October 01, 2006

Cybertrack - 13

http://whc.unesco.org/

If you're looking to make a list of places to see before you die (or the rupee crashes) the World Heritage Centre has choices for you. The WHC List is a long one—830 sites in 138 countries after the last set of additions in 2005—and covers both natural and cultural heritage. You will be spoiled for choice: from the archaeological remains in Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley (no Standing Buddhas, alas) to Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas. Monuments, ruins, nature preserves, hot, cold, temperate, sea, islands, plains, mountains, you name it. Aside from basic information, many of the locations feature external links; there's an interactive map, an interface with Google Earth, ways to get involved in preservation, and more. Too much choice? Start with the 34 on the Danger List. Before they disappear. You must make your own arrangements though—no convenient tie-ups for online booking—and though WHC proclaims that these sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located, you will need to get visas. Or you could just start with the 26 in India. My score is a measly 6½. Editor Sahib?

Published in Outlook Traveller, October 2006.

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