Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Wednesday, Jul 07, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

Karnataka Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

World heritage status for Darasuram Temple

By T. Ramakrishnan

Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam. — Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

CHENNAI, JULY 6. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared the Brihadisvara Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram in Perambalur district and the Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram in Thanjavur district "world heritage monuments," two examples of grandeur and excellence of Chola architecture and sculpture.

This was announced on Friday at the ongoing session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee at Suzhou, China, according to the UN body's web site.

Belonging to the 11th and 12th centuries, the two temples represent "an outstanding creative achievement in the architectural conception of the pure form of the Dravida type temple," says the citation, adding that they are an "exceptional and the most outstanding testimony to the development of the architecture of the Chola empire and Tamil civilisation in southern India."

The two temples have been put under the heading, "Great Living Chola Temples," under which the Big Temple of Thanjavur also features. The Big Temple made it to the World Heritage List in 1987. While Rajendra I (1012-44) constructed the Gangaikondacholapuram temple after scoring victories in the north, Rajaraja II (1146-73) built the Darasuram temple.

"We knew that the announcement would be made in the meeting," says T. Satyamurthy,

Superintending Archaeologist (Chennai Circle) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is looking after maintenance of the Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram temples. "We expect to receive a formal communication later this week," Dr. Satyamurthy adds.

A senior official in the Union Culture Ministry, confirming the development, says that the ASI's Additional Director-General is representing India at the Committee's session.

This year, two more sites from India — Champaner-Pavagadh archaeological park in Gujarat and Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station (formerly known as Victoria Terminus) in Mumbai, Maharashtra — were declared world heritage monuments.

The two temples of Tamil Nadu are, in the UNESCO parlance, considered `extensions' of the previously-inscribed site of the Big Temple. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets in June-July every year to include certain areas to the World Heritage List on the basis of cultural or natural heritage of such sites. Sometimes, a combination of the two aspects is also taken into account.

So far, 788 places in the world have been declared heritage sites, of which 611 are of cultural importance, 154 natural and 23 a mixture of both.

Altogether, 26 sites in India have now made it to the World Heritage List.

They include the Taj Mahal, the Ajanta and Ellora caves, the Sun Temple at Konark, Sanchi Buddhist monuments, Hampi and Pattadakal monuments in Karnataka.

As for Tamil Nadu, Mamallapuram in Kancheepuram district was included in the list in 1984.

"Though the announcement may not mean anything in terms of monetary value or financial assistance, it will provide international exposure to the two temples," says K.T. Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist in charge of temple survey project at the ASI.

He points out that the UN organisation gave funds to Cambodia and Sri Lanka for preservation and conservation projects on world heritage sites in these two countries.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail


News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |

News Update

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu