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Telangana's Ramappa Temple Gets World Heritage Site Tag: How Does UNESCO Select?

What is the World Heritage Site tag? How is a particular site decided? Here's all you need to know.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>What is the World Heritage Site tag? How is a particular site decided? Here's all you need to know.</p></div>
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Telangana's Rudreswara Temple – also known as the Ramappa Temple – has been selected as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The decision was taken on Sunday, 25 July, at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee.

Six Indian sites – including the temples of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the Ganga ghats in Varanasi, and the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh – have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, the Ministry of Culture, announced earlier in July.

What is the World Heritage Site tag? How is a particular site decided? Here's all you need to know.

What is the World Heritage Site tag?

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO.

According to the international body, the sites are conferred the tag for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. They are judged to contain 'cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity'.

What is the World Heritage Site tag? How is a particular site decided? Here's all you need to know.
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What is the World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO.

According to the international body, the sites are conferred the tag for havingcultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. They are judged to contain 'cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity'.

What is the selection process?

Each country should apply to the UNESCO and the application is then evaluated.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is responsible for recommending cultural sites and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) selects natural sites.

The country has to submit the neccessary documents including historical significance, maps, etc. This document is then submitted to World Heritage Centre for review.

As of October 2020, a total of 194 countries have adhered to the World Heritage Convention.

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What happens after the application is submitted?

The World Heritage Convention requires two separate advisory bodies to independently evaluate a property that was nominated. These two bodies are International Council on Monuments and Sites, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Once these two councils make their recommendations, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee – which is made up of representatives from 21 countries – take a final call.

What is the selection criteria?

The nominated site should meet at least one of the following criteria.

  • To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius.

  • To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

  • To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared.

  • To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

  • To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.

  • To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

  • to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.

  • to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.

  • to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.

  • to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

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How many such sites are there in India?

Among these 38 UNESCO Heritage sites of India, the list includes 30 cultural sites, 7 natural sites, and 1 mixed site.

Agra Fort, Ajanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara, Fatehpur Sikri, Great Living Chola Temples, Churches and Convents of Goa, Jaipur City, Sundarbans National Park, Humayun's Tomb, are some of the Heritage sites in India.

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What do we know about the latest Indian addition to the list?

The 13th century Ramappa temple was proposed by the Indian government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019.

The temple reportedly dates back to 1213 and was built by a Kakatiya General Recherla Rudra Reddy, during the period of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva.

Speaking about the temple, Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, told The Indian Express, “Ramappa is the main Shiva temple in a larger walled temple complex, which includes several smaller temples and structures. The temple stands as a testimony to the highest level of creative, artistic and engineering talents involving various experimentations in expressive art forms of the Kakatiya period (1123-1323).”

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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