India has good reason to celebrate after the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed a couple of new sites in India onto its list of world wonders.
The work of architectural inspiration Le Corbusier in Chandigarh makes its onto the list for its “outstanding contribution to the modern movement”. On the other side of the country, at the heart of the Himalayan range in Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park is described as “uniquely diverse.”
Chandigarh, Le Corbusier and concrete
Chandigarh, the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, is the place where Le Corbusier’s went to work in India.
India’s first post independence Prime Minister, Pandit Jawarhalal Nehru didn’t just want a new city to be created, he wanted one that was “symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the past”.
Nehru liked what Le Corbusier was up to and told him to build such a city from scratch. Chandigarh is what happened. Love or loathe what Le Corbusier calls his “patient research” into new architectural design, Chandigarh is a city that has been designed, planned and executed in way like no other India metropolis.
The Complexe du Capitole, which houses the city’s administrative centre, “reflects the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.”, says UNESCO.
To find out more information about Chandigarh the tourism board has pretty handy website. Have a look.
Heading to the hills
Moving on from Chandigarh and from one extreme to the other, the second reason for celebration is Khangchendzonga National Park, a natural wonder where there’s no concrete in sight.
It’s on the list because of its unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, according to UNESCO. The park also includes the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. Sounds impressive, no?
UNESCO adds that the mythological stories associated with the park’s mountains are the object of worship, and how they have informed Buddhist beliefs and the basis of Sikkimese identity make the site of special interest.
The park was commissioned in 1977, so getting the UNESCO award gives the Sikkimese another reason to celebrate the parks fortieth birthday next year.
For more information check out this site.
UNESCO have kindly highlghted two more places for me to add to the list of sights to see in India. They are very kind.