UNESCO World Heritage

13 UNESCO Listed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of India

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India’s cultural heritage is matchless. Cultural Heritage of India that does not limit itself to monuments, collections of objects or a particular places; it also includes traditions that have been passed through generations as a way of life. The Intangible Cultural Heritage of India includes social practices, festivals, rituals, oral traditions, knowledge, performing arts, and particular skills to produce traditional crafts. In India, in its centuries of existence, vast cultural diversity, heritage and population, intangible cultural heritage is found in every nook and very corner of the country.

In changing times, the cultural heritage is being lost and to preserve this vast wealth, UNESCO lists these cultural practices at Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For the tarveles exploring India, the cultural heritage is an incredible experience that makes you fall in love with the colourful kaleipdoscpe of the country.

India has a total of 13 such representative ones in the list:

1. Yoga

Yoga in India

Yoga is an ancient art of health and wellness. It is a holistic knowledge of unifying the mind with body and soul. It is a traditional approach of spiritual, mental and physical well-being taught by the ascetics (rishis) who lead a life of discipline. Yoga comprises a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting, etc. The intangible cultural heritage is one of the reasons to visit India.

Where to go in India to learn about Yoga?

Rishikesh is the Yoga capital of the world and the must-visit place for yoga in India. Bangalore, Kerala, Goa and are the popular places.

2. Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela

The holy gathering of Kumbh Mela is one of the largest human congregations in the world. The festival of the ‘sacred pitcher’ is a gathering where the pilgrims bathe or take dip in the holy rivers of India. As old as Indian civilization if not more, the festival is organized once in 12 years in four pilgrimage places on the banks of sacred rivers in Haridwar (River Ganga), Ujjain (River Kshipra), Nashik (River Narmada) and Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad (Triveni Sangam -confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati).

Where to go in India to learn about Kumbh Mela?

Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain are the four sacred places where the Kumbh Mela is organized.

3. Kalbelia

Kalbelia Dance

Kalbelia is a folk dance form of Rajasthan that is a part of the culture of the nomadic community of the deserts of Rajasthan. The seductive dance form by the vibrantly attired women is performed on the melodies of ‘Khanjari’ percussion instrument and the ‘Poongi’, a woodwind instrument. The Kalbelia folk performances are based upon the myths and tales of the desert. The intangible cultural heritage is one of the best treasures of India.

Where to go in India to learn about Kalbelia?

The desert dunes of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan or at the major festivals of the state including Pushkar Mela, Bikaner Camel Festival, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, etc.

4. Koodiyattam

Koodiyattam

Koodiyattam is an ancient Sanskrit theatrical tradition practiced in Kerala. The beautiful Kerala is an ancient land of history, heritage and culture. Fondly named “God’s Own Country’ the land is a paradise and the traditions are in reverence of the deities close to nature. Traditionally performed in theatres called as Kuttampalams located in the Hindu temples, the theatrical production is a treasured cultural heritage of Kerala.

Where to go in India to learn about Koodiyattam?

Cultural centers in Kerala, especially Kochi keeps the tradition alive. The many luxury resorts of Kerala also recreate for its guests.

5. Vedic Chanting

Vedic Chanting

India’s vedic era was the base of civilization. The sacred texts of veds of the time are the holy texts of Indian culture. The tradition of Vedic chanting involves chanting during sacred rituals and recited daily by the Vedic communities known not only for the rich content of its oral literature but also for the ingenious techniques employed by the Brahmin priests.

Where to go in India to learn about Vedic chanting?

This experience is not very hard as the many temples all over India practice the tradition.

6. Ramlila

A theatrical performance of Ramayana, the Ramlila is performed across North India during the festival of Dussehra. What makes this special is the devotion for the characters of Ramayana, the dialogues and the lessons of life. It is a treasured cultural heritage of India.

Where to go in India to learn about Ramlila?

Vrindavan, Varanasi, Delhi and Ramnagar are the most popular places.

7. Ramman

Another religious festival of India that finds its mention among the elite list of cultural heritage of humanity in India is Ramman. Hailing from the mountains of Uttarakhand, the festivities involve one particular village where all the residents have specific roles.

Where to go in India to learn about Ramman?

The villages of Saloor and Dungra in Uttarakhand are the exclusive places to experience the festival.

8. Mudiyett

Mudiyett

From the God’s Own Country, Kerala, Mudiyett is a ritual dance drama based on a mythological tale of the battle between Darika, the demon and Goddess Kali. The vibrant attire, the magnificent masks and the traditions make it a rare gem of Indian cultural heritage.

