At the latest 2020 and 2021 UNESCO meeting in late July 2021, Ramappa Temple of Telangana and the archaeological site of Dholavira get the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. UNESCO couldn’t meet in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, both the lists of 2020 and 2021 were announced simultaneously at its July summit. In total, 33 sites were added as cultural or natural sites of outstanding value.
Ramappa temple was built by the Kakatiya dynasty in the 13th century near Warangal. Ramappa temple is also called Rudreshwara temple after its prime deity, Lord Shiva. It is also said that Marco Polo also visited the site and called it “the brightest star in the galaxy of temples.” Ramappa temple is a part of a larger group of temples, The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways, which was included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2019.
The other site to be added is the prehistoric Indus Valley civilization city of Dholavira. Dholavira is one of the best-preserved ancient cities, which today attracts little attention mainly due to its remoteness. Dholavira is located in Gujarat in the Great Rann of Kutch. The only other world heritage site of the Indus Valley Civilization is Mohenjo-Daro in Larkana district of Sindh, Pakistan. Dholavira shows an excellent city planning system, municipality, drainage, and also contains a citadel and a great bath. It is, no doubt, one of the greatest wonders of India.
UNESCO World Heritage sites ensure international funding for the development of the sites included in its list. The sites are decided by the Government of all countries, who nominate outstanding cultural and natural sites to UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites. UNESCO then evaluates the sites, and if it follows any of the chosen criteria, it is then assigned to World Heritage Site status.
Among the sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Status in its 44th session in 2021, the most important ones are a prehistoric solar observatory in Peru and a vital railway line between the Elbrus and Zagros mountains in Iran connecting the Persian Gulf with the Caspian Sea. However, this year, UNESCO has also delisted the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City. It became only the third site to be ever delisted from the World Heritage Site list.
Written by – Himadri Paul