Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani (File Photo: IANS)
Ahmedabad, Sep 1 (IANS) Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Friday was formally accorded the status of India's first World Heritage City with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova handing over the certificate in this regard to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
Speaking on the occasion here, Rupani said it was a proud moment for over 6.5 crore people of Gujarat.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did a lot of hard work to get the heritage city tag for Ahmedabad from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
He accused the earlier government for not trying enough in this matter.
The Chief Minister said Ahmedabad was selected out of 250 cities in the race for the coveted status.
He also thanked the UNESCO and the Culture Ministry.
In her speech, Bokova said: "It was indeed a great experience to visit India's first UNESCO World Heritage city, a symbol of intercultural dialogue and unity in diversity.
"A city that boasts life, culture, and joy everyday with its extravagant lifestyle. A symbol of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence," she said.
"Significance of the city lies beyond the physical beauty of its architectural heritage. A landmark city where (Mahatama) Gandhiji began India's freedom struggle," the UNESCO official added.
On July 8, India secured the nomination for Ahmedabad on UNESCO's World Heritage list during the 41st Session of World Heritage Committee.
The honour makes the walled city of Ahmedabad the first city in India, and the third in Asia, to be on the list.
India now has a total of 36 World Heritage Inscriptions -- 28 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed site.
India is second after China in terms of number of world heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, and overall seventh in the world.
Founded in the 15th century, the walled city of Ahmedabad, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage. It has 28 Archaeological Survey of India's centrally protected monuments.