Ramappa Temple for world heritage site

The Ramappa Temple is perhaps the only one in the country that is known by the name of its architect.File Photo

The Ramappa Temple is perhaps the only one in the country that is known by the name of its architect.File Photo  

Kakatiya era jewel near Warangal in the reckoning as a standalone UNESCO site, the first in Telangana

Telangana might get its first Unesco World Heritage Site, but it is going to be the Ramappa temple at Palampet near Warangal than any of the Qutb Shahi era sites in Hyderabad.

While the Qutb Shahi monuments of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar have been on the tentative list of the world heritage sites from September 2010, the Ramappa temple’s application filed as ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’ has been fast-tracked from April 2014.

“We would have gotten the world heritage site tag last year itself, but the Central government wanted to push the case of Jaipur, and our listing was delayed by one year,” said B.V. Papa Rao of Kakatiya Heritage Trust, who has been pushing the levers of power to make a case for Ramappa temple as a world heritage site.

Earlier, the Ramappa temple was part of a serial nomination along with the Thousand Pillar temple, Swayambhu temple and Keerti Thoranas of Warangal Fort. But now, thanks to a small tweak, the Ramappa temple is in the reckoning as a standalone world heritage site.

The Shiva temple is perhaps the only one in the country that is known by the name of the architect rather than the king who commissioned it or the presiding deity of the temple. The stunning dance sculptures and friezes of the temple appear as if they have been machined into shape on the black dolomite rather than being chiselled. The temple is built on a valley and it rests on bricks that are scientifically shown to float in water.

Serial nominations

“The Ramappa temple is a jewel of the Kakatiya era and it stands out. I can’t understand why many of the sites in India are trying to use the serial nominations route to get inscribed as a world heritage site. Getting there is part of the journey and after that, the key is to keep the integrity of the site,” said Mr. Rao.

The world heritage site/city status appear like a bunch of hoops in a circus which the country and the site owners have to jump to get it. The first step involves creating a dossier in great detail showing the outstanding universal value of the heritage site, besides the site meeting a few other criteria. Once the documentation is complete, it requires a push by the State party or the country where the site/city is located. The nominated property is then evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) then provides the committee with advice on conservation of cultural sites, as well as on training activities.

After these steps, the World Heritage Committee evaluates the site and decides to inscribe it or send back the nomination. It remains to be seen whether the Ramappa temple clears all the hoops at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee meeting at Azerbaijan in the first week of July and gets the prized inscription of world heritage site.

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