If sources in the Culture Ministry have to be believed, Indian part of Kailash Mansarovar has been included in the UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. Covering an area of 6,836 sq km within India, the area is flanked in the east by Nepal and bordered by China on the north. Both China and Nepal have already proposed the landscape as a world heritage site to UNESCO. In April, the Archaeological Survey of India, which is under the Culture Ministry, had sent the proposal mooted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to UNESCO. In the proposal, Kailash Mansarovar is in the mixed category – both as a natural as well as a cultural heritage.
The Indian site is part of the larger landscape of 31,000 sq km referred to as the ‘Kailash Sacred Landscape’ constituting the Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in the remote south-western portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and adjacent districts in the far-western region of Nepal.
If it comes through, Uttarakhand, a major transit point of the annual Kailash Mansarovar yatra, will benefit as communities living along the yatra route can be incorporated in the plan to develop sustainable tourism for the site.
Presently, there are 44 Indian sites on UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. Further, there are 37 Indian properties which are inscribed on the World Heritage Site.
Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.