Where to go in India to learn about Mudiyett?

Cultural centers in Kerala, especially Kochi keeps the tradition alive. The many luxury resorts of Kerala also recreate for its guests.

9. Chhau Dance

Chhau Dance

Chhau Dance is a semi-classical form of tribal dance, combining martial arts, storytelling, martial arts, mock combat, acrobatics, and athletics and story-telling based in eastern India. Based on episodes from epics including the Mahabharata and Ramayana, local folklore and abstract themes, the dance form is a colorful cultural heritage. The incredible masks used in Chhau are worth admiring as are the vibrant attires, musical instruments and graceful dance is an experience to cherish.

Where to go in India to learn about Chhau Dance?

The origin of Chhau Dance is East India, in the cities of Kolkata, Purulia, Bhubaneswar, etc.

10. Buddhist Chanting

Buddhist chanting is a part of the prayers of the Buddhist lamas (priests) in the Ladakh region. There are several forms of chanting and what makes it special is the serenity it grants to the chanters and one who even listen to the chants. Accompanied with musical instruments, these chants are a melody that soothes the body, mind and soul.

Where to go in India to learn about Buddhist Chanting?

Monasteries in Ladakh keep the tradition alive.

11. Sankirtana

Hailing from the North East India, Sankirtana is a set of arts performed to mark religious occasions and various stages in the life of the Vaishnava people of the Manipur plains.

12. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making

The craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional technique of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab.

13. Nawrouz

The Persian New year celebrated worldwide. It involves street performances of music and dance, public rituals involving water and fire, traditional sports and the making of handicrafts.

 


Divulge into the secrets of the Walled City of Jaipur

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The royal capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, globally known as the ‘Pink City’ has recently joined the elite UNESCO World Heritage list. One of the most popular places to visit in India, the regal city of Jaipur has for decades lured visitors from all over the globe with its opulence. Magnificent architecture, rich traditions, royal hospitality, Jaipur has so much to offer. Indulge in sightseeing, royal stay, a superlative shopping experience and more. Definitely a delight for those interested in Indian heritage, Jaipur has been one of the most popular places to visit in India. In fact, it is a part of the most-sought travel itinerary of India, the Golden Triangle Tour.

Besides a display of royal palaces, mighty forts, culture and heritage, there is fabulous food, fairs, and festivals, arts and crafts, music and dance and many treasures to explore. The city remains in welcoming spirit mode for the better part of the year except for a few summer months. Here is a Jaipur Travel Guide that will certainly assist you in planning a wonderful holiday in Jaipur.

Jaipur Walled City

The secrets of the Walled City

The 18th century walled city of Jaipur is one of the most glamorous testament of the era of Rajputs and the unique elegance of Rajasthan. Jaipur was conceptualised after studying the urban planning of several European cities. For the first time in Indian history, a blueprint was made, which brought to life India’s first aesthetic well-planned city. However, it was the vision of the Maharaja Jai Singh II and his business acumen and scientific temperament. Giving fruition to his vision was the architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The city was designed on the concepts of Shilpa Shashtra and Vastu Shashtra to ensure a lot of natural sunshine and breeze in residential and commercial establishments.

Jaipur city architecture

Spectacular arched pols (gates), located at seven entry points lead to a well-laid city in a geometric grid of streets cutting each other at right angles. The layout is such that every corner of the city gets adequate air and light. The water conservation and management system, drainage system, and the organisation of town space as different functional units was well thought of.

The three chaupars (squares) with temples of Hindu goddesses were established as settlements of priests, warriors, and a business hub. The entire city was divided into nine squares or chaukri, dedicated to nine planets. The jharokhas, and lattice work decorate the buildings. The city was painted in pink by Maharaja Ram Singh in 1876 to honour the visit of the Prince of Wales. The cultural significance of the city is the major reason for Jaipur’s entry to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Wonders of the ‘Pink City’

Jaipur comes with an extensive list of places to see, things to do and the most of all many cherished experiences.

City Palace Jaipur

The first among the places to visit in Jaipur is the City Palace, home to the rulers of Jaipur from the first half of the 18th century is an amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal architecture. It has a museum housing royal artefacts. The extravagantly decorated Chandra Mahal is closed for public but even the entrance to this palace is as gorgeous as the rest of the sprawling palace complex.

The UNESCO heritage site of Jantar Mantar (Observatory), built during 1728-1734, shows the founder-Jai Singh II's keen interest in astronomy. It is well-preserved and has 19 astronomical instruments that resemble large sculptures used to calculate time, the position of stars and the Sun, and to predict natural phenomena.

