With less than a week to go for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) team to visit the Kakatiya-era Ramappa temple, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and officials of the Telangana government are on their toes to ensure that the historic site gets the World Heritage Site tag in 2020.
The UNESCO team will visit the site on 25 September.
The 13th century temple, named after its architect Ramappa, is the only site nominated from India for the prestigious World Heritage Site tag. However, it is not in a presentable state, thanks to restoration works going on in its premises, said a senior official from the ASI, the official custodian of the monument. The official, who did not want to be quoted, said that his department needed at least a year (since the temple’s nomination was filed earlier this year) to complete those works.
“There is some work going on at the boundary wall and in another place, so these things will be noticed. While the main temple itself is in a good state and fine, we don’t know what the UNESCO official will look at and raise concerns about," stated the ASI official. The temple is located 65 kilometres away from Warangal (which was the seat of the Kakatiya dynasty), in Palampet (Mulugu district).
According to the ASI official, the UNESCO representative along with officials from the state government’s Department of Heritage and Tourism will visit the site for the inspection. From the state, the Qutb Shahi-era Golconda fort, Qutb Shahi tombs and the Charminar (Hyderabad’s foundation, built in 1591) have also been on the tentative list to get the World Heritage site status.
To attain the world heritage site status, the nominated monuments have to clear a series of necessary parameters. A detailed dossier also has to be prepared to show the outstanding universal value of place, besides meeting other criteria. Once that documentation is complete, it then requires, by the state or the country, for the tag.
The nominated sites are also evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). After all these steps (and others), the World Heritage Committee will also evaluate the site and decide to inscribe it or send back the nomination. It remains to be seen whether the Ramappa temple will attain the World Heritage status, given the ongoing works still taking place in its premises.
“I think we are very well prepared. We only helped in preparing the dossier and we have been at it for 10 years to convince the state and Centre (to push for nomination of the Ramappa temple)," said B. V. Papa Rao, former advisor to the Telangana government and member of the Kakatiya Heritage Trust, one of the key persons people who has been pushing for the monument’s nomination.