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Golden Temple to be in World Heritage List


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Government wants Golden Temple to be in World Heritage List

By T.S. Subramanian

Golden Temple

CHENNAI, AUG. 2 . The Government of India has recommended to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab, in the World Heritage List. Prof. Enamul Haque, the one-man commission on behalf of the UNESCO, will visit the place this month to make his assessment. He will forward his recommendation, based on historical, cultural and architectural factors, to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)/ UNESCO. "I am looking forward to the mission to visit the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib," he said on July 30, when he passed through Chennai to Colombo. "I have to study the papers on the Golden Temple," he added.

In July this year, the UNESCO included the Brihadeesvarar temple at Gangaikondacholapuram in Perambalur district and the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram in Thanjavur district, both in Tamil Nadu, in the World Heritage List of monuments and sites. The Brihadeesvarar temple in Thanjavur town was earlier included in the List. All the three temples are outstanding examples of Chola architecture and sculpture.

The ICOMOS advises the UNESCO on the nomination of new monuments and sites to the World Heritage List and prescribes high standards for their preservation, restoration and management.

Dr. Haque was the founder and Director-General of the Bangladesh National Museum and formerly Secretary-in-Charge, Ministry of Culture in the Bangladesh Government. He is now the Chairman and Academic Director, The International Centre for Study of Bengal Art, Dhaka. He knows Sanskrit and is a specialist in Buddhist Studies. He is also a specialist in Hindu sculptures and iconography in Bangladesh.

According to Dr. Haque, the criterion for a monument to be included in the list was that it should have a buffer zone and a core zone. No industries should be put up around it. It should have clear approaches leading to it. "If you fulfil these conditions, then there is no difficulty in taking a decision," he said.

'Boost to tourism'

On the benefits that would accrue if a monument or a site were included in the list, he said they would be preserved better than before. "The National Government will pay more attention to them. May be, the UNESCO will give more funds," he said.

The recognition would promote research and tourism. Specialists from different countries would cooperate with one another in undertaking research and exchanging information on how to protect them. Even monuments built of stone decayed over a period of time due to various factors. "So, inclusion in the World Heritage List increases the scope for research and preservation of monuments," he said.

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