In this article, ‘Why Ramappa Temple Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site (Pt. I)’ deliberation will be made to look into the importance and Criterion of such nomination, and the uniqueness of the temple to meet that Criterion.
The cultural heritage of India vis-a-vis the Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India’s archeological and artistic excellence in detail has been discussed. Why Ramappa Temple Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site? (Pt. II) will be published on 24.06.2022.
What is UNESCO?
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences, and culture. UNESCO’s programs contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
As early as 1942, in wartime, the governments of the European countries, which were confronting Nazi Germany and its allies, met in the United Kingdom for the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME). World War II was far from over, yet those countries were looking for ways and means to rebuild their education systems once peace was restored.
The project quickly gained momentum and soon acquired a universal character. New governments, including that of the United States, decided to join in. Upon the proposal of CAME, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London from 1 to 16 November 1945.
Scarcely had the war ended when the conference opened. It gathered together representatives of forty-four countries who decided to create an organization that would embody a genuine culture of peace. In their eyes, the new organization was to establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and thereby prevent the outbreak of another world war.
The Organization currently has 193 Members and 11 Associate Members.
The decision was taken by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO
In its 44th secession, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO held at Fuzhou (China) on 16-31 July 2021 took the decision to nominate Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana a World Heritage Site,(Documented: by Decision 44 COM 8B.12) and again amended on 23 July 2021 as recorded by Item of the agenda: WHC/21/44.COM/8B Nominations to the World Heritage List. The amended Text is as under:
Draft Decision: 44 COM 8B.12 The World Heritage Committee
- Having examined Documents WHC/21/44.COM/8B and WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B1,
- The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways – Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Palampet, Jayashankar Bhupalpally District, Telangana State, India
- Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The Great Living Rudreshwara Temple, popularly known as Ramappa Temple, located in the village of Palampet, approximately 200km north-east of Hyderabad, in the State of Telangana. Rudreshwara the main Shiva temple in a larger walled temple complex, which includes smaller temples and Mandara structures constructed under the chieftains Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra.
The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple stands as a unique testimony to the highest level of creative, artistic, and engineering talents involving various experimentations in expressive art forms of the Kakatiya period (1123-1323 CE). The temple built of sandstone with decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite with a distinctive and pyramidal Vimana made of lightweight porous bricks, also known as “floating bricks”.
The sculptures of the Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, especially its bracket figures, unique artistic works carved out of the hard dolerite stone giving it a metal-like finish with its luster intact even after 800 years of construction.
These sculptures express movement and dynamism in form; no human or animal depiction appears static or sedentary. Every sculpture conveys active movement and illustrates regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture. The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple created as a harmonious ensemble of the natural environment, architecture, sculpture, ritual, and dance: five elements, which complemented each other in defining the temple’s ritual space.
It is outstanding evidence of Kakatiyan cultural, architectural, and artistic creations. The temple is a living memory of the legend of the Kakatiyas who brought a golden era to the Telugu-speaking region of South India.
Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is a masterpiece of the Kakatiyan style of temple architecture, representing the unique combination of ingenuity in stone sculpting and engineering experimentations. The use of a sandbox foundation and floating bricks, as well as a thoughtful selection of materials and perfect planning allowed to reduce the load on the temple structure, make it earthquake resistant and remain intact even after 800 years of construction.
The sculptures of the Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple manifest Kakatiyans’ indigenous geotechnical knowledge in stone chiseling as well as their deep understanding of construction technologies. These let the Kakatiyans use one of the hardest rocks, give it a fine luster finish and allocate the sculptures all over the temple. The sculptural decor of outstanding beauty and creativity represents the Kakatiyan dance customs, interprets the regional lifestyle, and is based on the Puranic texts.
The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple is an exceptional testimony of the Kakatiyan Dynasty and illustrates its artistic, architectural, and engineering achievements within the wall temple compound and its wider setting. The efforts of Kakatiyan craftsmen to interpret and integrate motifs of regional dance customs and Kakatiyan cultural traditions into sculptural and textual representations in the form of Madanikas, GajaVyalas, motifs on kakshasana, and other carvings stand out as exceptional evidence of popular cultural forms.
The temple demonstrates significantly the architectural evolution illustrating an important phase of development in the science, technology, and art of temple building and construction in Deccan India.
Creation of unique Trikutalaya temple form with a Kakshasana in Kakatiyan temples, locating most of the temples with dynamics of the tank and a town or settlement, deploying innovative techniques in the foundation, manufacturing of lightweight bricks best displayed in Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple and remains a testimony to the Kakatiyan Cultural tradition.
The Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple lies at the center of a walled temple complex which together with its wider setting retains high visual and functional integrity and demonstrates a significant relationship with both purpose-built and natural elements, which enhance and maintain the atmosphere of the temple ceremonies that continue to be performed in the temple complex to the present day.
Significant architectural and artistic achievements of the temple complex supported by the natural features, the artificial Kakatiya-built reservoir and irrigation systems, cultivated land, and smaller temples within the immediate surrounding landscape, thus communicating Kakatiyan cultural traditions for over 800 years.
The indigenous value held by the innovative construction techniques of building structures using sand-box technology, lightweight porous floating bricks, and other traditional methods, and the commendable sculptural efforts in chiseling the very hard dolerite rocks to get the everlasting metallic polishes very well displayed and intact at Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Palampet.
Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple well protected from natural disasters due to its construction techniques and there is no major threat to its Outstanding Universal Value.
The Kameshewara temple located near the Rudreshwara temple within the temple complex dissembled and awaiting anastylosis. All works will be carried out in the due course based on scientific research and conservation program.
The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple maintains the authenticity of form, design, craftsmanship, function, and use, material and construction techniques, and associated intangible cultural heritage and displays the building and cultural traditions of the Kakatiya Empire.
The Ramappa Temple designed to be spacious and functional in each structural element. The passage serving as Pradakshinapatha was based on the wide of 10-feet socle Adhisthana. The Kakatiyans used floating bricks to reduce a load of pyramidal Vimana, making it storied and towering over the temple sanctum sanctorum – Garbhagriha, and preceding it the half hall – Ardha Mandapa.
The Sabha Mandapa, representing a central covered hall and being the most significant part of the temple, used for multi-purpose: as ritual space, for political and cultural discourses, it also served as a hall of justice and for entering into treaty before the Lord Rudreshwara, performing dance and music.
The temple plan form and its spatial organization are intact and untouched. Its function and traditional management system remain the same nowadays, too: the Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is a living Brahminical Shiva Temple, following all the authentic Shaiva-Agama rituals followed and drawing the attention of a large number of people.
The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple represents the testimony of Kakatiyan knowledge in identifying the building materials, their strength, and their expected life. The temple erected using five types of local material, like sand for foundation, clay for bricks, dolerite and sandstone for sculptures, granite for columns and beams.
The temple in whole and its refined decorations, ranging from 6-feet bracket figures, represented by Madanikas and Gaja-Vyalas (about 40 figures in total), to 6-inch relief thematic sculptures (about 600 in total), are structurally stable and nearly intact. Some missing floating bricks were remanufactured after conducting an extensive study, following the same techniques used by the Kakatiyans in the 13th century.
The surviving rural surroundings witnesses the wise integration of the Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple in its wider natural context and is of remarkable authenticity in setting, traditional management mechanisms as well as use and function.
Protection and management requirements
Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is the property of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which is mainly responsible for its protection, conservation, and management. The buffer zone of the property will be managed by an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) involving owners and various stakeholders at different levels…….
Recommends that the State Party gives consideration:
a) Submitting a minor boundary modification of the extended boundaries of the property and the buffer zone with a view to including the relevant wider context of the Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple,
b) Finalizing the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT) research on the comparison of Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple and other Kakatiya temples and extending it in a regional and international context,
c) Finalizing the integrated conservation and management plan as well as updating the tourism development plan, to integrate risk preparedness strategies, visitor management at festive events with overcrowding, and cautious assessment criteria for approving any additional visitor infrastructure in and around the nominated property,
d) Ensure the constitution and functioning of “Palampet Special Area Development Authority” in order to provide effective management and adequate protection to the buffer zone and all supporting Kakatiya period attributes;
e) Expand the programmed conservation approach to cover the additional architectural and engineering features, including the Ramappa Lake bund, the water distribution, and irrigation channels, and the smaller temples in the wider temple setting;
f) Undertake Heritage Impact Assessments for any projects located near the nominated property, in particular the development projects near the Ramappa Lake,
g) Provide a schedule and detailed methodology for the reassembly and conservation of Kameshwara Temple following the principle of anastylosis,
h) Undertake capacity building for the local community and the temple priest so that they have the necessary skills to contribute to the management of the site.
Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2023, a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations.
Decides that the name of the property be changed to “Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India”.
Archaeological Survey of India:
Nomination Dossier submitted to UNESCO by Archaeological Survey of India for Inspection of THE GLORIOUS KAKATIYA TEMPLES AND GATEWAYS AS WORLD HERITAGE SITE AT PALAMPET (Jayashankar Bhupalpally District), Telangana State, India gave the following detail of the temple.
