Jaipur walled city gets Unesco heritage seal

The walled city of Jaipur, known globally as Pink City, has finally become a Unesco world heritage site. It is India’s first planned city founded by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, and is only the second Indian city to feature on the prestigious list.

The decision was taken on Saturday in Azerbaijan’s Baku at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee that will conclude on July 10.

In 2017, old Ahmedabad was India’s first city to win the heritage’ tag. In 2018, the Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles around Oval Maidan and Marine Drive in Mumbai were chosen.

The campaign for the 292-year-old Jaipur, designed by Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, had started in 2015 when it was first nominated. Its planning shows an “interchange of ancient Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas” that resulted in the form of the city, a Unesco statement has said.

The city houses various architectural styles, an example of the amalgamation of cultures. The statement noted that Jaipur was “also an exceptional example of a late medieval trade town in South Asia and defined new concepts for a thriving trade and commercial hub. In addition, the city is associated with living traditions in the form of crafts that have national and international recognition.”

The India representative at Baku handed the win to Rajasthan’s people. “It’s a proud moment for a proud land and proud people — the men and women of Rajasthan. The credit is rightly theirs for having nurtured and protected this heritage for generations,” he said.

The achievement is especially well-earned for Jaipur, as the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) had recently put the proposal on “deferral”.

“It’s a proud moment for the state government to bag this tag. ICOMOS had recommended a deferral. However, keen on the title, the state took a series of management related steps which were appreciated and helped us gain the title,” an official of the Local Self Government department said.

PM Modi tweeted his happiness on the development. “The city of Jaipur today has been given the honour, privilege and responsibility of being inscribed on the list of world heritage.”

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