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Heritage Alerts
July 2018

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Kerala Student Modifies Palace Into India’s First Digital Garden; Scan QR Code To Get Info On Tree

Kanakakunnu palace, is an exemplar heritage monumental site according to the Indian National Trust for for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in Trivandrum because it signifies a unique model of conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem management. A post graduate Botany student, Akhilesh S V Nair has used his fecund digital skills to merge science and environment. He has digitised the palace garden by making the details of the plant available to the visitors through a mobile application, reported ANI. The project has been inspired from 'Digital India' initiative that plans to make India fully digital and connected to latest trends and people at the click of a button.

Nair has linked the information of the plant species spanning 21 acres of the palace garden using a QR or bar-code that can be scanned using simple mobile application like NeoReader. The botany enthusiast has documented 126 species of both tree and garden plants on a website that is linked to the code through the mobile app. The general public can then access details of the trees with the application including its species, nativity, distribution , botanical character, including flowering period at the moment. Nair along with his professor, Dr. A Gangaprasad are making efforts to spread more diverse and detailed knowledge about the lush plants.

- https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/kerala-student-modifies-palace-into-india-s-first-digital-garden-scan-qr-code-to-get-info-on-tree-348557.html, July 3, 2018

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Ajanta cave paintings of Nizam era lie in a state of neglect

When the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, embarked on a project of recording the grandeur of Ajanta caves through photography and paintings, little did he know that the finished replicas, too, would face a similar danger of destruction like the originals. Today, a part of the replicas displayed in the Ajanta Frescoes Gallery of the State Museum at Nampally looks as if someone had shot them with shotgun pellets. The holes are not only on the paintings, but also on the humongous wooden frames that hold it, indicating that something sharp pierced the nearly-100-year-old tokens of history. For instance, a painting of a woman holding a mirror on her left hand, while two attendants hold a fly whisk and a tray of cosmetics, is in a precarious condition. The vertical frames are not even covered by glass and there are at least three holes on its lower reaches. The replicas gain importance as many of its originals in the Ajanta Caves do not even exist anymore, said Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) convenor Anuradha Reddy. Dismissing that it was ‘not a serious damage’, Assistant Director of the State Museum Ramulu Naik told Express, that the “The damage happened while shipping. However, we are planning to restore it and we have already signed an MoU with a Mumbai-based museum for the same."

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2018/jul/03/ajanta-cave-paintings-of-nizam-era-lie-in-a-state-of-neglect-1837405.html, July 3, 2018

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Unesco makes 18 new additions to World Heritage list

Germany's Naumberg Cathedral, the Caliphate City of Medina Azahara in Spain and the Sansa Buddhist Mountain Monasteries of Korea are among the 18 new additions inscribed to Unesco's World Heritage list this year. Unesco is currently holding its 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee, which continues until 4 July. At the session, new World Heritage Sites are selected each year. Naumburg is one of two German inscriptions, with the historic cathedral dating back to 1028. It is joined by the Archaeological Border Complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke, which the site of a former trading town from the first and early second millennia. Located in the central part of West Greenland, a new World Heritage site has been named for Denmark, with the Aasivissuit-Nipisat, Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea containing the remains of more than 4,200 years of human history. In Colombia, Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar” is the largest protected area in the country. The park's tepuis – tabletop mountains – have more than 75,000 paintings, spanning more than 20,000 years to the present. Believed to be linked to the worship of the jaguar, the paintings depict hunting scenes, battles, dances and ceremonies. The National Park becomes the country's ninth World Heritage site following its inscription. Called the "Originary Habitat of Mesoamerica", Mexico's Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley also joins the World Heritage list. Part of the Mesoamerican region of Mexico, the site has what is considered to be the richest biodiversity in all of North America. The site is also known for its history, with archaeological remains demonstrating technological developments and the early domestication of crops. Moving to Asia, the Republic of Korea gains a new addition to the list – the Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Sansa. Located throughout the southern provinces of the Korean Peninsula, the seven temples that comprise the site were established from the 7th to 9th centuries. The protected sites are considered sacred places, and have survived as living centres of faith and daily religious practice to the present day. Spain's Caliphate City of Medina Azahara also joins the selection, with the 10th century site built by the Umayyad dynasty offering in-depth knowledge of the now vanished Western Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus. After prospering for a number of years, the city was destroyed during the civil war that put an end to the Caliphate in 1009-10. The remains of the city were lost for nearly a millennium until their rediscovery in the early 20th century. The 18 new sites are:

• Archaeological Border Complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke (Germany)
• Naumburg Cathedral (Germany)
• Chaîne des Puys–Limagne fault tectonic area (France)
• Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century (Italy)
• Caliphate City of Medina Azahara (Spain)
• Göbekli Tepe (Turkey)
• Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars region (Islamic Republic of Iran)
• Al-Ahsa Oasis, an evolving Cultural Landscape (Saudi Arabia)
• Ancient City of Qalhat (Oman)
• Aasivissuit-Nipisat, Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea (Denmark)
• Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (India)
• Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea (Republic of Korea)
• Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region (Japan)
• Fanjingshan (China)
• Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar” (Colombia)
• Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: Originary Habitat of Mesoamerica (Mexico)
• Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains (South Africa)
• Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site (Kenya)
• Pimachiowin Aki (Canada) – Pimachiowin Aki (“The Land That Gives Life”)

- http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/index.cfm?pagetype=news&codeID=338199, July 3, 2018

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Preserving Vedic manucripts for the future

City-based manuscript collector Rajnish Khosla has preserved rare Vedic scripts with the help of the Himachal State Museum, Shimla, and Manuscript Conservation Centre. These are said to be centuries old-rare Vedic documents. Khosla, who has been collecting rare scripts for the last two decades, had to seek help of the experts in Shimla in order to conserve the Vedic scripts. These scripts are written on natural paper made of various types of leaves. Mostly written in Sanskrit language the scripts include, mention of ‘Mahabharata’ era, the medical practices and various chants. “These scripts need to be protected as they were getting withered away.

