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Decision 44 COM 8B.12
Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (India)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/21/44.COM/8B and WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Inscribes Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (i) and (iii);
  3. Takes note of the following provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    The Great Living Rudreshwara Temple, popularly known as Ramappa Temple, is located in the village of Palampet, approximately 200km north-east of Hyderabad, in the State of Telangana.   Rudreshwara is 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 Kakatiya period (1123-1323 CE).

    The temple is 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, are unique artistic works carved out of the hard dolerite stone giving it a metal like finish with its lustre 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 was created as a harmonious ensemble of the natural environment, architecture, sculpture, ritual and dance: five elements, which complemented each other in the 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.

    Criterion (i): 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 sandbox foundation and floating bricks, as well as 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 chiselling as well as their deep understanding of construction technologies. These let the Kakatiyans use one of the hardest rocks, give it a fine lustre 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.

    Criterion (iii): 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, Gaja-Vyalas, motifs on Kakshasana and other carvings stands out as an 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 tank and a town or settlement, deploying innovative techniques in foundation, manufacturing of light weight bricks is best displayed in Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple and remains testimony to the Kakatiyan Cultural tradition.

    Integrity

    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 are supported by the natural features, the artificial Kakatiya-built reservoir and irrigation systems, cultivated land, 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, light weight porous floating bricks and other traditional methods, and the commendable sculptural efforts in chiselling the very hard dolerite rocks to get the everlasting metallic polishes are very well displayed and are intact at Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Palampet.

    Rudreshwara (Ramappa) temple is 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 is dissembled and awaiting anastylosis. All works will be carried out in the due course based on scientific research and conservation program.

    Authenticity

    The Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple maintains the authenticity for form, design, craftmanship, function and use, material and construction techniques, associated intangible cultural heritage and displays the building and cultural traditions of the Kakatiya Empire.

    The Ramappa Temple was 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, make 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, was 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 was 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 surrounding 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.

    The property is protected by national level law, the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (AMASR), amended and validated in 2010; Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959; Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules of 2011 and The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 and Rules, 1973. Decisions pertaining to its conservation, maintenance and management are governed by the National Conservation Policy for Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains, 2014. Being designated as an “Ancient Monument” of National Importance, the ancient site is protected by a well-defined buffer of 300 meters comprising Prohibited Area measuring 100 meters in all directions from the limits of the protected monument, and further beyond it, a Regulated Area of 200 meters in all directions, from the limits of the Prohibited Area. All activities in the areas adjacent to the ancient site remain subject to prohibition and regulation in the respect prohibited and regulated areas as per provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules 2011.

    Under an already existing committee, State Government of Telangana is in process of constituting “Palampet Special Area Development Authority” to manage buffer zone and to ensure the protection of all supporting Kakatiya period attributes.

  4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. Submitting a boundary modification of the extended boundaries of the property and the buffer zone with a view to including relevant wider context of the Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple,
    2. Finalizing the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT) research on comparison of Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple and other Kakatiya temples and extend it in regional and international contexts,
    3. 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 property,
    4. Ensuring the constitution and functioning of “Palampet Special Area Development Authority” in order to provide effective management and adequate protection to all attributes of the larger dharmic and functional temple complex and to the buffer zone and all supporting Kakatiya period features,
    5. Expanding the programmed conservation approach to cover the additional architectural and engineering features, including Ramappa Lake bund, the water distribution and irrigation channels, and the smaller temples in the wider temple setting,
    6. Undertaking Heritage Impact Assessments for any projects located near the property, in particular the development projects near the Ramappa Lake,
    7. Providing a schedule and detailed methodology for the reassembly and conservation of Kameshwara Temple following the principle of anastylosis,
    8. Undertaking capacity building for local community and the temple priest so that they have the necessary skills to contribute to the management of the property;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 8B.12
Themes
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Year
2021
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/8B
WHC-21/44.COM/INF.8B1
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