Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Assam’s Charaideo Maidams nominated for UNESCO tag

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Charaideo Maidams, Ahom Kingdom

Mains level : Medieval kingdoms of India

maidam

The Centre has decided to nominate Assam’s Charaideo Maidams — the Ahom equivalent of the ancient Egyptian pyramids — for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre this year.

Why in news?

  • The nomination has attained significance at a time when the country is celebrating the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Barphukan.

Charaideo Maidams

  • The Charaideo maidams represents the late medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound burial tradition of the Tai Ahom community in Assam.
  • The Ahoms preferred to place the departed family members at Charaideo where the first king Sukapha was laid to rest.
  • The historical chronicles inform that wives, attendants, pet animals and huge quantity of valuables were buried with the departed kings.
  • The Charaideo Maidams enshrine the mortal remains of the members of the Ahom royalty, who used to be buried with their paraphernalia.
  • After the 18th century, the Ahom rulers adopted the Hindu method of cremation and began entombing the cremated bones and ashes in a Maidam at Charaideo.
  • Out of 386 Maidams explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative of and the most complete examples of mound burial tradition of the Ahoms.

Architecture details

  • Architecturally it comprises a massive underground vault with one or more chambers having domical superstructure.
  • It is covered by a heap of earthen mound and externally it appears a hemispherical mound.
  • At the top of the mound a small open pavilion chow-chali is provided.
  • An octagonal dwarf wall encloses whole maidam.

 

Ahoms Dynasty

  • The Ahom, also known as the Tai-Ahom, are an ethnic group from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India.
  • This ethnic group is made up of interbred descendants of the Tai people, who first came to Assam’s Brahmaputra valley in 1228, and indigenous people who later joined them.
  • Sukaphaa, the Tai group’s leader, and his 9000 supporters founded the Ahom empire (1228–1826 CE), which ruled over part of modern-day Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley until 1826.
  • Charaideo, more than 400 km east of Guwahati, was the first capital of the Ahom dynasty founded by Chao Lung Sukaphaa in 1253.
  • The current Ahom people and culture are a mix of the ancient Tai people and culture, as well as indigenous Tibeto-Burman people and cultures that they assimilated in Assam.

 

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