CULTURAL HERITAGE & ITS IMPORTANCE
Heritage is anything that is considered important enough to be passed on to the
future generations.Heritage is broadly categorized into two main divisions:-
Cultural Heritage refers to the cultural aspects like heritage sites, monuments, folklore,
traditional activities and practices, language etc. that are considered vital to be preserved for
the future generations.
It gives people a connection to certain social values,beliefs,religions and customs.It allows
them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. Cultural heritage can
provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better
understand previous generations and the history of where we come from.
Following are the objectives of preparing this assignment:-
(a)To discuss the need to preserve our cultural heritage
(b) To explain the types of cultural heritage.
(c)Understanding the significance or importance of cultural heritage.
(d)Contribution of cultural heritage in Tourism in India.
(e)Role of govt. bodies in Conservation of Cultural Heritage in India.
What is Cultural Heritage?
Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a
community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs,
practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is
often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage .
Intangible Heritage refers to those aspects of a country that cannot be
touched or seen. For example traditional music, folklore, language etc.
Tangible Heritage refers to those significant places that advocate the
country’s history and culture. For example monuments, mosques, shrines,
Cultural Heritage Types:
(a) Built Heritage:One of the most visible forms of heritage is built heritage
(Buildings, Townscapes, Archaeological remains). Built heritage should be
deemed to mean those buildings, artifacts, structures, areas and precincts that are
of historic, aesthetic,architectural or cultural significance and should include
natural features within such areas or precincts of environmental significance or
scenic beauty such as sacred groves, hills, hillocks, water bodies (and the areas
adjoining the same), open areas, wooded areas, etc. On a daily basis we are
reminded of historic events and past lives through the built legacy around us.e.g:-
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar,Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi,
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi.
(b)Natural Heritage:Natural Heritage includes all components of our surroundings
which have not been created by man and which are of cultural, aesthetic,
spiritual, biotic or ecological value and which could also be of directly usable
resource value .e.g:-Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam , Keoladeo National
Park,Bharatpur,Rajasthan,India , Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National
(c)Artefacts:-something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of
art, esp . an object of archaeological interest. An artifact is an object recovered by
archaeological endeavor, which may have a cultural interest. Examples
include dance forms,food,stone tools, documents,paintings,pottery vessels, metal
objects such as weapons, and items of personal adornment such
asbuttons, jewelry and clothing etc.
Understanding the Significance of Cultural Heritage
There are 4 main aspects to understand the significance of cultural heritage sites.
These aspects help to determine the management policies and procedure pursuant
to the particular site. Thus It is very important to understand and determine the
significances before embarking on a heritage project.
The four Main aspects are:-
The age or relationship to historical era, person or event. Historical significance
is a relatively easy and over bearing trait in heritage management.
Social Significance is hard to ascertain. It refers to the social, spiritual and
other community oriented values attributed to a place. This maybe because the
place has existed to serve a certain important role in the society for a period of
It refers to this special sense of Importance of a place. This could be in terms of
architecture, scale or even the designs seen on the place.
It refers to the scope or possibility of scientific findings from a site, monument or
place. Here the importance lies more in the information that may yield out of
understanding and researching the place or site. This can mostly be attributed to
archaeological sites or ancient monuments.
Cultural Heritage and Tourism
The link between culture and tourism is the most visible aspect of the
contribution of culture to local development.37% of the global tourism has a
When tourism is identified as part of an overall development strategy, the
identification, protection, and enhancement of historic resources is vital for any
sustainable effort. Heritage visitors stay longer, visit twice as many places,
and so spend 2 1/2 times more than other visitors. Worldwide, wherever heritage
tourism has been evaluated this basic tendency is observed: heritage visitors stay
longer, spend more per day, and, therefore, have a significantly
greater per trip economic impact. In some places cultural heritage tourism is one
of the main economic contributors.
The tourism sector is the ‘industry’ that uses Cultural Heritage to the greatest
extent as support for its backbone activities like hotel accommodation, transport
and catering. The impact of heritage driving the tourism industry is obvious in
our cities. Due to the exploitation of heritage, many new jobs were generated in
the tourism sector and as a result the figures are even more impressive.When
heritage tourism is done right, the biggest beneficiaries are not the visitors but the
local residents who experience a renewed appreciation for and pride in their local
city and its history.
The tourism industry of India is economically important and grows rapidly.
The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated
$121 billion or 6.4% of the nation's GDP in 2011. It was responsible for
39.3 million jobs, 7.9% of its total employment. The GDP of the tourism sector
has expanded 229% between 1990 and 2011. The sector is predicted to grow at
an average annual rate of 7.7% in the next decade. In a 2011 forecast the World
Travel and Tourism Council predicted the annual growth to be 8.8% between
2011 and 2021. This gave India the fifth rank among countries with the fastest
growing tourism industry.
Role of govt. bodies in Conservation of Cultural Heritage in India
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the
Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier
organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the
cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and
archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime
concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the
country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and
Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities
and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
For the maintenance of ancient monuments and
archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country
is divided into 24 Circles. The organization has a large work force of
trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists
for conducting archaeological research projects through its Excavation
Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch,
Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and
Underwater Archaeology Wing.
The Archaeological Survey of India’s Science Branch is responsible
mainly for the chemical conservation treatment and preservation of
some three thousand five hundred ninety three Protected monuments
besides chemical preservation of museum and excavated objects
The TajMahal being repaired
Cultural Heritage plays a very important role in our life.It is what keeps us
attatched to our religion,traditions,& beliefs.It today’s context we refer to cultural
identity which means (feeling of) identity of a group or culture, or of an
individual as far as he or she is influenced by his belonging to a group or culture.
It is necessary to improve awareness of Cultural Heritage and the ethics of its care in
study curriculaum and to identify tools that can be developed to help communities to
better understand and conserve their heritage. Heritage education needs to be developed
in schools and through informal education.
The best way to preserve our cultural heritage, whatever it may be, is to
share it with others. It is our responsibility to keep world history intact for
the coming generation so that they may have the same opportunities to
learn about the past and their own roots as we have.
Now the main question arises that what contribution can we do for the
prevention and conservation of our cultural heritage?Here is the answer:-
(i)we can teach our own children to practice the traditions and beliefs of
our ancestors and tell them to continue to pass it on to future generations.
Teach them to be proud of their roots especially if they know very few
other children of the same cultural heritage.
(ii) we can also donate to or participate in associations that fund
workshops and museums that help to educate others about our cultural
heritage. These organizations will be around for many years to come and
are probably one of the best ways to educate others about the history of
The Importance of Cultural Heritage,
Culture in development,
Tourism in India, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_India.
Archaeological Survey Of India, http://asi.nic.in/asi_cons_prev.asp.
Contributed by: Tousif Raja