UNESCO ‘Award of Excellence’ to Thrissur Vadakkumnathan Temple

Sep 01, 2015
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The 'Award of Excellence' by UNESCO this year is for the conservation efforts of Sree Vadakkumnathan temple in Thrissur. The Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation has a total of 12 winning projects from five countries - India, China, Lao PDR, Australia and Thailand.

The 'Award of Excellence' by UNESCO this year is for the conservation efforts of Sree Vadakkumnathan temple in Thrissur. The Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation has a total of 12 winning projects from five countries - India, China, Lao PDR, Australia and Thailand.

According to UNESCO, the Award of Excellence for the conservation of  Vadakkunnathan Temple  recognizes the remarkable conservation effort undertaken at the sacred site which employed age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from Vastu shastra, the Indian traditional science focusing on architecture and construction. After a century of exposure to monsoon rains and inappropriate minor repairs, the project skillfully stabilized the wooden complex for on-going use by local devotees and restored significant decorative works including murals.

Vadakumnathan temple, with the principal deity Lord Shiva, is considered as one of the 108 Siva temples consecrated by Lord Parasurama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is a classic example of the Kerala style of architecture. The exquisite wooden crafts, carved pillars in wood, the age old mural paintings and sculptures etc. are significant archetypes in the temple. The Thrissur Pooram festival, one of the renowned festivals in Kerala conducted every year is held at Thekkinkad Maidanam, the premises of Vadakkumnathan temple.

In 2012, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recommended this temple to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESO) among the 14 sites including temples and palaces from Kerala to include in the list of World Heritage Sites. This year there were 36 entries from across Asia-Pacific region. Through this program UNESCO aim to encourage the conservation projects and recognizes the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. Other award categories included Awards of Distinction, Awards of Merit, Honourable Mention and Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts.

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