Andhra Pradesh

‘Monuments of Sri Mukhalingam deserve World Heritage status’

The Madhukesvara temple at Sri Mukhalingam in Srikakulam district.   | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGEMENT

Some architectural masterpieces created by the rulers of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the then capital of Kalinga kingdom, Sri Mukhalingam (in Srikakulam district), need to be given World Heritage status by the UNESCO, opines Archaeological Survey of India former superintending archaeologist, Temple Survey Project (Southern Region), D. Kanna Babu.

Madhukesvara, Bhimesvara and Somesvara temples built during the 8-10th C A.D. in distinct Kalinga architectural style on the banks of the Vamsadhara river, though having the requisite outstanding ‘universal value’ are yet to be accredited by the UNESCO under the World Heritage sites list. These have no less intricate workmanship compared to the UNESCO-recognised Pattadakal structures in North Karnataka, Mr. Kanna Babu told The Hindu.

“These ancient vestiges are the paramount examples of original architectural creations of human intellectuality in different periods with outstanding ‘universal value’ in terms of rich modelling, finite forms of archetypal superstructures, unique layouts, cohesively culminated blend of northern and southern Indian structural building styles, sculptures, exuberant carvings of pillars-walls-niches, ceilings, and inimitable iconographic forms of divinities etc.,” he added.

These monuments can satisfy four out of six selection criteria prescribed by the UNESCO for submitting it to the ‘Tentative List’ and thereafter to the ‘Nomination’ under ‘Cultural Heritage’ category. The Madhukesvara shrine is the most popular one and known as the Sri Mukhalingesvara temple. It has a very close resemblance with the grand architectural pattern of the Parasuramesvara shrine at Bhubaneswar but excels in sculptural exuberance.

Classical architecture

As a man who has minutely studied the architecture of the majority of the temples in the southern region, Mr. Kanna Babu said these temples are considered as one of the most outstanding groups of ancient shrines in Andhra Pradesh edifying the earliest classical phase of art and architecture.

Sri Mukhalingam is identified as Kalinganagaram, the capital city of the early Eastern Ganga dynasty, and played a unique role in the life and development of the Kalinga region.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 6:59:41 PM |

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