It’s difficult not to notice the term ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in the travel world today. But how much would you be able to reveal about what a UNESCO World Heritage Site is before having to change the subject? India’s Western Ghat’s have recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, so here’s a bit more info both on UNESCO and on the Ghats.
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of which is to ‘contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.’ Quite a mouthful isn’t it? Bottom line – UNESCO is determined to preserve the areas of the world that deserve conservation and protection. Without this protection, many incredible sites would face destruction, effectively removing the evidence of ancient cultures and extraordinary natural features from the planet forever. What’s more, the publicity that results from the classification of these places puts them on the international radar, building interest and awareness, and generating income for local people who benefit from the revenue that tourism generates.
India has an incredible 29 sites listed by UNESCO as properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. Most recently, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats was awarded Natural UNESCO World Heritage status. Older even than the Himalaya mountains, the Western Ghats are hugely important – playing a massive part in moderating the tropical climate of the region and influencing the Indian monsoon weather pattern too. The forests of the region are one of the world’s best examples of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests in the world, home to hundreds of species of threatened plants and animals. What’s more, the area features some of India’s best tea plantations. (Visit the Western Ghats with us – click here for more information.)
Other UNESCO sites in India include Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, Agra’s Red Fort complex, Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar and of course the Taj Mahal. See details of all 29 of India’s UNESCO World Heritage sites here.