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Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage
 


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Heritage Alerts
April 2019

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Intach Discovers Wooden Temple

Gopinath Jew Temple, which is one of only two wooden temples of the state, was discovered by Intach’s Anil Dhir and his team at Gadaitapokhari village in Nimapara recently. A special report is being prepared for official recognition while the state government is planning to list it under conservation programme soon. Until very recently, the state apparently housed only one wooden temple in Surya temple of Buguda. However, the recent discovery has added Gopinath Jew Temple, also known as Durga Thakurani, to the list. The temple was established in 1750 CE and is a private temple of four erstwhile zamindar families.

The temple is home to Goddess Durga and Lord Gopinath. The temple has stood the test of time. The main temple houses Gopinath, whereas the small temple on the right has a small image of Durga. The Astadhatu image of Gopinath is centuries old. Even though it is a private temple, it is open to the villagers during festivals. Festivals like Kartika Purnima, Gaham Purnima and Dusshera are celebrated at the site. The Dusshera festivities are a four-day affair in which the locals participate. During Dolo Purnima, the image of Gopinath is taken in a Biman (palanquin) to the surrounding twelve villages which formed a part of the old Zamindari. The God is then brought home after a ritualistic bath in the Prachi River. This temple is the only thatched wooden temple in the entire Prachi valley and among the few in the state. The entire structure is on a square plot of 200ft on each side. Placed on a four feet raised platform, the temple is 25 feet in breath and 40 feet in length. The original mud and brick wall was two feet thick which was replaced with a brick and cement wall that is 18 inches thick. The roof beams are carved with floral motifs. The wooden eaves on the front and side veranda and walkway are carved in the form of elephants, lions, peacocks, swans, parrots and other animals. Many of the original wood carvings have withered away with time.

There are painted murals on the inner walls, most of which have faded away. The woodwork needs urgent preservation and proper treatment. Major changes were made after a part of the temple was destroyed in the Super Cyclone of 1999. The beauty and originality of the temple should be kept intact. The thatched roof is replaced every two years; the owners want to replace it with a R.C.C. slab. Repair and maintenance is being done by the temple keepers in a piecemeal manner. However, the temple has deteriorated a bit with time. The precious Astadhatu image is prone to theft as it is kept in an insecure manner.

According to Dhir, this is the only other wooden temple after the Surya temple of Buguda in Ganjam. Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, state convener, Indian national Trust for Art and Cultural heritage, said, “The existence of the temple was discovered during the detailed survey of the Prachi Valley Monuments, a project which INTACH has been working on since the last 2 years. He said that even though it was a private temple, the government should step in and ensure that it is properly conserved.

- http://www.orissapost.com/intach-discovers-wooden-temple/, April 1, 2019

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Kolkata Durga Puja nominated for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list

If everything goes as planned, the Durga Puja of Kolkata may finally get the UNESCO World Heritage status next year. Kolkata Durga Puja is India’s official nomination for UNESCO’s 2020 Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Sangeet Natak Akademi, under the Union Ministry of Culture is the nodal agency that sends recommendations for cultural institutions in India that need protection and preservation. According to the Akademi website, Durga Puja, a “conglomeration of different cultures”, is India’s choice for the 2020 update of UNESCO cultural heritage list.

UNESCO has a growing Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as it keeps adding entries from across the world to it every year. Quoting Professor Tapati Guha Thakuta, who led a five-member research team prepare the nomination dossier for the Sangeet Natak Akademi, a report in Hindustan Times said: “Kolkata’s Durga Puja has developed a special artistic profile, which no other festival has with modern artists and designers coming together to produce a new urban art.

This gives it a unique dimension.” Applying for the World Heritage status, the SNA has said in the nomination form: “…Durga Puja, unlike many other regional religious festivals of India, has a thriving global identity. Through this inscription, the already growing international face of Durga Puja will find a new order of legitimacy and artistic creativity, adding to the multi-cultural dimensions of the event and encouraging Bengali communities overseas to sustain the collective vigour and cultural fervor of the celebrations.”

It also said the inscription would serve to “bring into a common platform of interest all the organizational units of Durga Puja”; “bring into productive dialogue the growing community of Puja designers and artists with the corporate sponsors and organisers of community Pujas”; and “bring into participatory dialogue the regional, national, and international organising units of Durga Puja”. Durga Puja has always been a cumulative effort of several groups of people. The Sangeet Natak Akademi collected as many as 179 letters of consent from the representatives of such groups before it prepared the nomination dossier. These groups are classified into six categories — government; Durga Puja organisers; idol makers, artists, designers and priests; mediapersons and corporate sponsors; scholars; and other supporting institutions. Explaining the festival and its importance, the dossier describes Kolkata Durga Puja as the “best instance of the public performance of religion and art”.

Calling it a celebration of craftsmanship, cross-cultural transactions and cross-community revelry, the SNA report says, “The exemplary character of Durga Puja lies in its ability to not temporally bound itself to the ritual occasion. Its dynamism lies in it being a constantly mutating event – in its fusion of tradition with changing tastes and popular cultures, and in the adaptation of the iconographies of Durga and the styles of her temporary abodes to cater to new regimes of art production.” It has been long since the demand for recognition of festivals like the Durga Puja as the living cultural heritage has been put forth to ensure they are protected as intangible assets of cultural heritage. Durga Puja in West Bengal was recommended for inclusion in the ICH list in the beginning of this decade, and it has been on the backlog list since 2012 along with 22 other entries, some of them from 2010.

The UNESCO’s ICH portal says these files have not been treated due to the limited capacities of the committee, its bodies and the Secretariat. The other entries from India in the backlog list include Dashavatar, a traditional folk theatre form Maharashtra and Goa; the Lama dances of Sikkim; Nacha folk theatre of Chhattisgarh; Patola silk textiles of Gujarat; Phad scroll paintings and their narration from Rajasthan; shadow puppet theatre traditions; Chaar Bayt, a Muslim tradition in lyrical oral poetry; Kalamkari paintings; Nautanki; Practice of turban tying in Rajasthan; and Qawwali among others.

India already has 13 Intangible Cultural Heritage elements inscribed on the UNESCO representative list. Nominated in 2019, Sowa-Rigpa, the Tibetan system of medicine, is on the ongoing nomination list from India for ICH status. Similar to Ayurveda, Sowa-Rigpa is a well documented medical tradition that originated from Tibet and is popular in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and Russia.
13 Intangible Cultural Heritage elements from India
Tradition of Vedic chanting (2008)
Ramlila (2008)
Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre (2008)
Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal (2009)
Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala (2010)
Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan (2010)
Chhau dance (2010)
Buddhist chanting of Ladakh (2012)
Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur (2013)
Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India (2014)
Yoga (2016)
Nawrouz (2016)
Kumbh Mela (2017)


- https://www.thestatesman.com/bengal/kolkata-durga-puja-nominated-for-unesco-intangible-cultural-heritage-list-1502742415.html, April 1, 2019

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The terracotta temple of Bhattabati

The famous Hazarduari Palace of Murshidabad drew me to this once grand capital of the Nawabs of Bengal, now a dusty town in West Bengal. For someone who chases monuments and forgotten ruins across the country, everything Murshidabad had to offer fascinated me. When my guide told me about the Nawabi buildings on the other side of the Bhagirathi, I was more than happy to cross. The ferry took cars, cycles, scooters, goats, hens and people. A post by Kolkata blogger Amitabha Gupta had already alerted me about an old terracotta temple here, and we went in search of it. And, amidst banana trees and green fields, I found the most exquisite terracotta temple. It was a small temple, and as the sun’s rays fell on it, its red brick surface glowed, the shade from the trees adding a dappled effect. The temple is in the village of Bhattabati. The legend goes that the place got its name from the Bhata Brahmin families who came from Karnataka and settled here in the reign of Alauddin Husain Shah (1494-1519). Not much is known of the builder of this 18th century Shiva temple called Ratneshwar. It has five pinnacles, of which the central one is considerably taller than the rest. The terracotta panels which cover the surface of the temple are spectacular. The Ratneshwar temple stands on a plinth and is looked after well by the villagers, which include many Muslims. The temple is about 10 metres in height. The door to the shrine is kept locked. Decorated panels The terracotta panels on the temple have religious and secular scenes, and describe scenes from the life of Rama and Krishna, talk of kings, queens, dancing girls, reclining noblemen, troupes of musicians, women tabalchis, hunting and wedding scenes and more.

The figures have worn down over time. Every inch is covered by these remarkable terracotta scenes, including a lower panel with a version of terracotta warriors. An exquisite panel on the western side depicts Durga in her mahishasura mardini form. She is flanked by Lakshmi and Saraswati. There are two rather large hunters on top of this panel. A small dog and a hawk in a cage accompany them. The detailing is fantastic. The northern wall has a huge sculpture of Vishnu in the Vaman avatar.

The sculpture shows the three steps that Vaman took to subdue the asura Mahabali. One points towards the sky, the second is on earth, and the third is firmly on King Mahabali’s head. Unfortunately, the portion showing the foot on Mahabali is damaged.

Above is an exquisite ras-lila scene. The eastern panel is a large but severely damaged statue of possibly the matsya avatar of Vishnu. This temple with its mythology, artistic perfection and message of communal harmony is something that symbolises India to me. I hope it is preserved before it is fully lost to us. Rana Safvi is a historian, author and blogger who documents India’s syncretic culture.

- https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/the-terracotta-temple-of-bhattabati/article26676392.ece, April 1, 2019

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Ramappa temple for world heritage site

Telangana may get its first Unesco World Heritage Site, but it may be the Ramappa Temple at Palampet near Warangal than any of the Qutb Shahi era sites in Hyderabad. While the Qutb Shahi monuments of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar have been on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites from September 2010, the Ramappa Temple’s application, filed as ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’, has been fast-tracked from April 2014.

“We would have received the World Heritage Site tag last year itself, but the Central government wanted to push the case of Jaipur, and our listing was delayed by one year,” said B.V. Papa Rao of the Kakatiya Heritage Trust, one of the key movers. Earlier, the Ramappa Temple was part of a ‘serial nomination’ along with the Thousand Pillar Temple, Swayambhu Temple and Keerti Thoranas of Warangal Fort. But now, thanks to a small tweak, the temple is in the reckoning as a standalone world heritage site.

Unique, stunning
The Siva temple is perhaps the only one in the country that is known by the name of the architect rather than the king who commissioned it or its presiding deity. The stunning dance sculptures and friezes of the temple appear as if they have been machined into shape on black dolomite, rather than being chiselled. The temple is built on a valley and it rests on bricks that are scientifically shown to float in water. “The Ramappa Temple is a jewel of the Kakatiya era and it stands out,” said Mr. Rao. The world heritage site/city status appears like a series of hoops that have to be cleared by the site owners. The first step involves creating a detailed dossier showing the outstanding universal value of the site, besides meeting a few other criteria.

Once the documentation is complete, it requires a push by the State party or the country where the site is located. The property is then evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) then provides advice on conservation of the site, and training. After all these steps, the World Heritage Committee evaluates the site and decides to inscribe it or send back the nomination. It remains to be seen whether the Ramappa temple will win the prized inscription at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee meeting to be held in Azerbaijan in the first week of July.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/ramappa-temple-for-world-heritage-site/article26692459.ece, April 1, 2019

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Evidence of pre-modern iron technology found in Nagaland

The development of technology for extracting metals from ores has been critical in the growth of various civilizations. Smelting is one process that has evolved over time. Some regions and communities have contributed greatly in shaping and evolution of such technologies through their skills, knowledge and craft. Scientists, archeologists and historians are exploring the history and evolution of such technologies to know more about art and culture of communities. In one such initiative, scientists from Nagaland University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati have studied the history and evolution of smelting in Wui village of Tuensang district of Nagaland.

The village is well known for its traditional art of iron-smelting and iron tool production since pre-colonial times. In the medieval times, spears forged from Wui were highly valued. Iron smelting was once the primary source of livelihood for Wui people. Smelting of Wui community was of exceptional quality and kings from even far off places such as Myanmar would get their weaponry specially made from Wui.

The current scenario is, however, grim. Iron smelting is a dying art and people of Wui are struggling to preserve their traditional knowledge. The researchers studied various chemical properties and compositions, quality and quantity of mineral iron content and other oxides to grasp the use of early iron technology in Nagaland. It emerged that iron ore used for smelting in early days was primary mined from this region. Thus it was, perhaps, a major source of iron-ore in Nagaland.

The researchers excavated two trenches at two different localities of the village. This was done on the assumption that the people from this area may have been engaged in iron-smelting for generations and, therefore, there was a high probability for extracting slag refuse from the deep layers of the trenches. This would be vital for understanding early metallurgical practice. The first trench revealed a four metre thick cultural deposit, revealing six layers. The excavation yielded cork-mark potteries, animal bones, glass beads, slag and good quality charcoal. The second trench too revealed a thick habitation deposit.

Evidence from this trench included plain and cork-mark potteries, perforated roof tiles of slates, glass beads and charcoal. Charcoal from both trenches was carbon dated and their age ranged from 800-753 BCE to 980-1053 AD. An analysis of microstructure iron slag and ore samples was done using X-ray diffraction. Hardness test was also done to understand microstructures in terms of its strength and hardness. Electrical furnace test was done on the iron ore sample to examine the chemical variations. All these tests provided detailed account of the presence of different mineral compositions.

Tiatemjen Tzudir, one of the co-authors of the study, said, “this research is part of an ongoing study and we are looking for further evidence for smelting and iron smithing for better understanding of technological and social processes involved in pre-modern iron production in Wui and other sites in Nagaland.

It is among the first such research initiatives aimed at understanding the metal craft history of Wui community.” The research team included Tiatemjen Tzudir and Tiatoshi Jamir (Nagaland University) and Sukanya Sharma (IIT-Guwahati). The study results have been published in journal Current Science.

- https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/evidence-of-pre-modern-iron-technology-found-in-nagaland/article26701725.ece, April 2, 2019

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Revive Hyderabad’s music heritage: Anjani Kumar

Hyderabad was once the capital of classical music, recalled Hyderabad City Police Commissioner of Anjani Kumar. The city had extended patronage to the artists who settled here from around the globe, he added. Mr Anjani Kumar was speaking on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Padma Bhushan Bade Ghulam Ali Khan at Daira Mir Momin, Sultan Shahi, where the great artist was laid to rest. He said there was a need to enlighten the new generation about classical music and the legends in this field. Mr Anjani Kumar said he knew of Bade Ghulam Ali since college when he heard for the first time his ‘yaad piya ki aaye...’ .

