HYDERABAD: The historic Ramappa temple, an architectural fable in stone, on Sunday became Unesco’s first world heritage site in Telangana. Located in Mulugu district, the iconic temple is now India’s 39th world heritage site.
The online extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of the Unesco, which is currently underway at Fuzhou in China, voted in favour of Ramappa temple for inclusion in the world heritage sites’ list. Altogether, 17 countries backed the resolution, which was strongly supported by Russia, while Norway opposed it.

Earlier, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), in its report presented before the World Heritage Committee for the 44th session, favoured that the heritage tag be deferred.
But, as most of the members attending the Fuzhou session backed the 13th century Kakatiyan temple, also called Rudreshwara temple, it got the prized heritage tag.
The Charminar and the Qutub Shahi tombs, which were submitted to Unesco for the heritage tag, are at present in the tentative list.
The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and other small temples within the complex were constructed by Kakatiya rulers Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra between the 12th and 13th centuries. Work on the main temple began in 1213 CE and completed 40 years later.
Built with sandstone and a sandbox foundation, the temple has decorated beams and columns made of granite. The temple’s unique feature is its tower or Vimana, which is in the shape of a pyramid.
The Vimana has been constructed using porous bricks, which are light in weight. These bricks, one of the features of the Kakatiya rulers, are popularly known as floating bricks. It represents the architectural and cultural beauty of the former rulers of Orugallu, modern day Warangal, with the kingdom expanding to many parts of modern Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The technical evaluation panel of the ICOMOS visited Ramappa temple from September 23 to 27, 2019. The panel accepted the report in 2020 and called for more information from the Telangana government. It has pinpointed as many as nine shortcomings that needed to be overcome. The undivided AP government sent the dossier to Unesco in 2014, just before the bifurcation of the state.
“(It) partly illustrates Kakatiyan architectural, artistic, and technological traditions through its architectural structures within the walled temple compound and its wider setting. The walled temple complex is a single shrine temple comprising the central Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple and other secondary mandapas, shrines and temples. The sculptures, especially the bracket figures at the Rudreshwara Temple, are fine artistic representations of Kakatiya dance customs and cultural traditions. These features testify to Kakatiya customs and temple rituals as well as construction technology, materials and other sculptural elements illustrating artistic capacities in terms of workmanship,” the ICOMOS said in its 2021 report.
It, however, maintained that while the conditions of authenticity are satisfactory, the conditions of integrity cannot be fully met in terms of completeness due to the missing features and attributes as well as a general vulnerability of the temple’s setting because of a lack of protection mechanism.
The Telangana government in its dossier said: “Rudreshwara Temple is a singular testimony of the highest level of creative, artistic, and engineering expression of the Kakatiya period. It is also a testimony of a flourishing agriculture-based society on land devoid of perennial water sources in the 12th century. The sculptures of the temple, especially its bracket figures, are unique sculptures carved out of the hard dolerite stone and express dynamic movement in their forms. Neither humans nor animals appear static or sedentary.”


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