavarman II), it is the 
oldest structure in Kanchipuram. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum contains a unique 16-
sided shivalinga carved out of black granite. 
	
80	 																																																																												
? Ekambaresvara temple: It is one of the five major Shiva temples of Pancha Bootha 
Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element – Earth.  
ü The temple’s Raja Gopuram is one of the tallest (57m) in south India and was built by 
the Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya.  
ü One notable feature is the Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, or the “hallway with a thousand 
pillars”. 
? Varadharaja Perumal temple: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is one of the 108 Divya Desams 
visited by all the 12 Alwar saints. It has a ‘hundred pillar’ Mandapam built by the 
Vijayanagara kings. 
? Ulagalanda Perumal Temple: This temple has a unique feature of having four Divya 
Desams in the same complex, which is not seen anywhere. 
• Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk weaving. Temple motifs such as gopuram, peacocks, 
nightingales, rudraksham beads and floral designs are part of the intricate weaving found on 
Kanchipuram sarees. 
Megalithic site of 
Hire Benkal 
(Karnataka) 
• The site of Hire Benkal consists of almost 1000 megalithic burial structures situated on a 
granite peak for more than 2500 years. Major architectural varieties found are dolmens, cairns, 
passage chambers, stone circle, menhirs, anthropomorphic figure carved from granite, etc 
? Megalith is derived from two greek words-‘megas’ meaning large and ‘lithos’ meaning 
stone. They are constructed either as burial sites or commemorative memorials.  
• Another unique feature of Hire Benkal is prehistoric rock paintings. 11 rock shelters have been 
discovered with motifs like human figures, horse rider holding battle-axe, row of deers, bull 
with long horns, peacock, etc. 
• The site provides an exceptional insight into the funerary and ritual practices of the Iron Age – 
Megalithic Culture of Indian Protohistory. 
• In India, megaliths are seen in Peninsular South, Deccan plateau, Vindhyas and North West 
region of Indian subcontinent. 
Bhedaghat- 
Lametaghat in 
Narmada Valley 
(Madhya 
Pradesh) 
• Bhedaghat is the only place in river Narmada’s course where it falls into a 30-meter deep gorge 
forming the Dhuandhar fall and flows through the narrow gorges. 
? Here the towering marble rock rises perpendicularly on both sides, creating a stunning 
spectacle. It is referred to as the Grand Canyon of India. 
• Bhedaghat area is the only example of regional metamorphism in limestone within a short 
distance of 2 to 3 km in the world. 
• Besides, dinosaur fossils have been found in the Narmada valley particularly in this area. 
• Narmada originates at Amarkantak and flows west in the rift valley between the Satpura and 
Vindhya Range. 
Satpura Tiger 
Reserve (Madhya 
Pradesh) 
 
• Located at Hoshangabad, Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) is a prime example of a central Indian 
highlands ecosystem.  
• It supports 17% of India’s tiger population and 12% of its tiger habitat. 
• STR was declared as the first biosphere reserve of Madhya Pradesh in the year 1999. It consists 
of three protected areas- Satpura National Park, Bori Sanctuary and Pachmarhi Sanctuary.  
• Archeological significance: There are 55 rock shelters which are 1500 to 10000 years old with 
wall paintings depicting animals like elephants, tigers, deers, and porcupines. 
Maratha Military 
Architecture in 
Maharashtra  
• This consists of 14 forts from the era of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji. 
Important among them includes: 
? Shivneri Fort: It is the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1630. 
? Alibag/ Kulaba Fort: It was chosen as one of the forts to be modeled as a naval base by 
Chhatrapati Shivaji. 
? Rajgad Fort: It is one of the forts kept out from the Mughals when Shivaji signed the Treaty 
of Purandar (1655) and also the longest occupied by him (26 years). 
• The networks of forts built on hills, land and sea are excellent examples of how existing 
terrain/ landscape was used for developing the guerrilla warfare strategy by Shivaji and 
Maratha army to combat the Mughals on the landside and European coastal powers from the 
seaside. 
*Note: The location of these places on map is indicated under the Places in News section. 
Page 3