He said Hyderabad was the capital of the classical music of India and there was a need to revive this form of music again. He said, “If we arrange concerts and invite artists from other parts of India to perform here, our new generation who are zealous about pop and YouTube music will experience the beauty of classic music, which is the root of music.” He said that the government and his department would organise programmes to revive our cultural heritage. Convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage P. Anuradha Reddy said that when one hears of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali one is reminded about classical music and Mughal e Azam. “Music unites people of different faiths and backgrounds,” she said. She said that 90 per cent of the residents of Hyderabad were not aware about our legends and their contribution in various fields.

There was a need to arrange concerts in memory of great personalities like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. “It will help to enlighten people about the great personalities of our city and to those who settled here. The Government should extend its help to those organizations which are promoting art,” she said. Mrs.

Anuradha Reddy expressed her concern over the Metro Rail route which goes from Imliban to Falaknuma via Darusshifa, which may hide and damage many heritage structures and monumental places. She said that on the stretch between Imliban and Sultan Shahi, there were many historical places and monumental structures like Darusshifa, Munshi Naan, Aashoorkhanas and Daira Mir Momin. “How many heritage structures will be ruined for this project? Why are they avoiding underground routes?” she asked.

- https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/030419/revive-hyderabads-music-heritage-anjani-kumar.html, April 2, 2019

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Mughal-style repairs may save rare dome art

Last year, Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) discovered original 16th-century Mughal paintings on the domed ceiling of Sabz Burj during an ongoing conservation exercise. Now, AKTC has requested Archaeolgical Survey of India (ASI) to remove the tiles and cement from the dome applied as recently as 1986. Officials say if they agree to this, then this would lead to a traditional lime-based repair and ensure no further rainwater damage occurs on the facade of the structure.

Looking into the request raised by the conservation body, ASI has now sought the opinion of Central Building Research Institute in Roorkee to undertake the required tests to suggest the most appropriate repairs before monsoon. Standing a few hundred yards west of Humayun’s Tomb, Sabz Burj is one of Delhi’s earliest Mughal monuments influenced by Timurid architecture and richly ornamented with incised plasterwork, glazed ceramic tiles and decorative lattice stone work. Conservation work here supported by Havells and undertaken by AKTC, started in November 2017 under the supervision of ASI.

A few months into the work, while removing the cement plaster on the domed ceiling, the conservation team discovered the Mughal paintings in blue, yellow, red, white and even in gold. Over a year’s laborious work under conservator Anupam Sah has now revealed the entire painted ceiling. Noted Mughal historian, professor Ebba Koch has described the revealed ceiling as “unique” with no similar example surviving anywhere in the world. That makes it all the more important to conserve these.

ASI is now waiting for the report from CBRI which is expected in the next few months. Once that comes, work will begin on the dome to remove all cement and tiles. Conservation work will take another year or two to complete.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/mughal-style-repairs-may-save-rare-dome-art/articleshow/68696081.cms, April 2, 2019

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National Heritage Volunteer Workshop organised at GDC Udhampur

A Heritage Volunteer Training Workshop was organized by INTACH Jammu Chapter in collaboration with Heritage Club of Govt Degree College Udhampur, under the aegis of Heritage Education and Communication Services Division (HECS) of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi. Heritage volunteers and teachers from Govt. Degree College Majalta, Govt. College for Women Udhampur, Bhaskar Degree College and the host college participated in the Workshop.

The workshop was inaugurated by Hemant Kumar Sharma, former Divisional Commissioner Jammu. In his inaugural address he urged upon the students to understand the objective of INTACH to spread awareness regarding preservation of tangible and intangible forms of Heritage. Ashok Kumar, Additional District Development Commissioner Udhampur presided over the valedictory session. In his valedictory address, he shared his experiences of working on the heritage of Mughal Road. Earlier, the programme began with lighting of traditional lamp by the dignitaries. Prof (Dr) Nutan K.

Resutra, the Principal of the host college, presented welcome address. Shiva Rawat, Programme Officer and Abhishek Das from HECS conducted the first technical session of the workshop. SM Sawhney, Convener INTACH Jammu Chapter gave a detailed presentation of various initiatives of the chapter to revive the material, built, natural and living heritage of Jammu. Prof Shiv Nirmohi a renowned writer on various aspects of the culture of Jammu also interacted with the students. Prakash Premi, a reputed scholar of Dogri language, literature and culture in his motivational speech talked about importance of knowing about one’s place. Prof.

Sudhir Singh, Life member of INTACH and event coordinator of the workshop inspired the volunteers for speaking and promoting Dogri as an intangible living heritage. Dr CM Seth, Co-convener INTACH J&K chapter deliberated upon the amplitude of natural resources in the state.

Dr Rippy B. Billoria and Dr Pankaj Sharma conducted the proceedings of the programme. Prof GR Verma was the organizer, while Prof RK Attri, Prof Romesh Chander, Prof Jawaid Server, Prof Yash Pal, Prof Shaji Khan, Dr Kamal Deep Kour, Dr Rupali and Dr Preety Sharma were present on the occasion. More than 150 students and teachers participated in the workshop. INTACH Literature kits were also distributed among the participants. Kuldeep Wahi, Life Member INTACH proposed the formal vote of thanks.

- http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/national-heritage-volunteer-workshop-organised-at-gdc-udhampur/, April 4, 2019

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A spring of melodies

The Indore chapter of INTACH organised Saanghi Smriti Sangeet Samaroh, the much-awaited annual music festival of the music loving city, celebrating the memory of Sohanlal Saanghi, known for his love and patronage to music which is sustained by Sharat Sanghi and his family till date. The festival is held in the spring season every year for nearly half-a-century and has presented almost all the stalwarts of the bygone era. This year, it spanned vocal and instrumental music from traditional dhrupad gayaki by Pt. Uday Bhawalkar and sitar by Ud. Shujat Hussain Khan, the scion of Imdadkhani gharana on the inaugural evening to the scintillating santoor by Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya and a sumptuous variety encompassing khayal to thumri, dadra, chaiti, hori to folk songs redolent with the authentic flavour of Purab Ang Gayaki by Vidushi Malini Awasthi on the second evening.

Pt. Uday Bhawalkar, one of the most sought after dhrupadias of the present generation is a true representative of Dagar Bani. He was groomed under the able guidance of Ud. Ziya Mohiuddin Dagar and Ud. Ziya Fariduddin Dagar in the authentic Guru Shishya Parampara for decades on end. This was evident right from his selection of a raga like chhayanat to the form dhamar and also the bandish (composition) “lachkat aave gori, abir gulal ki bhar bhar jhori…” keeping in mind the spring season and the festival of colours. His detailed alaap reminded that dhrupad is a matter of architecture, spacious, aspiring and formal. It explores the inner space of the raga’s universe and is radically different from the spirit of khayal. His leisurely alaap embellished with portamento that spanned sometimes an octave or more, was joined later with Pakhawaj by Pratap Avad. The hori dhamar set to dhamar tala of 14-beat cycle, had his rhythmic play with the tala as if imitating the “Lachkat chaal”, the lilting gait of the delicate ‘Gori’, described in the composition. The following Basant composition “Bhanwara phuli ban-saghan belariya…..” in Sool-tala, was dealt as a poetic depiction of nature’s bounty in the spring season.

Pt. Uday Bhawalkar concluded his dhrupad recital with a beautiful composition in Tilang that went “Sur sangat so gave, tabahi rijhave…” set to Sooltala. The Pakhawaj under the nimble fingers of Pratap Avad enhanced the serene effect of the dhrupad rendering. Ud. Shujaat Khan nostalgically remembered Ud. Amir Khan of Indore and confessed that Khan Saheb’s music had the most profound impact on him after the taalim he received from his own father and Guru Ustad Vilayat Khan. He also mentioned that his great grandfather came from Etawah and settled in this place, hence coming here is like a pilgrimage for him. Keeping in mind the discerning listeners of this city, he offered one of his most memorable renderings of raga Jhinjhoti this evening. Even before opening the alaap, he created a magical image of the raga by just strumming the ‘Tarab ke taar’, the resonating wires underneath the main strings. The detailed alaap embellished by his sensitive touch, lightness of stroke and the tender meends of many ‘sur’ in one go, created the romantic aura of the raga, before he proceeded to the jod and jhala sections underlining the invisible ‘laya’ with different Chhand of four and eight beats, intoxicating the listeners with the beauty of rhythm. His leisurely elaboration of the spacious raga during just Alaap-Jod Jhala lasted for nearly an hour before he played the Masitkhani and the Drut gat accompanied by Amit Chaube and Ramendra Singh Solanki on either side.

Shujaat gave them ample opportunity to show their individual talent as well. This was perhaps one of the most satisfying concerts Ud. Shujat Khan has given in recent times that proved his rich inheritance in full abundance, despite the lighter vein of ghazals and more he had to sing and play on demand from the poetry of Hazrat Amir Khusro to the ‘Vaishnav jan’ of Narsi Mehta.

Raga as a tribute
Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya opened the next evening with his santoor recital accompanied on tabla by Jyotirmoy Roy Chowdhury. A brilliant Santoor player of Maihar Gharana, Tarun obviously chose raga Janasammohini created by Pt. Ravi Shankar as a tribute to him. He has devised his santoor for executing meend, but whenever he reached Pancham the volume would go higher. Tarun is brilliant in the technical aspect but his focus sounds more towards the rhythm. Jyotirmoy on tabla enjoyed reciprocating him, especially in the sawal-jawab sequence.

Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya concluded his vibrant recital with a Bhathiyali Dhun. Malini Awasthi reached the two-day festival to its climax with her vocal recital, making an instant rapport with the enthusiastic audience. Opening with a Chhota Khayal in Bhupali as an invocation of Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of Omkareshwara and Mahakal; she regaled the audience with a slew of selection from thumri, dadra, chaiti, hori and the folk songs of the Gangetic belt explaining their nuances. The delicate touches of Pt. Dharmnath Mishra on harmonium and the brilliant Banarasi Laggi of Ram Kumar Mishra on tabla enhanced her recital with full gusto. Sanjay Narhari Patel did an admirable job of an anchor.

- https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/a-spring-of-melodies/article26743735.ece, April 5, 2019

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How a farmer has been protecting the prehistoric Indus carvings of Domkhar

By the banks of the Indus, 160 kilometres away from Leh, lies Domkhar, a tiny village whose rippling green fields are dotted with the shadows of tall poplars. Along the gushing river are large boulders — some dark and polished, others veined with fissures, and many that bear on their gleaming surface prehistoric carvings of men and beasts. I am in Domkhar Rock Art Sanctuary, established in 2012. I make my way through a deluge of rain and push open the gates under the sanctuary’s welcome board. When I ring the doorbell of the solitary building there, a party of four greets me. And I am drawn into the warmth of a Ladakhi kitchen where we all sit cross-legged on the floor.

This is the home of Stanzin Thangjuk, the farmer who has been instrumental in single-handedly protecting these rock carvings. Thangjuk is away, so his parents and niece play host for me. Over almonds, apricots and steaming butter tea, they tell me that every one of the 500-odd petroglyphs at Domkhar happen to be located within this private property. They lay in obscurity for years, but Thangjuk and his family, recognising their historical value, decided to protect them.

There are also rock carvings scattered along the 35 km stretch between Domkhar and Khalste village, but many have been damaged by human activity, especially road construction work, they tell me. When the rain finally stops, we set out to see the inscriptions. The path to the river snakes through apple and apricot plantations. The petroglyphs run all the way down to the river’s shore. It takes a moment or two to accustom my eyes to the shapes chiselled on the dark rock faces. There are line drawings of animals with horns, perhaps mountain goats; there’s one with a scorpion in the midst of a crowd of people; another shows a hunting scene.

Widely scattered
The archaic scripts on these rocks have been discovered to be similar to those found among the nomadic tribes of the steppe region of Central Asia who lived 2,000 years ago. No one has been able to put an exact date to the carvings, but they are believed to be over two millennia old. They also shed some light on the pattern of human movement during that era. Tashi Ldawa Thsangspa, a rock art researcher, has also been involved with petroglyphs preservation for more than 20 years now.

He says that purely in terms of antiquity and history, the Dhomkar rock art sanctuary has as much significance as any archaeological monument. The rock art was reported for the first time almost 100 years ago and studied subsequently by many scholars. Many researchers, both Indian and foreign, did a commendable job in researching the rock art of Ladakh, but sadly that did not help in the conservation of the petroglyphs. Such petroglyphs are found scattered widely across Ladakh: some noteworthy places outside Domkhar are Tangtse, Khaltse, Kharu and Biama.

And Thsangspa has been conducting awareness programmes to protect them. “So far we have records of about 400 sites, and some of these are even more spectacular than Domkhar,” he says. Over the years he has approached organisations such as the Archeological Survey of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, INTACH, and the State government, but none of them has come up any concrete steps for conservation. As we stand watching, the downpour resumes and the Indus roars furiously. We decide that we must call it a day, and retreat once more into the warm shelter of Thangjuk’s kitchen.

- https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/the-petrogylphs-of-domkhar/article26745546.ece, April 8, 2019

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Delhi's Tughlaq era Bara lao ka gumbad gets a fresh lease of life

The ‘Bara lao ka gumbad’ traces its history back to the 14th century when the Tughalqs had built its adjoining area as a garden, making it one of the oldest gardens of Delhi. A magnificent white domed structure fitted with lustrous blue tiles, arising out of medieval era ruins is a sight that greets those taking the sharp turn from from the Basant Lok market in South Delhi. The ‘Bara lao ka gumbad’ as the structure is called traces its history back to the 14th century when the Tughalqs had built its adjoining area as a garden, making it one of the oldest gardens of Delhi. Until recently, the monument lay largely forgotten, visible to passersby as one among the many bits of historical structures that dot the landscape of Delhi. Lately, however, it has been given a new lease of life by the Delhi state archaeology department in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). “The garden which consists the remains of a mosque, a water channel and a well belongs to the Tughlaq period, while the tomb known as the ‘Bara lao ka gumbad’ was built during the Lodi period. However, it is not known who built the structure,” says director of projects in INTACH, Ajay Kumar. The structure within DDA’s Vasant Udyan Park in Vasant Vihar was first considered for restoration back in 2010 when Delhi was prepping for the Commonwealth Games.

