Mumbai’s Victorian Gothic and Art Deco architectural styles were on Saturday jointly inscribed in the coveted World Heritage sites list, according to an announcement by UNESCO.
“Just inscribed as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage site: Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, #India Congratulations!,” UNSECO tweeted.
This is the third such honour for Mumbai after the Elephanta Caves and the Victoria Terminus or Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station earned the coveted tag in 1987 and 2004 respectively.
The decision was taken during the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC), currently underway in Manama, Bahrain.
Mumbai-based conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah, who prepared the voluminous nomination dossier Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, said it is a great honour for the city and for India.
“These buildings are of iconic architectural styles. They represent a living heritage of the country, and the evolution of the landscape of the city over nearly two centuries. It puts Mumbai, perennially described the ‘financial city’, high up on global cultural map. All 21 countries in the WHC supported the nomination which is very rare. Azerbaijan called it the ‘perfect’ dossier and France as observer country termed it ‘magnificent’,” Lambah told PTI over phone from Manama.
“Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) and NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Art) are also in the Victorian Gothic list that would now be celebrated even more,” Lambah said.
The city now has equal number of UNESCO sites as Delhi, which has three—Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, Lambah said, adding Maharashtra now has a total of five such sites, including the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad.
Hailing the decision as a remarkable achievement Union Culture Ministry said with this UNESCO tag, the count of World Heritage Sites in the country has now risen to 37, of which 29 are cultural, seven natural and one mixed site.
Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma congratulated the residents of Mumbai and the entire country for this landmark achievement.
“The international recognition to the heritage precinct of the city of Mumbai is a matter of great pride to the nation and it will boost the local economy in a number of ways. This achievement is expected to give a tremendous fillip to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia,” Sharma said.
While India stands second largest after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
(With inputs from PTI)