Warangal Fort and its Keerthi Thoranas, one of the most important icons of Telangana state have found place on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of Unesco (United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).
A communication to that effect was received by Kakatiya Heritage Trust on April 15, 2014. According to World Heritage Convention Unesco’s official website, it was submitted under the title ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’ by the permanent delegation of India to Unesco.
The proposal consists of three serial sites of the remnants of Swayambhu temple and Keerthi Thoranas, Warangal fort; Rudreswara Temple (Thousand-pillar temple) at Hanamkonda and Rudreswara (Ramappa) Temple at Palampet. The three proposed serial sites have a common linkage characteristic of Kakatiyan kingdom with Tank, Temple and Town as an example for creative masterpieces, interchange of cultural values and unique testimony to Kakatiya cultural tradition.
‘’Finally our efforts have paid off and our cultural icons found a place in the tentative list of World Heritage Site, ‘’ says Prof M Panduranga Rao, one of the two trustees of Kakatiya Heritage Trust, which along with INTACH had being making efforts in promoting the Kakatiya heritage monuments and had prepared the draft for the submission to the Unesco for the consideration to the tentative list.
Finding the place on the tentative list is the first step towards getting the coveted ‘World Heritage Site’ tag. There are only 30 World Heritage Sites in India and none of them are in Telangana or in its new neighbour Andhra Pradesh. Even in the tentative list of 48 sites, except for Qutb Shahi monuments of Hyderabad which include Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar, no other cultural or environmental site finds place.
In fact, the iconic Charminar along with Golconda Fort and Qutb Shahi Tombs find their names twice in the tentative list. One proposal was submitted in 2010 from the then Andhra Pradesh state and the other was submitted under the title ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanates,’ under which Bahmani Monuments of Gulbarga, Bhamani and Barid Shahi Monuments as Bidar, Adil Shahi Monuments at Bijapur and Qutub Shahi Monuments at Hyderabad were submitted on April 15, 2014.
‘’The year-long Kakatiya Festival held last year to mark the 800 years of consecration of Ramappa Temple and 750 years of coronation of Rani Rudramma Devi had greatly helped in that regard. The festival was also meant to create awareness about the great heritage of Kakatiyas. World Heritage Tag for Warangal Fort, Ramappa Temple means an international recognition and regard as well as enhancement in footfall of international tourists to this historic place,’’ Panduranga Rao, a retired professor at NIT, Warangal and an expert in engineering and technology of Kakaityan era, said.
However, it is not an easy task to get the World Heritage Site tag, as several laid down criteria had to be met. ‘’Some of the conditions they look into is ownership of the site, heritage protection including a 100-meters prohibition zone around the monument and 200 meter restricted zone beyond the prohibition zone,’’ he says.
Along with BV Papa Rao, another co-founder of Kakatiya Heritage Trust, Panduranga Rao is now engaged in preparation of the final dossier of the proposal for submission to the WHC-Unesco through the Union government. The dossier, which is expected to cost `30 lakh to prepare had to be submitted before February 2016. It will take considerable time for the Unesco to inspect, verify and finalise the nomination, if all criteria are met with.