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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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