UNESCO declares Nalanda Mahavihara or Nalanda University World Heritage Site. With the inclusion of Nalanda, this would be the second UNESCO Heritage Site after Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya. This decision was taken at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s 40th session, currently ongoing at Istanbul, Turkey. The Nalanda site comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD.
The ruins of Nalanda university located about 90 kms from Patna in the eponymous district, in its hey days had learning centres, monasteries, and a gigantic library that attracted students of various disciplines from far and wide. Nalanda attracted scholars from the Indian subcontinent and beyond and received patronage of local rulers and foreign kings for unbroken period of 800 years.
The inclusion of Nalanda and three other sites from China, Iran and Micronesia was announced at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul in Turkey. The World Heritage Committee also selected Micronesia’s artificial islets of Nan Madol and simultaneously placed it on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
UNESCO adds four new sites to World Heritage List
The Committee – which has been meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, for its 40th session since 10 July – selected Micronesia’s artificial islets of Nan Madol, China‘s Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, India ‘s The Nalanda Mahavihara, Iran‘s Persian Qanat.
What is a World Heritage Site?
- A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being 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 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.