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Sundarbans on List of ‘Natural Sites in Danger’

The government had been allowed until December 2018 at the time to report on the conservation of the world's largest mangrove forest to the World Heritage Centre

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sundarbans
"The hydrological systems, which drive this dynamics, are very large in scale and vulnerable to upstream impacts," it added. Wikimedia Commons

The official advisory organisation on natural World Heritage has recommended putting the Sundarbans on a list of ‘natural sites in danger’ as Bangladesh has continued implementing a coal-fired power plant project near the forest.

The World Heritage Committee of 21 governments is scheduled to decide on the recommendations by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its annual meeting in Azerbaijan from June 30 to July 10, bdnews24 reported on Saturday

In July 2017, Unesco withdrew a plan to inscribe the Sundarbans in the list of heritage sites in danger by 2018 in case of the failure to meet the mission’s recommendations. The government had been allowed until December 2018 at the time to report on the conservation of the world’s largest mangrove forest to the World Heritage Centre.

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File:Bengal Tiger in rain at Sundarban. Wikimedia Commons

A reactive monitoring mission, jointly conducted by the Centre and IUCN in March 2016, made detailed recommendations including the necessity of a strategic environmental assessment for the south-west region. After the mission, the World Heritage Committee had called for the Rampal power plant project to be cancelled and relocated.

The committee had welcomed Bangladesh’s decision to carry out the assessment into the potential impact of a coal-based thermal plant, besides the decisions to scrap the plant’s second phase and also the Orion power plant.

In an article on its website, IUCN on June 7 this year said it recommended listing of the Sundarbans, Mexico’s Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California and the Ohrid region in North Macedonia as “World Heritage in danger”. It cited severe threats from coal-fired power plants and numerous industrial activities in close proximity.

sundarbans
The government had been allowed until December 2018 at the time to report on the conservation of the world’s largest mangrove forest to the World Heritage Centre. Wikimedia Commons

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Despite the call for relocation of the project, its construction has continued without any assessment of its impact on the Sundarbans’ World Heritage values, the Union said. Two additional coal-fired power plants are being constructed on the Payra River, which flows into the same bay as the Sundarbans, according to IUCN.

Over 150 industrial projects are also active upstream of the site, and their associated shipping and dredging activities further threaten its hydrological and ecological dynamics, it said. “The hydrological systems, which drive this dynamics, are very large in scale and vulnerable to upstream impacts,” it added. (IANS)

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Rani Ki Vav: A Mesmerising Stepwell Built In The Memory Of A King By His Queen

Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India

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Rani Ki Vav is one of the greatest stepwells ever made in India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rav Ki Rani in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India
  • It is famous for its size and beautiful architecture
  • The stepwell is one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO

Stepwells are an important part of India’s architecture and its

Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

history. Throughout India, there are many stepwells present which may though look similar, but differ in their architectural and historical significance. One such stepwell is Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat.

Rani Ki Vav – A monument breaking the norms 

India has many monuments which have been built by the kings in the memory of their queens, Taj Mahal is one of the greatest examples of that. However, Rani Ki Vav is different. Breaking through the norms, this monument was built by a queen in the memory of her king.

Rani ki Vav, which means, Queen’s stepwell is near Patan in Gujarat. It was constructed sometime during the 11th century in the memory of Bhimdev, the son of Mularaja who was the founder of the Solanki dynasty. The richly sculpted stepwell which is considered a masterpiece was dedicated to the king by his widowed wife, Udayamati. It was flooded by the river Saraswati in the 1980s.

Also Read: Nalanda Mahavira makes it to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

Rani Ki Vav – Architecture 

Rani Ki Vav stepwell was recognised as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2014.

This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons
This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is built inside an opening in the ground, which makes it special. The east facing stepwell is constructed in seven storeys and is approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep.

The central architectural theme of the stepwell is “Dasavatars,” meaning ’10 incarnations’ of Lord Vishnu. There are over 800 sculptures in the seven galleries, out of which, majority are devoted to Lord Vishnu only.There is also a carving of Vishnu reclining on one thousand snakeheads. The lowest level of the well is blocked by stones and silt now, after the flooding by river Saraswati, however earlier it used to be an escape route to the neighbouring villages.

Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is one of the finest step wells in India and the most famous in Gujarat. It has many pillars and walls which are sculpted in the beautiful Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It is nothing less than a mesmerizing sight.

Also Read: 5 Traditional Water Conservation Methods In India 

It is one of kind type of mesmerising structure which is definitely worth visiting. Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India. Rani ki Vav was also among the five international heritage sites selected by the Scottish Ten team for digital preservation and scanned in 2011. It is one truly remarkable monument.