December 9, 2020: Cities of Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh have made it to the list of UNESCO’s world heritage cities under its urban landscape city programme. The government of Madhya Pradesh(MP) has termed this as a major achievement for the state.
“UNESCO includes Orchha & Gwalior in their newsletter on Historic Towns & World Heritage Cities. Proud moment for our tourists, guides, tour operators, business partners & hoteliers! Congratulations to all the stakeholders who have been working hard to boost tourism,” stated the official MP Tourism handle on twitter.
A UNESCO team will visit Madhya Pradesh next year and will collaborate with Madhya Pradesh Tourism to prepare a master plan for development and conservation of the cities. They will suggest best measures and resources for the development of these places under the Historic Urban Landscape recommendations.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Cities Programme is one of six thematic programmes formally approved and monitored by the World Heritage Committee. This program aims to assist states in protecting and managing their urban heritage. Moreover, October 31st is celebrated as World Cities Day each year since 2014.
Gwalior is a historic city in Madhya Pradesh and holds a special place in India’s arts, culture, and literature tradition. It was ruled by various rulers like the Kachchhapaghatas, Tomars, Mughals, and Marathas.’Gwalior Gharana’ is a famous school of Hindustani music from Gwalior and Tansen, one of the most famous singers in Indian history, was from Gwalior. The Tansen music festival is celebrated every year on Tansen’s tomb. The city is also considered a confluence of Bundeli and Braj culture. The main attractions in the Gwalior are Gwalior Fort, Sas Bahu Temple, Man Singh Palace, Sun Temple Gwalior, Tomb of Tansen etc. The Gwalior fort is famously called ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India’. Just a few kilometers from the city are Mitawali, Padavali, and Bateshwar temples from Gupta and Gurjara-Pratihara era.
Orchha is a town established by bundela rajput chief, Rudra Pratap, in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. It was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century. The city is popular for its temples including Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir etc. The Laxminarayan temple exhibits a unique architectural style, which is a mix of a fort and a temple. The famous ‘chhatris’ of orchha were constructed in honour of its erstwhile rulers. The famous air cooling column structure adjacent to Raja Ram temple is called ‘Saawan Bhado’ and is believed to be inspired by Persian style air cooling system.