Charaideo Maidam, home to over 90 royal burial mounds, also referred to as the Pyramids of Assam has met all technical requirements of the UNESCO Secretariat.
The madams have met all technical requirements of the UNESCO Secretariat. Further, the nomination will now be evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
Taking to his Twitter handle Assam CM wrote, "With great pride, happy to share a landmark achievement in our endeavour to get World Heritage Site status for Charaideo Maidams. The maidams have met all technical requirements of the UNESCO Secretariat. My gratitude once again to Hon PM Shri @narendramodi ji for the nomination."
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on January 21 said that the Centre has decided to send a proposal to UNESCO nominating Charaideo Maidam of Ahom kingdom as a World Heritage site. The Chief Minister said that out of 52 tentative sites across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen Assam's Charaideo Maidam.
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Earlier on January 16, in a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed that the Government of Assam has submitted the World Heritage Nomination Dossier of the cultural heritage site of Moidams-the Mound-Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty in Charaideo (Assam) to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), for onward submission to UNESCO for their evaluation in the current year cycle of 2023.
"Moidams (or Maidams) represent the late medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound-burial tradition of the Tai Ahoms in Assam, which lasted almost 600 years. Out of 386 Moidams explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative, and most complete examples of this tradition.", the letter stated.
The Charaideo 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, later entombing the cremated bones and ashes in a Moidam at Charaideo. The Moidams are highly venerated.
"When the nation celebrated the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borphukan, you had kindly spared some moments and viewed the exhibition set up in the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, which included a model of Moidam that showcased unique burial architecture and tradition of the Tai Ahoms.", the letter further stated.
"There is currently no World Heritage Site in the category of cultural heritage in North East India. This important dossier has been prepared in technical collaboration with the ASI.I would like to request that the Government of India supports our efforts and forwards the aforesaid nomination dossier to the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO.", the letter read.
Earlier on 10 October , 2022, The Ministry of Culture, Government of India, had forwarded the draft dossier for inclusion of the Charaideo Maidams in the World Heritage list, to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. In the next meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, the proposal for the inclusion of the Charaideo Maidams – near Sonari town in the Charaideo district– in the World Heritage list will probably be put up for consideration.
The previous Government of Assam had taken a policy decision to examine if there was a possibility for inclusion of the Charaideo Maidams of the Ahom era in the World Heritage list. The government formed a committee for preparation of a dossier in this regard. The committee included Dr KC Nauriyal, cultural expert; Dr Deepirekha Kouli, Director, Archaeology; Dr Nabajit Deori, Deputy Director; Dr Chabina Hassan, Technical Officer; Ajit Kumar Bora, State Archaeological Engineer; Simran Sambhi, Exploration Officer; and Kangkonjyoti Saikia, Senior Conservation Officer.
The committee prepared a draft dossier which was sent to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The Ministry of Culture studied the draft dossier and was satisfied with the justification given for the inclusion of the Charaideo Maidams in the World Heritage list. The Ministry of Culture then forwarded the draft dossier, containing more than 100 pages, to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. In the next stage, the Government of Assam will be sending the final dossier to the UNESCO headquarters through the Ministry of Culture.
The Assam Government is keen on promoting the Charaideo Maidams of the Ahom era and has already earmarked Rs 25 crore for the preservation, protection and preparation of the dossier for the World Heritage site proposal. Charaideo was the first permanent capital of the Ahom kingdom established by the first Ahom king Chao Lung Siu-Ka-Pha in 1253. Even though the capital moved to other places over the 600 years of Ahom rule, Charaideo remained the symbol of Ahom power. The royal maidams are found exclusively at Charaideo; whereas other maidams are found scattered in the region between Jorhat and Dibrugarh towns.
The maidams constructed in the Ahom style preserve the typically mummified mortal remains of the Ahom royalty and nobles. Structurally, a maidam consists of vaults with one or more chambers. The vaults have a domical superstructure that is covered by a hemispherical earthen mound that rises high above the ground with an open pavilion at the peak called chow chali. An octagonal dwarf wall encloses the entire maidam.
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