UNESCO’s List of Intangible World Heritage Sites in India

UNESCO established lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage for ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages and create awareness.

India’s Entry’s in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Koodiyattam (Sanskrit theatre)

  • A combined dance drama conducted by Chakyars who play the male caste traditionally in Kerala.
  • Women of Nambiar caste play female roles.
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  • Popular folk theatre in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is an enactment of Ramayana using songs, dances and dialogues, during the Dussehra.
  • It is performed by male actors, who do the role of Sita as well.
  • The play is staged annually over ten or more successive nights, during the “Sharad Navaratras.”
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Tradition in Vedic Chanting

  • Oral tradition of Vedas consists of pathas, “recitations” or ways of chanting Vedic mantras.
  • Such traditions of Vedic chant are oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, fixation of the Vedic texts as preserved from early Iron Age.
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Ramman Theatre

  • Ritual theatre of Garhwal region. Celebrated by Hindu Community in Saloor-Dungra villages of Painkhanda Valley in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
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Mudiyettu Theatre

  • Traditional ritual theatre in Kerala. It depicts the mythological tale of a battle between Goddess Kali and demon Darika. The dance in the village temples, called Bhagavati Kavus.
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Kalbelia Dance

  • Performed by Kalbelia tribe in Rajasthan. Kalbelia dance movements resembles that of a serpent.
  • Traditionally, Kalbelia tribe was known for its frequent movement from one place to another and the occupation of catching snakes and trading snake venom.
  • The songs are based on mythology.
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  • A tribal martial art dance performed in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • There are three subgenres of this dance based on the place of their origin, Purulia Chhau (West Bengal), Seraikella Chhau (Jharkhand) and Mayurbhanj Chhau (Odisha).
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Buddhist Chanting at Ladakh

  • Recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
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  • A ritual singing & dancing art form of Manipur. Performed to mark religious occasions of Manipuri Vaishnavites. Practiced at temples, performers narrate life of Lord Krishna through songs and dances. Musical instruments used are Cymbals and Drums.
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Traditional Brass & Copper craft of Utensil making among Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Punjab

  • An oral tradition of metal utensil making among ‘Thathera’ community in Punjab. Metal is heated and moulded into thin plates with curved shapes.
  • Utensils have functional as well as ritualistic purpose. Metals used are brass, copper and Kansa (an alloy of zinc, tin and copper).
  • Recommended for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda texts. Patronized by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 19th century.
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  • Indicates beginning of New Year for Parsis.
  • Also celebrated as Spring festival by Kashmiris.
  • Denotes Zoroastrian respect for the environment.
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  • Consists of a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting and other techniques to help a person build self-realization.
  • Traditionally, transmitted through Guru-Shishya Parampara.
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  • It is (festival of sacred pitcher) is largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. 
  • Held at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years by rotation.
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Durga Puja in Kolkata

  • Annual festival celebrated in September or October, most notably in Kolkata, West Bengal. It marks ten-day worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga.
  • In the months preceding the festival, small artisanal workshops sculpt images of Durga using unfired clay pulled from Ganga.
  • The worship of the goddess then begins on the inaugural day of Mahalaya when eyes are painted onto the clay images to bring the goddess to life.
  • It ends on the tenth day, when the images are immersed in the river from where the clay came.
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