ANANTAPUR: The long-pending call for Unesco recognition of the historic Lepakshi temple as a World Heritage Site gained traction as the central government has announced steps to add it in the temporary list of heritage sites.
Union minister of tourism and culture Kishan Reddy announced this in Rajya Sabha on Friday while replying to a question from GVL Narasimha Rao. The minister said the AP government had sent proposals seeking World Heritage Status for the temple as also for the Veerabhadra Swamy temple and for the world’ biggest Nandi statue erected by the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire.
“As the historic temple has its exclusive features, the Union Government will propose Unesco to include the site as a World Heritage structure. The temple and the biggest Nandi statue are proposed to be given the tag,” the minister said.
If all the documentation processes are completed and submitted to Unesco, chances for recognition of Lepakshi as the first of its kind World Heritage Site from AP could come in the 2022 Unesco summit.
Deccan Chronicle had taken up the issue of neglect of the historic site and lack of proper understanding of the central archaeological wing as also the AP authorities to seek and get for Lepakshi the UNESCO tag.
The Telangana government and the joint office of the Archaeological Survey of India had succeeded to get Unesco recognition for the Ramappa temple in Telangana.
Activists and historians raised their voices and sent representations to the Centre to give due importance to the Lepakshi temple, after a series of related articles were carried by Deccan Chronicle in the past one year.
Historian Jasti Veeranjineyulu thanked the minister for initiating the long-pending demand for global recognition to Lepakshi. “The government should complete the entire process for Unesco tag at the earliest,” he pleaded and hoped the ASI would be ready with the documentation process as per the norms of Unesco.
Lepakshi and other sites from AP had been ignored by ASI Hyderabad after the state bifurcation and it concentrated its focus more on sites and temples of Telangana since last year.
However, after the ASI circle was shifted to Vijayawada, Dr. Vani Mohan, commissioner of the archaeology department and museums sought proposals from the superintending archaeologist of ASI Amaravati circle to initiate the process for recognition of monuments and sites in AP as Unesco World Heritage Sites in September last year.
The archaeology and museums commissioner sought proposals for seven historic monuments and sites –the Amravati Maha Stupa in Guntur district, the Guntupalli Buddhist caves in West Godavari district, the Chandragiri Fort in Chittoor district, Gandikota in Kadapa, Nagarjuna Konda, Lepakshi in Anantapur district and Salihundam in Srikakulam district in AP.
The ASI Amaravati circle was asked to submit the proposals for the seven monuments and sites AP, which have centuries-old historic importance. The state government was keen on getting World Heritage status with the Unesco tag by 2022.
“We are happy for the serious steps taken by the Centre to get justice done for AP, as not even a single monument and site in the state got recognition from the Unesco so far while Telangana succeeded in satisfying Unesco with proper documentation,” Jasti Veeranjineyulu observed....