American landscape experts, who are drawing up a conservation plan for Mount Govardhan -- significant in Hindu mythology -- feel the hill deserves to be recognised as a world heritage site.
"Goverdhan hill is unique in the world, visited by more than ten million people annually. However, its ecosystem is in a shambles, the water bodies have been destroyed and the green cover almost disappeared," Amita Sinha of the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, US, told IANS.
Sinha and her team have completed a weeklong study of Goverdhan hill, which Lord Krishna is believed to have lifted on his little finger to protect residents from the wrath of Indra the god of rain.
The study is to be presented to the university and the Braj Foundation, which is currently engaged in the restoration of ancient heritage sites in the entire Braj Mandal area in and around Vrindavan, Mathura and Agra, filled with references to Lord Krishna.
The team will prepare a watershed map of the hill. They have identified vegetation patterns, surveyed historic and other structures, observed pilgrimage rites and conducted interviews with pilgrims and resident devotees.
A member of the team told IANS: "The experience was truly amazing. The information we gathered through intensive interaction with pilgrims, priests and the ordinary people helped us work on a holistic project keeping the spiritual and cultural features of the area in mind."
The team will come out with a detailed report in August.
The report will be useful in putting together a conservation plan for Mount Govardhan that will be taken forward by The Braj Foundation in association with the Uttar Pradesh government for getting Govardhan Hill world heritage site status, said Raghav Mittal, project director at Vrindavan.