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Have you been to these three Indian additions to Unesco’s world heritage list?

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Historic places post 19.7.2016-01

Have you been to these three Indian additions to Unesco’s world heritage list?

If history and heritage are what fire your wanderlust, here’s some news to warm the cockles of your heart.

Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park, Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex and the ruins of Nalanda Mahavira in Bihar have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) list of World Heritage Sites.
This takes the number of Unesco verified heritage sites in India to 35, one of the few countries in the world to gain that distinction.
The new sites were added after much deliberation at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee underway in Istanbul.

Here are some interesting facts about these sites that could whet your appetite for more –

Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP)

KNP, named after the third highest peak in the world, is said to be the finest example of an independent mountain having its own glacial system radiating from its several summits.

KNP is the first mixed heritage site from India, which means it has both natural and cultural importance.

The USP of this park is that each of its altitudinal zones offers characteristic vegetation and live forms of its own. It has more than 550 species and subspecies of birds, which is nearly 30% of the entire bird families found in the entire sub-continent.

The Khangchendzonga Bio Reserve, of which KNP is a part, is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, and has many ecosystems within itself from sub-tropical to arctic and subtropical and East-Himalayan to Alpine. There are many hot springs, caves and lakes—all sacred to the locals. There are a few tribal settlements in the park, all belonging to the Lepcha Tribe.
Among the fauna found here are the Snow Leopard, which is the state animal of Sikkim, rare birds to be found here are the Black headed Crane, the Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Grey Peacock Pheasant, among others.
Extremely rare flora include the Cordyceps sinensis, a fungus plant of medicinal value that grows on the head of a caterpillar.

Best time to visit
The best time of the year to visit the Khangchendzonga National Park is March to May and September to Mid-December.
How to Reach
By Air – Nearest airport is Bagdogra airport, about 222 Km from the Khangchendzonga National Park. Bagdogra airport is well connected by road network to Khangchendzonga National Park.
By Rail – Nearest railway station is Jalpaiguri railway station, about 221 Km from the Khangchendzonga National Park. Jalpaiguri railway station is well connected by road network to Khangchendzonga National Park.
By Road – Khangchendzonga National Park is well connected to Major Cities and Places by road network. There are a number of government and privately operated vehicles that go to Khangchendzonga National Park. The nearest highway is the NH 31A via Sevlok-Gangtok.

Nalanda Mahavihara

Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a university and a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar). The site is located about 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Patna.
At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling all the way from Tibet, China and Central Asia. Nalanda was very likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Muslim Mamluk dynasty under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1200 CE.
While its excavated ruins today only occupy an area of around 12 hectares, Nalanda Mahavihara occupied a far greater area in medieval times and was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. On the grounds were lakes and parks, Nalanda was a residential school, i.e., it had dormitories for students. In its heyday, it is claimed to have accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers.

How to reach-

Air: The nearest airport is at Patna 89 km. Indian Airlines connect Patna to Calcutta, Ranchi, Bombay, Delhi and Lucknow.
• Rail: Though Rajgir (12 km) is the nearest railway station to Nalanda yet the nearest convenient rail head is at Gaya 95 km.
• Road: Nalanda is connected by good road with Rajgir 12 km, Bodh Gaya 110 km, Gaya 95 km, Patna 90 km, Pawapuri 26 km, Bihar Sharif 13 km etc.
• Local Transport: There are no taxis available in Nalanda. Cycle rickshaws and tongas are the only modes of transport.

Chandigarh capitol complex

The Capitol Complex, spread over more than 100 acres in Sector 1, is the prime manifestation of Chandigarh’s architecture designed by renowned French architect Le Corbusier, with the Shivalik hills in the backdrop.
The Capitol Complex is Le Corbusier’s most spectacular work. The magnificent edifices, set against the Shivalik peaks, stand “as massive concrete sculptures, representing the monumental character authority that the complex represents. It is the seat of the government of the States of Punjab and Haryana. It comprises three epoch-making master-pieces: the Secretariat, the High Court and the Legislative Assembly. Separated by large piazzas, the subtle and most evocative grouping of these buildings is of breath-taking beauty.
One of the most significant monuments planned by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh is the Open Hand. Rising 85 feet high from a sunken trench, a giant hand in metal sheets is designed to rotate “like a weather cock, not to show the incertitude of ideas, but to indicate symbolically the direction of wind (that is the state of affairs).”
How to visit
Those who want to see the Capitol Complex can visit the tourist information centre in Sector 1 to register for a tour. For this, one needs to have an identity proof such as a licence or a pan card.

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