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March 21, 2009

India seeks World Heritage Site status for Nalanda University

New Delhi (PTI): Once a citadel of higher education in 5th century AD, Nalanda University may don the title of a World Heritage site, if UNESCO approves India's proposal to this effect.

"We have sent a proposal to the World Heritage Committee asking it to declare the ancient seat of learning as a World Heritage Site," Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Deputy Director General B R Mani told PTI.

If accepted, the architectural marvel may become Bihar's second World Heritage site.

The sprawling campus of the university, which attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey about 1600 years ago, deserves the World Heritage Site status, the ASI said in its recommendation to the UNESCO.

Mani said the varsity may be initially added to the temporary list of the Heritage sites as part of the procedure to be declared as a World Heritage site.

"The proposal to UNESCO was sent based on a request from the ASI Patna circle to include the Nalanda University in the World Heritage Sites list," he said.

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