Indian Railways in recognition of its social, cultural,economic and industrial value as a lifeline of India, made an application to UNESCO for World Heritage Inscription of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) in 1998.
The world heritage committee of UNESCO at its 23th session held at Marrakesh, Morocco decided to inscribe Darjeeling Himalaya Railway site on the world Heritage list.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed DHR as a World Heritage Site on 5th December 1999 stating the following reasons:
An outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on social & economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world. ( C(ii) )
The development of railways in the 19th century had a profound influence on social and economic developments in many parts of the world. This process is illustrated in an exceptional and seminal fashion by the DHR. ( C(iv) )
“The DHR is the first, and still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, it applied bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. It is still fully operational and retains most of its original features intact.
Certification of World Heritage Status by UNESCO can be seen here