How India's diplomatic efforts fetched Telangana's Ramappa temple UNESCO tag

Located in Palampet village, approximately 200km north-east of Hyderabad, the temple has been inscribed as World Heritage Site in the 44th Online Session (July 16 to 31) being hosted by China at Fuzhou.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  26 July 2021 7:02 AM GMT
How Indias diplomatic efforts fetched Telanganas Ramappa temple UNESCO tag

Hyderabad: Famed Rudreshwara temple, popularly known as Ramappa Temple, has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site on Sunday.

Located in Palampet village, approximately 200km north-east of Hyderabad, the temple has been inscribed as World Heritage Site in the 44th Online Session (July 16 to 31) being hosted by China at Fuzhou.

The meeting was supposed to take place in 2020, but due to COVID19 pandemic, it was postponed.

A consensus was reached in this regard during the ongoing virtual meet of the World Heritage Committee. While Norway opposed the inscription, Russia led an effort to have the temple recognized as a World Heritage Site. A consensus of 17 countries supported the move.

World Heritage Committee currently includes Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and Uganda.

Except for Norway, all other countries supported the Indian submission.

The History

As per the UNESCO World Heritage Site document, it is the main Shiva temple in a walled complex built during the Kakatiyan period (1123–1323 AD) under rulers Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra. Construction of the sandstone temple began in 1213 AD and is believed to have continued over some 40 years.

"The medieval Deccan temple dates back to 1213 AD and was built under the patronage of the Kakatiya ruler Kakati Ganapathi Deva under the authority of his Chief Commander Rudra Samani at Ranakude in the Atukuru province," Telangana Tourism said.

The building features decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite with a distinctive and pyramidal Vimana (horizontally stepped tower) made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called 'floating bricks', which reduced the weight of the roof structures.

The temple's sculptures of high artistic quality illustrate regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture. Located at the foothills of a forested area and amidst agricultural fields, close to the shores of the Ramappa Cheruvu, a Kakatiya-built water reservoir, the choice of setting for the edifice followed the ideology and practice sanctioned in dharmic texts that temples are to be constructed to form an integral part of a natural setting, including hills, forests, springs, streams, lakes, catchment areas, and agricultural lands.

UNESCO's recognition

Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple has been on the UNESCO Tentative List since April 15, 2014, along with glorious Kakatiya temples & Gateways. The dossier was created by the Telangana state government. In 2016, the dossier was sent to the GOI, requesting it to propose the nomination of the temple

The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple dossier, along with the dossier for Jaipur City was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2018. It was prioritized for the inscription process in the year 2019, and an International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) expert evaluated the site in September 2019.

The ICOMOS technical evaluation mission was carried out by Vasu Poshyanandana (Thailand) in September 2019. In mid - November 2019, the ICOMOS World Heritage Panel evaluated the cultural and mixed properties nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List in 2020.

"While the ICOMOS Panel considered the Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways, Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple at Palampet Jayashankar Bhupalpally District). Telangana State "might have the potential to meet the requirements for Outstanding Universal Value, this has not yet been demonstrated," said Director, ICOMOS Evaluation Unit in 2019. ICOMOS Panel cited nine shortcomings at the site after an initial visit in 2019.

In 2020, the nomination was considered and was taken up in the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee which was hosted at Fuzhou.

India's diplomatic arrangement reached out to all the countries whose representatives were supposed to vote on the proposal to ensure the World Heritage Site status for the Ramappa temple.

Criteria for selection

Representing a masterpiece of human creative genius is the first criterion for selection. The UNESCO representative said that Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is a masterpiece of the Kakatiyan style of Temple architecture with the use of engineering innovation by creating floating bricks, sand-box foundations, material selection knowledge, and ingenuity in stone sculpting as a technological ensemble.

The second criterion includes exhibiting an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.'

UNESCO said that Rudreshwara Temple displays an important interchange of human values over a span of about 180 years i.e. from 12th to 14th century CE. The interchange of human values is also displayed in the later traditions of Vijayanagara, due to the strong evolved knowledge system of Kakatiyas.

Chalukyan values were carried over to Kakatiyan in the sculpture making and temple form. This indigenously developed method, treatment of divine, human, animal, floral and geometric designs in most appealing proportions, creation of three-dimensional figures, in an immaculate way using tiny tools and implements is a contribution for the humankind universally. This also led to the unique architectural style of the region being identifiable as Kakatiyan style, distinctive to the region of Telangana.

The third criterion includes bearing a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that is living or which has disappeared.

The UNESCO said Rudreshwara Temple is the best surviving example of the Kakatiyan tradition of art, architecture, and technology, even after the onslaught on various other temples of the Kakatiyan era. The temple is an outstanding example of temple architecture evolution illustrating a phase of development in the science, technology, and art of temple building and construction in Deccan India. The temple stands as a testimony demonstrating an elaborate materialization of the regional dance customs and Puranic texts.

UNESCO justified all the three criteria for the selection of Ramappa Temple as a World Heritage Site.

Way forward

The first benefit, however, is all about tourism. After recognition, it becomes more attractive to travelers, and therefore travel writers and other news organizations will help spread the word. The site suddenly has a certain status that it didn't have earlier. This could help bring new economic benefits.

Ramappa Temple will get financial assistance for the protection of its cultural and natural heritage. It will get international assistance that can support projects related to emergency, conservation, and management, and for preparatory assistance under the national tentative list.

It will get protection during the war; the site becomes protected under Geneva Convention against destruction during a war.

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