A day after the inclusion of Santiniketan, West Bengal, on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, India welcomed another entrant on Monday (18 September) — the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas.
The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, situated in Karnataka, comprise the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, the Hoysalevara temple in Halebidu, and the Keshava temple in Somanathapura.
These temples were built during the reign of the Hoysala kingdom in southern India.
According to UNESCO, they are the "three most representative examples of Hoysala-style temple complexes dating from the 12th to 13th centuries in the present State of Karnataka."
The various features of the temple architecture, including the sculptures, stone carvings, and inscriptions, "are exceptional testimonies to the outstanding creativity and inventive genius of the Hoysala period," said UNESCO.
"It contributes significantly to the diversity of the temple styles of India and has exerted a lasting influence on temples of later periods, both in the region and beyond," the United Nations agency added.
"If ever poetry was carved in stone, it is in these monuments of India," said Vishal V Sharma, Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO.
"The Hoysala era is one that contributed enormously to the development of several creative fields as well as spiritual and humanistic thought," he said, adding, "These monuments are extraordinary expressions of spiritual purpose and vehicles of spiritual practice and attainment."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X to say: "The timeless beauty and intricate details of the Hoysala temples are a testament to India's rich cultural heritage and the exceptional craftsmanship of our ancestors."
With the latest entry, the number of UNESCO World Heritage Site in India has reached 42.
UNESCO is short for The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The body "seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity."
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