Hoysala Temples on UNESCO Heritage List

Hoysala Temples on UNESCO Heritage List

Why in News?

The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala, the famed Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somanathapur 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.Hoysala Temples on UNESCO Heritage List

About Hoysala temples

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

The temples included in the ensemble are:

  • The Channakeshava Temple, Belur, Hassan district (Commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana, dedicated to God Vishnu)
  • The Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebidu, Hassan district (Commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana, dedicated to God Shiva)
  • The Kesava Temple, Somanathapura, Mysuru district (Consecrated by Somanatha Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala King Narasimha III, dedicated to God Vishnu)
  • While the Hoysala temples exhibit a fundamental Dravidian morphology, they also showcase strong influences from the Bhumija mode of Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India, and the Karntata Dravida modes favoured by the Kalyani Chalukyas.
  • This eclectic blend of architectural elements and innovative modifications resulted in the birth of the distinctive ‘Hoysala Temple’ form.
  • The Hoysalas ruled over parts of southern India from the 11th to the 14th century from their capital at Halebidu (Dwarasamudra). Their reign saw the development of art, architecture and religion in southern India.

About UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • India has three types of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – cultural, natural and mixed.

Significance of World Heritage Sites for India

  • 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.

World Heritage sites can signify Cultural sites:

  • The achievements of human creativity and ingenuity
  • The diversity of human cultures and traditions
  • The importance of cultural identity and heritage

Natural sites:

  • The beauty and wonder of the natural world
  • The importance of biodiversity and conservation
  • The interconnectedness of nature and culture

Selection Criteria for UNESCO World Heritage Site

For a site to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site, it must go through a rigorous nomination and evaluation process.

  • UNESCO’s advisory bodies – the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – assess each nominated site.
  • A site must demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) by meeting one or more criteria defined in the Convention to make it worthy of special protection for all humanity.

Criteria for determining Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)

To assess OUV, sites must meet at least one of ten criteria. For Cultural Sites, six criteria examine their significance vis-a-vis:

  • Representing a masterpiece of human creative genius.
  • Exhibiting important cultural interchange or a civilization.
  • Bearing unique testimony to a tradition or civilization.
  • Being an outstanding example of a type of architecture, technology or landscape.
  • It is an outstanding example of traditional settlement, land use or sea use.
  • Being directly or tangibly associated with events or ideas of universal significance.

For Natural Sites, four criteria examine their natural significance vis-a-vis:

  • Containing superlative natural phenomena, formations or features.
  • It is an outstanding example of the major stages of Earth’s evolutionary history.
  • It is an outstanding example of significant ecological and biological processes.
  • Containing the most important and significant habitats of biological diversity.

What is a World Heritage site?

  • A World Heritage Site is an area or object listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, recognized for its “outstanding universal value” under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972.
  • These sites, categorized into three types – Cultural, Natural, and Mixed, are internationally acknowledged for their cultural, natural, or combined significance.
  • As of 2023, there are 42 World Heritage Sites located in India. Out of these, 34 are cultural, 7 are natural, and one, the Khangchendzonga National Park, is of mixed type. India has the sixth-largest number of sites in the world.

Download Our App

More Current Affairs

Share with Your Friends

Join Our Whatsapp Group For Daily, Weekly, Monthly Current Affairs Compilations

Related Articles

Youth Destination Facilities