India to nominate Assam's Charaideo 'Moidams' for World Heritage Site recognition

There are two categories of nomination -- cultural sites and natural sites. The Moidams will be nominated in the category of cultural sites.

Published: 21st January 2023 07:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2023 07:23 PM   |  A+A-

Assam's Charaideo 'Moidams'

Assam's Charaideo 'Moidams'

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Charaideo "Moidams" in Assam will be India's sole nomination for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this year.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took this decision.

The Moidams (also Maidams) are the mound-burial system of the Ahom dynasty (13th century-19th century). Out of the 386 Moidams explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative, and most complete examples of this tradition.

There are two categories of nomination -- cultural sites and natural sites. The Moidams will be nominated in the category of cultural sites.

India has 40 World Heritage Sites -- 32 of them cultural sites, seven natural sites and one mixed site. Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park are among the seven natural sites. Currently, there is no World Heritage Site in the category of cultural heritage in the Northeast.

Sarma said 52 sites were in the race and four of them were ready with dossiers but the PM chose the Charaideo Moidams. The nomination will be submitted by Saturday night. India can submit only one nomination, the CM said.

Assam's Charaideo 'Moidams'

He said after the PM’s decision, there would now be a national effort to ensure the Moidams get the recognition.

"We had sent a proposal to the Centre in 2014 to nominate the Moidams but could not convince it that they are fit to get the World Heritage Site recognition," Sarma said.

"A professional team was engaged to prepare the dossier. It feels great the PM chose the Moidams as India’s nomination. We will call this our success," an euphoric Sarma added.

He said a team of the UNESCO National Heritage Committee would visit Assam in September to inspect the Moidams and take a decision in March next year.

He said there could be immediate recognition, referral which entails clarifications, deferral where things need to be rectified and rejection. Never before an Indian nomination was rejected, he said.

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"It will also be a responsibility of the people of Charaideo to maintain cleanliness and preserve the Moidams," Sarma, who had written to Modi and also met him to pursue the issue, said.

The Moidams enshrine the mortal remains of Ahom royalty – previously, those of the deceased with their paraphernalia were buried, but after the 18th century, the Ahom rulers adopted the Hindu method of cremation, entombing the cremated bones and ashes in a Moidam at Charaideo. The Moidams are highly venerated.

When the 400th birth anniversary of Ahom General Lachit Borphukan was celebrated recently, Modi had viewed an exhibition in the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It had a model of the Moidams that showcased the unique burial architecture and tradition.


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