Assam's Charaideo Moidams Recommended For UNESCO World Heritage Status

The nomination of the Moidams at Charaideo for the UNESCO World Heritage List recognises their historical and cultural significance. It shines a spotlight on the rich heritage of Assam and the northeast region of India
Charaideo Moidam, Assam
Charaideo MoidamWikipedia

Nestled in upper Assam, the burial places of Ahom kings and queens, known as "Moidams," have garnered international attention. These pyramid-like structures at Charaideo have been recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an essential advisory body to UNESCO. This prestigious recommendation came through in the ICOMOS report titled "Evaluations of Nominations of Cultural and Mixed Properties" for the 46th ordinary session of the World Heritage Committee, scheduled in New Delhi from July 21 to 31.

If selected, the 90 royal burials at Charaideo would mark a historic milestone, becoming the first cultural heritage site in the entire northeast region of India to receive such esteemed recognition. The ICOMOS report highlights the significance of these Moidams, noting their representation of the Tai-Ahom's 600-year-old traditions at Charaideo.

Spanning an impressive area of 95.02 hectares with a buffer zone of 754.511 hectares, the site is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and funerary practices of the Tai-Ahom dynasty.

According to ICOMOS, the nominated property is an exceptional example of a Tai-Ahom necropolis representing their unique funerary traditions and cosmologies. In their 2024 evaluations, ICOMOS reviewed 36 nominations, including 19 new nominations from across the globe. Among these, six new nominations came from Asia and the Pacific, with "Moidams – the Mound-Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty" being the sole nomination from India this year.

Fakuwa Dol
Fakuwa Dol Wikipedia

The Charaideo necropolis (cemetery), home to 90 Moidams, is situated on elevated land and boasts the highest concentration and best-preserved examples of these burial mounds in the Brahmaputra Valley. These mounds served as the final resting place for members of the Tai-Ahom royalty.

Within these burial vaults lie the remains of kings and other royals, accompanied by grave items such as food, horses, elephants, and sometimes even queens and servants. Over time, the Moidams have evolved, reflecting changes in materials and design while preserving the essence of the Tai-Ahom cosmology and funerary practices.

(With inputs from multiple reports)

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