A year after receiving World Heritage status, the T’gana Temple is still neglected: Activists | Latest India News

A year after being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic Rudreshwara Temple, popularly known as Ramappa Temple, in Palampet village of Mulugu district in Telangana, is still in a state of neglect , with the state government doing little to develop the village and surrounding areas. leading to the temple complex, activists said on Monday.

It was on July 25, 2021 that UNESCO declared Ramappa Temple as a World Heritage Site during its World Heritage Committee meeting held in China. It was the only structure in India that was considered for World Heritage Site status at this meeting.

Recognition by UNESCO has brought the 13th century monument into the limelight, attracting a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. The temple, which has suffered damage from the vagaries of time and natural calamities over a period of time, has been restored to its splendor over the past 10 years by the Archaeological Survey of India.

But little effort has been made by the state government to develop the surroundings and provide facilities for tourists in and around the temple. “During the recent heavy rains in Mulug district, the access roads to the temple suffered badly. Infiltration of rainwater in the temple premises has also been reported,” said heritage campaigner Pakide Aravind.

He said nothing much had changed around the temple in the past year except that the council claimed it was a world heritage site. “Even the surrounding wall around the temple has not yet been restored,” Aravind said.

In line with UNESCO recommendations, the government of Telangana has constituted the Palampet Special Development Authority (PSDA) to provide adequate legal protection to the temple complex and its wider surroundings, including hills, plans of water, buffer zone and all attributes of the Kakatiyan period.

The authority, among others, would take care of the spatial planning of the heritage zone, public infrastructure zone, residential zone, agricultural zone and forest zone related to land use and promote a conservation sensitive development near Ramappa Temple.

The authority would be headed by the Mulugu District Collector and comprise of nine other members including the District Urban and Rural Planning Officer, ASI Conservation Assistant, Joint Regional Director of Endowment Department, etc. .

In February, the Union Ministry of Tourism proposed to include the Ramappa Temple as part of the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) program, as part of the promotion of religious tourism. Under this program, the Center is expected to release approximately 50 crore for setting up facilities at the temple and another 7 crore on beautification work.

“We sent the detailed report of the project to the Centre, which gave its agreement in principle. But so far, no money has been released. Once it starts, it will take at least two years to complete the works,” National Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director B Manohar Rao told HT.

The Ramappa Temple dates back to 1213 AD and it was built by Recharla Rudra Deva, during the period of Emperor Ganapathi Deva of the Kakatiya Dynasty. The deity in the sanctum sanctorum is Lord Shiva.

The temple, constructed entirely of sandstone and adorned with beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite, is known for its architectural splendor and engineering marvel. The temple dome is made of lightweight bricks, which can float on water; hence, known as floating bricks.

A senior ISA official, who declined to be named, said UNESCO had suggested certain actions to be taken by December 2022. “They include the finalization of the integrated conservation and management plan as well as the updating the tourism development plan, conserving engineering features including the embankment of Lake Ramappa and the development of smaller temples within the complex,” the official said.

Another major suggestion made by UNESCO is the reassembly and conservation of the Kameshwara temple on the right side of the main Ramappa temple. “This Kameshwara temple was completely dismantled around 2000, and we have started its restoration according to UNESCO guidelines,” the ASI official said, adding that “the restoration and conservation of any World Heritage monument cannot be done overnight. It takes at least two to three years.”

Admitting that the central part of the roof of the main temple, which was leaking profusely, the official said it was now clogged and sealed. “We have also undertaken to modernize the surroundings, such as filling in low areas to prevent waterlogging and providing cross drains to facilitate the evacuation of rainwater,” the official said, adding an amount of 82 lakh was spent on the temple during the year.

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