India's 1600-km long Western Ghats mountain chain, which has forests older than the Himalaya mountains, has been added to list of world heritage sites by the United Nations.
The Western Ghats mountain chain is recognised as one of the world's eight
"hottest hotspots" of biological diversity.
The chain's forests, which are older than the Himalaya mountains influence
the Indian monsoon weather pattern.
The ghats, which start at the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra and runs
through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending
at Kanyakumari, was added to the World Heritage list by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
A historic opera house in Germany, a border town and its fortifications in
Portugal, and 18 interconnected lakes in Chad are some other sites that have
been added to the list. The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth in Germany, which
was built in the 18th century, is considered a masterpiece of Baroque theatre
architecture. It is the only entirely preserved example of its type where an
audience of 500 can experience Baroque court opera culture and acoustics
authentically, as its auditorium retains its original materials.
The border town of Elvas and its fortifications in Portugal, was also added
to the list, as the site represents the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in
the world. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century, its
fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640.
The World Heritage Committee meets once a year, and is responsible for the
implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which defines the kind
of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the
World Heritage List.