At present, these manuscripts are duly framed and conserved in cut mount vacuum technique with the acid-free handmade Japanese paper,” says Khosla. The 52-years is planning to donate them to Vaishno Devi Shrine board to be displayed at Vaishno Devi Shrine so that people can see the heritage. “Keeping it before public will add to general awareness about manuscripts in our ancient culture and it’s richness, remarks Khosla. There are in total 22 frames and each one has two manuscripts placed one above the other, “he adds. Khosla, who has been adding to his ancestral collection, feels that there is a need that such scripts are maintained as they bridge the gap between present and past. He says, “Basically, my father has been collecting all such items from a young age. I feel such things provide a perspective towards future.”

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/preserving-vedic-manucripts-for-the-future/614748.html, July 3, 2018

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A quiet desperation over recreational spaces

If you happen to take a stroll in the Venkata Nagar Park in the evening you will see children having a great time playing, elders happily chatting during their walks, a group of youngsters playing cricket and a majority of people relaxing in the evening breeze. In contrast to the other children’s parks in and around the city, the Venkata Nagar Park is in good shape and has been well kept. With the park operating for limited hours in the morning and evening, the infrastructure is well maintained. The park also has drinking water provisions and rest rooms which aid the high footfall here. But all is not well at Bharathi Park near the beach. It was once filled with people of all age. Now the place is almost empty now.

Deserted park

As the summer vacations have ended, this lush green park is left quite deserted, littered and in need of renovation. There is a renovation project in place which is yet to be implemented by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Mr. Ashok, an official from INTACH says, “The renovation project will include improvement of Aayi Mandappam, drinking water provisions, landscaping furniture.. but we are unable to arrive at a solid estimate for the completion of the project. INTACH has played an active role in the renovation of Bharathi Park and the Aayi Mandappam in the past. The Aayi Mandappam was given a complete renovation a few years back by INTACH. The historical monument which was in a pitiable condition returned to its glory after renovation. Bharathi Park is also looking forward to such a makeover. In an even worse state is the Rajiv Gandhi Children’s Park at Lawspet, with a dire need for a renovation. Broken benches, rusted swings and slides and paint peeling off the cement play sets are all that greet us as we go around the park which is under the Department of Forest and Wildlife. It is evident that no attention has been paid to this once colourful place in the last few years. The park sports a desolate look. Lawspet being a buzzing residential area, this park would be a great choice for recreation if not for its poor state of maintenance.

Public participation

These public recreational spaces haven’t been given the due notice they deserve. With a footfall of hundreds every day, it is inevitable that there occurs some deterioration to the infrastructure and maintenance. But it is imperative, citizens feel, that these places are maintained in a commendable form while officials say that public participation for the common cause of preserving these green lungs is crucial as well. As these recreational spaces are free of cost, there tends to be a lesser appreciation of its value from the public. With its vast range of usage, there ought to be more awareness of the value that these parks hold and thereby an increase in its maintenance by the common man.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/a-quiet-desperation-over-recreational-spaces/article24347293.ece, July 5, 2018

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Stone Age Cave, Well on the Verge of Extinction on Sant Tukaram Hill

A 300 ft x 100 ft portion of a rock is on the verge of dislocation, a Stone Age cave of huge archaeological importance stands just metres away from private lands, an ancient well made of carved stones is facing a depletion of water levels — these and many other evidences of destruction were noted by a fact-finding mission sent by the Pune district collector to Bhamchandra Dongar in Khed taluka. The expert team’s visit on Wednesday and Thursday to the holy hillock of Sant Tukaram Maharaj comes after Pune Mirror carried a story, ‘Warkaris protest violation of Sant Tukaram’s sites in Khed, Maval’, on June 28, outlining the destruction caused by developers and industrialists. The other hill, Bhandara Dongar in Maval, is also on the verge of destruction and the team will visit it next week. Warkari representative, Santbhumi Sanrakshak Sangharsh Samiti president Madhusudan Maharaj Patil, who accompanied the experts, showed uncontrolled destruction on the hillock, which is taking place as a result of rampant construction activities and mine blasts at the hill slope by builders and industries that was excluded recently from the ecosensitive zone. The place was declared a protected monument in 2011 by the state government. Initially, the government had protected 259.76 hectares belonging to Bhandara Dongar and 252.14 hectares of Bhamchandra Dongar. After an amendment, it reduced the protected area status to 122.10 and 90.04 hectares, respectively. After this revocation, farmers sold their lands to developers and industrialists, unwittingly offering an open invitation to calamity on the holly hillocks. During the two-day inspection by the committee, many serious damages were observed including a huge rock portion being dislocated. The rock has a height of around 300 ft and width of around 100 ft towards the east of the hillock. Any incident of sliding during monsoon may wreak havoc on the industrial and residential areas located at its base. The experts also observed that the hillock has lost its invaluable assets like Stone Age caves. Many researchers still find stone-made tools in these caves. The caves are hardly meters away from private lands on the plateau, where construction activities are going steady. They also noted ancient wells that are losing water levels. Incidentally, the carved stone well is not on record of the revenue and archaeology departments. The committee is expected to submit their joint fact-finding report to district collector Naval Kishore Ram in the next few days. Besides Patil, the team comprised Deccan College of Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Yerwada, professor Dr Pandurang D Sable, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Pune sub-divisional officer Dr Heramb Prasad Gandhe, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums assistant director Vilas Wahane and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s (INTACH) conservation architect Mrudula Mane. Talking to Pune Mirror, Patil said, “We pointed out the damage due to the blasting by industries located at the base of the hillock. We also pointed out the lack of presence of flora and fauna due to noise and vibrations. The experts noted down the cracks on the caves and dried natural water tanks and wells. We also brought their attention towards the plateau which is owned by certain developers, metres away from Sant Tukaram’s temple and caves.” One of the expert members added on condition of anonymity, “We noted that a private company has also excavated a major portion of the hillock to lay an LPG pipeline towards Mindewadi village. We have documented our observation and will submit our report to the district collector in a few days.”

