Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area

The first Buddhist temple in China was built here in Sichuan Province in the 1st century A.D. in the beautiful surroundings of the summit Mount Emei. The addition of other temples turned the site into one of Buddhism's holiest sites. Over the centuries, the cultural treasures grew in number. The most remarkable is the Giant Buddha of Leshan, carved out of a hillside in the 8th century and looking down on the confluence of three rivers. At 71 m high, it is the largest Buddha in the world. Mount Emei is also notable for its exceptionally diverse vegetation, ranging from subtropical to subalpine pine forests. Some of the trees there are more than 1,000 years old.

Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, comprise the place where Buddhism was first established in China. It is also outstanding for its plant species diversity.

Emei Shan and Leshan are located in China's Sichuan Province. The two nominated areas are separated from each other by about 4Okm. Emei Shan is a sacred Buddhist site. The Giant Buddha of Leshan measures 71 m high overall, which makes it the largest statue of the Buddha in the world.

Emei is the most outstanding Buddhist mountain in China. Emei became a sacred Buddhist site following the sixth-century visit of Bodhisattva Puxian and his six-tusked elephant. Here Buddhism first became established on Chinese territory and from where it spread widely throughout the east.

Covering Emei Shan is a sub-tropical forest with many endemic and endangered plants. They include orchids, primulas, rhododendrons, camellias, ginkgos, cycads and tree ferns. The mountain is frequently covered in dense cloud, with associated high rainfall and humidity.

Construction of the Giant Buddha (Dafo) of Leshan started in 713 AD, when the monk Haitong came up with an idea to curb the rough waters below the sandstone cliffs of Lingyun Shan. He wanted to fill in the shoals with rubble produced by carving out a giant Buddha image. It took 90 years to finish this project.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

The serial site, situated in the state of Rajastahan, includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. The ecclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 kilometres in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely states that flourished in the region from the 8th to the 18th centuries. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centres, palaces, trading centres and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music and the arts. Some of the urban centres enclosed in the fortifications have survived, as have many of the site's temples and other sacred buildings. The forts use the natural defenses offered by the landscape: hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. They also feature extensive water harvesting structures, largely still in use today.

The Hill Forts of Rajasthan are 6 military fortifications built in the Rajput cultural tradition.

The included forts are:

- Chittorgarh Fort (on the postcard)

- Kumbhalgarh Fort

- Ranthambore Fort

- Gagron Fort

- Amber Fort

- Jaisalmer Fort


Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defence and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.

Himeji-jo is a well preserved wooden castle, combining both functional use and aesthetic appeal. The castle is also known as Shirasagi, the white heron, because of its gracefulness.

Its origins date to 1333, when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill. The fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle in 1346, and then remodeled into Himeji Castle two centuries later in 1581. The current building is still the over 400 years old original.

The castle consists of 83 buildings, and has a highly developed defense system. The (wooden) walls are stuck with fireproof white plaster. They have openings for firing guns and shooting arrows, and also for pouring boiling water or oil on unwelcome visitors.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple

Established in the 8th century on the slopes of Mount Toham, the Seokguram Grotto contains a monumental statue of the Buddha looking at the sea in the bhumisparsha mudra position. With the surrounding portrayals of gods, Bodhisattvas and disciples, all realistically and delicately sculpted in high and low relief, it is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist art in the Far East. The Temple of Bulguksa (built in 774) and the Seokguram Grotto form a religious architectural complex of exceptional significance.

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple are religious monuments and masterpieces of Far Eastern Buddhist art.

Seokguram Grotto is a hermitage that is part of the Bulguksa temple complex. The grotto overlooks the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and rests 750 meters above sea level. It holds some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world, including the main Buddha. Construction lasted from 742 to 774.

The nearby Bulguksa Temple is the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea and the home to a number of important relics from the Silla period, including most obviously the two stone pagodas Tabot'ap and Sokkat'ap. It also dates from the 8th century, but has been rebuilt on a number of occasions.

The Temple was added to the nomination on the advice of ICOMOS.

Chitwan National Park

At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the 'Terai' region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. One of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, which is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger.

Chitwan National Park is a rich natural area in the Terai, the subtropical lowland in the southern part of Nepal.

It lies in a river basin, and is mostly covered by forest of the sal tree and grassland.

Until the 1950s the park served as a hunting ground for royals. Only small Tharu villages existed.

The park is inhabited by 56 species of mammals. Among them are the rare Asiatic rhinoceros and Bengal Tiger. Besides these, there are elephants, sloth bears, leopards, gaur and otters. 565 species of birds have been recorded inside the park, and 155 species of butterflies.

Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena

The magnificent 12th-century cathedral at Modena, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmus), is a supreme example of early Romanesque art. With its piazza and soaring tower, it testifies to the faith of its builders and the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.

The Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande in Modena are a group of romanesque structures from the 12th century.

Religious and civic values were combined into this complex. The public square around the cathedral was designed to house administrative buildings, workshops et cetera.

Modena Cathedral was one of the first buildings where an architect (Lanfranco) and a sculptor (Wiligelmo) worked together. Unusually for medieval tradition, their names were mentioned as the creators.

Ancient remains were reused in the rebuilding of the cathedral from 1099. Its facade and side portals are richly decorated with sculptures. The interior, including a 12th century rood screen, is also well preserved.

Western Ghats

Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. The site’s high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern. Moderating the tropical climate of the region, the site presents one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet. It also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism and is recognized as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. The forests of the site include some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anywhere and are home to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species.

The Western Ghats are a 1,600km long mountain chain. They are believed to have been formed during the break-up of the super continent of Gondwana some 150 million years ago, as the faulted edge of the Deccan Plateau.

Its rainforests, rivers and grasslands contain a high plant and animal diversity, including rare and endemic species such as Asian Elephant, Gaur and Tiger.

This is a serial nomination of 7 different areas that include 39 components in total. Examples of these components are Periyar Tiger Reserve, Silent Valley National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.