New Delhi, December 7: The mound-burial system of the Ahom dynasty in Assam has been submitted as India’s nomination for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the year 2023-24, the Centre informed the Parliament on Thursday.
The unique burial mounds, represented by pyramid-like structures known as ‘moidams’, were used by the Tai-Ahom dynasty which ruled for around 600 years in Assam.
Union Minister for Culture and Tourism G Kishan Reddy shared information about the nomination in response to a query in the Rajya Sabha.
He was asked whether the government has finalised India’s nomination for consideration as World Heritage site for the year 2023-24 and the rationale behind the selection of sites for nominations.
In his a written reply to the question, Reddy said, “The nomination dossier of ‘Group of Moidams-The Mound Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty’ has been submitted as India’s nomination for the year 2023-24.” “Selection of sites or properties for World Heritage nomination depends upon its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), Authenticity and Integrity. These sites must fulfil one of the criteria of OUV as mentioned in the UNESCO Operational Guidelines, 2023,” the minister added.
‘Moidams’ are vaulted chambers (chow-chali), often double storied, that have an arched passage for entry. Atop the hemispherical mud-mounds, layers of bricks and earth are laid. The base of the mound is reinforced by a polygonal toe-wall and an arched gateway on the west, according to the UNESCO website.
“Eventually, the mound would be covered by a layer of vegetation, reminiscent of a group of hillocks, transforming the area into an undulating landscape,” the description of ‘moidams’ added.
Excavation shows that each vaulted chamber has a centrally raised platform where the body was laid. Several objects used by the deceased during his life, like royal insignia, objects made in wood or ivory or iron, gold pendants, ceramic ware, weapons, clothes to the extent of human beings (only from the Luk-kha-khun clan) were buried with their king, according to the website.
The Tai-Ahom clan, upon their migration from China, established their capital in different parts of the Brahmaputra River Valley between 12th and 18th CE, it added. (PTI)