- https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/cover-story/stone-age-cave-well-on-the-verge-of-extinction-on-sant-tukaram-hill/articleshow/64876087.cms, July 5, 2018

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Heritage activists hurl collapse slur at TSRTC

Heritage activists alleged that the TSRTC authorities deliberately neglected the historical Mississippi Hangar, the bus shelter in Gowliguda, commonly known as City Bus Station (CBS), leading to non-maintenance and eventually its collapse on Thursday. They demanded the government to explore the possibility of taking up repairs and restoration. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) convener P Anuradha Reddy alleged that the officials had deliberately neglected the historical structure and making the shed to collapse. “The structure stood strong even with the neglect of RTC authorities,” said Anuradha Reddy, adding that they had visited the site four times last year and it was strong then and only the iron sheets had got damaged, which could have been replaced. “It is the RTC officials who need to explain why they did not maintain the site,” she said. The INTACH convener demanded the government not to demolish the entire site, but have an inspection to see whether it could be restored or not. “If we go on ignoring the historical sites without maintaining them just because it is costly, then there will be no historical sites left in the country,” said Anuradha Reddy, adding that the authorities were aware of its condition and hence closed the station five days ago. She alleged that the authorities were planning to exploit the prime land for commercial purpose. According to well-known author and city historian Allama Aijaz Farruq, the huge aircraft hangar was brought by sea and later transported to Hyderabad. "The Hangar was reassembled at Gowliguda. It was a bus depot those days. Buses used to ply from Putli Bowli to different parts of the city and districts within the princely state of Hyderabad. As passenger volume grew in numbers, the bus station was shifted to the Mississippi Hangar.” Though the structure was meant for maintenance of air craft, the VII Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had utilised it for his fleet of buses manufactured by Albion Automotive of Glasgow. Apart from the hangar at the old CBS, the Nizam had also imported two more hangars (Hamilton). They were erected at Ranigunj bus depot. P Maunika, an architecture student, who was doing her project on the Mississippi Hangar said, “I was documenting the structure and was designing one such. I spoke to engineering wing of RTC, who said that there was no threat. I don’t think this was an accidental collapse.”

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-07-06/Heritage-activists-hurl-collapse-slur-at-TSRTC/395653, July 5, 2018

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ASI's excavation rattles at Pallavaram in suburb

A week ago, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had lifted an eight-year-old freeze on construction activities and started processing No Objection Certificates (NOC) for new developments around the protected ancient site in Pallavaram in the city suburb. Soon after, a major development took place with the ASI unearthing a sarcophagus from the hillocks, one that dates back by more than 2,000 years. The recent discovery has heightened the concerns of residents of Zamin Pallavaram whose litigation is pending before the Madras High Court. The archaeological body has reiterated that the area was inhabited by people who were not nomads. Explaining its stand, it said, ?They had the technology to create a sarcophagus standing on 12 legs during the 3rd century BC. Speaking on the discovery, a resident said, ?What has happened is surely a cause for concern. But it is too early to predict the ramifications. It may be noted that the issue began when the ASI refused to process an NOC owing its failure to mark the boundary of the protected site in the range of 300 metres. This led to massive agitations among the locals. Following the directions of the Madras High Court, a joint survey was conducted to earmark the boundaries in 2017. Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, ASI’s approval is mandatory for construction of building activity between 100 metre and 300 metres. During a trial excavation on the foothills of the Parivettumalai hillock at Zamin Pallavaram, archaeologists chanced upon the rim of the sarcophagus at a depth of two feet under the surface. Further exploration led to the discovery of the terracotta coffin. Though the artefact was covered with redware lid, it was damaged by boulders which might have rolled down the hillock due to soil erosion. The piece is 5.6 feet long and 1.5 feet wide, with a depth of 1.64 feet, it is learnt.

- https://www.newstodaynet.com/chennai/asis-excavation-rattles-at-pallavaram-in-suburb-106689.html, July 6, 2018

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Secunderabad, Hyderabad iconic clock towers run no more

Time stands still in the iconic clock towers of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, which once hosted many struggles and protests under it. They are now in a state of neglect. There are many popular clock towers in the various busy spots of the city such as Mozamjahi market, Mahbub Chowk, Chowmahalla Palace, Shahalibanda, and Charminar and others, but only some of them are working. Till date, there is no official survey on the number of clock towers with the government, except the verbal inputs from the concerned local authorities. Some clock towers are being encroached upon too. The clock tower at Shalibanda on the premises of Raja Rai Ram temple is encroached upon by a private individual who built a house near the tower blocking the view. Mohan Guruswamy, a resident of Yapral, speaking about the Secunderabad Clock Tower said, “The Telangana movement started in that Clock Tower ground in 1969 and now the Clock Tower doesn't work. It needs proper maintenance in order to work, regular care should be taken, without which how will it work, he said. K. Srinivasa Rao, director of planning and heritage, GHMC, said that, “Most of these clock towers needs regular maintenance as the pigeons keep entering the tower and disturbing the machinery. Only a skilled person can repair it. The battery operated Clock Tower in Secunderabad has some problem regarding wire connectivity.” The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, which maintains most of the clocks towers in the city, is also in a dilemma, whether to replace the age-old mechanised system that exists in many clock towers or to repair it and continue with the same model. Mohammed Musharraf Ali Faruqui, additional commissioner of the GHMC, who is in charge of the city's heritage, said “We will take up the work of all the clock towers in the city at the earliest. “We are looking for skilled people who can repair these clocks and there are not many in this area. There was a proposal to replace the clocks with computerised system, but we dropped it,” he said. The additional commissioner said, “We need to take a decision on this issue at the earliest. We have recently finalised a design for Mozamjahi market and we are looking one for Murgi Chowk too,” Mr Faruqui said. Anuradha, convener of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Hyderabad, said, “Clock towers are one of the diversified heritage wealth that the city has. It is mandatory that every government has to maintain it and pass on to the next generation. It is the way of informing the time and date to the public.” “Even though people have their mobile phones, many still haven’t stopped using watches. These clock towers are the convenience that is immediately available to the people and it should be conserved as a memory of a time when watches were not common. Now, because of these Metro pillars, one has to bend to see the clock towers,” she said.

