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Mohenjo Daro’s World Heritage Status at Risk


About Mohenjo Daro

  • Location: Mohenjo Daro, or “Mound of the Dead” is an ancient Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) city located off the right (west) bank of the lower Indus River in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan.
  • Discoverer: The Mohenjo Daro site was discovered in 1922 by R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Time period: Along with Harappa, Mohenjo Daro flourished in the valley of the Indus between roughly 3,300 BC and 1,300 BC, with its ‘mature’ phase spanning the period 2,600 BC to 1,900 BC.
  • Prominent features: The Mohenjo Daro site is famous for its elaborate town planning with street grids with brick pavements, developed water supply, drainage, and covered sewerage systems, homes with toilets, and monumental buildings such as the Great Granary and the Great Bath.
  • Notable artefacts: Mother goddess terracotta sculpture, Priest-King steatite sculpture, Dancing girl bronze sculpture and the Pashupati seal.
Mohenjo Daro
Mohenjo Daro
  • Reasons for the decline: The civilization went into decline in the middle of the second millennium BC for reasons that are believed to include catastrophic climate change.
  • Protection status: Mohenjo Daro was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
  • Spread of IVC: Sites of the IVC have been found in a large area extending from Sutkagen Dor in Balochistan near the Pakistan-Iran border to Rakhigarhi in Haryana’s Hisar district, and from Manda in Jammu to Daimabad in Maharashtra.
  • Other important sites of IVC in India: Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat, Banawali in Haryana and Kalibangan in Rajasthan.

Damages at the Site of Mohenjo Daro

  • Recently, the site had received a record 779.5 mm of rain, which had resulted in considerable damage to the site and partial falling of several walls, including the protection wall of the stupa dome.
  • DK Area (The northeastern sector of Mohenjo Daro, named after its excavator K. N. Dikshit), Muneer Area, Stupa, Great Bath, the iconic Mount of the Dead site and other important sites have been badly affected by the incessant rainfall.

Losing the UNESCO’s World Heritage Status

  • There are around 1,100 UNESCO listed sites across UN’s 167 member countries.
  • There were several instances when the World Heritage Committee decided to delete some sites from the World Heritage List.
  • In 2021, deletion of the property “Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City” (UK), due to the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property.
  • In 2009, deletion of the Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, after the construction of the Waldschloesschen road bridge across the Elbe River.
  • In 2007, the first venue to be delisted by the UNESCO panel was the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, after concerns over poaching and habitat degradation.
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Tag

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO.
  • To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be a somehow unique landmark which is geographically and historically identifiable and has special cultural or physical significance.
  • How is a World Heritage Site selected?
  • Significance: A listed site gains international recognition and legal protection and can obtain funds from among others the World Heritage Fund to facilitate its conservation under certain conditions.
  • India’s Status: There are 40 World Heritage Sites located in India. Out of these, 32 are cultural, 7 are natural, and one, the Khangchendzonga National Park, is of mixed type.
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site


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