Hawa Mahal

The iconic Hawa Mahal or the palace of winds, erected by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 is another iconic landmark in Jaipur. The projected windows, balconies and perforated screen with ornate pink façade makes it the most photographed places among tourists. The palace was built for royal ladies to observe the lively street scenes below unnoticed.

One outstanding feature of the walled city is that numerous temples co-exist with mosques. Even the shops in the markets in the walled city have been numbered and marked according to the city planning.

Beyond the Walled City

The seven-storied Jal Mahal that remains partly submerged, giving an illusion of a floating palace. Built in mid-18th century, it hosted duck-shooting events by the royalty. Nowadays, birdwatchers throng the lakeside as they present sighting of 84 species, including 72 species of migratory birds.

Drive a little further to visit the three elegant forts of Jaipur- Amber, Jaigarh and Nahargarh. The UNESCO heritage site of Amber Fort was built by Man Singh I in 1592 on a high hillock. Ride up on an elephant to the yellow-sandstone fortress or hike while enjoying the views. Sheesh Mahal here is a must-visit. Another highlight is the Light and Sound show in the evening. The nearby Jaigarh Fort is said to be connected to Amber through a secret passage. The fortress is home to the world’s largest cannon on wheels- a 50-tonne Jaivana, only fired once. Armouries, museums and photo-session opportunities make it worth visiting.

The rich legacy of royal Rajasthan is treasured in Jaipur’s museums. The majestic Indo-Saracenic architecture of Albert Hall Museum (1876), The Gems and Jewellery Museum, and the Doll Museum are worth visiting. The Jawahar Kala Kendra and Birla Auditorium host art and craft exhibitions and performing arts.

Other tourist attractions in Jaipur are the 18th century terraced-garden of Sisodiya Rani Ka Bagh, the Vidyadhar Garden set in the foothills of Moti Doongri Palace, Galta ji Ka Temple with its hot spring, Samode Garden and Sanganer- famous for block printed cotton, handmade paper, and blue pottery.

Shop till you drop

Shopping in Jaipur

It was the foresight of Sawai Jai Singh II that Jaipur city was developed as a commercial hub. Traders and investments were invited from far and wide, from Bengal to Iran, and were granted housing facilities. A thriving trade in jewellery, gemstones, handicrafts, artillery, and marble flourished in due course of time. Shopping in the Pink City is one of the most amazing things to do in Jaipur.

Each lane being dedicated to one business or crafts and named after the economic activity. The colourful markets are a treasure trove of traditional textiles and crafts. An array of traditional embroidery, tie and dye fabric, gems and jewellery, blankets, camel skin bags and belts, blue pottery, Rajasthani puppets, eatables are among the things to buy in Jaipur.

Festivals

Celebrated with great fervour are the grand processions of Teej and Gangaur. Diwali when the entire walled city is lit up, and Holi with a touch of royal traditions are the popular festivals in Jaipur.

Apart from religious festivals, Jaipur is popular for its art and culture, dance, music, theatre, food and literary festivals. The Jaipur Literature Festival is the most popular event that attracts renowned litterateurs from around the world. Other popular festivals and events include Jaipur Diwas, International Film Festival, and the Kite Festival.

Gastronomic delights

Rajasthani thali

Jaipur city has earned a reputation for its mouth-watering food. Chokhi Dhani offers a taste of rural cuisine while hip cafés offer farm-to-table experience of global food. Trendy cafes, bars with hookah, live music, and rooftop restaurants spoil you for choice.

Splurge on traditional royal recipes with a visit to the heritage Suvarna Mahal Restaurant at Taj Rambagh Palace or 1135 AD in Amber Fort.

The street food offers savouries and sweets in the maze of lanes. The hot mirch ka pakoda (chilli fritters), delicious pyaz ki kachori, spicy samosas, etc. are must-haves. Those with a sweet tooth have savory options of delectable paneer ghevar, rabdi and laddoos. The quintessential Rajasthani favourite dal-bati-choorma could be had at most traditional eating places.

Where to Stay?

Jaipur offer accommodation options in all categories and to suit all budgets. Heritage hotels in Jaipur steal the show when you think of where to stay. The Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Oberoi Rajvilas, Jai Mahal Palace, Samode Haveli, Alsisar Haveli and Shahpura House are among the most popular options to stay in Jaipur.

Taj Rambagh Palace

The happening Pink City of Jaipur is among those places that every traveller to India must definitely visit !


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