List of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage India 2024

Read the complete list of Indian entries in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List of humanity, 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, UPSC CDS, UPSC CSE, 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.

India is a signatory of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage along with traditions and living expression. There are three lists under the Intangible Cultural Heritage:

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

b. Representative List of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity

c. Register of good safeguarding practices

What is Intangible heritage?

Intangible cultural heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural heritage.

Currently, UNESCO’s Representative List of intangible cultural heritage of humanity has 704 elements corresponding to 5 regions and 143 countries.

As of March 2024, 15 cultural heritage of India have been placed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the 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.

14. Durga Puja- 2021

  • It is a ten-day festival and is also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava.
  • Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals of West Bengal.
  • It is also celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Tripura, Odisha, Assam, Maharahstra, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Goddess Durga (Goddess of Power) represents the triumph of goodness over evil.

15. Garba of Gujarat- 2023

  • Garba is a folk dance of Gujarat. It is performed both by men and women.
  • Garba is celebrated for nine days during the festival of Navaratri. 
  • The festival is dedicated to the worship of the feminine energy or Shakti.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

As of February 2024, how many UNESCO Intangible Cultural heritage are there in India?

As of February 2024, there are 15 UNESCO Intangible Cultural heritage in India.

Which is the latest addition from India on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list?

Garba of Gujarat is added on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list in December 2023.

When was UNESCO Intangible Cultural heritage list established?

UNESCO Intangible Cultural heritage list was established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.

In which year was Yoga inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list?

Yoga was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016.

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