“That time it was badly encroached upon. People were living inside the tomb and in the adjoining structure known as the ‘baradari’ where small rooms had been constructed,” says conservator Suraj Kumar. The monument underwent its first phase of conservation during that period when its premises were vacated. The need for further restoration came up yet again last year when the DDA park was being developed. “The idea of the state archaeology department, government of Delhi and the DDA is also to use this monument for some small cultural programmes related to the history and culture of Delhi,” says Director Kumar. He explains that what we now see as the ‘baradari’ was all ‘kuchha’. “Now it is all plastered so it is like a place where you can have performances or small events,” he says.

“Since the park was undergoing rejuvenation at that time, the state archaeology department was also requested to develop and beautify the monument further,” says conservator Kumar. “It has been almost eight years since the last phase of restoration and no maintenance was carried out during this period. So the first thing to do was to clean the monument,” says director Kumar. He adds that during this phase the tiles of the monument were also restored. “There were rifts in the dome of the monument which used to be fitted with blue glazed tiles. So we developed similar tiles and restored them,” says conservator Kumar. “The painting that you can see on the medallion was not visible. It was all covered with dark soot.

All that has been carefully cleaned. All the arches that you can see now were damaged. They have now been restored using only traditional building materials and methods,” says Kumar. The conservation of the monument is still ongoing. What remains is the restoration of two wells, and the construction of a gate which would be completed in the next couple of weeks, following which the monument would bask in the glory of the time when the Delhi Sultans first conceived it.

- https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhis-tughlaq-era-bara-lao-ka-gumbad-gets-a-fresh-lease-of-life-5663501/, April 8, 2019

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World Health Day 2019: The emergence of ayurveda

World Health Day 2019: After a very long time, ayurveda has regained ground, core medicine sales have jumped from 6000 crores in 2007 to 19000 Crores in 2017. By 2022 the ayurvedic healthcare market is expected to grow at a steady pace and become 50,000 crores. A strong shift in people’s sentiment towards adopting the use of ‘natural’ medicines and healthcare practices, has given the ancient science of ayurveda a well-deserved boost. 90% people want to adopt ayurveda as the first call of treatment in the current scenario and rightly so.

Natural is the new mantra of health and is disrupting every category for today’s health conscious population. India has a long heritage of the usage of ayurvedic and herbal products. We are called the ‘botanical garden of the world’ as India is the largest producer of medicinal herbs. As per a WHO report, more than 80% of the world population uses medicines made from herbal and natural products.

From an alternative form of healthcare, ayurveda is steadily moving towards centre stage owing to the issues being faced globally with regards to modern healthcare – medicines and practices. In their quest to embrace healthier lifestyles, people are shifting from everything which is artificial and synthetic. Allopathy is no exception in this trend. Thus, after a very long time, ayurveda has regained ground, core medicine sales have jumped from 6000 crores in 2007 to 19000 Crores in 2017. By 2022 the ayurvedic healthcare market is expected to grow at a steady pace and become 50,000 crores.

While the allopathy industry stands at 1,20,000 crores. While Ayurveda is a science perfected over centuries there are problems in the supply chain, ambiguities about good quality medicines and accessibility to trustworthy ayurvedic doctors. There is a dire need to fix these problems and give a positive push to ayurveda as the first call of treatment not just in India but globally. Ayurveda is a proved science which has the power to revolutionise the modern healthcare ecosystem with is advocacy, practices and treatment and make the future healthcare more sustainable. Ayurveda is known for its ‘prevention is better than cure’ philosophy which can make human lifestyles healthier. Ayurveda is as close and accessible to us as the items in our household kitchen, what we need is the correct information and knowledge. Indians had been following ayurvedic practices in daily lives, but we lost touch over the years under the influence of western practices. Moreover, it has successfully cured chronic diseases where allopathy are still struggling to cure.

In past few years the government has actively promoted ayurveda and supported the growth of pioneering research and medical facilities in the country. Still there is a need to create more awareness in people seeking the right ayurvedic treatment. Encouraging evidence-based treatment, use of modern diagnostics, knowledge sharing within the community, creating digital and physical platforms for patient – doctor interactions, strengthening channels for authentic good quality ayurvedic medicines will help in re-establishing the glory of ayurveda. Technology is playing a major role in increasing accessibility to the right ayurvedic practitioners and knowledge sharing within the community for capacity building. Every World Health Day, we advocate for the need to push universal health coverage across the globe. Being the knowledge and talent hub for ayurveda, India can be the torch bearer for the healthcare revolution.

There are over 6,00,000 Ayurveda practitioners in India and over 350 Ayurveda medical colleges producing over 20,000 medical graduates every year. By making ayurveda mainstream we can step closer to the aim of making universal health coverage a reality. On this World Health Day let’s push towards the progressive adoption of ayurveda for health and wellness.

- https://www.hindustantimes.com/health/world-health-day-2019-the-emergence-of-ayurveda/story-LyI564Lb97puXEfiaUZPTJ.html, April 8, 2019

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WUD students showcase their research at ‘Threads of Chanderi' exhibition at INTACH

While the unique sheer texture and intricate excellence of designs with gold and silver sets Chanderi fabric apart from the rest, their habitats and the way they are designed are also unique. When 17 students from School of Architecture at the World University of Design travelled to this small town in Madhya Pradesh to study the lifestyle and living conditions of the craftsmen across settlements their findings and research report with recommendations got them an invitation from INTACH to participate a conservation Exhibition on Handloom Sari Weavers of Chanderi held in Delhi. Spread over an area of 18 kilometers, the town of Chanderi is divided into two broad sections- Andar shahar & Bahar shahar each consisting of labyrinth of weaver's settlements. The students worked on the weaver's cluster in Bahar Shahar for their study.

The village itself is composed of labyrinth of lanes full of archaeological remains where weaving is a livelihood of 60% of the population. With the help of plans and sections they derived that how the loom becomes the guiding principle for designing of any space in Chanderi. The Urban Morphology study was shared in the form of eight sheets showing the layouts and details of traditional Weaver's houses in Chanderi. Explaining about the project Gourisha Bajaj, 3rd Year student of School of Architecture said “ Our research involved detailed analysis and study of the challenges faced by weavers and situations that they overcome to create exquisite creations. What is unique about these houses is the way they are clustered together forming an exact pattern that can be seen on the saris, which is very interesting.

Every house in Chanderi had loom room which will have the maximum sunlight. There are over 3500 handlooms working in Chanderi today, often with multiple looms operating out of the same room, creating a very interesting morphology.” Further she said “However we feel that there needs to be better awareness and regulation as we feel that even today merchants/corporations and middlemen get the better part of the deal and a weaver in many cases just gets INR 1000-2000 per design”. Once a favourite of the royalty this fabric has become an object of desire for the fashion conscious today. Chanderi saris are protected under the geographical indication of goods (registration and protection) act, 1999 and they cannot be copied because of their exclusive design and silk yarns that goes in its weaving. The government if India has also filed petition to the World Trade Organization for the recognition of this textile on the international level.

- https://news.careers360.com/wud-students-showcase-their-research-at-threads-of-chanderi-exhibition-at-intach, April 10, 2019

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On a heritage trail

Did you know that there is a day of the year set aside for celebrating and promoting cultural heritage? Every year, April 18 is observed as World Heritage Day. The official name for the day is International Day for Monuments and Sites.

Background
The day was established by the International Council on Monuments and Sites in 1982. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about cultural heritage, its diversity, how vulnerable it is, and what can be done to conserve it. The day is also aimed at creating awareness about the importance of preserving the various World Heritage Sites around the world.
Theme
The theme for 2019 is ‘rural landscapes’. Rural landscapes are areas which are used for the production of food and other resources. This means areas where agriculture, fishing, salt production, hunting, and so on are done. The conservation of rural landscapes can benefit all of us.

Get involved
Spread the word about the International Day for Monuments and Sites, along with the message for this year. Discover more about the rural landscapes in our country and the practices associated with them. An important way of celebrating the day is by paying a visit to World Heritage Sites near you. Before you go, you could do a bit of research on why the site is important, and what steps are needed to be taken to protect it.

What are World Heritage Sites?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) selects landmarks or areas around the world which are of cultural, historic or scientific significance. In short, these are landmarks or locations that have ‘outstanding universal value’.

There are currently 1,092 sites on this list, of which 37 are in India. Tracking down and visiting all these sites could be an experience of a lifetime! Around the world

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia: The largest religious monument in the world. The region contains the magnificent remains of the Khmer Empire.
2. Stonehenge, the U.K.: A mysterious circle of upright stones. The astronomical significance of the pattern of arrangement is still being explored.
3. Easter Island, Chile: One of the most remote sites on the list. The enormous stone figures, known as moai, are a source of fascination to people around the world.
4. Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Japan: One of the most photographed shrines in the world and a holy place of Shintoism. The torii (gate) appears to float in the water.
5. Kremlin and Red Square, Russia: A site that is linked to the most significant historical events in Russia. Located in Moscow, the St. Basil’s Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian monuments.
Indian portfolio
1. Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh: The seat of the Mughal empire in India. The impressive fort complex overlooks another World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal.
2. Hampi, Karnataka: The capital of the Vijayanagar empire, built by its fabulously rich royals. Today, the city lies in ruins, leaving you spellbound.
3. Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha: A gigantic representation of the Sun God’s chariot. The temple is known for its architectural grandeur and intricate sculpture work.
4. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu: A group of monuments carved out of rock. Once a thriving sea port, it is, today, a bustling tourist attraction.
5. Churches and convents of Goa: An example of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India. The Basilica of Bom Jesus contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier

- https://www.thehindu.com/children/on-a-heritage-trail/article26779600.ece, April 10, 2019

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Mangalajodi: A Delight For Bird Watchers

Mangalajodi, a picturesque village in Odisha, was once a poachers' village, but now serves as a nesting place for several species of migratory birds. Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in India, is home to a wide variety of ora and fauna. As winter arrives, birds of various exotic species ock from the remotest corners, such as Siberia and Mongolia, to Chilika, which serves as a nesting place for them. This elevates the beauty of the lake and locality attracting a large number of tourists, many exclusively for bird watching. Located on the northern banks of Chilika, nestles the small village of Mangalajodi, whose people actively participate in the conservation of the avian visitors. Being a calm and quiet place, Mangalajodi attracts winged visitors in large numbers.

Several of the bird species that nest in Mangalajodi have been identied as endangered, and on the verge of extinction. The Chilika Bird Festival, which started in January 2018 and has become a popular annual event, sees enthusiastic wildlife photographers, ornithologists and experts from across the world arrive to witness the congregation of the multitudes of migratory birds. Several species of waterfowls are sighted in Mangalajodi, especially the Northern Pintail, which is found bountifully there. The population count of these birds reaches up to 3,00,000 every winter. The Northern Shoveler is another common type of waddling duck, which is often spotted boating on the brackish water lake.

The Northern Shoveler possesses a streamlined and sleek body, which is adorned with hues of white and chestnut brown colour. The forewings look majestic when they y, unfurling shiny green colour, which is separated by a white border. The Tufted Pochard, a duck inhabiting large parts of Northern Eurasia, is a common sight at Mangalajodi. This bird has a unique appearance of possessing a head tuft, a distinct characteristic, from which it has derived its name. Covered in deep black fur, with white stripes highlighting a few parts of the body, this duck’s beauty is a sight to behold. Over 100,000 Tufted Pochards wing their way from far-off areas during the peak winter season. Other migratory birds include the Red Crested Pochard, Common Moorhen, Cotton Teal or Pygmy Goose and Greyhead Lapwings that inhabit the marshes of Mangalajodi.

“Mangalajodi, the small lakeside village where the bird festival is held, is a microcosm of rural Odisha, with its rice elds, the boats and the shing community, the local ora and fauna and the millions of birds that make the lake a winter home,” A.B Tripathy, retired Director General of Police, Odisha, and currently Head of INTACH in the state, told Outlook. “The winged guests are protected by the villagers. I have been there for inaugurating the tourist season at the eco resort and found that the place is a natural heritage,” he added. Bird poaching is one of the gravest threats that Mangalajodi faces. Earlier the village was known as a poachers' village. Constant poaching of the birds caused a major imbalance in the bio diversity of the area. However, with the intervention of conservationists, waterfowl hunting is now being kept under strict scrutiny to preserve the population of the birds. The place is also a breeding ground for local bird species. Among the migratory birds, the most vulnerable are the Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, Black-Tailed Godwit, Eurasian Cerlew, and River Tern.

“One of the few success stories in conservation is that the poachers are now the protectors. Mangalajodi is a living example of community and stakeholders’ participation in conservation,” Anil Dhir, a well-known publisher and heritage enthusiast, told Outlook. He said, “The villagers nd that protecting the birds and the lake is far more rewarding and protable than killing them for sale. The birds too and the place a safe haven and have been returning in increased numbers every year. However, Mangalajodi should not be turned into a destination for mass tourism, and should remain an eco tourist place.” To prevent the unabated slaughtering of the birds, an organization named ‘Wild Orissa’ was set up in 1997, which helped contain widespread poaching of waterfowl. “It was a tough challenge in the initial days to convince the poachers and locals on the need for conservation, but soon debates and discussions were initiated by well-informed people from the area,” Nanda Kishor Bhujabal, a leading gure in the area, told Outlook. He along with other members initiated one-on-one discussion with the villagers, especially the poachers.

“These debates instilled a sense of belonging and a need to protect the bird species among the villagers. They felt the importance of securing the bio diversity. The conservation success rate improved, as the poachers gave up their illegal profession to become the saviours,” Bhujabal added. Mangalajodi has a lot to offer as a tourist destination, especially after the successful conservation of the exotic bird species. How To Reach There: The nearest airport is in the Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, located 120 km away. Taxis, trains and buses are available going towards the lake. Best Time To Visit: From October to March, when the lake is choc-a-bloc with migratory birds.

- https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/society-news-mangalajodi-a-delight-for-bird-watchers/328264, April 11, 2019

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Sarnath to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Yes, you read that correctly. The historic and religious town of Sarnath (10 km from Varanasi) will soon become a World Heritage Site. Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is the place, where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma. Not only Buddhism, but the place is also important for the followers of Jainism, as just a kilometre from here is the village of Singhpur, which is the birthplace of the Eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism, Shreyansanath.

