Ramappa Temple India’s 39th World Heritage Site


  • In yet another landmark achievement, India’s nomination of Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, near Warangal in the state of Telangana  has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

  • Apart from the Ramappa temple, the World Heritage Committee inscribed Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China (China), the Trans-Iranian Railway (Iran), and Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences (Spain), on UNESCO’s World Heritage.
  • With this, India now has 39 sites on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is now the custodian of 23 world heritage sites.
  • The decision was taken at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO.

Why is the Ramappa temple special?

  • Ramappa temple, a 13th century engineering marvel named after its architect, Ramappa, was proposed by the government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019.
  • The temple is located in the village of Palampet, which is about 200 km north of Telangana’s capital Hyderabad.
  • The temple complex was built by Racherla Rudra Reddy during the period of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva.

    Ramappa temple
    Source: The Hindu
  • It was built using sandstone and its construction, which began in 1213 CE, is believed to have continued for over four decades.
  • The building features decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite with a distinctive and pyramidal Vimana (horizontally stepped tower) made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called ‘floating bricks’, which reduced the weight of the roof structures.
  • The temple’s sculptures of high artistic quality illustrate regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture.
  • Even so, the temple has been in UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014.
  • Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple is nominated under Criterion i (Masterpiece of human creative genius) and criterion iii (bearing a unique or at least an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition, which is living or which has disappeared).
  • Earlier, the International Council of Historic Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) had evaluated Ramappa’s heritage status and made some recommendations.

Unique, stunning about Ramappa temple

  • The Siva temple is perhaps the only one in the country that is known by the name of the architect rather than the king who commissioned it or its presiding deity.
  • The stunning dance sculptures and friezes of the temple appear as if they have been machined into shape on black dolomite, rather than being chiselled.
  • The temple is built on a valley and it rests on bricks that are scientifically shown to float in water. 
  • The main structure is in a reddish sandstone, but the columns round the outside have large brackets of black basalt which is rich in iron, magnesium and silica. These are carved as mythical animals or female dancers or musicians, and are “the masterpieces of Kakatiya art, notable for their delicate carving, sensuous postures and elongated bodies and heads”.

What is a World Heritage Site tag?

  • A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity”. To be included, sites must meet at least one of the ten selection criteria.
  • These include the site representing a masterpiece of human creative genius, exhibiting an important interchange of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, bearing a unique or exceptional testimony to cultural tradition or to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement.
  • The UNESCO website notes that until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. But with the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.

Note: In May 2021, the Maharashtra government submitted a tentative “serial” nomination seeking the World Heritage Site tag for 14 forts from the era of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the theme of Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra. The serial nomination was forwarded by the Archaeological Survey of India to UNESCO through the Ministry of Culture. UNESCO accepted the nomination and added the proposed sites in its Tentative Lists.


  • Once a site is inscribed on the World Heritage List, the resulting prestige often helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation.
  • Greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties.
  • A country may also receive financial assistance and expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for the preservation of its sites.
  • The funding ranges from $75,000 received for a management plan for Hampi under World Heritage Site in Danger to $10,000 assistance for installing signage within the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway World Heritage site.
  • The inscribed site also gains protection under Geneva Convention against destruction during war.

Source: IE

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