Hoysala Temples Declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites: An Overview
The Hoysala temples at Belur, Halebid, and Somanathapur in Karnataka have recently been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The recognition is expected to enhance the international tourist flow to these historically and architecturally significant monuments.
The Chennakeshava temple at Belur and the Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebid have been on the UNESCO tentative list since 2014. The Keshava temple at Somanathapur was appended to this list later, and all three were officially nominated as India's entries for 20222023.
In February 2022, the Indian Centre officially nominated these temples for the World Heritage list. This inclusion has been longawaited since these temples showcase intricate architectural details and historical significance.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) highlighted the coming together of creative genius, architectural eclecticism, and symbolism in the construction of these temples. These aspects collectively make the Hoysala temples true works of art.
The material used for these temples is chlorite schist, also known as soapstone, which is soft and conducive to carving. The temples also feature a stellate plan, and many sculptures are uniquely signed by the artists.
Global Recognition and Future Prospects
With this global recognition, the temples will not only receive a boost in tourism but also increased conservation efforts. A. Devaraju, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology Museums and Heritage, mentioned that UNESCO's concerns, if any, would be addressed in the future, and there would be an emphasis on enhancing tourist amenities.
The inscription could lead to higher funding for preservation projects and improved amenities like better guided tours, audio guides, and cleaner premises, enhancing the overall visitor experience.
The declaration of the Hoysala temples as UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a significant milestone for India. It not only recognizes the architectural brilliance and historical importance of these temples but also promises to bring them to the forefront of global tourism and conservation efforts.