Neeraj Kumar Sinha of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) opines that from a long time Sarnath and its temples and ruins have been under the tentative list of UNESCO. A 600-page dossier is being prepared, which will have all the important information about the monuments in Sarnath. Also, around a 300 m buffer zone is being created around the monument, where no other things can be constructed.

About Sarnath
Sarnath has a long and ancient history and the place has been known by various names such as Mrigadava, Migadaya, Rishipattana and Isipatana. A number of people from across the globe visit Sarnath every day. It’s one of the most prominent and revered sites for the followers of Buddhism. Thus, the state government would be working at making things perfect and more secure for the visitors.

When it comes to the places to visit in Sarnath, there are some amazing options such as the Dhamek Stupa, Chaukhandi Stupa, Ashoka Pillar and Sarnath Archeological Museum. Besides, there are some beautiful monasteries and temples that are a must-visit.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/destinations/sarnath-to-become-a-unesco-world-heritage-site/as68814281.cms, April 11, 2019

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Students of World University of Design showcase their collection at 'Threads of Chanderi' exhibition

17 Students from School of Architecture at the World University of Design participated in a conservation exhibition on Handloom Sari Weavers of Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh recently. It was organized by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and held in Delhi on March 28th, 2019. The students visited Chanderi town in Madhya Pradesh and worked on the weaver's cluster for their study. “With the help of plans and sections we derived that how the loom becomes the guiding principle for designing of any space in Chanderi.

The Urban Morphology study was shared in the form of eight sheets showing the layouts and details of traditional Weaver's houses in Chanderi,” said Gourisha Bajaj, a 3 rd year student of School of Architecture at World University of Design.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/students-of-world-university-of-design-showcase-their-collection-at-threads-of-chanderi-exhibition/articleshow/68835096.cms, April 12, 2019

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World Heritage Day: How five Indians are preserving their heritage in Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad

Majestic, magnificent and monumental — three words that simply describe most heritage structures in India. While heritage sites like the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, Kaziranga National Park in Assam, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai or even Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu are quite well-known around the country, there are several structures, which don’t really enjoy the ‘heritage status’, as they are still not recognised by the Archaeological Survey of India. However, there are experts who work silently towards the preservation and conservation of cultural monuments in India — even those that are not recognised by the ASI as heritage sites.

Known for his book The White Mughals, renowned Delhi-based historian and author, William Dalrymple is at the forefront of heritage in India. One of his most important contributions has been raising one million pounds to restore the British Residency in Hyderabad.“Many of the heritage sites in India are not up to the mark because there is not enough money being invested in the process of preservation, and it is grossly underfunded by the ASI,” says the 54-year-old author, who is currently in Odisha, on invite from the state government. In agreement, Anuradha Reddy, convenor of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Hyderabad and co-convenor of INTACH Telangana, says, “It is only the private owners of the heritage sites who are investing in the preservation of the property but apart from that, there isn’t much being done by the government, and that is why our role has now changed, since we first started in 1985.” While earlier they awarded government-run heritage sites, in 2018, they shifted their attention to giving preference and award privately owned structures, in an attempt to get the attention of the government. Unearthing Kochi While the authorities are working differently, there are many people across South India, who are taking it upon themselves to keep the interest in heritage alive among people. Among the different methods, heritage walks are quite common, but they are going beyond them to implement other methods that would get both adults as well as children interested in the process. With the popularity of Instagram picking up for many reasons, there are others who are using it to raise awareness and create a record of structures through regular updates on their feed.

Less than a year old, Kochi Heritage Project (whose Chinese fishing nets trail, that unearths the history of these nets, is popular among the locals) has gained over 1,225 followers, and while it is still in the nascent stage, 31-year-old founder Johann Kuruvilla says this is just the start for him. The marketing professional, who has dabbled in many fields, said he always had an interest in heritage, and that it may be because of his interest in his own genealogy, which he has traced to the 17th century. Having lived in the heart of Fort Kochi with his grandparents, Johann remembers walking down the streets and experiencing its rich culture. However, he only started researching about it when he met several like-minded people on Orkut groups after he realised he did not know much about the city himself at the time. “While I currently do heritage walks, I am in the process of hosting more documentary screenings, and workshops as well as heritage awareness from the grassroots,” says Johann, who has already conducted one screening for enthusiasts in the city. However, his project slowed down after the ravaging floods hit Kerala last year, as he was busily involved in the rescue operations, and with the elections around the corner too, he hopes he can go about creating awareness in different forms for all people. “I want it to be available to everybody through everybody and not limit it to experts only.

It will include teaching children at the school level so that they can learn about it early, and think about preserving heritage, and hopefully create a job out of their love for heritage,” says the Kochi-based heritage enthusiast seeking inspiration from the Marxist theory. Calling himself a ‘Heritage Consultant’, Johann is a one-man army, who got the idea during his travels around the world. After getting the Instagram page up and running, Johann also started a Facebook forum to create a community, which now has over 200 people, but he wants to take it offline. The group encourages people from all over India and the world to share any history related to Kochi to help build an archive around it. Jewels of Hyderabad Interestingly, it is not only Johann in Kochi, Hyderabad’s Madhu Vottery, an author and conservation architect is also one among many, who first started her journey in 2004 as a student. In 2009, she was handpicked by the state tourism board to design the Hyderabad Heritage Walk, before the release of her first book A Guide to Heritage of Hyderabad. However, after being invited as the Indian delegate by the US Consulate for an exchange program, she realised the subject had to be taught to children too. After her return, she worked on her second book called Heritage of Hyderabad: From Children, For Children put together by 16 children. Taking it a step further, she designed a Hyderabad Craft Heritage Walk, teaching people about the different crafts in the city before working with Telangana Tourism and promoting Eco Tourism.

Constantly raising awareness about heritage, she has also designed a mobile application called Hyderabad Heritage and is currently in talks with the government about it. “The application will teach people and highlight the different architecture marvels about the city apart from famous places in the city like Charminar,” says Madhu, who is hoping it comes out soon with the right support. Actively involved with children, the application will also have audio files by children, who will guide people.

Bengaluru and beyond
While Madhu is busy making an application, heritage has a different meaning for Bengaluru-based photographer Sabir Ahmed, who uses photography to tell his story. Having explored street photography over the last 15 years, he loves working with black and white pictures. “I use street photography differently for heritage as I love exploring different architectural styles, I usually click people in front of heritage structures in Bengaluru,” 52-year-old Sabir tells us. In 2014, the photographer was a part of the project called Pratibimba, with five other people in Karnataka, which saw him travel the lengths and breadths of the state. Capturing the history, art, culture, architecture and even wildlife and cuisines, the exhibition was showcased at the Chitrakala Parishad the same year.

However, among many of the heritage structures, Sabir says he sadly did not get to click the Rex Theatre on Brigade Road, before it was erased in 2018. But, finding the perfect balance of clicking people on the street in front of the heritage structures, he goes about clicking people going about their daily life, including reading the paper. “I like to click colonial buildings, Islamic architecture and even South Indian architecture with a certain age or culture,” says Sabir, as he says that wide buildings, open spaces, domes, and minarets are what generally attract him to look through the lens. While the main city is on his radar always, it is also the old parts namely Benson Town and Richards Town, which still catch his eye. Among others, he is currently working on a street photography project, but heritage structures are definitely on the cards for him soon. Chennai to Chettinad Heritage is not only about walks or sessions and workshops for Chennai-based conservation architect duo Arunima Shankar and Kaushik Kumar, who started Akarmaa Foundation in 2015. The organisation focuses on spreading awareness about history and heritage through games. While they did start with heritage walks, they realised it wasn’t really interactive and the fact that they were teachers inspired them to use the idea of playing games and learning content through that. Interestingly, they have taken inspiration from the television show The Amazing Race and have hosted several treasure hunts in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Karnataka. “We use the people living in the locality as a part of the game so that they understand the relevance of their fabric, which makes it a fun activity for both,” Arunima tells us.

She further adds, “We encourage the locals to take part so that they do not feel like we are ‘museumizing’ them. Making it fun for all, the priest at the Sufi dargah in Triplicane gives people the next clue, only if they pray there”. One of the races was held in the Triplicane locality of Chennai, and they took it a step further by encouraging specially-abled children to take part in the race, thus encouraging a large interaction between three groups of people. Interestingly, they went a step further and the architecture students, who were a part of the workshop, got together and cleaned and painted the arch in Triplicane, and put up a flex banner informing people about who actually built the arch, making people take notice. However, Arunima and Kaushik are also busy with restoration projects — one of the current houses they are restoring is in Hyderabad, which dates back to 1949, and is converting it to create it into a weekend guesthouse. For Chennai-based conservation architect and collector Sivagama Sundari, heritage has always been about preserving her Chettinad culture in any form she can. Hailing from Karaikudi, Sivagama, owing to her interest in preserving her culture, founded Muttram, with three other friends Thirupurasundari Sevvel, Akshayaa Selvaraj and Devika Prabhakaran.

“The stories that my dad told me when I was young kindled my curiosity and made me learn more about my ancestry and lineage,” says Sivagama, who has also displayed her collections at the Madras Literary Society and the Railway Museum in Egmore. While they currently do not have a physical office, Sivagama said they are soon planning to procure one but till then they will keep on working. However, they also keep themselves busy by conducting workshops that teach people the art of reviving traditional building techniques like red-oxide flooring and lime mortar, in their attempt to preserve the Chettinad heritage.

- https://www.indulgexpress.com/travel/2019/apr/12/world-heritage-day-how-five-indians-are-preserving-their-heritage-in-chennai-kochi-bengaluru-and-14054.html, April 12, 2019

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Heritage High

The INTACH Filmit Film Festival 2019-20 was organised by INTACH’S (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Heritage Education and Communication Service. The excitement was palpable as students from 10 schools in and around Chandigarh got together at St Kabir Public School for the INTACH Filmit Film Festival 2019-20, to celebrate their own efforts in creating short films which showcase the heritage and culture of their city. The festival was organised by INTACH’S (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Heritage Education and Communication Service.

Filmit is a multi-cultural project that allows students to understand the heritage and history of the city in which they live through the medium of films. The project was launched 11 years ago and receives funding from Helen Hamlyn Trust (United Kingdom). According to Deepika Gandhi, co-convenor of the festival, the Filmit platform allows children to approach history through a unique medium.

Students are trained in film techniques and development of content and also taught how to develop an underlying theme for their film which relates to any aspect of culture. They are further taught the techniques of camera work and editing through a series of workshops. As part of the event, students introduced their works and shared their diverse experiences with Filmit. Initially, films shot by students from all across the country were screened. Many of these were pleas for peace and harmony and talked about the importance of secularism in today’s political climate.

Others depicted the inequalities present in Indian society and the destruction of the environment. The films had broad themes and revealed aspects of Chandigarh’s history and culture that were previously unknown to many in the audience. For instance, a group of students presented a film on the missing Sector 13 of Chandigarh and the reason for it. Students from St Kabir presented an insightful film on the history of the Manimajra Fort, while students from St Stephen’s screened their short film about the famous Daulaat ki chaat. As many as 30 films were made by students in Chandigarh alone.

- https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/heritage-high-intach-indian-national-trust-for-art-and-cultural-heritage-film-festival-5674422/, April 15, 2019

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Odia New Year: Visitors from Barcelona explore Ekamra Walks

On the first day of the Odia calendar and occasion of 'Pana Sankranti' the 121st edition of Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit got a tremedous response with a group of seven visitors from Spanish city Barcelona and four of a family from Chapra, a city in neighbouring Bihar. There were also researcher and journalist from the City of Joy, Kolkata, making the occasion a memorable one while intermingling with the traditional rituals of the Old City, which was once known as Ekamra Kshetra in the ancient texts. Josep M Botet, the team leader of the Barcelona group, who had earlier visited Odisha on seven occasions, said the team is on a two-day trip to the city and nearby destinations.

“We have found the Ekamra Walks as an engaging and educating package which all tells us about the ancient Kalinga temple building architecture, style and craftsmanship of the artisans,” he said. Oriol M Botet, an engineer at Barcelona, who came for the first time to Odisha, termed the trip as “a beautiful experience in exploring the most beautiful monuments of Odisha and the sites near the Capital city Bhubaneswar. We loved the temple trail with Ekamra Walks.

"Ayona Bhaduri, a researcher from Kolkata, who is doing a project on performing arts through the Utkal University, Vani Vihar, termed her experience at the Old Town as ‘extraordinary.’ She also told that she participated in the Monks, Caves and Kings Heritage trail at the famous Jain site Khandagiri-Udayagiri yesterday and also enjoyed the trip. “Odisha has to offer so much to the incoming visitors wanting to explore the state. We only need to package the things nicely and as with the convenience of the visitors so that through the people’s reference only the tourism industry will grow rapidly to a new high,” she added. Another journalist from a city-based leading national daily, who belongs to Kolkata, Soumika Das, joined the 121st Ekamra Walks and especially spent her time knowing more about the medicinal plant garden, Ekamra Van. Ashokastami Car Festival: While hopping the temples, religious water bodies, medicinal plant garden and last but not the least, watching the beautiful Odissi recital at Art Vision, the dance institute founded by Guru Padma Shri Ileana Citaristi, the travellers also got some time to take a glimpse on the traditions and rituals of the Old City. Guide Satyaswaroop Mishra also explained about the Ashokastami and the car festival of the presiding deity of Ekamra Kshetra, Lord Lingaraj.

The visitors also saw the grand ‘Rath’ also called ‘Rukuna Rath’ which will take the Lord for a sojourn to Mausi Maa Temple. The guide also explained the importance of the Pana Sankranti’ and the Odia New Year and how the healthy drink made from stone apple, fruits, country cheese, jaggery, black pepper and other ingredients, in fact, make the people stronger as it smoothens the entire gastrointestinal tract and also provides strength to those venturing out in the hot summer afternoons. Museum Walk: On the first day of the Odia calendar the Museum Walk at Kala Bhoomi near Gandamunda attracted nearly 20 visitors including the troupe from Barcelona, which visited the Old Town temple trail in the morning. “We found the museum an exclusive place which displays almost all art, craft and traditional fabrics including the tribal products and designs,” said Josep M Botet. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Bhubaneswar Chapter today organised a heritage walk on the occasion of ‘Odia Naba Barsha’ (New Year) or ‘Pana Sankranti’ with 50 students from Sri Aurobindo Integral School, Kedar Gouri Lane in Old Town. A senior member of INTACH’s local chapter Baikuntha Panigrahi and City DFO Ashok Mishra spoke to students on the importance of the medicinal plants and Ekamra Van. The heritage walk by INTACH started from Sri Aurobindo Integral School and ended at Ekamra Van.

