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PM to  propose UNESCO to make Assam’s Charaideo Maidam World Heritage Site

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From Bhupen Goswami

Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to send a proposal to UNESCO designating Charaideo Maidam of the Ahom Kingdom as a World Heritage Site, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a press conference on January 21. The chief minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen Charaideo Maidam in Assam among the 52 temporary sites across the country. Earlier on January 16, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed that the Assam government has submitted the World Heritage Nomination Dossier of the Ahom Dynasty’s cultural heritage site-mound-burial system at Charaideo (Assam) to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for submission to UNESCO for their evaluation in the current year cycle of 2023.? Moidam  (or Maidam represents the medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound-burial tradition of Tai Ahom in Assam, which lasted for about 600 years.

Of the 386 Moiyatams discovered so far, the 90 royal burials in Charaidev are the best preserved, representative and most complete examples of this tradition, the letter said. Charaidev Moidam had installed the mortal remains of the Ahom royal family—at first, the remains of the dead were buried with their contents, but after the 18th century, the Ahom rulers adopted the Hindu method of cremation, later burying the funeral bones and ashes in a moidam at Charaideo. Moidams are highly revered. When the nation celebrated the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borfukan, you had skipped a few moments and saw the exhibition set up at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, which included a model of Moidam, showcasing the unique burial architecture and tradition of Tai Ahom. At present, there is no World Heritage Site in the category of Cultural Heritage in North East India. This important dossier has been prepared with the technical support of ASI. I would like to request that the Government of India support our efforts and forward the above nomination dossier to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The Assam government is keen to promote the Charaideo Maidam of the Ahom era and has already earmarked Rs 25 crore for the conservation, preservation and preparation of the dossier for the World Heritage Site proposal. Charaideo was the first permanent capital of the Ahom Empire, founded by the first Ahom king Chao Lung Siu-ka-fa in 1253. Even though the capital moved to other places in the 600 years of Ahom rule, Charaidev remained a symbol of Ahom power. Royal maidams are found especially in Charaidev; While other maidams are found scattered in the area between Jorhat and Dibrugarh cities. The madams built in the Ahom style preserve the generally mummified mortal remains of the Ahom royalty and nobles.

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