Two sites in Tamil Nadu, including the famous Lord Sri Ranganathar temple at Srirangam in Trichy district, have been included in the tentative list by the Union Culture ministry for Unesco’s world heritage status.
The other site is Chettinad, which constitutes the village clusters of Tamil merchants in Sivaganga district of the state.
Sources from the Archaeological Survey of India told Deccan Herald that Unesco has recognised the Srirangam temple as an outstanding example of the ‘Sapta-Prakaram’ architectural design of a temple complex, unique to this part of the world.
Highly venerated and a centre of pilgrimage par excellence, the temple complex has been developed over centuries with the contribution of various rulers and dynasties. In addition, its size and scale make it the largest functioning temple complex in the world.
Chettinad represents remarkable physical characteristics of urban and rural planning, with thousands of palatial houses in Sivaganga and surrounding areas.
It reflects the way the Hindu Tamil community of Chettiars lived. As a result of their wide travel, multiple influences were incorporated into Tamil traditions. This blend represents Chettinad’s uniqueness. The architectural features of the houses, comprising series of courtyards along a longitudinal axis, are spectacular.
Tamil Nadu already has four Unesco declared heritage sites, including Airavateswara Temple near Kumbakonam, Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple at Jayakondam — all in Thanjavur district — and the monuments at Mahabalipuram near Chennai.