- http://www.pragativadi.com/odia-new-year-visitors-from-barcelona-explore-ekamra-walks/, April 15, 2019

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Restoring Delhi's ancient fort Chiragh Dilli glory

The 290-year-old fort is stripped bare of its walls and Western gateway — a far cry from the citadel that boasted of six-metre high and 1.5-metre thick fortification in its heydays. What was once a thriving fort is now a sad picture of Delhi’s archaeological treasures crumbling under the pressure of an ever-growing population. Built by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila in 1728, Chiragh Dilli is now an urban village whose face is marred by dilapidated havelis struggling to stand before hideous buildings made of cement and concrete.

The 290-year-old fort is stripped bare of its walls and Western gateway — a far cry from the citadel that boasted of six-metre high and 1.5-metre thick fortification in its heydays. The remaining three gateways, which were crumbling until recently, and old houses are the few traces of the glorious past. In a last-ditch effort to preserve the architectural heritage, the state archaeology department started out restoration of gateways in 2016 following the intervention of local legislator Saurabh Bhardwaj. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was roped in for the project. While work on two entryways in east and south is over, reinstatement of the third entry in the north is likely to be finished in two months.

The fort is primarily a rubble-masonry structure, and its doorways are made of Lakhori bricks (flat thin burnt clay bricks) and red sandstone. “The north Darwaza was worst affected and only one side of the structure existed. Efforts are being made to restore its chambers. The arch will also be recreated and structure-friendly lamps will be installed for its illumination. It will take about two months," says Bhardwaj. Ajay Kumar, INTACH, director (projects), says as the north gate is one of the main entry points, work is being done cautiously because the road can’t be closed.

“We will be using scaffolding to recreate the arch. Steel frames have been prepared, which will serve as a platform for labourers. The idea is to ensure minimum inconvenience to the people."

History of Chiragh Dilli Located on the converge of Lala Lajpat Rai Marg and Outer Ring Road, Chiragh Dilli village owes its name to the revered Sufi saint Nasiruddin Mahmud Chiragh Dehlavi, who was accorded the title of ‘Roshan-e-Chiragh Dilli’ means ‘illuminated lamps of Delhi’. “The fort at Chiragh Dilli was built in 1728 by Mohammad Shah Rangila. 220 square yards in size initially, it had four gates on its four sides and encircled the settlement,” as per a Gazetteer record on rural Delhi published in 1987. During an invasion of Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761, the people from adjoining villages took refuge in this fort. Wealthy villagers built havelis inside the four walls.

As the population swelled gradually, the village spilled beyond the limit of the fort. “Initially only four havelis were built in the village. As the families grew, more rooms and structures were added to havelis. After they were saturated, several of them constructed multi-storey buildings,” recalls Son Devi, an elderly resident. Despite unplanned construction, remnants of jharokhas (overhanging enclosed balconies) can still be seen jutting out from buildings. Sohail Hashmi, who conducts heritage walks, says the village is actually located at the shoreline of a natural water stream, which is now known as Chiragh Dilli nullah. “About 11-12 streams originated from Aravali range somewhere near Badarpur.

They would flow in a semi-circular path and reached Kushak Nullah. They all met near Nizamuddin where Jehangir constructed a bridge, Barapula. Those streams were the tributaries of the Yamuna.” According to folklore, the stream was used for bathing royal animals. Another legend says a tunnel was located inside the fort, which was connected to Tughlaqabad Fort.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2019/apr/14/restoring-chiragh-delhis-glory-1964148.html, April 15, 2019

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All is not lost if we can retain the balance of our natural heritage

Considering that the Bloomberg Study in 2019 has rated Gurugram as the most polluted city in the world, there is need to put a halt to urban growth. This week, we can prepare ourselves to celebrate World Heritage Day on April 18 by committing to contribute to Gurugram’s rural landscape. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the advisory body for cultural heritage sites to UNESCO, had, in 1982, established April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. This was duly approved by the UNESCO the following year — during its 22nd General Conference. “Since then, April 18 has been a day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are,” according to ICOMOS. Every year, ICOMOS proposes a different theme for the World Heritage Day celebrations so that heritage-promoting organisations across the world can organise events and activities around the special theme.

The theme for 2019 is “Rural Landscapes” — something that is quite pertinent to the state of Haryana and what was the ancient and historic Gurugram. The Gurugram Chapter of INTACH is celebrating the day at Urusvati Museum of Folklore located amongst the farmlands, a kilometre off from the NH8 near the turn for Nuh-Tauru. As per ICOMOS, rural landscapes are multifunctional resources. It is defined as “terrestrial and aquatic areas co-produced by human-nature interaction used for production of food and other renewable natural resources via agriculture, animal husbandry and pastoralism, fishing and aquaculture, forestry, wild food gathering, hunting, and extraction of other resources such as salt.

At the same time, all rural areas have cultural meanings attributed to them by people and communities: all rural areas are landscapes”. It is understood that ancient rural landscapes such as that of Gurugram region often possesses a rich repository of tangible and intangible heritage that is adapted with time to environmental, cultural, social, political and economic conditions. However, what we do need to retain for a long term is the balance between human activity and their environment in such areas; though Gurugram city is not an ideal example for that with its increasing urban growth. The old residents of Gurugram and the later settlers who moved to the city, when it was transforming from a village into the millennium city in the 1990s, surely realise this increasing loss of the ambient rural landscape that existed and initially attracted them to move into this area. In such a scenario, it is important for us to realise the ecological footprint that making of urban areas such as the Gurugram city have on previous rural zones and the irreversible changes in the rural landscapes that this footprint may bring, impacting the living environment and quality of life for the residents. All is not lost if we can still retain the existing balance of our natural heritage, environment and cultural traditions of remaining rural landscape in and around Gurugram. The district still retains almost 44 per cent of its rural area.

According to the Census of 2011, the total area of Gurugram is 333 km² — including 131.83 km² rural area and 201.39 km² urban area. And this rural area covers a total of 38 villages in the Gurgaon district, with each one having its own distinctive local culture and folklore.

Considering that the Bloomberg Study in 2019 has rated Gurugram as the most polluted city in the world, there is a serious need for us to now consider a reverse planning and put a halt to further urban growth in the area besides trying to revive and retain the rural landscape and natural features of the district that may finally support in augmenting the city environment for Gurugram. (Shikha Jain is state convener, INTACH, Haryana Chapter, and member of the Heritage Committee under the ministries of culture and HRD. She is the co-editor of the book ‘Haryana: Cultural Heritage Guide’. She is also the director of DRONAH (Development and Research Organisation)

- https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/all-is-not-lost-if-we-can-retain-the-balance-of-our-natural-heritage/story-PxotqE3VCj2tv2lYOqcVVP.html, April 16, 2019

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The Forgotten King Of The Mollem Jungle

The striped tiger (Panthera tigris) is the real lord the Western Ghats and a visit to this remote part of the state shows the hold the big cat has over the locals. Scattered in the forest area is tiger iconography, not to mention temples, dedicated to the wild beast. Besides the ancient logic of worshipping all that was fearful and held the power to destroy, in a bid to appease such forces, the tiger cult of Goa has several other significances. For one, sitting at the apex of the food chain, the tiger exercises significant control on the population of herbivorous wild animals like deer and bison, thereby curtailing man-wildlife conflict.

Interestingly, the animal also plays an ecological role. The ancestors of this forested land, who lived in tune with nature, realised that the tiger helps in recharging groundwater table. Thus, in recognition of the tiger’s important contribution to forest ecology, they worshipped it as they would a folk deity and even included it in their cultural expressions. There were two villages in and around the Mollem national park — Dongurli and Shirshode — which were known for tiger worship.

Today, the forest dwellers and tribals of these settlements have long been rehabilitated, but their shrines and sculptures stand as silent proof of their long-lost beliefs. “Once the villagers considered the tiger as their folk deity and accordingly performed various rituals. But today, after the rehabilitation of forest dwellers, their shrines are the only testimony to the tiger worship in the area,” Sushant Naik from Kale said. Dongurli boasts of a beautifully carved sculpture of the big cat, which was once worshipped by the forest dwellers with the aim of appeasing it so that it should not harm their woman and children as well as their grazing cattle.

In Shirsode, on the banks of the Kale, a tributary of the Mandovi, stands a shrine dedicated to this lord of the jungle. In Taide, during Shigmo, there is a ritualistic performance involving the tiger. Called vagh khel, it sees villagers pay their respects to a person wearing a tiger costume. Today, the tiger population in the sanctuary is on the decline. Despite repeating the tiger census, no direct evidences of tiger presence were obtained. However, scat, pugmarks and scratches did indicate tiger movement in the area.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/the-forgotten-king-of-the-mollem-jungle/articleshow/68895108.cms, April 16, 2019

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How INTACH is reviving the railway heritage of Visakhapatnam

The Divisional Railway Manager’s Bungalow (DRM) glows in the evening sunlight as do the old mango and wood apple trees that surround it. Not too far away is another colonial bungalow and the Railway Government High School. Each of these have the red Mangalore tiles and other architectural features that date back to the early 1900s. These buildings encompass the 125 years of railway heritage of Visakhapatnam. In a first, INTACH in association with Waltair Division Railway is documenting the history of railway heritage structures in the city.

The initiative comes after the Waltair Division commemorated the completion of 125 years of the passage of the first goods and passenger trains through Waltair station (now Visakhapatnam Junction). “This is the first such effort to document and preserve the rich history and heritage of railways that was instrumental in bringing in tremendous growth to the region,” says Mayank Kumari Deo, convener of INTACH – Visakhapatnam Chapter. For the initiative, the knowledge partner is GITAM School of Architecture.

The entire process of documentation is expected to take two months. Little has been written about the heritage structures of the Railways. Interestingly, a 1929 map procured by Edward Paul, a history enthusiast and member of INTACH, points to many structures that still exist today. “The map indicates the presence of the District Traffic Superintendent Office (DTS) which is today the Railway Government High School. The original structure is still intact. The DTS Office played a pivotal role back then as it was where the railway operations functioned from,” explains Paul.

However, unlike the imposing railway heritage structures in Chennai, Kolkata or Mumbai (from where the English East India Company started their first rail projects), the DTS office in Visakhapatnam was much smaller in size. The DRM Bungalow that was then known as the DTS bungalow also finds a spot in the map. Standing beside the Visakhapatnam Railway Station is the Railway Institute. Once a thriving cultural hub, today it is sadly a shadow of its glorious past. The place is occasionally let out for weddings or other functions. A narrow lane leads up to the entrance and while the external structure retains its original form, the wooden flooring have made way for tiles. A passer-by may not give it a second look.

But the decades-old pillars of the institute is steeped in history. “This place used to be a bustling, happening hub of all cultural programmes of the Anglo-Indian Community of Visakhapatnam, a majority of whom were employed with the railways,” recalls Paul.

Currently there are no boards indicating the history or vintage of the heritage buildings of the railways like the DRM Bungalow, the Railway Government High School or the Railway Institute. There are several other heritage buildings of the railways that are spread over the neighbouring localities. Once the documentation project is completed INTACH plans to conduct heritage walks to showcaserailway history and architecture. “We are also in talks with the Divisional Railway Manager to get permission for organising heritage walks inside the DRM Bungalow premises," says Mayank.

- https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/how-intach-is-reviving-the-railway-heritage-of-visakhapatnam/article26864193.ece, April 18, 2019

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Antiquity must be preserved for future generations, say experts

If the millennials feel that the ‘City of Destiny’ is all about its cosmopolitan culture and a hub of a public sector units, they are mistaken. The city has a glorious past that can be dated back to 2nd Century BC. At a time when the city is boasting of its heritage sites that has put it on the global tourism map, history enthusiasts express concern that many such structures are languishing in dilapidated condition, crying for attention.

Giving a glimpse of the rich past, history enthusiast Edward Paul says that the proof of antiquity of Visakhapatnam can be found at the Buddhist heritage sites Thotlakonda, Pavuralakonda, Bavikonda and Bojjanakonda which date back to the 2nd Century BC. "All the sites were inhabited by Buddhist monks between 2nd Century BC to 2nd Century AD as Buddhism had flourished here in all forms. But they need to be conserved so that the relevance is not lost," he says on teh eve of World heritage Day. Though there is gap in the history from 2nd Century to 11th Century, a stone inscription found in Draksharamam temple in East Godavari district suggests that Visakhapatnam was a flourishing habitat in 1146 AD.

It is substantiated by inscriptions dated back to 1266 found in Simhachalam temple. "It suggests that during the reign of King Narasimha of later Ganga dynasty, 100 lady singers were appointed for performing fanning and lighting services to the Deity," Mr. Paul says. Stone inscriptions found in some of the old houses in the Old Town Area date back to 1199 AD, 1090 AD and 1250 AD. They suggest that Visakhapattinam or Kulotungasolapattanam was a thriving trade centre on the Coromandel coast. “The inscriptions have also the names of prominent families from those era such as Paravastu Rangacharya and Chakravarthi," Mr. Paul points out.

61 heritage sites
records available with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) suggest that there are 61 heritage sites in the city and St. Aloysius High School, Queen Mary School building, St. John’s Church, Old Cemetery, Kurupam Market, Police Commissioner’s Office and Bungalow, District Collector’s office, Town Hall and KGH are to name a few. Most of the buildings date back to the British and Dutch eras in the 17th Century.

"Several heritage buildings are in dilapidated condition and need immediate attention. A few of them such as the Old Post Office building, the Dutch Building that was once housed the District Court and Kurupam market arch have gone missing," INTACH convenor Mayank Kumari says. The preservation is a scientific process which needs to be done by experts. Though the government has sanctioned funds for a few of them, other buildings should also be included, she suggests. Exhibition today The INTACH is organising an exhibition by schoolchildren at Visakha Museum on Thursday. “The idea is to create awareness on heritage among children,” Ms. Mayank Kumari adds.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/antiquity-must-be-preserved-for-future-generations-say-experts/article26869599.ece, April 18, 2019

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Visakhapatnam’s centuries-old European Cemetery cries for attention

In the serpentine by-lanes of the One Town area, slumbers a centuries-old European Cemetery. Early records refer to it as ‘Old Cemetery’. Over 80 graves rest here. A small red signage put up by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation gives a brief history of the place. Patrick Lawson, after whom Lawson's Bay is named is buried here along with several other prominent people.

