India's sole nomination for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this year, 'Maidams' or the burial mounds of Ahom royalty in Assam’s Charaideo district, have met the technical requirements, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. The nomination will be next evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, he said. "With great pride, happy to share a landmark achievement in our endeavor to get World Heritage Site status for Charaideo Maidams. The maidams have met all technical requirements of the UNESCO Secretariat," Sarma said on Twitter on Friday.
He also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the nomination of 'Assam's Pyramids'."The nomination will now be evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites. We look forward to the Evaluation Mission's visit," the CM added. The 'Maidams' or the mound burial system of the Ahom dynasty in Charaideo was first listed in the tentative list of UNESCO's World Heritage site in April 2014, Sarma had said earlier. The 'Maidams' will be under the cultural segment as per the categorization of World Heritage sites. There is currently no World Heritage site in the category of cultural heritage in the northeast out of the 32 listed in the country.
Manas and Kaziranga National Parks, both in Assam, are World Heritage sites under the natural category, of which there are seven in India. The state Directorate of Archaeology had prepared the dossier to push the case for the Charaideo Maidams which was submitted to the Archaeological Survey of India, following which the chief minister had written to the Prime Minister. In 2019-20, the state government made a provision of Rs 25 crore for the protection, conservation, and development of the Charaideo Archaeological site.' Maidams' represent the late medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound burial tradition of the Tai Ahoms dynasty which ruled for 600 years in Assam.
Out of 386 'Maidams' explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative, and most complete examples of this tradition, the chief minister had said. Initially, the deceased with their personal belongings and other paraphernalia were buried, but after the 18th century, the Ahom rulers adopted the Hindu method of cremation and later entombed the cremated bones and ashes at the 'Maidams' at Charaideo. Charaideo for the Tai Ahoms, who are ancestor worshippers, is the final resting place of their 'Swargadeos' (kings who are like gods), other royals, and ancestors.