18th April is celebrated as the World Heritage Day. Since 1982, it was celebrated as International World Monuments and Sites Day and later changed by UNESCO to World heritage Day. The basic aim of of this is to create awareness about preserving and restoring the heritages sites. It is about the legacy which is handed over to us from the earlier generations. A special day dedicated to the protection of these sites, an opportunity to raise the public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage around the world. India has about 35 such sites which are recognised by UNESCO as the world heritage sites/monuments. Including man made and natural ones.
These heritage sites have been popular with Indian filmmakers. They have included these sites in various films by picturising songs or scenes in and around the known and not so known heritage sites. If one is a movie buff, he/she can easily identify the locations with the popular songs or vice versa. There are also a few examples of the name of the monument being included in the song eg – Ek Shahenshah ne banwa ke haseen Taj Mahal. The world renowned Taj Mahal – the so called symbol of love has been a favourite with so many filmmakers around the world.
Hence, leaving aside Taj Mahal, here is a list of few such songs which are picturised in and around the world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO.
1. Mountain Railways of India – This includes the Kalka – Shimla Rail route, the Nilgiri Mountain Railways and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. Among these 3, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways was the first to be established in 1881. It still forms the most enchanting rail journey through the mountain terrains. While reading this description there’s a song which might pop in your head impromptu – Sharmila Tagore reading or just seems to be reading Alistair MacLean’s – When Eight Bells Toll, Sujit Kumar driving a jeep along the toy train and also playing the harmonica, while the dreamboat Rajesh Khanna with his Nepali cap singing with that oh so flirtatious tilt of his head!!
2. Temples of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) – Built in 700 – 728 AD by the Pallava dynasty, they are also known as the 7 Pagodas. The temples are monolithic – carved out of one huge boulder. Here’s a romantic song picturised on the beautiful Sadhna and the flamboyant Shammi Kapoor from Rajkumar (1964)
3. Fatehpur Sikri – The city which was founded by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1569, served as the capital of Mughal Empire from 1571 – 1585. The site includes Buland darwaza, Jama Masjid, tomb of Sufi saint Salim Chisti, Deewan-e-aam, deewan-e-khaas and many more pieces of architecture. We can see the lovely architecture in this song picturised on Shah Rukh Khan.
4. Qutb Minar – It was started by the founder of Delhi Sultanate, Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, in 1192 and later completed by his son in law Iltutmish. Who can forget the song Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar picturised so beautifully on Nutan and Dev Anand!!! But sharing here a song from Fanaa (2005) which is picturised in the premises of the Qutb complex.
5. Ellora Caves – One of the largest rock cut temple complex in the world, Ellora caves are an artwork of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism from the 600-1000 CE period. These were built by Hindu dynasties, such as the Rashtrakutas and and Yadav dynasty who built some of the Jain group of caves. Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964) has a duet picturised on Rajshree and Jeetendra in Ellora caves.