Trikuta plan from
Kakatiyas, the descendants of Chalukyas, followed the same principles, which followed by their masters while constructing numerous temples. But there is some difference in the plans as the Kakatiya ones were superior to those of their masters.
The temple plans of ekakuta, dvikuta, and trikuta adopted by Kakatiyas are similar in the early stages. They gradually changed to stellate forms which did not appear in the Chalukyan Temples. Provision of the path for circumambulation around the main shrine, sufficient ventilation, and creation of space for doorways, according to the principles of manduka mandala, followed by the Kakatiya architects.
The temple architecture of the 9th – 10th centuries CE. represented by varied plans such as square, apsidal, rectangular and grouped around the main shrine. Trikutas came into existence for the first time. The temples having stellate ground plan were introduced by the Chalukyan architects and later adopted by the Kakatiya architects. The Kakatiyan architects have articulated the built form very profusely in their own style which shows the interchange of architectural style forms.
The sculptures of Kakatiya reached their epoch during the 12th and 13th centuries. Prior to this period in the neighboring Hoyasala kingdom, a marvelous art form appeared during the 11th and 12th centuries. At Khajuraho in central India during the 10th, and 11th centuries a vibrant and robust sculpture evolved. Down south, the Pallava art of the 7th and 8th centuries is a pleasing form with naturalistic overtones.
There is no similarity among all the three groups, and each one has an independent style of expression. Kakatiya’s style of art is entirely different from the above three styles. For the first time in history, a temple popularly remembered by the name of its sculptor rather than the deity residing in the temple. This itself shows the importance laid down in the sculpture making of the temple.
The concept of using bracket sculptures in the art can be an adaptation from Hoysala architecture, but not the form. The form of the Kakatiya bracket figure is entirely different and much superior in composition. The bracket is an architectural element and its function was purely architectural.
It was an oblong stone piece fixed between the pillar and the roof beam to give additional strength and stability at the joint. Later this architectural component spurred the imagination of the sculptor and the bracket figurine was born. Long before Hoyasalas, bracket sculpture appeared in some Chalukyan structures.
Hoyasala artist has taken up this concept and developed it into a sculptural marvel. They carved and fixed about forty beautiful damsels on the pillars of Chennakesava Temple at Belur and also at Halebid. In later times the bracket sculpture took the form of rampant lions, horses and elephants giving the impression of bearing the load of the roof.
The Kakatiyas being the decendents of the Chalukyas adopted the style of vimana from the Chalukyas. The Chalukyas Temples were of a thoroughly different style – one whose northern, Nagara affinities are as clear as the southern Dravidian style. The Vimana of the Chalukyas was a perfect amalgamation of the Northern and Southern typology of vimanas creating a new style called the Vesara type of Vimana. This amalgamation with a variation can be well seen in the Temple of Rudreswara.
More on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India is the 39th site nominated in India.
Ramappa Temple, a 13th-century engineering marvel named after its architect, Ramappa, was proposed by the government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019.
The most recent site listed in India was Dholavira, Gujrat in 2021.
A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF KAKATIYA RULERS:
Though the UNESCO document shows the period of the Kakatiya dynasty is between 1123-1323 CE, Kakatiya rulers ruled long before that in a comparatively smaller area as feudatory chiefs. A chronological succession list of Kakatiya rulers is as under. (Source: wikipedia )
Kakatiya Dynasty established in 750 CE
The first ruler was Venna Raju who ruled between (750- 768 CE).
Gunda I, Gunda II, and Gunda III succeeded Venna and ruled one after another.
Gunda III succeeded by Erra.
Erra succeeded by Gunda IV alias Pindi-Gunda (955-995 CE)
Gunda IV succeeded by Beta I (996-1051 CE),
Beta I succeeded by Prola I (1052-1076 CE)
The succeeding chiefs included Beta II (1076–1108 CE),
Tribhuvanamalla Durgaraja (1108–1116 CE)
Prola II (1116–1157 CE)
Prola II’s son, Rudra ruled (1159-1195 CE)
Mahadeva, brother of Rudra (1195-1198 CE)
Among all the rulers, Ganapathi Deva was the greatest who ruled for about 64 years continuously (1199–1262 CE)
The lady ruler Rudrama Devi ruled for 27 years (1262-1289 CE)
The last ruler under the Kakatiya dynasty was Prathapa Rudra who ruled between (1289- 1323 CE.)
Here ends Why Ramappa Temple Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site? (Pt. I). On 24.06.2022, Why Ramappa Temple Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site? (Pt. II) will be published where Ramappa Temple of Palampet will be discussed elaborately.