	
79	 																																																																													
8.	CULTURE	
8.1.	TENTATIVE	LIST	OF	UNESCO	WORLD	HERITAGE	SITES	
Why in news? 
Six sites submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India had been accepted by UNESCO for inclusion in the 
tentative list, which is a requirement before the final nomination of any site.  
About World Heritage Sites 
• A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or 
natural significance which is exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common 
importance for present and future generations of all humanity”. 
? These sites are nominated by UNESCO as embodied in an international treaty called the ‘Convention 
concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’ adopted in 1972. 
• Nomination process:  
? Tentative List: It is the first step a country must take by making an ‘inventory' of its important natural 
and cultural heritage sites located within its boundaries.  
? The Nomination File: After UNESCO includes a property in the Tentative List, that country has to prepare 
a nomination document with necessary documentation and maps. This is sent for evaluation to the 
advisory bodies. 
? Final Inscription: Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the World Heritage 
Committee to make the final decision on its inscription on the World Heritage Lists. 
• World Heritage Sites in India: There are 38 sites inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list (30 cultural + 7 
natural+ 1 mixed). 
• Italy and China have the largest number of sites (55 each). 
About the six sites: 
Iconic riverfront 
of the historic city 
of Varanasi (Uttar 
Pradesh) 
 
• The 6.5km long riverfront of River Ganga presents a view of the magnificent architectural row 
of lofty buildings, holy sites and ghats. 
? There are 84 stepped ghats, which is a unique Indian typology of an architectural interface 
of the river with the land 
? Five ghats called Panchatirthis are mentioned in the ancient text Matsya Purana: 
ü Asi 
ü Dashashvamedha 
ü Manikarnika 
ü Panchaganga (believed to be the meeting point of the five rivers- Ganga, Yamuna, 
Sarasvati, Kirana and the Dhutpapa) 
ü Adi Keshava 
• Besides Hinduism, Varanasi is also linked to the cultural, spiritual and religious traditions of 
other major religions: 
? Lord Buddha gave his first sermon "Turning the wheel of Law" in 528 BC at Sarnath near 
Varanasi. 
? According to Jain tradition, it is the birthplace of the 4 Jain Tirthankaras-Suparshvanath 
(7th), Chandraprabhu (8th), Shreyanshnath (11th) and Parshvanath (23rd) 
? Guru Nanak visited Varanasi twice in the 16th century. 
? The Alamgir mosque on Panchganga ghat was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. 
• Other traditions practised here include wooden toy making, saree making, silk weaving, metal, 
wood and terracotta handicrafts, paintings, the use of Sanskrit language and Vedic chanting. 
Temples of 
Kanchipuram 
(Tamil Nadu) 
• Situated on the banks of River Vegavathi, the historic temple town of Kanchipuram once had 
1,000 temples, of which only 126 (108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava) now remain. 
• Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava dynasty from 6th to 9th century CE, under whom 
the Dravidian style of temple architecture began and flourished. 
• Of the 11 temples identified under this nomination, some important ones are: 
? Kailasanathar Temple: Built by the Pallava king Rajasimha I (Narasimhavarman II), it is the 
oldest structure in Kanchipuram. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum contains a unique 16-
sided shivalinga carved out of black granite. 
	
80	 																																																																												
? Ekambaresvara temple: It is one of the five major Shiva temples of Pancha Bootha 
Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element – Earth.  
ü The temple’s Raja Gopuram is one of the tallest (57m) in south India and was built by 
the Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya.  
ü One notable feature is the Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, or the “hallway with a thousand 
pillars”. 
? Varadharaja Perumal temple: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is one of the 108 Divya Desams 
visited by all the 12 Alwar saints. It has a ‘hundred pillar’ Mandapam built by the 
Vijayanagara kings. 
? Ulagalanda Perumal Temple: This temple has a unique feature of having four Divya 
Desams in the same complex, which is not seen anywhere. 
• Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk weaving. Temple motifs such as gopuram, peacocks, 
nightingales, rudraksham beads and floral designs are part of the intricate weaving found on 
Kanchipuram sarees. 
Megalithic site of 
Hire Benkal 
(Karnataka) 
• The site of Hire Benkal consists of almost 1000 megalithic burial structures situated on a 
granite peak for more than 2500 years. Major architectural varieties found are dolmens, cairns, 
passage chambers, stone circle, menhirs, anthropomorphic figure carved from granite, etc 
? Megalith is derived from two greek words-‘megas’ meaning large and ‘lithos’ meaning 
stone. They are constructed either as burial sites or commemorative memorials.  
• Another unique feature of Hire Benkal is prehistoric rock paintings. 11 rock shelters have been 
discovered with motifs like human figures, horse rider holding battle-axe, row of deers, bull 
with long horns, peacock, etc. 
• The site provides an exceptional insight into the funerary and ritual practices of the Iron Age – 
Megalithic Culture of Indian Protohistory. 
• In India, megaliths are seen in Peninsular South, Deccan plateau, Vindhyas and North West 
region of Indian subcontinent. 
Bhedaghat- 
Lametaghat in 
Narmada Valley 
(Madhya 
Pradesh) 
• Bhedaghat is the only place in river Narmada’s course where it falls into a 30-meter deep gorge 
forming the Dhuandhar fall and flows through the narrow gorges. 
? Here the towering marble rock rises perpendicularly on both sides, creating a stunning 
spectacle. It is referred to as the Grand Canyon of India. 
• Bhedaghat area is the only example of regional metamorphism in limestone within a short 
distance of 2 to 3 km in the world. 
• Besides, dinosaur fossils have been found in the Narmada valley particularly in this area. 
• Narmada originates at Amarkantak and flows west in the rift valley between the Satpura and 
Vindhya Range. 
Satpura Tiger 
Reserve (Madhya 
Pradesh) 
 
