Heritage & Tourism Sector in The National Capital Region

In the Regional Plan-2001, no specific policies and programmes were envisaged for this sector. However, since tourism has great potential for the balanced & harmonised development and to strengthen the economic base of the National Capital Region, this plan lays special emphasis on integrated tourism development and heritage conservation & management in the region. There is a close and symbiotic relationship between the imperative of tourism and heritage conservation. Coordinated strategies of heritage protection and tourism development will act as an important economic generator of employment and as an instrument to decentralised urban development.


The heritage in region, both man-made and natural, has suffered through negligence and ironically also due to various acts of omission and commission attributable to the planned development of urban settlements and industrial areas as well as the unplanned and unauthorized growth in the National Capital Region on account of the earlier Plan not taking due cognizance of the sector.

Man-made Heritage

Few monuments protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or State Archaeological Departments are reasonably intact and have survived. However, a much larger number of unprotected monuments have suffered due to neglect, vandalism and encroachments, since there was no mechanism to prevent them in the existing Master/Development Plans as well as Regional Plan. The unprotected monuments refer to those monuments, which have not yet been identified as culturally valuable, but are nevertheless, good examples of cultural/historical heritage that should be provided with same level of protection.

Another valuable area of heritage that is being slowly obliterated is traditional urbanscape. This is because neither of the Centre/State Archaeological Protection Acts recognises them as possessing heritage value. These areas may or may not contain individual buildings, which qualify for protection, but when considered as an ensemble, they represent valuable heritage worthy of conservation.

Identification of Heritage Sites

There are 258 Centrally protected monuments and 20 State protected monuments in the region. Besides the above legally protected monuments, the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has listed a large number of monuments being worthy of receiving protection in NCR. It has so far identified 1,627 monuments and 26 conservation areas in the region that need to be protected. These heritage sites need to be identified and listed for appropriate protection. This will also help in identifying the existence of conservation areas, which require immediate attention

Zaffar Hasan in 1911 had identified 1,321 monuments in Delhi and this number had also been reflected in MPD-2001. Because there was no positive policy for the conservation, over the years this number, according to INTACH, reduced to 1,208, which included 166 centrally protected monuments by ASI under ASI Act, 1958. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi had notified these monuments as heritage buildings. Besides these, State Government is proposing to notify about 150 monuments as soon as the GNCT of Delhi Act is notified for Preservation of Monuments. Remaining monuments are at present not receiving any protection and are under threat. The Government of NCT-Delhi is also in the process of enactment of a Heritage Building Act for preservation of the buildings, which are more than 100 years old.

Policies and Proposals for the Protection of Man-made Heritage Sites

Central and State Legislations ensure physical protection of the buildings/sites but they have not been able to control the development of the land appurtenant to the actual protected area. This is where it is possible to employ the instrument of the Town and Country Planning Legislation to protect the area around the protected monument. In view of this, following policies/strategies are proposed:

i) The listing of monuments and conservation areas of all the towns/districts in NCR should be completed on priority basis. All the centrally protected, state protected and listed buildings should be identified with their footprints on the Master/Zonal Plans of each town and in the District Plans in the region. Specific requirements for their protection should be highlighted in the said plans and may vary according to their level of significance. A distinction needs to be made between the legally protected buildings and the 'listed' buildings. The 'listed' buildings do not require the same level of scientific protection as the centrally and state protected monuments.

ii) Town and Country Planning Legislations of the constituent States have provisions for the development of "Special Areas". Each State should use this instrument to declare the area around the protected monuments to be special areas and prepare area level plans for an area covering 300 metres around it. These plans should clearly indicate the nature of development, permissible and non-permissible activities within this area in conformity with the prescriptions provided in the central and state archeological protection legislations

iii) In addition to protected/listed monuments, it is not unlikely that in view of the rich history of this region that hidden or not-yet-excavated sites also exist. The respective departments of archaeology should indicate where they reasonably expect to find underground ruins, and these areas should be duly identified in the Master Plan for each town and the respective district level plans. Buildings proposed to be constructed in these areas should require a no-objection certificate from the relevant departments of archaeology before the building plans are sanctioned.

iv) If evidence of historic buildings is revealed during the excavation for foundation, then the appropriate departments of archaeology should be allowed a specified period of time to record the evidence from this site and remove any artifact that is found before construction activity is permitted to proceed. In order to implement these policies, if any amendment is required in the Town and Country Planning Act of the constituent States, it should be done.