- https://deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/090718/secunderabad-hyderabad-iconic-clock-towers-run-no-more.html, July 9, 2018

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INTACH Heritage quiz evokes good response

The heritage quiz 2018 conducted by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) East Godavari chapter at Municipal high school Gandhinagar here on Sunday received a good response with as many as 102 teams from seventeen schools participating with much enthusiasm. Inaugurating the programme as the chief guest, City Mayor Sunkara Pavani has appreciated the efforts of INTACH for creating awareness among the young minds on the need for preserving the great heritage and culture. Lakkaraju Seshukumari secretary of the Chapter said that they had conducted the quiz simultaneously at Rajahmundry, Tuni and Amalapuram. She said that St Anthony’s school team had secured the first place and qualified for participating in the state finals scheduled to be held at Vijayawada during September. The second place was scored by Vidyanjali School.

- http://www.uniindia.com/~/intach-heritage-quiz-evokes-good-response/States/news/1283237.html, July 9, 2018

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ASI excavates temple tank at Hampi

A ‘pushkarni’ (temple tank) was excavated on the premises of the Virupaksha temple at Hampi in the taluk on Sunday. The tank, of medium size, has ornate carvings on the rocks on all its sides. There is a Nandi figurine on one side, with steps to climb down into the temple tank on the other side. The tank was discovered while leveling the ground and laying stone slabs are demolishing the tourist accommodation rooms. As the digging continued at the spot, the temple tank came up, a junior conservation officer of the Archaeological Survey of India told DH. Various construction works are being undertaken at the below-ground-level Shiva temple and the Virupaksha temple. The officer said an ancient pipeline system dating back to the Vijayanagara era was discovered near the queen’s bathing house in the heritage city some time ago.

- https://www.deccanherald.com/state/districts/asi-excavates-temple-tank-679888.html, July 9, 2018

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Darjeeling monastery relics hit by 2011 quake restored

Darjeeling: It has taken four months of meticulous work to complete restoration of the over-100-year-old Mag Dhog Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling that was damaged in the 2011 earthquake. The monastery under the Yolmo community is at Aloobari, around 2.5km from Chowrasta, and is run by Yolmowa Buddhist Association (YBA). With pine trees above and tea gardens below, it is ideal for meditation and prayer. The monastery was founded by head priest Sangay Lama, who was from Helambu (land of the Yolmos) in Nepal. Its construction coincided with the beginning of World War I in 1914. It was thus named Mag Dhog (warding off the war) and was dedicated to world peace. However, the monastery suffered during the 1934, 1986 and 2011 quakes. Several 19th-century manuscripts and idols too were damaged in 2011. That is when Intach (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) stepped in. A team of restorers under Intach has been on campus since March. “The monastery has several items of spiritual value from 19th century,” said G M Kapur, convener (West Bengal and Calcutta) Intach. In Phase I, Intach has restored manuscripts such as Gyetongba, which is written in gold, and Kagyur (tripitika), which are Buddha’s oral teachings. About 156 other manuscripts, 21 wooden masks, 137 wooden plaques and four mud idols have also been restored since March. “In Phase II, we will restore thankas, murals, musical instruments and other relics,” Kapur said. Nayantara Palchoudhuri, co-convener of Intach (Bengal), said it would be difficult to find experts to restore the interior murals. “The monastery has changed a lot in the five years since I first came here. The murals on the inside are herbal-painted with intricacy and are over 100 years old. It will be quite a task to restore them as they depict life and afterlife,” she said. Special cabinets have been made to avert wear and tear using chemical fumigation. “Restoration ended four months back but we will visit annually to see how things are preserved,” Palchoudhuri said. Head monk Phurba Thinley said: “We are thankful to Intach for its support.”

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/darjeeling-monastery-relics-hit-by-2011-quake-restored/articleshow/64938772.cms, July 10, 2018

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Nicholson Cemetery: To restore Colonial-era cemetery, officials look abroad for some help

