Hoysala Temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somnathapura in Karnataka added to UNESCO World Heritage SITE list.
The renowned Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somananthpura in Karnataka have achieved a significant milestone by being added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list. This prestigious inclusion marks the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and coincided with the recent recognition of Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
The announcement of this achievement came via UNESCO’s official social media platform, where the specialized agency of the United Nations shared the news, saying, “Just inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, India. Congratulations!
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his joy and pride at this recognition. He lauded the Hoysala temples, describing them as a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage. He emphasized the timeless beauty and intricate craftsmanship of these temples as a reflection of the exceptional skills of India’s ancestors.
The nomination of the ‘Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala’ for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the year 2022-2023 had already been finalized by India. These Hoysala temples have held a place on UNESCO’s Tentative list since April 15, 2014. All three of these temples are already protected monuments under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The history and significance of the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala lie in their construction during the 12th and 13th centuries. These ensembles consist of the temples in Belur, Halebid, and Somnathapura. While these temples maintain a fundamental Dravidian architectural style, they exhibit substantial influences from various sources, including the Bhumija style of Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India, and the Karnataka Dravida modes favored by the Kalyani Chalukyas. These influences have resulted in unique and exquisite architectural masterpieces.
The addition of these temples to the UNESCO World Heritage List is a significant recognition of their historical and cultural importance. It also underscores their architectural brilliance, which has attracted visitors and scholars from around the world for centuries.
For India, the inclusion of sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List carries various benefits. It not only brings increased recognition and appreciation for heritage preservation among the nation’s citizens but also signifies a commitment to safeguarding these precious sites. Moreover, countries with UNESCO-listed sites can access financial assistance and expert guidance from the World Heritage Committee to support conservation efforts.
In India, there are now a total of 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each with its unique cultural, historical, or natural significanc such as-
1. Agra Fort (1983) 2. Ajanta Caves (1983) 3. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar (2016) 4. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) 5. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004) 6. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) 7. Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) 8. Dholavira: a Harappan City (2021) 9. Elephanta Caves (1987) 10. Ellora Caves (1983)
11. Fatehpur Sikri (1986) 12. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014) 13. Great Living Chola Temples (1987) 14. Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) 15. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) 16. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987) 17. Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013) 18. Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017) 19. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993) 20. Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)
21. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (2021) 22. Kaziranga National Park (1985) 23. Keoladeo National Park (1985) 24. Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986) 25. Khangchendzonga National Park (2016) 26. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002) 27. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)28. Mountain Railways of India (1999) 29. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988) 30. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)
31. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014) 32. Red Fort Complex (2007) 33. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) 34. Sun Temple, Konârak (1984) 35. Sundarbans National Park (1987) 36. Taj Mahal (1983) 37. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016) 38. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) 39. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018) 40. Western Ghats
(2012) 41. Santiniketan, West Bengal 42. Sacred ensembles of the Hoysalas, Karnataka.
These sites serve as a testament to the nation’s diverse and rich heritage, drawing tourists, researchers, and admirers from across the globe.
The addition of the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala to this esteemed list reflects the nation’s dedication to preserving its cultural treasures and sharing them with the world. It also acknowledges the exceptional artistry and architectural prowess of the Hoysala dynasty, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire and captivate generations.