Efforts are underway to secure UNESCO World Heritage status for the 1,400-million-year-old fossil park in Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, according to Jaiveer Singh, the Minister of Tourism and Culture. The state tourism department is actively pursuing the necessary procedures to obtain this prestigious recognition for the fossil park located near Salkhan in Sonbhadra district.
The Sonbhadra fossil park, identified as one of Asia’s largest and oldest, is on the path to joining the UNESCO list, as mentioned by Minister Jaiveer Singh. With an estimated age of 1,400 million years, the fossil park attracts paleontologists and tourists from around the world who visit Salkhan throughout the year to explore its ancient wonders.
Minister Singh emphasized the state government’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure facilities to accommodate more tourists and provide essential amenities in the region. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of placing Uttar Pradesh on the global tourism map. To facilitate this, a team from the Tourism and Culture Department, accompanied by Dr. MG Thakkar, director of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleosciences, visited the park to assess its potential.
Sonbhadra district boasts not only the fossil park but also a rich array of natural and geological formations, including picturesque valleys and waterfalls. The development of necessary facilities is anticipated to bolster tourism in Sonbhadra and create employment opportunities for the local population.
The fossils found in the park are primarily algae and stromatolites type fossils, estimated to be 1,400 million years old. Currently maintained by the forest department, the park remains relatively undiscovered by the majority of people. However, once granted the UNESCO tag and equipped with enhanced tourist facilities, the fossil park is poised to invigorate tourism in the region and contribute to the socio-economic upliftment of the local community.
Minister Singh highlighted the significance of fossils as preserved remains or impressions left by ancient creatures, offering valuable insights into Earth’s history. Found on the Earth’s surface or within layers of rock, fossils provide scientists with a window into different periods of time and the existence of various animal categories. The potential UNESCO recognition of the Sonbhadra fossil park not only elevates its global standing but also promises to fuel scientific curiosity and contribute to the region’s economic growth through sustainable tourism.