Mary Mole, almost 40 then, died during childbirth on December 18, 1868. Her nameless infant was buried next to her a day later. Chickoo and Sullu — who died 11 years apart — too are buried together, and a few metres away lies Grace Parshad, “who gave so much and asked for so little.” At Delhi’s Nicholson Cemetery, the last resting place of colonial-era soldiers and civilians, a number of stories from the late 19th and early 20th century are etched in stone. The Delhi Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is now attempting to document the stories of these soldiers and restore the cemetery, located at Kashmere Gate. “We are preparing a detailed project report (DPR) which is being funded by British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA)…which will then raise funds for the project. This is Phase I; if we are able to raise enough money, we will begin landscaping, cleaning, and restoring the tombstones which are now damaged,” said Ajay Kumar, projects director, INTACH-Delhi. Nicholson Cemetery was established after the Revolt of 1857 and is named after Brigadier-General John Nicholson, who played a crucial role in containing the revolt. His grave is at the entrance and is protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The cemetery is taken care of by three housekeepers, one of whom exclusively looks after Nicholson’s grave. With wild grass growing from in between cracked tombstones and dried flowers next to graves which have not been visited in decades — the cemetery appears to be in a dire need of a facelift. “It’s a resting place of the dead, not a picnic spot. A modest facelift will increase the sanctity of the cemetery where apart from slain soldiers of the Revolt of 1857, 19th century mathematician Ramchandra and Belgian Hindi scholar Father Camille Bulcke are also buried,” said Eugene Ratnam, member of Delhi Cemeteries Committee which looks after the Nicholson Cemetery. He added that the Delhi Cemetries Committee would not be raising funds for the project “because it’s beyond our scope”. Kumar, too, believes that “funds can be raised in the UK by BACSA… as mostly British soldiers are buried whose families left India long ago,” adding, “the connect is low in India but money can be raised from outside.” Among the graves of soldiers and young mothers, one is that of Alice Mary, who died young. It read: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” “It’s important to preserve the cemetery from a historical perspective and also because it has an aesthetic appeal… and it can be turned into a green space. Most importantly, it’s a study in social history; these gravestones tell you how many British soldiers died young in the 19th century,” said Swapna Liddle, convener of INTACH-Delhi.

- https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/nicholson-cemetery-to-restore-colonial-era-cemetery-officials-look-abroad-for-some-help-5254244/, July 10, 2018

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Time to explore Gurugram’s historical zones to boost heritage tourism

Sandwiched between the grand history of Delhi and the rich repository of Rajasthan’s heritage, it is difficult for people to imagine that the millennium city of Gurugram could have any comparable cities or monuments in its own immediate surroundings that could potentially be developed for heritage tourism. Residents of Gurugram have limited weekend options, except for driving to nearby states or venturing to a few nature outlets which are limited in tourist facilities. How about taking another look at the historic cities around Gurugram? Do we have any tangible remains to recreate the ambience of the bygone era? Can we create a meaningful, sustainable heritage tourism model with our leftover monuments that will take us beyond the ‘mall mentality’ or ‘reconstructed experiences such as the Kingdom of Dreams’ to a more authentic and meaningful experience? The Haryana region has served as a battlefield in India’s history with destruction of major towns and villages; the last substantial damage caused during the first battle for independence in 1857. The few old remains around Gurugram are either scattered as isolated monuments or subsequently demolished with increasing urbanisation. Maybe it’s time to look at these various scattered parts of our history and consider the possibility of experiencing them as a more cohesive narrative of the region. We can list five interesting historical zones to be explored from various phases of history at a distance of 30-45 minutes’ drive from Gurugram within the Gurgaon district that can work as a small heritage tourist circuit for residents and visitors: Sindhu Saraswati (Indus Valley ) and Buddhist period towns: Gurugram as Dronacharya’s village and the Indus valley period settlements of Dhankot , Sayid and later Atta, located within 11km of the city, definitely call for an interpretation centre that talks about Gurugram’s origin, Sayid as Guru’s residential place and Dhankot as the place from where milk was supplied in that period. Besides stories from the Mahabharata, it can showcase the painted greyware, Buddhist relics and Jain and Gurjara Pratihara period remains found during excavations in these areas. Medieval period Sohna: The seat of Kambohs, Khanzadas, Mughals, Jats and British since the 12th century, this town has magnificent monuments and tombs from medieval layers of history along with a picturesque fort bastion on the Aravalli hill top. Besides the famous Sulphur Springs, it was visited by Mughal emperor Akbar and was a popular tourist destination with the British. The town can have its own heritage walks and trails narrating its glorious history with visits to some of the most magnificent Sultanate and Mughal period monuments in the Gurugram district. Farrukhnagar and 1857: A beautiful 18th century octagonal walled town, intact with most of the original gates, Sheeshmahal, Havelis and Bazaar Street, replete with the art of Moorah making, painted chatris and Gol baoli; this is where one can experience a complete settlement as it existed in 18th century founded by the Baluch Chief Faujdar Khan under Emperor Farrukhsiyar. It also played an important role in the Revolt of 1857. INTACH Gurugram Chapter has conducted several heritage walks for this town. And Atul Dev, convener of the Gurugram Chapter is scheduling more heritage walks in 2018. Riyasat town of Pataudi: Founded by the Nawabi chieftain Pata, the town has interesting historic structures dating back to 19th-20th century. The most magnificent masterpiece is the lavish Nawab Pataudi Palace built in 1934. It was designed by British architect Robert Tor Russell with able assistance from Austrian architect Karl Molt von Heinz. Currently being renovated under the present nawab and actor, Saif Ali Khan Pataudi, it is proposed to function as an exclusive Heritage Hotel under the Neemrana Group. Badshahpur-Jharsa and Colonial period Gurugram: Linked to Begum Samru and British Cantonment settlement with Sadar Bazar, churches and Civil Lines bungalows, this section of the historical remains can provide a narrative of colonial and post-colonial history, including the later period when the town became an industrial hub. Collectively, the historic towns and remains around Gurugram present a wide range of heritage, ranging from the ancient to Sultanate, Mughal, Rajput and colonial periods. The protection, thematic organisation and promotion of this cultural heritage could contribute significantly to heritage tourism in the city, besides boosting local economy by creating new employment opportunities for them. This initiative requires strong public and private sector participation and, considering the presence of major businesses in the city, government can channelise some CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds into planned heritage development. While NGOs such as INTACH are promoting awareness through listing, conservation and heritage walks, the work needs to be supplemented with heritage infrastructure and tourist facilities. A collective heritage circuit with signages, interactive interpretation and basic facilities can present a unique experience to the residents and visitors to the city. (Shikha Jain is state convenor, INTACH Haryana Chapter and member of Heritage Committees under ministries of culture and HRD. She is co­¬editor of book ‘Haryana: Cultural Heritage Guide’; director, DRONAH (Development and Research Organisation.)

