Six majestic hill forts in Rajasthan, including the Amber fort on Saturday got cultural World Heritage site status by UNESCO taking the total number of properties with this recognition in the state to eight.
Considering the forts situated on different locations as a serial site, the World Heritage Committee in its 37th meeting in Phnom Penh in Cambodia inscribed it on the World Heritage List, state tourism minister Bina Kak told reporters.
The serial site includes forts of Amber, Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Jaisalmer and Gagron in the districts of Jaipur, Chittaurgarh, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur,Jaisalmer and Jhalawar respectively.
"It is a matter for pride for Rajasthan and for the country as a whole. We worked hard to make the nomination of the forts best possible. "These forts will now receive enhanced international recognition the way the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur did after being selected in the World Heritage List in 2010," she said.
"The selection will also pave way for other monuments to be nominated for being included in the World Heritage List. "In fact, the work relating to Stepwells of Abhaneri, Bandikui, Bundi as well as the Fresco paintings of Shekhawati region for being submitted for consideration to UNESCO list has already started," the minister said.
The state now has total 8 properties (6 forts, one national park and one observatory) with the UNESCO world site status, Kak highlighted.
The serial site of historic forts having eclectic architecture, some up to 20 kilometres in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely states that flourished in the region.
The forts use the natural defences offered by the landscape like hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centres, palaces, trading centres and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music and the arts.
Some of the urban centres in the forts have survived, as have many of the site's temples and other sacred buildings. The forts also feature extensive water harvesting structures, largely still in use today.
Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, the wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic migratory birds, was the state's fist site to get the UNESCO status in 1985 and it was followed by the celebratory astronomical observatory in Jaipur, Jantar-Mantar, which was inscribed on the list in 2010.