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ICC chief donates $22000 for evaluation of Moidams for World Heritage Site

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 30: It is heartening and a matter of great pride that UNESCO found that the Nomination of Moidam- the Mound Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty for inscription in the World Heritage List met all the technical requirements. Earlier the proposal was submitted by the Government of Assam under the dynamic leadership of Himanta Biswa Sarma, chief minister of Assam.

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Proposal found favor amongst other proposals from other states and with gracious consent & approval of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi was submitted to UNESCO as sole Nomination from India in the specific category.

The Assam government made the proposal painstakingly in absolute professional manner and was accepted by govt of India amongst proposals sent by different State governments for nomination to UNESCO as ‘The Proposal’ for the Year from India in specific Category. Nomination met all the technical requirements in the first ever attempt.

As per UNESCO site: The Tai-Ahom clan established their capital in the Brahmaputra River Valley between 12th to 18th CE. Usurping the Barahi tribe, Chau-lung Siu-ka-pha established the first capital of the Ahoms at the foothill of Patkai hills and named it Che-rai-doi or Che-tam-doi, meaning “a dazzling city above the mountain” in their language and consecrated site with a ritual.

The clan moved from city to city, the landscape of Che-Rai-Doi or Charaideo continued to retain its position as the most sacred place where the departed soul of the Royals could transcend into the after-life. Their unique system of vaulted mounds continued for 600 years. They turned to Hinduism with the accession of Swargadeo Suhungmug, till many turned Vaishnavite with the advent of Guru Shankardeva.

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Moidams are vaulted chambers (chow-chali), often double stories entered through an arched passage. Atop the hemispherical mud-mound layers of bricks and earth is laid, where the base of the mound is reinforced by a polygonal toe-wall and an arched gateway on the west. Eventually the mound would be covered by a layer of vegetation, reminiscent of a group of hillocks, transforming the area into an undulating landscape. 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.

There is a great variety in materials and systems of construction used in building a moidam. From the period between 13th CE to 17th CE, wood was used as the primary material for construction whereas in the 18th CE onwards stone and burnt bricks of various sizes were used for the inner chambers. The Changrung Phukan (canonical text developed by the Ahoms) records the materials used to construct a Moidam. It records the construction using bricks and stones cemented by the mixture of black pulse, molasses, eggs of duck, barali fish, lime (from limestone and snail shell). Boulders of different sizes, broken stones, bricks, and broken brick were used to construct the superstructure, whereas large stone slabs were used for the sub-substructure.

Apart from recording material used in constructing a moidam, the Changrung Phukan also documents the number of labourers, duration of works, votive offerings made and rituals followed during cremating the Royals. The crematory rituals of the Royal Ahoms were conducted with great pomp and grandeur, reflecting their hierarchy.

Proposal is now due for evaluation amongst all nominations from world over. ICC has always been pro-active in cultural, historical, and literary matters. Being conscious that to reach this stage the remarkable hardwork and expenses made by the government of Assam,  Indian Chamber of Commerce  made a request and offered USD 22000 voluntary contribution expected for evaluation proposal further,  through Mahesh Saharia, trustee, R G Saharia Foundation and are thankful that chief minister was kind enough to accept the same.  Such contribution, though of a token amount, is symbolic & denotes active participation by the stakeholders of society in the State with the project.

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Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) lauds the various initiatives by the state government for rapid development of the state, Ease of Living, Ease of Doing Business, Infrastructure Development, Focus on Preservation of Heritage & Nature and all round rapid Development of the state to take it to top five states and the bold and pragmatic proposals introduced in the current budget.

Mahesh Kumar Saharia, chairman of Indian Chamber of Commerce deeply applauded the achievement of the Government of Assam. Mahesh Kumar Saharia, who was born and brought up in the lush green tea gardens of Assam, is a prominent industrialist, philanthropist, prolific writer and an avid photographer. Appreciating the fact that Moidams has passed all the technical criteria of UNESCO to be a world heritage site, Saharia, chairman of ICC made a humble donation of USD 22000 to the chief minister’s fund today through RG Saharia Foundation. Indian Chamber of Commerce is deeply grateful to the Government of Assam for accepting this humble contribution for the noble cause.

Moidam-the Mound Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty inscription in the World Heritage List will be a great achievement for the entire North East. After the unique two events of listing of a world heritage site, the tourism sector of the state will also get a great boost. If Moidams get the World Heritage site recognition, it will not only be beneficial to the state of Assam but the entire North East.


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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttp://www.thehillstimes.in
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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