• Located at Hoshangabad, Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) is a prime example of a central Indian 
highlands ecosystem.  
• It supports 17% of India’s tiger population and 12% of its tiger habitat. 
• STR was declared as the first biosphere reserve of Madhya Pradesh in the year 1999. It consists 
of three protected areas- Satpura National Park, Bori Sanctuary and Pachmarhi Sanctuary.  
• Archeological significance: There are 55 rock shelters which are 1500 to 10000 years old with 
wall paintings depicting animals like elephants, tigers, deers, and porcupines. 
Maratha Military 
Architecture in 
Maharashtra  
• This consists of 14 forts from the era of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji. 
Important among them includes: 
? Shivneri Fort: It is the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1630. 
? Alibag/ Kulaba Fort: It was chosen as one of the forts to be modeled as a naval base by 
Chhatrapati Shivaji. 
? Rajgad Fort: It is one of the forts kept out from the Mughals when Shivaji signed the Treaty 
of Purandar (1655) and also the longest occupied by him (26 years). 
• The networks of forts built on hills, land and sea are excellent examples of how existing 
terrain/ landscape was used for developing the guerrilla warfare strategy by Shivaji and 
Maratha army to combat the Mughals on the landside and European coastal powers from the 
seaside. 
*Note: The location of these places on map is indicated under the Places in News section. 
	
81	 																																																																							
8.2.	RECLINING	BUDDHA	
Why in news? 
India’s largest statue of the Reclining Buddha is 
being installed at the Buddha International Welfare 
Mission temple in Bodh Gaya. 
About reclining Buddha 
• A reclining Buddha statue represents The 
Buddha during his last illness, about to enter 
Parinirvana - the stage of great salvation after 
death that can only be attained by enlightened 
souls. 
• Statues of Reclining Buddha show him lying on 
his right side, his head resting on a cushion or 
on his right elbow. It is meant to show that all beings have the potential to be awakened and be released 
from the cycle of death and rebirth. 
• The Reclining Buddha was first depicted in Gandhara art - which began in between 50 BC and 75 AD, and 
peaked during the Kushana period from the 1
st
 – 5
th
 centuries AD. 
Reclining Buddha in India 
• Cave No. 26 of Ajanta contains a 24-foot-long and nine-foot-tall sculpture of the Reclining Buddha, believed 
to have been carved in the 5th century AD. 
• Kushinagar (present day Uttar Pradesh – where Buddha attained parinirvana) has a 6-metre-long red 
sandstone monolith statue of the Reclining Buddha inside the Parinirvana Stupa. 
Reclining Buddha outside India 
• In Sri Lanka and India, the Buddha is mostly shown in sitting postures, while the reclining postures are more 
prevalent in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia. 
• The largest Reclining Buddha in the world is the 600-foot Winsein Tawya Buddha built in 1992 in 
Mawlamyine, Myanmar. 
• The Bhamala Buddha Parinirvana in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is considered the oldest 
statue of its kind in the world. It is over 1800 years old. 
• In the late 15th century, a 70-metre statue of the Reclining Buddha was built at the Hindu temple site of 
Baphuon in Cambodia’s Angkor. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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