UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Read the complete list of Indian entries in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO. This study material is relevant for all the candidates preparing for State PCS (like UPPCS) exam, SSC CGL exam, SSC CHSL exam, RRB NTPC exam, etc. The list is made up of intangible heritage elements that help to showcase the diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness of its importance.

The list was prepared in 2008 with the Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage coming into force. There are three lists under the Intangible Cultural Heritage:

a. List of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding

b. Representative List of intangible cultural heritage of humanity

c. Register of good safeguarding practices


So far 13 cultural heritage of India has been placed in UNESCO’s Representative List of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The details of which are as follows:

1. Tradition of Vedic Chanting-2008

  • Vedic Mantra, this practice is at least 3,000 years old and is possibly the oldest vocal tradition in the world.
  • It consists of singing old mantras and hymns orally by many people simultaneously.
  • The oldest scripture, the Rigveda, contains about 1,000 hymns.

2. Ramlila, traditional performance of the Ramayana-2008

  • Ramlila is a performance of the epic Ramayana, which consists of songs, narrations, recitations and dialogues.
  • It is performed throughout North India during the festival of Dussehra.
  • It is most commonly held in Ayodhya, Ramnagar, Banaras, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna and Madhubani.

3. Kudiyattam, Sanskrit theatre-2008

  • Kudiyattam is also known as Kutiyattam.
  • It is an ancient Tamil performance art of the Sangam era.
  • Currently displayed in the state of Kerala.
  • It is the last surviving performance tradition of Sanskrit theater in the world.

UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage


4. Ramman- 2009

  • Ramman is a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayan region of India.
  • It is celebrated by the Hindu community in the village Saloor Dungra of Chamoli district by worshipping the Bhumiyal deity.

5. Mudiyettu- 2010

  • Mudiyettu is a traditional ritual theatre and folk dance drama of Kerala.
  • It is based on the legend of the battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika.
  • This ritual is conducted by Bhagwati or Bhadrakali Panth.

6. Kalbelia Folk Songs and dances of Rajasthan-2010

  • Kalbelia is a traditional dance performed by the Kalbeliya tribe of Rajasthan.
  • This dance is an integral part of Kalbeliya tribe culture as the tribe’s occupation is snake venom trading and their dance movements and dresses are like serpents.
  • Both men and women participate in this dance.
  • Costumes like lehenga, odhani and angrakhi are used in it.
  • Instruments such as Pungi, Dholak, Morchang and Khanjari are played.

7. Chhau Dance-2010

  • Chhau dance is a semi-classical Indian dance. It is a combination of martial, tribal and folk traditions.
  • It originated in eastern India.
  • Dance with religious themes found in Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism is also performed.
  • It is basically related to the state of Odisha.
  • Its main musical instrument is the drum. Mask is an integral part of this dance.

8. Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh - 2012

  • Sacred Buddhist texts are recited by Buddhist priests in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas.
  • These priests are also known as Lamas.
  • This ritual is performed to promote the philosophy, soul and teachings of Buddha.

9. Sankirtana-2013

  • It is a form of performing art related to rituals, singing, drumming and dancing in temples and homes in Manipur in India.
  • Unique religious devotion and energy are demonstrated through these performances.
  • Artists narrate stories of Krishna.
  • It is mainly practiced in the Vaishnava community in Manipur.

10. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India-2014

  • The craft of Thatheras of Jandiala Guru is a traditional technique of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab.
  • Copper, brass and some alloys are used in it.
  • These utensils are considered beneficial for health.

11. Yoga-2016

  • Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines.
  • It originated in ancient India.
  • Yoga is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. Its mentor was Patanjali.
  • The other five traditions are Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Samkhya, Mimamsa and Vedanta.
  • International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on 21st June to raise awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga.

12. Nawrouz - 2016

  • Nawrouz or Nowruz is Iranian New Year, also known as Persian New Year.
  • It is celebrated by various ethno-linguistic groups worldwide.

13. Kumbh Mela-2017

  • Kumbh Mela is a major pilgrimage and festival of Hinduism.
  • It is the world's largest crowd gathering.
  • It is conducted in a cycle of about 12 years in four river pilgrimage sites in India, Prayagraj (former Allahabad), Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain.


Latest related Facts:

1. In December 2019, the “Nuad” Thai massage was recognized by UNESCO as part of the representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

2. During the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee to be held in December 2020 in Jamaica, the Committee will evaluate the nominations proposed by State Parties to the Convention.



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