- https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/time-to-explore-gurugram-s-historical-zones-to-boost-heritage-tourism/story-dWWRh4Uu1gtzND1jHnowrI.html, July 10, 2018

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Tree Plantation Program jointly conducted by INTACH Chandrapur Chapter and Shashwat Home Stay at Junona Village

INTACH Chandrapur Chapter, July 1, 2018: In the wake of the State Government's resolution initiated by the Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to plant 13 crore trees across the state, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Chandrapur Chapter and Shashwat Home Stay jointly conducted Tree Plantation Programme at Junona village under the guidance of Shri Ashok Singh Thakur, Convener, INTACH Chandrapur Chapter on July 1, 2018. As many as 50 to 60 saplings of Java plum, Ficus, Banyan, Gulmohar, Nilgiri, Mango, Karanji, Neem, Amla etc planted in the Junona village premise on the occasion. Pravin Nikhare, Co-Convener, INTACH Chandrapur Chapter and members Rohit Singh Thakur, Vijaykumar Dhande, Ashish Vyas and Nitin Hejib took efforts for the successful arrangement of the event.

- http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/Chapter-News-Chandrapur-1-07-18.pdf, July 10, 2018

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First-ever metal craft exhibition inaugurated in Leh

With an aim to promote and preserve the metal craft tradition of Ladakh, the first-ever metal craft exhibition was held in Chilling village here. The maiden exhibition, organised by the Youth Association for Conservation and Development Hemis High Altitude National Park, in collaboration with Heritage Home Chilling, showcased the indigenous craft to the visitors. “I started this with the purpose of promoting and preservation of the metal craft of Ladakh. This village is famous for metal craft in Ladakh. In future, I want to promote metal craft and involve young generations in this village to continue this craft so that this identity will remain alive,” Founder of Heritage Home, Tsewang Tamchos, told ANI. Chilling is known for its metal craftwork, which began decades ago. However, the skill has not been imbibed by the youth in the region. The exhibition, therefore, aims to dissolve the reluctance of the youth towards this age-old craft. “Chilling village is famous for metal craft work, however, youth are reluctant to learn this skill. This exhibition will attract more visitors, thus encouraging the youth,” said Councillor Sonam Nurboo. The exhibition of this 400-year-old craft will remain open for the next two months. (ANI)

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/first-ever-metal-craft-exhibition-inaugurated-in-leh-3159985/, July 11, 2018

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120 sacred groves to conserve water

Sacred groves (kavus) have for centuries represented the best of community based conservation in the country. Now, in a unique eco restoration initiative, 120 new sacred groves will be set up in 42 wards covering three panchayats of Pulpally, Mullankolly and Poothadi in Wayanad. The project is part of an ongoing Rs 80-crore integrated project to combat drought and aridification in the Kerala- Karnataka border region. The project is being implemented by the department of soil survey and soil conservation with help of local bodies. Sacred groves render a variety of eco-system services — conservation of biodiversity, soil conservation, erosion control and water conservation.

Ninety of them will be set up this year itself in three panchayaths. The project, once realized, would become the largest cluster of kavus to come up anywhere in the state in modern times. The groves which will be set up over the past three years is estimated to cost Rs 30 lakh. An incentive of Rs 10,000 would be provided for each grove spread over 10 cents of land. An annual grant of Rs 5,000 each would be provided for the next three years for their upkeep. “Forty seedlings of around 15 indigenous plant and tree species normally found in sacred groves will be planted. The plot will also have a bio-fence,” said P U Das, district soil conservation officer, Wayanad. Das said that they are in the process of identifying spots for setting up the groves, mostly places of worship likes temples and churches.

Work on a sacred grove has already been started near the Seetha Devi temple at Pulpally. “It is a purely a secular initiative and people who do not want to attach religious connotation to it can consider it as creation of a bio-diversity rich forest fragment for community level conservation. Apart from places of worship we plan to promote establishment, schools and other available public or private land in the 42 wards identified in the three panchayats," he added.

-https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/120-sacred-groves-to-conserve-water/articleshow/64955084.cms, July 12, 2018

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Conservation of Amar Singh College, Srinagar

As part of the plan to set up modern educational institutions in J&K State during Dogra period (1846-1947), Amar Singh Technical Institute was established in 1911 AD. The institute started first in November 1913 as Amar Singh Technical Institute for teaching arts, skills like carpentry and masonry as also for teaching modern education. Subsequently this institute was upgraded as Amar Singh College in June 1942. However, it was formally opened by Maharaja Partap Singh on 29th May 1914. The college was lent staff and some other facilities by Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. The main building which was constructed during the Dogra period represents the colonial style of architecture in Kashmir. It had faced many inappropriate interventions which caused defacement to the entire building in terms of its original architectural style.

Also, in the devastating flood of September 2014, the building submerged and remained in flood-water for about two weeks which had amplified the dampness problems to the structure.

Soon after floods, the condition assessment of the entire structure was undertaken by INTACH and a detailed report was prepared wherein it was proposed to immediately address the issues and carry out an urgent and appropriate conservation programme for the building. The authorities commissioned INTACH to carry out further technical assessment of the structure and to prepare a conservation plan for the building. The plan was approved with the directions to start the conservation work immediately under the supervision of conservation expertise from INTACH.