Natural Heritage

National Capital Region is endowed with rich natural heritage sites, which need to be developed as conservation areas. In order to conserve the biodiversity in the region, it can be divided into four categories. They are:

i) Special protected areas: This includes national parks, sanctuaries and forests. They are listed as follow:

  • Sariska national park - Alwar, Rajasthan
  • Sultanpur national park - Gurgaon, Haryana
  • Indira Priya Darshini sanctuary - Asola, NCT-Delhi
  • Hastinapur sanctuary - Meerut, U.P.

ii) Hilly areas:

  • NCT-Delhi Ridge
  • Aravallis at Gurgaon, Faridabad and Alwar

iii) River systems, wetland and water bodies:

  • Yamuna
  • Ganga
  • Yamuna Wetland Systems
  • Nazafgarh Jheel, NCT-Delhi and Haryana
  • Bhalsava lake, NCT-Delhi
  • Damdama lake, Gurgaon (Haryana)
  • Sohna lake/Hot water spring, Gurgaon (Haryana)
  • Badkal and surrounding lakes, Faridabad (Haryana)
  • All existing constructed and natural water bodies including village ponds

iv) Habitations:

This include urban and rural settlements, biodiversity in large variety of crops that grow in these areas, livestock, green areas and open spaces in the developed areas where biotic resources manifest themselves.

Policies and Proposals for the Protection of Natural Heritage Sites

All the identified areas of natural heritage should be protected in terms of land use and pollution control in the vicinity to ensure the protection of biodiversity and urban ecosystems.

Afforestation with right type of species and control of growth of monoculture should be taken up in hilly areas.

Cropping pattern, type of horticulture species that are grown and their effect on the soil, micro climate should be understood in order to save the good agricultural land from the loss of soil fertility. Right type of agricultural practices including social forestry, energy plantation and agro-forestry would go a long way to improve the natural environment. Database for the biodiversity in the region is very poor. It should be strengthened by undertaking certain specific studies.

The enforcement of the prohibition, directions notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India dated 07.05.1992 [under Section 3(1) and 3(2)(v) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and rule 5(3)(d) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 restricting certain activities in specified area of Aravalli Range which are causing environmental degradation in the region] should be ensured while taking up developmental activities in the region. A special Conservation Plan for the above notified areas should be prepared.


Considerable development of tourism has taken place in each State through the respective Departments of Tourism. The respective State Departments have been very active and have developed a variety of tourist sites in their States. This sector was not considered in the Regional Plan-2001. Considering it as one of the important economic activities in the region, it has been included in this Plan.

Policies and Proposals for Development of Tourism Sites

Tourism Development Plan should be prepared highlighting the smaller tourist circuits with one to four days trip within the region to promote tourism incorporating following policies and strategies:

i) The heritage and tourist sites should be used as instruments to direct land use policy towards more decentralised patterns of development. They should be clearly identified on the land use plan to prevent encroachment and inappropriate development and should be integrated with the potentials for cultural and leisure tourism.

ii) Tourism circuits covering tourism, leisure, cultural and heritage sites should be created with one to three days trip and should be given priority in development of transportation and other infrastructure. Fiscal incentives should be provided for the purpose. Private sector should be encouraged to help in development of tourism and also invest in maintenance & upkeep of tourist destinations in the region.

iii) Tourism should be recognised as an important source of employment.

iv) Proper database for heritage and tourism sites should be developed and updated from time to time. v) Publicity of the heritage and tourist sites in the National Capital Region should be done through media.

For more information on Heritage & Tourism Sector in the NCR, please refer to documents below:

Regional Plan Document on Heritage & Tourism Sector

Click here to view Heritage & Tourism Weblinks