Digging up the past
The graves are overgrown with weeds and garbage lies around. The headstones are blackened with their corners chipped off. The oldest grave in the cemetery belongs to Anne Owen, wife of a bookkeeper. The grave dates back to July 1699 and has a tombstone with inscriptions about her family’s history. The others buried there include administrators, soldiers, traders, etc. "These were the records that I found in a book titled Christian Cemeteries of Vizagapatam and Waltair written by David Cooke. The book that was published in the 1930s records the number of graves, their conditions and the inscriptions on the tombstones,” says Jayshree Hatangadi, city’s history chronicler. Jayshree conducts a 10-venue heritage walk around One Town Area, and she always visits the cemetery. As a member of the non-profit organisation Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Jayshree participated in a cleanliness drives here. “While we were cleaning up, we found at least 23 more graves that were not mentioned in the book (50 graves were documented by David),” she says.

Jayshree adds that over 30 graves are in good condition while 40 others require restoration. “The writings on most of the graves are still very much legible. The most intriguing inscription is on the grave of Cadet Kings Ford Venner who died in October 1780 in what could be the earliest mutiny by Indian sepoys against their British administrators. This pre-dates the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by 77 years,” she adds. Sadly, not much has been done to preserve the place, rues Jayshree. Many residents living around the area are not even aware of the cemetery and its importance, she says. Thanks to the efforts of INTACH there is a little breakthrough. Gorsa Manga who was born and raised in the very alley that leads to the cemetery had no idea of its historical significance.

“Most of the residents believed that the graveyard was haunted and we were advised to keep away. We learnt about its history just a decade ago, when the members of INTACH came to clean the place,” she says. She also remarks that living beside an ill-kept cemetery meant the constant inconvenience of insects and snakes. “The Visakhapatnam Christian Cemeteries Board which is responsible for the maintenance of the place rarely arranges cleaning drives. The cemetery is cleaned only once in a year," she says.

Striving for funds
"Cleaning drives are arranged periodically, but these activities are largely dependant on the availability of funds. The board depends on donations and contributions from the public for funds,” says Edward Paul, a historian who is associated with the Visakhapatnam Christian Cemeteries Board. There was a cleaning drive four months ago there but disposing of garbage by people has remained a perennial problem, he says.

"The members of the Board are in touch with the London-based British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA), an organisation that aims to maintain and record details of European cemeteries in South Asia. Efforts are being made to seek assistance for restoration work," he adds.

- https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/visakhapatnams-centuries-old-european-cemetery-cries-for-attention/article26864658.ece, April 18, 2019

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When school children told tales of the past

Excitement writ large on the face of K.S. Rashmikha, a student of Vignan Steel City Public School, as she was explaining about the world heritage site Qutub Minar to the visitors at the Visakha Museum. Depicting the history of the monument on a chart, she patiently explained the facts. She was part of the 26 students from three schools —Pollocks School, Vignan and Visakha Valley School—who took part in the heritage exhibition that was organised by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) marking the World Heritage Day.

Siva Yogesh and Shreya from Visakha Valley School, who have a penchant for numismatics, showcased their collection of vintage coins, while narrating the stories behind it. Both Shreya and Yogesh took pride in displaying a few coins that date back to 1850 during the East India Company rule. Gananadha, Hasini and Monhish also gathered a few vintage articles from home to showcase them at the exhibition. What appealed to the visitors was the interest the young minds had in the things from the past and how eloquently they explained various aspects of it—be it Qutub Minar, old coins or a vintage charkha for that matter.

It was good to see the interest among the students. We enjoyed the display and the way the children explained the history behind each item,” Rajesh, a tourist from Chhattisgarh, said.

Heritage walk
INTACH convenor Mayank Kumari said the idea of involving students was aimed at inculcating the love for heritage in them and making them understand the importance of preserving it. Heritage narrator Jaisri Hatangadi organised a ‘heritage walk’ around the centuries-old Ross HilL, Venkateswara temple and the Dargah Hill in the Old Town area.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/when-schoolchildren-told-tales-of-the-past/article26881041.ece, April 18, 2019

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Icon school celebrates Heritage Day

Icon Public School organised various programmes in association with Indian National Trust for Art, Cultural and Heritage (INTACH) to mark World Heritage Day on Thursday. The chief guest on the occasion was INTACH Vijayawada head G Prasanna. The students were sensitised on Indian Sanatana cultural, heritage structure and art through various programmes.

As part of the programme, the students visited Undavalli caves. The Icon Heritage Club of the school displayed ancient articles and things used for agriculture like plough, spade, sickle and other household articles besides ancient musical instruments which attracted everyone. Later, essay-writing competition and elocution competition were held for the students and the winners were given prizes. The students took part in a rally carrying placards on the occasion. The school directors Parthasaradhi, Sri Lakshmi Prasad, principal Subba Reddy and teachers were present.

- https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/icon-school-celebrates-heritage-day-522086, April 18, 2019

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Apeejay celebrated world Heritage Day

Apeejay College of Fine Arts celebrated World Heritage Day in association with Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) where students from different Colleges of City participated with zeal and enthusiasm. Retd. Major General Baliwinder Singh, Convener, INTACH, Doaba Region and past deputy director Capt. I S Dhami were present as exclusive guests.

Major General Balwinder Singh exhorted the youngsters to bring a positive change in the environment today. On this occasion, students of Apeejay presented Vaar, Folk Orchestra and other traditional instruments like traditional violin symbolizing Punjabi culture and heritage; of HMV presented folk song; KMV presented Luddi. ADC (G) Jalandhar Jasbir Singh (PCS) inspired the students to preserve and perpetuate the beautiful Punjabi culture to the posterity.

- http://punjabnewsexpress.com/campus-buzz/news/apeejay-celebrated-world-heritage-day-87698.aspx, April 18, 2019

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Heritage walks, exhibitions held to celebrate World Heritage Day

The Port City celebrated World Heritage Day with various activities starting from a heritage walk, a talk atop Ross Hill to a daylong students’ exhibition at Visakha Museum on Thursday. In the morning, a programme called ‘180 degrees and six stories at sunrise’ was organised by Intach (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) by member and heritage narrator Jayshree Hatangadi. Over 50 heritage enthusiasts gathered to listen to historical stories behind some prominent sites such as the Ross Hill Church, the Ishaq Madina Dargah and Sri Venkateshwara Kovila Konda.

Interestingly, all three faiths were practiced atop the Ross Hill signifying a ‘unity in diversity.’ Students of various schools in the city put up an exhibition of artefacts at the Visakha Museum on Beach Road on the occasion World Heritage Day. The exhibition was organised by Mayank Kumar Deo of Intach. Objects of historical interest including books, musical instruments, coins, stamps and telescopes formed part of the exhibition.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/heritage-walks-exhibitions-held-to-celebrate-world-heritage-day/articleshow/68946110.cms, April 18, 2019

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An expo that gives a peak into rural life

A special photo exhibition on Telangana monuments and sites was kick-started on the occasion of International Day for Monuments and Sites at Salarjung Museum on Thursday. Being organised in coordination with INTACH Hyderabad Chapter, the exhibition is being featured with the theme of 'Rural Landscapes.' It will conclude on April 30. According to organisers, for centuries, even for millennia, rural landscapes have maintained a balance between human activity and their environment.

A myriad of everyday actions in some cases resulted in moderate evolution and in other cases in dramatic transformations due to changes in production methods, technological advances or economic and political changes. The resulting heritage features evidence from different periods, constituting a rich and complex ensemble of tangible, intangible and living heritage, in which change, transformation and evolution remain ongoing and continue as long as the rural landscape is alive.

- https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/an-expo-that-gives-a-peak-into-rural-life-522246, April 18, 2019

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A Centuries-Old Ghat Restored In Varanasi

Since 1735, pilgrims have travelled from all over India to Varanasi to visit an expansive and striking stone staircase, stretching downward from the banks of the Ganges river to the water’s edge, as well as to experience the ornate and imposing palace that reaches skyward from the staircase’s top. Whether for praying or performing rituals, bathing in the holy river or cremating the dead, visitors to the revered Balaji Ghat in the city has made it one of India’s most visited religious destinations. Such popularity is decidedly bittersweet though, as the centuries-long ow of devotees contributed not just to the ghat’s legacy, but also to a trajectory of deterioration.

In 1999, as a result of factors like heavy use, lack of maintenance, earthquakes and oods, part of the Balaji Ghat collapsed. For a decade thereafter, the structure stood as it was, weakened and deteriorating. In September 2009, a second catastrophic collapse struck; this time, consisting of the naubatkhana’s oor. Naubatkhana is where shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan practised and played his music. Without immediate intervention, it seemed, the site would soon become little more than dust, debris and memories. Luckily, the same year as the second collapse, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a nonprot organization dedicated to protecting and conserving India’s heritage, began documenting the site. And, in 2012, a major, international restoration eort followed. INTACH’s eorts to save and restore the ghat were supported by sources including the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) of the U.S. State Department as well as the New York-based nonprot organization World Monuments Fund through a grant from American Express. AFCP supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries around the world. In the case of Balaji Ghat, the AFCP grant to INTACH made possible the detailed documentation of the building, a necessary foundation upon which the restoration work could progress.

Yet, even before the rst structural drawing could be rendered, a formidable amount of work was required. According to World Monuments Fund, which included Balaji Ghat in its 2012 World Monuments Watch List, “seven hundred tons of debris were removed from the collapsed portion of the structure and examined to determine which pieces could be re-used when reconstruction began.” The World Monuments Watch, a global programme of the organization, identies endangered heritage sites and directs nancial and technical support for their preservation. Initial documentation eorts included archival research to help INTACH fully understand the structure’s past, as well as detailed photographic documentation of the building’s windows and doors, construction materials and architectural ornamentation. Accompanying this visual record was a series of measured drawings, meant to record the building’s proportions, character and architectural details, and guide INTACH’s experts through the restoration process.

The AFCP grant also supported the surveying and documentation of the building’s bones, bricks and mortar. Experts tested wood for moisture and decay, while bricks and limestone used in the construction were examined for strength, behaviour when exposed to water, and more. This was to understand how the ghat’s basic building blocks would withstand the centuries to come, and to select new materials for the restoration that would integrate organically with the existing structure. Such early tasks were key to the project’s eventual success. “The Ambassadors Fund grant was the rst important step that led to the revival and restoration of the Balaji Ghat,” says Bindu Manchanda, project director for the Architectural Heritage Division of INTACH.

As Manchanda, Divay Gupta and other INTACH colleagues worked hard to restore the structure in the years that followed, they strove not only to keep the reborn Balaji Ghat as true to its heritage as possible, but to make it even more welcoming to visitors. After the restoration, the grand building was adapted to be reused as a museum and cultural center, writes Manchanda in her book, The City Forever: Varanasi Balaji Ghat Initiative. She describes the project as the rst-of-its-kind in Varanasi, one that she expects to have far-reaching educational benets for local residents and visitors alike. “This project is even more important, as this is the only ghat in Varanasi that has been revived for non-religious, noncommercial use; entirely for the benet of the community,” says Manchanda. “It houses a museum, an interpretation center and an auditorium for cultural activities showcasing the life, crafts and culture of Varanasi’s people and its environs.”

- http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2019/04/21/a-centuries-old-ghat-restored-in-varanasi/, April 22, 2019

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Heritage High: A film festival celebrates the culture of cities

Filmit is a multi-cultural project that allows students to understand the heritage and history of the city in which they live through the medium of films. THE excitement was palpable as students from 10 schools in and around the tricity got together at St Kabir Public School for the INTACH Filmit Film Festival 2019-20, to celebrate their own efforts in creating short films which showcase the heritage and culture of their city.

The festival was organised by INTACH’S (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Heritage Education and Communication Service. Filmit is a multi-cultural project that allows students to understand the heritage and history of the city in which they live through the medium of films. The project was launched 11 years ago and receives funding from the Helen Hamlyn Trust (United Kingdom). According to Deepika Gandhi, co-convenor of the festival, the Filmit platform allows children to approach history through a unique medium.

Students are trained in film techniques and development of content and also taught how to develop an underlying theme for their film which relates to any aspect of culture. They are further taught the techniques of camera work and editing through a series of workshops. As part of the event, students introduced their works and shared their diverse experiences with Filmit. Initially, films shot by students from all across the country were screened. Many of these were pleas for peace and harmony and talked about the importance of secularism in today’s political climate. Others depicted the inequalities present in Indian society and the destruction of the environment. The films had broad themes and revealed aspects of Chandigarh’s history and culture that were previously unknown to many in the audience.

For instance, a group of students presented a film on the missing Sector 13 of Chandigarh and the reason for it. Students from St Kabir presented an insightful film on the history of the Manimajra Fort, while students from St Stephen’s showed their short film about the famous ‘Daulaat ki Chaat’. As many as 30 films were made by students in Chandigarh alone.

- https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/chandigarh-film-festival-heritage-high-5685389/, April 22, 2019

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A Rare Anjaneya Sculpture found on Dated Inscription in Kundapur

Commonly we find Shiva lingam on the epigraphs but in some occasions Vaishnava Images like Vishnu, Krishna or Shanka and Chakra are found. In a remarkable discovery, the Anjaneya sculpture was found on a dated inscription according to Prof. T. Murugeshi, Associate Professor of History and Archaeology MSRS College, Shirva- Udupi. This unpublished inscription is newly discovered by the professor, Pradeep Basruru and Kiran Kumar Edmer at Bhogaramakki near Shankaranarayana in Kundapura taluk of the Udupi district. Shankaranarayana temple of Shankaranarayana is the famous religious centre of both Shiva and Vishnu. The said inscription under study is a do-native inscription of Vijayanagara empire of Bukkaraya I.

It was dated in Saka 1293, Virodhikrit Samvat, which corresponding to 1371. A.D. on this dated record, as a symbol of Shankara, the bull is shown on the right side and as a symbol of Narayana, the Anjaneya was shown on the left side. The Goparasa Odeya was governing Barakuru under the Bukka I. The Hanuman was a very popular deity of Karnataka and every village has its shrine. It was said that after Vadiraja of Sode math, who was a religious pontiff of Krishnadevaraya “the Hanuman cult” was popular. But, the discovery of this new record is very clearly indicated that the Hanuman cult was a Bhagavata Cult and much earlier then Vadiraja. The figure Hanuman facing left and standing in a hero pose. The right hand is rising above and left one placing on waist. The tail was shown like Prabhavali with a small bell. It is a landmark in the study of Hanuman which provided a benchmark to understand the evolution of Hanuman sculptures of South India.

