(Last Updated on : 08/01/2009)
Some of the most striking monuments in India are on the Deccan Plateau, covering the South Indian area of the country. Over twenty years ago, the UNESCO, through its World Heritage Committee, began the system of declaring certain outstanding monuments and sites, spread all over the world, as 'World Heritage'. There are around 650 cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List. Around 30 of these are in India and among these, nearly 50% are situated in South India.
In South India, the group of Pallava monuments at Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu) enjoys the distinction of being the first to be declared World Heritage' in the year 1985. The Vijaya-nagar monuments at Hampi (Karnataka) joined the honour list in 1986. The Chalukya monuments at Pattadakkal (Karnataka) and the Chola Brihadishvara temple at Tanjavur (Tamil Nadu) were declared World Heritage' in 1987.
In the last two years, the great Chola temples at Darasuram and Gangaikondacholapuram (both in Tamil Nadu) have also been included in the World Heritage List. The Mountain Railway in the Nilgris district, again in Tamil Nadu, too has joined the list.
The World Heritage status accords the monument or sites a special position or recognition, more publicity, conservation efforts, tourist inflow and revenue. In the coming years, amny more monuments of South India are sure to appear on the World Heritage List.