Karnataka sites make to Unesco world heritage tentative list

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MYSORE: Architectural jewels in Belur and Halebid in Hassan, historical monuments in Srirangapatna and remnants of history from Deccan sultanate are in line to be declared as the world heritage site by the Unseco.

Put together, these sites represent the pluralistic spiritual beliefs that the state government is planning to preserve and promote.

The three sites have been included in the Unesco’s world heritage tentative list, thanks to the department of heritage, archaeology and museum which is now working with experts to prepare dossiers of each of them. Experts from across the world will evaluate the submission of the department and make recommendations. To be included on the world heritage list, the sites must be of outstanding universal value, according to the Unesco.

The chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday announced the inclusion of the three sites in the tentative list of the Unesco indicating that the government is serious in protecting the monuments. He linked it to tourism promotion in the region where the government is planning to create a tourist circuit comprising Mysore, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajnagar to revive the local economy pointing out that many nations depend on tourist inflow to sustain their economies.

Heritage commissioner C G Betsurmath said he submitted the proposal to the Union ministry of culture in mid-February. “We consulted the experts and prepared the proposals focusing on the unique character of each of the sites identified,” he told The Times of India. The sites of Belur and Halibedu throws light on the pluralistic spiritual beliefs of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Jainism. Here the spiritual intersected with ordinary people while monuments at Srirangapatna we’ve projected different developmental stages of defence architecture in Hindu and Islamic traditions, he stated adding that the fort is a symbol of strength given that it was breached only four times. The Deccan sultanate properties indicate the convergence of different styles of Islamic architecture and their intersections with the prevalent Hindu architecture of the period, he stated.

A string of monuments in historical Srirangapatna, including the Fort, Bahmani monuments at Gulbarga, Bahmani and Barid Shahi monuments at Bidar and Adil Shashi monuments at Bijapur and properties of heritage value at Belur and Halebid have made it to the tentative list. He has received a communication from Shikha Jain, the member-secretary of the advisory committee on world heritage maters, in the Union ministry of culture asking him to work on presenting the dossiers. There are several parameters and we are keenly working them out, Betsurmath stated.

The world heritage site gets international attention for conservation and helps attract visitors from across the globe. The state’s prized possessions have passed the stage two among the five stage process. The next is be evaluation by two advisory bodies– the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. They will provide the world heritage committee with evaluations allowing it to make a decision. According to Shikha Jain, the dossiers can be submitted after February, 2016.

Presently group of monuments at Hampi and at Pattadakal are recognized as the world heritage sites by the Unesco. This comes a decade after Srirangapatna, Bidar among other towns were declared as heritage cities.

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