IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


6th July, 2024 Culture and Heritage


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  • The Ahom era ‘Moidams’ in Assam’s Charaideo district, recommended for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Background and Significance:

  • The 'Moidams' are mound-burial sites located in Charaideo district, Assam, which serve as the resting places for the royalty of the Ahom dynasty.
  • These sites are considered sacred and historically significant, embodying the funerary traditions and cosmologies of the Tai-Ahom people who migrated to Assam in the 13th century.

UNESCO Nomination and Evaluation:

  • The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to UNESCO, evaluated the nomination of Ahom Moidams for World Heritage status.
  • ICOMOS recommended their inclusion based on criteria (iii) and (iv) of UNESCO's criteria for cultural heritage properties.

Criteria for UNESCO Recognition:

  • Criterion (iii): Ahom Moidams bear exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition (Tai-Ahom) that has shaped the region's history.
  • Criterion (iv): They represent an outstanding example of mound-burial systems, illustrating significant stages in human history and architectural achievement.

Architectural and Cultural Features:

  • The Moidams are constructed as earth mounds covering vaults made of brick, stone, or earth, often topped with shrines.
  • They are comparable to the pyramids of Egypt in their architectural complexity and cultural symbolism, showcasing the craftsmanship of Assam's artisans.

Conservation and Management:

  • The nominated property covers an area of 95.02 hectares with a buffer zone of 754.511 hectares, managed jointly by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Assam Government's Directorate of Archaeology.
  • Conservation efforts include measures to prevent soil erosion, vegetation growth, and ensuring the integrity and authenticity of the sites.

Challenges and Future Directions:

  • Challenges include environmental factors such as heavy rainfall and natural vegetation growth that impact the preservation of Moidams.
  • Recommendations from ICOMOS emphasize the need for sustainable tourism strategies and effective management plans to safeguard and promote these heritage sites.

Cultural Heritage and Global Recognition:

  • If formally inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List during the upcoming session in New Delhi, the Ahom Moidams will join a prestigious roster of global cultural and natural landmarks.
  • This recognition not only enhances their preservation but also boosts cultural tourism and awareness about Assam's rich historical legacy.


Q. What are 'Moidams' as referred to in the context of Assam's cultural heritage?

A) Traditional water harvesting structures used in rural Assam

B) Mound-burial sites of the Ahom dynasty royalty

C) Ancient trade routes connecting Assam with Southeast Asia

D) Architectural remnants of medieval Assamese temples


B) Mound-burial sites of the Ahom dynasty royalty


'Moidams' are mound-burial sites located in Charaideo district, Assam, serving as the final resting places for the royalty of the Ahom dynasty. These sites are significant for their historical and cultural importance in Assamese heritage.