The conservation of historic Amar Singh College Srinagar started from this year with a view to bring back the architectural glory of this unique heritage structure The conservation of Amar Singh College aims at retaining the original fabric of the historic structure, by strictly adhering to the conservation principles and methods which are universally recommended. The team of architects from INTACH is overseeing the ongoing conservation work under the supervision of lead conservation architect Ms. Saima Iqbal.

-http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/jkchapter-june18.pdf, July 13, 2018

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INTACH celebrated Earth Day, organizes a visit to Dachigam National Park

INTACH Kashmir, in collaboration with the J&K Forest Department and Earth Day Network, organized a visit to the ‘Dachigam National Park’ on the eve of the Earth Day. During the visit, the environmentalists from the J&K Forest Department gave insightful information about the natural resources of Kashmir, and the different types of flora and fauna present in the Dachigam National Park.

They stressed upon the need to develop a sense of responsibility towards nature by planting trees, and not harming the animal species. The participants were keenly listening to the experts throughout the walk within the park. Many of them shared their first-time experience of visiting the Dachigam National Park. Speaking to INTACH, the participants expressed happiness about participating in such programmes, and stressed the need for such walks and visits to study nature.

-http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/jkchapter-june18.pdf, July 13, 2018

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A Visit to SPS Museum, Srinagar

On the eve of International Museums Day 2018, and as a part of the week-long celebration of India’s Museums (13th -20th May 2018), INTACH Kashmir organized a visit to SPS Museum Srinagar on 16th May 2018, in collaboration with Sahapedia, for the students. There were 30 students from Government High School, Dab Ganderbal who participated in the event to explore the historic and rare collections of SPS Museum Srinagar.

The Curator SPS Museum briefed students about the historic collections museum and their significance in terms of representing the history, heritage and culture of the Valley. She gave details about initial years of the museum, wherefrom the collections were brought like the sculptures which were excavated from the ancient sites within Kashmir. There are different sections in the museum, each section is having different rare collections and at every object, there is a caption giving brief information about the objects.

The SPS Museum Srinagar was established in 1898 AD. Approximately 79,595 artifacts and objects covering various subjects like Archaeology, Numismatics, Decorative Art, Arms and Armory, Paintings, Textiles etc are housed in the Museum.

-http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/jkchapter-june18.pdf, July 13, 2018

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Shireen Qalam - Exhibition-cum Workshop of old manuscripts, rare art objects & Islamic calligraphy 7-11 June

INTACH joined hands with the J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, Directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Directorate of Tourism, Directorate of Libraries, Shasvat Art Gallery, Jammu, Peerzada Collection and Hakim Collection in organizing the event ‘Shireen Qalam’, an exhibition and display of rare Islamic manuscripts, calligraphies, paintings and other art objects The event was not confined to exhibit the government collections only, , but it invited private collectors of rare and old collections. During the exhibition, the collection of calligraphies on vellum owned by Shaswat Art Gallery, Jammu, the decedents of the royal jewelers of Dogra became a huge attraction for the visitors.

Shri Suresh Abrol, Director of the gallery mentioned that the collection was mainly built by his grandfather Lala Rekhi Ram Abrol. He was a jeweler in the court of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler. He further stated that his father sought only one thing in inheritance — these ancient manuscripts and other collections. ‘We consider them our real inheritance,” he said. Apart from the exhibition of manuscripts and art objects, there was a workshop on Islamic calligraphy open for all who were interested to learn calligraphy.

J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages provided all needed support and made available the calligraphy teachers who exposed young participants to different techniques in the art of calligraphy. The program was organized from 7th – 11th June, 2018 at Conference hall, TRC Srinagar. Many old manuscripts & calligraphy works were displayed at the exhibition. The exhibition offered a unique display of different types of rare Islamic manuscripts. One of them is ‘Majooma-IlmIkhlaq’, a nicely written manuscript in the Persian language in 1882 AD on ethics.

Another type of manuscript is ‘Sud Pand Luqman’ 100 tales from the wise prophet, Hakim Luqman, It is a Persian manuscript scribed by Peer Baksh of Punjab in Khate Nakhoon. This manuscript written in 1870 AD is highly ornamented with gold and the borders are decorated with pictures of animals and birds. The exhibition-cum-workshop was a huge success and a major public event.

-http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/jkchapter-june18.pdf, July 13, 2018

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A walk through Srinagar's Shri Pratap museum featuring ancient Durga idol once stolen from Valley

The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been ruled by several kings and one of the key places to relive that is Srinagar's Shri Pratap museum. The museum is one of the oldest in India and was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1889. The Museum has recently been in the news after Hindu Goddess Durga's idol was brought back from Germany by Indian authorities and placed at the museum. The idol was stolen from the valley and traced in Linden Museum in Germany.

It was handed over by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their talks on October 6, 2015, in New Delhi. Iqbal Ahmad, the Assistant Curator at the museum says that "the idol of goddess Durga travelled to Germany and was handed over to the government of India by the German chancellor." The idol was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in south Kashmir in the 1990s. It was in 2012 that Indian government traced this idol in Linden Museum, Stuttgart in Germany following they approached the German authorities. The museum authorities date the idol back to the 8th century AD when the sculpture art flourished in the valley. After the 8th century, the sculpture art flourished in Kashmir which was mainly influenced by Gandhara and Gupta school of art.

The museum was ruined by the 2014 floods but most of the artefacts and objects were saved. Not only does the museum contains several sculptures and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses but also displays abundant antique objects from Baltistan, Gilgit, and from different corners of Kashmir. Munir-Ul-Islam, Director, Archives, Archaeology & Museums says that the museum is among the oldest in the country. "This museum is 4th or 5th in India with the large collection of coins. We have 70 thousand coins, right from the inception of coins in the human history," he says. Currently, there are fewer tourists visiting the museum but it continues to remain a reminder of the glorious past of the valley of Kashmir where every ruler made his mark from Mughals to Dogras.

