Exploring Karnataka’s Rich Heritage: Shravanabelagola and Lakkundi’s UNESCO Nomination

November 24, 2023 – In a significant move, the State Department of Archaeology Museums and Heritage (DAMH) in Karnataka is gearing up to propose the inclusion of Shravanabelagola in Hassan and Lakkundi in Gadag districts on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The lengthy process involves a meticulous selection, with monuments needing to be on the tentative list for at least a year before a formal proposal by the State party.

Shravanabelagola, a prominent Jain pilgrimage site in Karnataka, hosts the famed Gomateshwara statue, a towering monolithic marvel carved from a single stone in 981 CE. The site is not only a spiritual haven for Jain followers but also historically significant, as it is believed to be where Emperor Chandragupta Maurya spent his final days. Accessible from Bengaluru, around 150 kilometers away, the site demands a climb of nearly 700 steps for a close-up view. The proposed inclusion on the UNESCO list would further acknowledge its global importance.


Lakkundi, on the route to Hampi, is a historical treasure trove. Once a pivotal city of the Hoysala Empire, it boasts over 50 ruins of ancient temples, reflecting the grandeur of Chalukyan, Kalachuri, and Suena periods. Known for its architectural marvels, Lakkundi flaunts over 100 stepwells, locally termed ‘kalyani,’ showcasing stunning designs. The presence of a Sculpture Gallery, managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), adds to the allure of this heritage site. Travelers can immerse themselves in the rich history during the Lakkundi Utsava held annually in February/March, featuring folk dances and musical performances.

As Karnataka takes steps to spotlight its cultural gems on the global stage, the UNESCO nomination promises not only to enhance the visibility of Shravanabelagola and Lakkundi but also to celebrate the state’s diverse and culturally rich heritage.