- https://www.mangalorean.com/a-rare-anjaneya-sculpture-found-on-dated-inscription-in-kundapur/, April 22, 2019

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Preserving rural heritage

An ongoing photo exhibition at the Salar Jung Museum captures Telangana’s rich rural legacy while emphasising the need for conservation. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a collage of them has an impact which no other narrative can. A special photo exhibition on ‘Telangana Monuments and Sites’ at the Salar Jung Museum has precisely this kind of effect, with the 59 photographic panels bringing to light the forgotten cultural heritage dotting the rural landscape of Telangana. Curated by the Salar Jung Museum in association with INTACH, Hyderabad Chapter to mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites, the exhibition comes as an eye-opener. Most visitors are stunned by the rich heritage which, though right in their backyard, is still waiting to be explored and shared. The photographs give a peep into the rich cultural legacy of Telangana spanning 5000 years, and show how heritage has always been a source of identity and cohesion for communities.

Be it the beautiful Thousand Pillar temple of Warangal, the elegant Medak Church or the Pillalamarri banyan tree in Mehboobnagar — the architectural brilliance and significance of these places can’t be missed, proving to be a big draw for devotees and history enthusiasts alike. If on the one hand, the photographs capture the serene surroundings of Ramappa temple, Deep Mahal at Anantagiri, Kali Peddama Jathra of Mancherial, bastion and fortification wall of Domakonda Fort and the hanging bridge at Lankavara Lake, there are also pictures of step wells, water bodies and tanks located in the premises of ancient temples and forts such as Bhongir Fort, Osmania University garden, Kanteswara temple in Nizambad, Masab Tank and Ibrahimpatnam. Interestingly, all of these eye catching frames have been shot by Photo Walkers, a group of photographers that includes P. Anuradha Reddy, President, INTACH, Hyderabad Chapter.

"For centuries, the rural landscapes have maintained a balance between human activity and the environment. Though transformation and change remain an ongoing process, they constitute a complex ensemble of tangible and intangible living heritage. It is important that we research, protect and preserve all forms of heritage whether urban or rural,” says Anuradha Reddy, who also emphasises the need for protecting the forests.

Destruction of forests leads to disturbance of flora and fauna and drives animals out of their natural habitats in search of water and food, she adds. Meanwhile, through such exhibitions, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) seeks to raise awareness about the relevance of rural landscapes, the challenges that encompass their conservation and the resultant benefits. “We want to build links with communities and involve them in conservation of the rural landscape,” says A. Nagender Reddy, In-charge Director, Salar Jung Museum.

- https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/viral-and-trending/230419/preserving-rural-heritage.html, April 23, 2019

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Activist writes to CM, LG to save Narela lake

Activist Manoj Mishra has written to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal to save an oxbow lake at village Tikri Khurd near Narela in north Delhi. This lake is spread over 8-10 hectares and is a prominent waterbody in the area. “It is heartening to note that in recent times Delhi government has taken up a number of projects to revive, restore and create waterbodies in the city. It is with great regret that we draw your attention to the comparative Google earth images of the said waterbody between 2014 and 2018, which clearly shows how a systematic encroachment over it is underway by first creation of a wall and later raising of structures," Mishra wrote. The water activist, on whose petition the Maili Se Nirmal Yamuna order was passed by NGT in 2015, requested that an immediate action be taken to investigate and remove the existing encroachment and to initiate actions to revive and restore the waterbody at Tikri Kalan village. “Also notify the state wetlands authority, so that such threats to other waterbodies in the state could be prevented,” he said. Manu Bhatnagar, principal director, Natural Heritage Division of NGO Intach, said this lake is also shown in the 1911 Survey of India Map and in the National Wetland Atlas of 2010. “The Supreme Court in its order of February 2017 had directed that all wetlands noted in the said atlas are to be protected. Thus, it is incumbent on Delhi to protect this lake from encroachers and remove encroachments to start with.

Delhi is already facing water shortage, and Niti Aayog has stated in public domain that the capital will run out of fresh groundwater by 2020,” Bhatnagar said. Earlier, this month, National Green Tribunal had directed the wetlands authority of Delhi to hold a meeting and decide within a month whether the Tikri Khurd lake is a wetland. An NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the wetland authority constituted under Rule 5 (2) of the Wetlands (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2017 for Delhi must look into the matter. “If any steps are required to make the authority fully functional, they may be taken by the Delhi chief secretary. Even if it is found that the area in question is not technically a wetland, the lake is required to be preserved as a waterbody,” the bench had said, adding that the authority may co-opt DDA as a member so that a joint decision could be taken to resolve the dispute over the jurisdiction of the land falling under DDA or Delhi government.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/activist-writes-to-cm-lg-to-save-narela-lake/articleshow/69015893.cms, April 24, 2019

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Mangaluru: Students of NICO celebrate World Earth Day

The post graduate corporate communication students of Nitte Institute of Communication (NICO) successfully hosted ‘Ila 2019’, celebrating World Earth Day on April 22 at INTACH Guthu mane. The programme was conducted with an objective to raise awareness to save planet Earth. The function was presided by Prof Dr Smitha Hegde, environmentalist and professor at Nitte University Center of Science and Research (NUCSER). "When we conserve earth we have to understand that we are a part of it. Even other living organisms like plants feel and live like us.

We need to understand that this cause is bigger than all of us,” she said in her keynote address. The inauguration was done by planting a sapling in the INTACH Guthu mane premises. The event was a day-long exhibition of the collected and approved entries of poems/micro-tales/photographs submitted by the public, students and faculties of Nitte deemed to be University. The best entry in each category will be awarded with exciting cash prizes. The event held pride in being eco-friendly by avoiding all plastic materials and replacing it with biodegradable ones. It also displayed stall by Isiri herbals that had different types of herbal and nature-friendly products available for the public to take home.

Ecopens by Pureliving which was embedded with Agastya tree seed and saplings was one of the attractive give-aways to the participants. The event was concluded with a street play by the students of NICO to raise awareness about degradation of our planet. Prof Raviraj, head of the department welcomed the gathering, Prof Anisha introduced the theme of the event, INTACH coordinator Subash Basu spoke on the cause of the event Ila 2019, Saneesha, the student coordinator, delivered the vote of thanks and Ritika Prabhu compered the ceremony.

- https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=581935, April 24, 2019

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Jogeshwari Caves: These 1500 Year Old Caves Are The Largest In Mumbai

These are one of the earliest caves in Mumbai and is considered to be Lord Shiva's shrine. The pillars and sculptures at the location are inspired from the Mahayana Buddhist architecture and exhibit carvings of Lord Hanuman and Ganesha, besides Goddess Jogeshwari. Formerly known as the Amboli Caves, Jogeshwari Caves were established around 1500 years ago. Excavated along with Ajanta and Elephanta caves, these are situated at the heart of Jogeshwari suburb in Mumbai.

It is considered to be a shrine to Lord Shiva, the caves house a lot of pillars and sculptures of Hindu deities, belonging to the Mahayana Buddhist architecture. These are one of the earliest cave temples in Mumbai and are surrounded by rocks on both sides. History and Architecture Before the Jogeshwari caves were built here in the sixth century, the first and the second century BC witnessed the construction of Buddhist shrines under the Vakataka Dynasty. Taking a cue from the Buddhist architecture, the Hindu community in the area built the temple with a unique age-old style. As per what history narrates, the artisans were said to have gone west from Ajanta and the first Indian temple in Jogeshwari was built.

The entrance to the caves is through a flight of stairs which would take you to a playground area. The caves boast of numerous pillars and a large hall with innumerable portraits and sculptures in the Mahayana Buddhist style. The central section highlights six such pillars. The caves preserve rich cultural heritage and contain temples of Lord Hanuman and Ganesha, besides Goddess Jogeshwari. There are figures portraying the marriage proceedings of Lord Shiva on the porch. This is nearly 30 feet in length.

Preserving the Cultural Heritage Even though the caves are a haven for explorers and archaeologists, the place is buried under slum debris and exhibits a sad state of the cultural sites in India. Located within the financial capital of the country, sites such as these need to be preserved and cared for, on the contrary. An area of 100 metres around the caves is prohibited and 300 metres from the outer boundary is regulated.

However, despite the restrictions, illegally constructed buildings have marred the beauty of the location over the years. These slums conceal the grandeur and the glamour of the caves and the richness of the heritage.

What to expect?
Many say that the site is in a bad state for the visitors to go and explore the location. However, the caves have enough to leave an adventurer awe-inspired and full of wonder. If you love architecture, there is much for you to see at the location. The engravings at the Jogeshwari Caves will make the trip worth, for those who love history and architecture. On an important note, it’s high time we start giving more significance to these less popular locations and keep its story alive.

With its popularity, the consciousness towards preserving these sites will also grow. For the ones who wish to explore the not-so-popular side of the city, these first rock-carved temples in Mumbai are a must visit beauty, located right at the heart of Jogeshwari suburbs.

- https://www.mumbailive.com/en/culture/history-and-importance-of-jogeshwari-caves-tourism-in-mumbai-35073, April 24, 2019

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Janatha Bazaar stays for now

Citizens and conservationists are thrilled the High Court has stayed the demolition of the 83-year-old Asiatic Building housing Janatha Bazaar. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had led a PIL, seeking heritage structure status for the building on KG Road. The stay was granted on March 22. Meera Iyer, convenor of INTACH Bengaluru, says efforts to stop the demolition began in April

2018. “We first wrote to the PWD and also asked citizens to write, which they did. We had a structural engineer take a look at the building and make a preliminary report.

He said there was no problem with its longevity,” says Meera. The group also met Chief Secretary Rathna Prabha. “Aer this, I spoke to Sridhar Pabbisetty, then with Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF).

They led an RTI asking for information about what was planned, and it took a couple of months to get information. In the meantime, we spoke to Poovayya and Co who agreed to take up the case pro bono,” says Meera. Intensive paperwork, documentation and research went into the ling of a strong petition, she says.

Research revealed that the building was designed by G H Krumbiegel, legendary town planner and botanist. His connection with the building was not widely known till then. Meera thinks heritage structures are the pride of Bengaluru and wonders why the government doesn’t work towards preserving them. “It’s a pity we have to work against the government to save heritage structures---there is zero support from them. There are economic incentives, loans, grants and other mechanisms that the government could bring in to help heritage owners, but our government is singularly uninterested,” she says.

She believes the Janatha Bazaar building can easily be upgraded and used as a public space. “There are so many ideas which could earn the government money while the city retains its heritage,” she adds. Alyia Phelps-Gardiner-Krumbiegel, great granddaughter of Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, town planner and botanist, is thrilled the court has stayed the demolition of Janatha Bazaar, by Krumbiegel and inaugurated in 1935. Did you expect a stay so soon?

I was sure the sheer number of people ghting to save Janatha Bazaar would return with a favourable result. When the news came through, I remember smiling and heaving a sigh of relief and thinking “Great grandfather, they did it!” It is a victory for citizens. We have lost so many historical buildings. Our heritage is a patchwork quilt of everything we call home.

It offers a window into our origins. Why is the government not preserving heritage structures? I think governments are realising public opinion is important. There has been some effort to list out important buildings, implement heritage zones, and formulate new guidelines to preserve heritage structures. It is great that there are now many citizen groups who want to be involved in what’s happening to their city.

What is the biggest takeaway from this case?
Apart from the historical tourism aspect, it would be wonderful for tourists to walk around a repurposed, vibrant building. Janatha Bazaar repurpose may be a movement based on emotion but the concept should be a standard operating procedure for all heritage buildings in Bengaluru.

Blue sheets keep customers away
Shopkeepers who continue to carry out business in Janatha Bazaar say the footfalls are low, despite the building being in the city’s busiest business district. Ravi Kalaburagi, who manages a sports store, says “Our business has dropped by 80 per cent. It is great that the court has stayed the demolition but the PWD has put up large sheets around the building. This is a misleading sign because people think the building isn’t functional. The sheets have to be removed."

Why we must preserve Janatha Bazaar building
Research shows Janatha Bazaar is a strong structure and its architecture is one-of-a-kind. Here’s why it should be preserved:
*For its architectural aesthetics, and contribution to the landscape
*For its associations---Krumbiegel is an internationally acclaimed architect and planner and did a lot for Bengaluru.
*The Wadiyars, who ruled from Mysuru, are an important part of Bengaluru history, and they commissioned the building.
*We need more public and open spaces. Janatha Bazaar has one, and it can house another. *Trees inside will be chopped if PWD demolishes the building to build another urban monstrosity.

A precious piece of history
Commissioned by the Mysuru maharaja Narasimharaja Wadiyar, Janatha Bazaar was designed by the famous town planner Krumbiegel, and inaugurated in 1935. Initially, it housed a company patronised by the Maharaja to provide insurance for his staff. Janatha Bazaar came into the picture many decades later. The building is located on bustling K G Road, within walking distance of the Kempegowda bus station. Archival help came from abroad

For the documentation, INTACH called many Bengalureans now settled in the US and UK. New York and Pittsburgh helped! Ultimately, a crucial bit of info came from New York,” Meera Iyer, who heads the Bengaluru chapter of INTACH, told Metrolife.

- https://www.deccanherald.com/metrolife/metrolife-your-bond-with-bengaluru/janatha-bazaar-stays-for-now-730486.html, April 25, 2019

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'Conservation of Earth, the greatest cause'

Nitte Institute of Communication organised the first edition of 'Ila 2019' on the premises of Guttu House near Pattumudi Soudha in Kodialbail on Monday. The edition was organised as a part of World Earth Day and in association with the Indian Trust of Architectural and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Professor Dr Smitha Hegde, environmentalist and Nitte University Center of Science and Research, who presided over the programme, reminded that we has to understand the Earth we live on. “Plants too have life as other living organisms. Conservation of the Earth is the greatest cause of concern,” she added. She planted a sapling on the premises of the Guttu House to mark the occasion.

