Hoysala Temples in Karnataka now India’s 42nd UNESCO’s World Heritage site; PM Modi says ‘more pride’

The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala — the famed Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somananthpura in Karnataka have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list. This inclusion marks the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and comes just a day after Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan also received this distinguished recognition.

Keshava Temple, Somanathapura(PIB)

“Just inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, India. Congratulations!” the specialised agency of the UN announced in a post on social media platform X on Monday.

Reacting to the addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the temples are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the country. “More pride for India! The magnificent Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The timeless beauty and intricate details of the Hoysala temples are a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage and the exceptional craftsmanship of our ancestors,” he wrote on X.

The temples were finalised as India’s nomination for consideration as World Heritage for the year 2022-2023. The ‘Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala’ have been on UNESCO’s Tentative list since April 15, 2014.

All these three Hoysala temples are already protected monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

What is the history and significance of Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala?

The sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas, constructed during the 12th and 13th centuries are represented here by the three components of Belur, Halebid, and Somnathapura.

While the Hoysala temples maintain a fundamental Dravidian morphology, they exhibit substantial influences from the Bhumija style prevalent in Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India, and the Karnataka Dravida modes favoured by the Kalyani Chalukyas, a PIB statement said describing the temples.

List of all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

1. Agra Fort (1983)

2. Ajanta Caves (1983)

3. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar (2016)

4. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)

5. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)

6. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)

7. Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)

8. Dholavira: a Harappan City (2021)

9. Elephanta Caves (1987)

10. Ellora Caves (1983)

11. Fatehpur Sikri (1986)

12. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)

13. Great Living Chola Temples (1987)

14. Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)

15. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)

16. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)

17. Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)

18. Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)

19. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)

20. Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)

21. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (2021)

22. Kaziranga National Park (1985)

23. Keoladeo National Park (1985)

24. Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)

25. Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)

26. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)

27. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)

28. Mountain Railways of India (1999)

29. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988)

30. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)

31. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)

32. Red Fort Complex (2007)

33. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)

34. Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)

35. Sundarbans National Park (1987)

36. Taj Mahal (1983)

37. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)

38. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)

39. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018)

40. Western Ghats (2012)

41. Santiniketan, West Bengal

42. Sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas, Karnataka

What does it signify when a site is listed on the World Heritage List?

According to UNESCO, when a country becomes a signatory to the World Heritage Convention and has its sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, it often brings about increased recognition and appreciation for heritage preservation among both its citizens and government.

Furthermore, the country may avail itself of financial assistance and expert guidance from the World Heritage Committee to bolster efforts aimed at safeguarding these precious sites.

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