Gol Gumbaz misses nomination to World Heritage list, again

Gol Gumbaz misses nomination to World Heritage list, again

The Western Ghats, considered as a bio-diversity hot spot, is the only Indian entry the Archaeological Survey India (ASI) has sent to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to be included in the World Heritage List this year.

The World Heritage Committee, which will meet on June 19 in Paris, will select ‘the monuments with outstanding universal value’ to be declared World Heritage sites.

The demand for including Gol Gumbaz in the World Heritage list is a two-decade-old issue. Historians and heritage activists of North Karnataka have been asking the authorities concerned to convince Unesco, the world cultural body that decides whether a monument is worth being declared a World Heritage site, to declare the magnificent Islamic structure as a World Heritage monument.

Gol Gumbaz, built in Indo-saracenic style in 1659, is the mausoleum of Mohammad Adil Shah.

The structure consists of a massive square chamber measuring nearly 160 feet on each side and covered by a huge dome of 137.5 feet in diameter, making it one of the largest domes in the world.

It is supported on giant squinches with groined pendentives while the outside of the building is supported by domed octagonal corner towers. The dome is the third largest surviving from the pre-modern world after the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople and the Basilica of St Peter in Rome. The acoustics of the enclosed place make it a whispering gallery where even the smallest sound is heard across the other side of the Gumbaz.

At the periphery of the dome is a circular balcony where visitors can witness the astounding whispering gallery.

Any whisper, clap or sound gets echoed around seven times. These rare characteristics have made this architectural wonder ‘the monument with outstanding universal value.’

Sources says the Dharwad Circle of the ASI had sent a proposal in 2005 to the ASI head office in New Delhi to include Gol Gumbaz in the tentative list of the World Heritage monuments to be submitted to the Unesco.

But because of the cold response from higher officers, the proposal is gathering dust.
“Had the ASI officials made sincere efforts at the national and international levels, the Gol Gumbaz would have been declared a world heritage archaeological site by this time. This would have also brought huge international funds for the protection and development of Bijapur monuments,” says Dr H G Daddi, who has been fighting for protecting the Adil Shah monuments.

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