An exhibition was held featuring poems, micro tales and photographs on the theme 'Earth Today' by the students of Nitte (Deemed to be) University. There were stalls featuring various herbal and nature-friendly products. 'Rolapena' eco-friendly pens, manufactured by The Pure Living using recycled paper and embedded with Agastya tree seeds, were also on display. Architect and caretaker of Guttu House Subhash Basu, Nitte Institute of Communication Post-graduation Department head Raviraj K, faculty coordinator Prof Anisha Nishanth and student coordinators Saneesha and Rithika Prabhu were present on the occasion.

- https://www.deccanherald.com/state/mangaluru/conservation-of-earth-the-greatest-cause-730551.html, April 25, 2019

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'All that remains is a village in Juliana's name'

Doctor, tutor, diplomat — Dona Juliana Dias da Costa, a Portuguese woman in the Mughal court in the late 17th-early 18th Century, played several roles in the 89 years she lived. Her most visible remnant in the city, however, is a signboard that reads 'Sarai Julena Gaon' in Okhla. “Oh, she was an extraordinary woman, there was no one quite like her. Dona Juliana fell in love with emperor Aurangzeb's son and successor Shah Alam, whom she tutored. She was a 17-year-old widow and he was 18 years old. Juliana was made the jagirdar of four villages and was gifted Dara Shikoh's house in Delhi too," said Raghuraj Singh Chauhan (68), former director of the National Museum, who co-authored a book called Juliana Nama (2017), along with archivist Madhukar Tewari.

Chauhan and Tewari spent over 30 years researching for their book, and pored through manuscripts and documents in French, Portuguese, Persian and Urdu to trace the story of Juliana, who was the link between the Portuguese and the Mughals back then. “Her story begins with emperor Shah Jahan attacking and capturing 4,500 Portuguese, including Juliana’s parents, in Hooghly in 1632. Her father converted to Islam, and her mother was a maid of one of Shah Jahan’s wives. Juliana was born in 1645 but remained Christian, and gained prominence in the Mughal court over time,” said Chauhan. The authors of Juliana Nama believe that medieval historians did not give her the space in history she deserved.

“In 1726, Juliana’s sole portrait was published in The Netherlands by the Dutch. Then, there is some mention of her in Persian text Tarikh-e-Muhammadi,” said Chauhan. Jean-Marie and Rehana Lafont’s book, The French and Delhi (2010), mention 18th Century historian Colonel Gentil’s account of Juliana: “Emperor Shah Alam I had a particular affection for her and among the honours and gifts that she received was Dara Shikoh’s palace in Delhi… the superb residence was one of the most beautiful in the city… this residence remained in the Juliana’s family till Ahmad Shah’s reign.” It was in 1720, when Muhammad Shah 'Rangeela’ took over the Mughal throne, that Juliana built a sarai or a rest house in Okhla for European travellers. Juliana died in Goa in 1734.

Little is known about when Sarai Juliana was corrupted to Sarai Julena, said Swapna Liddle, convener, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Delhi chapter. Historian Sohail Hashmi said, “The sarai is gone and all that remains is the area now called Sarai Julena and a village called Julena there."

- https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/all-that-remains-is-a-village-in-julianas-name-5695221/, April 26, 2019

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Heritage by-laws ready for two sites

The colour of the facade, the placement of air-conditioning units and the height of structures are among the features of new constructions near Humayun’s Tomb and the monuments in Nizamuddin Basti that will soon be regulated by heritage by-laws. The by-laws for both the heritage spots have been prepared by the National Monuments Authority (NMA) and will be placed before the Houses of Parliament post the Lok Sabha election, after which they will come into effect, NMA member secretary Navneet Soni said.

It has been nine years after the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 made it mandatory for all centrally-protected monuments to have their own heritage by-laws. Since then the by-laws for only one monument in the country – the Amjad Ali Shah mausoleum in Lucknow – have been implemented so far.

Over 3,000 monuments
There were 3,686 of these centrally-protected monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India as of March 12, 2018, when Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma gave the figure in a reply to Parliament. Under the Act, while only repairs are allowed in a 100-metre radius of protected monuments, heritage by-laws have to be drawn up to regulate construction in the area between 100 metres and 300 metres. The by-laws for Amjad Ali Shah mausoleum came into effect after being placed before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on January 7 and January 8 this year, Mr. Soni said. These by-laws were approved by the NMA in its meeting on December 27, 2018, according to the minutes of the meeting. The NMA approved the by-laws for Humayun’s Tomb, Sundar Nursery and Batashewala group of monuments on February 14, the minutes stated. The by-laws for the Nizamuddin Basti group of monuments were approved for sending to the Culture Ministry for laying before Parliament on April 5, the minutes show.

Mr. Soni said the heritage by-laws would apply to new constructions. For Humayun’s Tomb and Sundar Nursery, the regulated areas include Nizamuddin Basti, Nizamuddin West, Nagli Rajpur village, Nizamuddin Railway station, DPS Mathura Road and parts of Barapullah drain and Bhogal, the by-laws state. Any new construction in these areas would have to comply with a height restriction of 18 metres, design restrictions of no continuous window louvers or slats and no large facades along the front streets and restrictions on window ACs, which will not be allowed on front facades. For the Nizamuddin group of monuments that are scattered throughout the congested lanes of the basti, including the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya, the heritage by-laws state that buildings have to be restricted at 15 metres — 12 metres + 3 metres for rooftop structures like machine room, water tank etc. Within 100 metres of monuments, consistency in colour and materials have to be maintained along the facades, the by-laws state. Since the Dargah is a site of pilgrimage, the by-laws make provision for facilities, including sanitation, water and parking, to be made during festivals.

Shops should have signage that are consistent in size and colour and no LED or digital signs will be allowed. With these rules, government officials are hoping that the heritage of the areas around these monuments is preserved. According to officials, the process of carrying out physical surveys of the sites has taken time. However, experts question the delay in implementation of the Act, which says in section 20 (E) that the competent authority could involve Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) or other heritage bodies for preparation of the by-laws. Conservation consultant A.G.K. Menon said INTACH had earlier offered to carry out the surveys needed for drafting the by-laws for all Delhi monuments within six months as well as proposed to give a classification of 13 types of monuments in the country, but got no reply. “Any development in the 300 metres radius needs to be controlled. Many options were discussed. They are doing it themselves now, but why has there been such a delay,” he asked.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/heritage-by-laws-ready-for-two-sites/article26975672.ece, April 29, 2019

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Srinagar in fray for UNESCO Creative Cities Network

A workshop of stakeholders on preparation of dossier for inclusion of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative Cities Network was held today at the Institute of Hotel Management, Rajbagh here. The workshop is part of the Restoration and Strengthening of Livelihoods component of Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project funded by the World Bank. During the workshop most of the stakeholders which included administrators, artisans, academicians, representatives of business houses associated with different crafts , policy makers, representatives of design schools and civil society associated with the promotion and restoration of arts and crafts shared their thoughts on the topic.

Director Technical, JTFRP Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo, said the aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for all the stakeholders involved with the various aspects of Kashmir Handicrafts and obtain their valuable inputs for the preparation of the said Dossier. Convenor, INTACH, J&K Chapter Saleem Beg said that there is need for more pilot projects in the field and stressed on the need for inclusion of artisans in the policy formulation. Prof N.A Nadeem from Central University of Kashmir emphasized on the need for developing of more innovative craft designs and quick patent registration of new designs.

Director Craft Development Institute, Srinagar Zubair Ahmad, said that CDI is working on quality certification of various local crafts, Geographical Indication Labels of various local crafts and also working on the development of more innovative designs and quality control of the products. Assistant Director, Handicrafts Mushtaq Ahmad, said “In present times there is urgent need to blend the various crafts to make Kashmir crafts innovative to buyers”. Sharing their thoughts many prominent artisans from various crafts like Pashmina weaving, Papier machie, wood carving, namdhaas, Khatamband etc said that finance and marketing support from the government is must for the survival and promotion of Kashmir handicrafts. Various designers and entrepreneurs also shared their thoughts on the topic. The workshop was organised by INTACH, J&K Chapter, in collaboration with Dronah and sponsored by Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project funded by World Bank.

- https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/srinagar/srinagar-in-fray-for-unesco-creative-cities-network/, April 29, 2019

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What the new city of lakes will look like: Three ways to bring them back to life

In turning Delhi into a city of lakes, Delhi Jal Board will use three different revival models depending on space available and the existing quality of water. DJB has finalised the methods to restore 155 waterbodies in consultation with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, the aim being to achieve biochemical oxygen demand of 10 ppm (somewhat polluted) and total suspended A DJB official said that in the first model, treated wastewater would be used for waterbodies located in the proximity of sewage treatment plants.

Tertiary cleaning mechanisms like carbon-sand filter and floating rafts of plants will also be employed. The official said that in the second model, following Rajokri lake’s example, a natural constructed wetland with bio-digesters would be created and will be fed and recharged by sewage from nearby inhabited areas. In case land is not available, moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) and electromechanical systems would be yoked, according to Ankit Srivastava, technical advisor, DJB. Natural systems like constructed wetlands will also be used since their utility has been demonstrated in Rajokri. “We are not restricted to certain models. We are about to test a small electrocoagulation STP device in east Delhi in which filtering plants float on the water’s surface,” said Srivastava. The MBBR system involves an aeration tank with special plastic carriers that provide a surface where a biofilm can grow.

Electrocoagulation, in turn, has the ability to remove contaminants like emulsified oil, suspended solids and heavy metals that are difficult to remove through filtration or chemical treatments. Manu Bhatnagar from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), who successfully worked on reviving the Hauz Khas lake in Delhi, says the action plan looks good on paper but proper implementation and utilisation of STP water is required. The 15-acre lake that had gone dry around 1960 was revived by Intach using highly-treated sewage water from the Vasant Kunj STP. “Before employing these models, a proper study needs to be carried out to assess the soil type and the requirements of each waterbody said Bhatnagar. “Also, clay soils have poor percolation, but percolation is easier if the area has loamy soil.

Optimum recharge can be done once the groundwater tables are assessed.” DJB vice-chairperson Dinesh Mohaniya said that in order to increase people’s participation and underline the community’s stake in reviving waterbodies, landscaping will be carried out and recreational areas developed. “Once people have a stake in maintaining the waterbody, they will stop dumping garbage there,” he said. Diwan Singh, activist and convener of Natural Heritage First, suggested that the initial focus should on cleaning and diverting storm-water drains. What the new city of lakes will look like: Three ways to bring them back to life | Delhi News - Times of India

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/what-the-new-city-of-lakes-will-look-like-three-ways-to-bring-them-back-to-life/articleshow/69087849.cms, April 29, 2019

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A textile exhibition and discussion on sustainability

A panel discussion and textile exhibition, titled Safed, was recently held at Indira Gandhi National Centre of the Arts. The Panel discussion was moderated by Sayali Goyal, who brought together Purnima Rai of The Delhi Crafts Council of India, Ritu Sethi of the Crafts Revival Trust and Bindu Manchanda of Intach. Together they explored the importance of crafts documentation, designer intervention in crafts, sustainability as well as craft representation in the west.

“Sustainability isn’t limited to environment. Crafts belong to community, hence we need to be conscious of cultural and economic sustainability. By projects like these, the urban society can be aware of the crafts people, thus make conscious choices,” said Sayali.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/events/delhi/a-textile-exhibition-and-discussion-on-sustainability/articleshow/69096618.cms, April 29, 2019

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Rare life-size figurine unearthed in Phanigiri

Archaeologists in Telangana have unearthed a rare treasure in the form of a life-sized stucco sculpture from a Buddhist site at Phanigiri in Suryapet. It is the biggest stucco sculpture found in the country so far. According to officials of department of heritage, the life-size figurine found in the excavations is thought to represent one of Bhodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra. The stucco has been brought to Hyderabad for mending and conservation, and is currently being watched over at the department of heritage in Gunfoundry. “The stucco is about 1.73 metres in height and 35 cm in width,” said Sunita Bhagwat, in-charge director, department of heritage.

“This unique sculpture found in the excavations is the biggest and the most important, and a rare finding not just in Telangana but also in the country.” “The stucco was found facing the ground on the north-eastern side of the Buddhist site at Phanigiri. We are currently taking measures to mend the sculpture and conserve it for future generations,” said Bhagwat. Apart from the life-sized stucco, these excavations brought to light a Mahastupa, apsidal chaitya grihas, votive stupas, pillared congregation halls, viharas, platforms with staircases at various levels, sculptural panels with Brahmi inscriptions, belonging to Satavahana period from first century BC, continued with Mahayana till the end of Ikshuvaka period and others in third-fourth century AD. The preliminary excavation at Phanigiri was started in 1941 by Khaja Muhammad Ahmad of archaeology department of the then erstwhile Hyderabad state, and it continued till 1944.

After that, he state Archaeology and Museums Department (department of heritage) conducted excavations again after six decades, between 2001 and 2010, and once in 2013-14. This year, the excavations in the site are being conducted in collaboration with Deccan College of Archaeology, Pune, under the guidance of assistant professor Srikanth Ganveer as co-excavation director and Pagadam Nagaraju as excavation director. The excavations, which began on February 2, are scheduled to be conducted till May 15.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/rare-life-size-figurine-unearthed-in-phanigiri/articleshow/69103894.cms, April 29, 2019

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India's rare life-size figurine unearthed in Phanigiri of Telangana

Archaeologists in Telangana have unearthed a rare treasure in the form of a life-size stucco sculpture from a Buddhist site in Phanigiri in Suryapet. So far, it is the largest stucco sculpture found in the country. According to the heritage department officials, it is believed that the life-size figure found in the excavations represents one of Bhodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra. The stucco was brought to Hyderabad to remodel and conserve and is currently being monitored in the heritage department of Gunfoundry. "The stucco is about 1.73 metres in height and 35 cm in width," said Sunita Bhagwat, in-charge director, department of heritage. "This unique sculpture found in the excavations is the biggest and the most important, and a rare finding not just in Telangana but also in the country."

"The stucco was found facing the ground on the north-eastern side of the Buddhist site at Phanigiri. We are currently taking measures to mend the sculpture and conserve it for future generations," said Bhagwat. Khaja Muhammad Ahmad started the preliminary excavation in Phanigiri in 1941 of the archaeology department of the ancient state of Hyderabad, and it continued until 1944. After that, the Department of Archeology and Museums of the state (department of heritage) carried out excavations again after six decades, between 2001 and 2010, and once in 2013-14.

- https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/indias-rare-life-size-figurine-unearthed-in-phanigiri-of-telangana-525486, April 30, 2019

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