WORLD HERITAGE STATUS
The Kakatiya Heritage Trust has initiated the process of bringing Kakatiya Monuments in to World Heritage List. The Trust hired the Consultant Surya Narayan Murthy to prepare a proposal to get the Kakatiya Monuments to get Tentatively Listed with UNESCO. The proposal was prepared in consultation with ASI and got the approval of the State Government. The proposal was cleared by the Heritage Committee of the Government of India and was forwarded to UNESCO.
UNESCO has accepted the proposal and Kakatiya Monuments are put in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. Please see the following linkhttp://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5889/
However, there is long way to get Kakatiya Monuments as World Heritage Sites. For instance the Golconda Fort was in the tentative list for over a decade but still not approved as World Heritage Site.
The next step is to prepare a detailed dossier in consultation with ASI and Telangana Government. The Government of India has to send the proposal to UNESCO. The GOI will send only two proposals every year. So we have to compete nationally to get Kakatiya Monuments to be considered by the GOI to be send to UNESCO.
There after an international expert committee will visit the Kakatiya Monuments and make a report to UNESCO. Finally the ICOMOS, a Heritage Expert Body will vote in its annual meeting either in favour or to reject a proposal.
Kakatiya Heritage Trust will pursue the matter till Kakatiya Monuments gets the World Heritage Site status.
Ramappa temple got the UNESCO heritage site tag
The 800-year-old Ramappa temple’s unique sandbox technology and ‘floating bricks’ helped it get the global tag
Telangana made history when the majestic Ramappa temple at Palampet village, 210 km north-east of Hyderabad, bagged the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. The ruins of the majestic temple, built in the 13th century by the Kakatiya line of kings (regarded as one of the brightest periods of Telugu history), is the first site in the state and the 39th in the country to get the honour. It is the best known of the Kakatiya temples with its decorative pillars, exquisitely carved ceilings and the celebrated figures of dancers and musicians.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) had initially recommended deferring the nomination during its 44th meeting held online, citing that the monument did not satisfy certain criteria, but 17 countries led by Russia endorsed the inclusion of the Ramappa temple for having “outstanding universal value”. India’s ambassador to UNESCO, Vishal Sharma, and Union ministers Meenakshi Lekhi and G. Kishan Reddy had mounted a diplomatic campaign to impress the world heritage committee.
Among the countries with reservations, Norway suggested an expansion of the site’s boundaries and its buffer zone to include a wider context of the temple’s functional landscape. It felt India could return with a reconfigured nomination by building a stronger case for the structure’s integrity and conservation. The suggestion is in keeping with the loftier goal of conserving heritage for posterity.
The temple dedicated to Shiva is often described as the brightest star in the galaxy of the medieval temples of the Deccan. It reflects a repository of Kakatiyan creative genius, with its intricate carvings adorning the walls, pillars and ceilings of the marvelous edifice. It was built in 1213 AD by Recharla Rudra, the general of King Ganapathi Deva. Though the presiding deity here is Ramalingeswara Swamy, the temple was named after the sculptor Ramappa, who completed the task in 14 years. Built with sandstone and a sandbox foundation, the temple has decorated beams and columns made of granite stone.
The earliest initiative for getting the heritage site tag began with the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT) founded by former civil servant B.V. Papa Rao in 2009. Since 2012, heritage activists have campaigned for Ramappa’s conservation and the 1,000 pillar temple in Warangalthe other remaining masterpiece from the Kakatiya days. Papa Rao, as Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekara Rao’s adviser since 2014, prepared the dossier with the help of historians and forwarded it to the Government of India to process the nomination with ICOMOS. It remained in limbo till UNESCO-deputed stone experts, led by Vasu Poshyanandana of Thailand, assessed Ramappa’s structural and cultural elegance in September 2019. Papa Rao then led a delegation to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in November 2019 to emphasise the iconic temple’s universal appeal. "KHT should continue its work towards the development of Kakatiya temples,” he says.
Meanwhile, a major challenge to the temple’s very existence came in 2010. “A tunnel was being dug as part of the Devadula irrigation project. It was against the norms of the ASI, and dangerously close to the temple. We had to lobby hard to stop it,” recalls V. Mohan Rao, a former sarpanch and convenor of the Ramappa Temple Protection Committee.
The heritage site status also now implies a new beginning for conservation and management. Telangana’s record in protecting heritage sites so far has been poor. A glaring instance is the Ameenpur Lake in west Hyderabad. Though the government of India declared the water body a biodiversity heritage site in November 2016, KCR’s government has done little to protect it. Instead, it has allowed land sharks and others to encroach on the foreshore of the lake, killing its biodiversity in flora and fauna. The lackadaisical approach notwithstanding, the state is now lobbying for a similar heritage site status for Hyderabad, or at least the fabled Golconda fort and the landmark Charminar.
The Ramappa temple, hereafter, will get financial assistance for the protection of its cultural and natural heritage. India will also receive expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for its preservation. The site will also have access to global project management resources if a repair is needed. The site, by default, will also receive protection under the Geneva Convention, in the event of a war.
The Ramappa temple floor was damaged by an earthquake on June 16, 1819. ICOMOS has asked the state to come up with a comprehensive conservation and management project by December-end to protect the historic structure.
The Telangana High Court has also directed the Union government and the state government to launch appropriate conservation measures. An existential threat is from the open cast mining project proposed by the state-owned Singareni Collieries some six kms away. The project to produce 40.43 million tonnes of coal from 1,798 hectares over 19 years. Mohan Rao suggests a 15 km radius around the temple be notified as a special buffer zone to skirt the threat from the open cast mine.