-http://zeenews.india.com/jammu-and-kashmir/jk-ancient-durga-idol-stolen-from-valley-makes-way-back-home-2124200.html, July 13, 2018

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Grandeur of Saif Gulshan lingers on 106 years later

The erstwhile Hyderabad state had the largest army in the country, and what is now the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital was the first hospital for the Army here. The First Lancers of the Hyderabad Army at Asafnagar is still being maintained in its original condition. All of this was originally part of the Golconda Fort and, not surprisingly, there are two Qutb Shahi-era tombs within this area. The Nizam had great respect for the army. Saif Gulshan was the residence of Sultan Saleh bin Ghalib al Quaiti, Nawab Saif Nawaz Jung, a prominent noble in the Nizam’s court. Constructed in 1912 it has a mixture of European and Qutb Shahi styles. This residence is being maintained in pristine condition and is used as an Army mess. The building has an elevated basement, which seemed to be in style those days. It has been built with great care, leaving a lot of open space, both in the front and at the sides. A well on one side of the house must have been the water source and it must have been an open and beautiful structure. There are many jharokas and the first floor has rooms. The terrace is covered by a low-tiled roof, which is supported on wooden posts. The beautiful facade of the building has been well-maintained by the Army. A lot of wood, stained glass and stucco work has been used in the building, which has verandas on three sides, each one ending in a room. The windows look out to this narrow veranda, which has exquisite tiled flooring. The veranda has Gothic arches and since the entire building is on an elevation, it looks imposing. European influences and Indian elements blend wonderfully well in the building. There is another impressive building about a 100 yards away. This too was connected to the army and officials must have lived here. Or it could have been a zanana. Smaller in size, that building is surrounded by wooden eaved projections with windows on all sides. There are four rooms with one in each corner and in those days the centre used to be a courtyard, open to the sky. It is now covered and is like a big hall. In 2012, the building bagged an Intach award. According to the citation, Awadh bin Abdullah, the founder of the al Quaiti clan, was the first to travel to India in the last quarter of the 18th century. During his brief stay in the country, Awadh is said to have served the Nizam during the Second Mysore War. His son Omar migrated to India in the early 19th century and after a brief stint with the Raja of Nagpur, ended up in Hyderabad as head of the Arab mercenaries who formed a bulk of the Nizam’s irregular troops. The main structure of the building is flanked on either side by projecting blocks. “The structure is flanked on either side by projecting blocks crowned with tiled pyramids lending majesty to the structure. The central portion is surmounted by a highly decorated pediment which bears the monogram of Saif Nawab Jung in stucco,” says the Intach citation. The interiors show that the building was well-planned, with huge arches and windows and doorways with stucco to highlight the structure. A lot of wood has been used and there is a wooden staircase leading to the first floor. Elegance and form are the highlights of this building. This building stands along with the other smaller building in the midst of a forest and a fountain, while a road nearby brings in the sound of traffic. Well-kept and still maintained in its original form of limestone and brick, with a little bit of granite, the Army must be lauded for the care it has invested in maintaining this landmark building.

- https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/150718/grandeur-of-saif-gulshan-lingers-on-106-years-later.html, July 16, 2018

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Walkway into Ahom tomb

Visitors can for the first time witness the interiors of one of the tombs where Ahom kings and queens were buried at Charaideo Maidam in Sivasagar district. Charaideo Maidam, which has been on the tentative list of the Unesco World Heritage Site since 2014, is often compared to the pyramids in Egypt because of the similar fashion of burying royals in tombs. The maidam no. 2 was excavated between 2000 and 2002 by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). But the lack of protective measures had left the mound exposed to the weather and flooding. But the ASI recently completed building retaining walls to protect the tomb and built a walkway through which visitors can enter maidam no. 2. An underground drain has been constructed so that rainwater can seep inside to curb waterlogging. "This is the first time after excavation, visitors will be able to go inside maidam no. 2 and take a look around. The maidam is dome-shaped. It has been a while since ASI has been carrying out conservation at Charaideo Maidam. Owing to its historical importance, it is important for people go inside and witness the architectural marvels of the Ahoms," said K. Amarnath Ramakrishnan, superintending archaeologist, ASI Guwahati circle. Maidam no. 2 is the only excavated mound at the site. There are around 130 bigger and smaller mounds at Charaideo Maidam. The ASI is responsible for protecting four of the bigger mounds and the rest are being conserved by the state archaeology department. The rest of the mounds have not been excavated yet. The Ahom royals and noble people were buried in the mounds. "Maidam no. 2 has been unofficially inaugurated after the governor visited Charaideo and went inside. Under the dome, the inside of the maidam is rectangular. It is around 12-15 feet in length," said Bikas Das, an ASI officer in Sivasagar. Charaideo maidam is spread across 500 bighas. The Tai Ahom community reveres the monument owing to its religious and traditional lineage that dates back to more than 500 years. In 1844, one of the maidams was plundered during British rule. Two years later, Ahom king Purandar Singha decided to extract bones from one of the mounds to maintain the sanctity of the burial sites and preserve it for posterity. But the whereabouts of the extracted bones are not known.

- https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/walkway-into-ahom-tomb-245113, July 16, 2018

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India Today Group starts campaign to save Taj Mahal

or close to 400 years Taj Mahal has been the symbol of love. Over the past many decades it has been the magnet for lovers of beauty world over. The numbers say it all: On high surge days nearly 70,000 tourists visit the ivory-white mausoleum. It is estimated that annually 80 lakh people come to see the monument. Of the close to Rs 100 crore the government earned from centrally protected monuments (in 2014-15), nearly 25 per cent came from Taj. But alas Taj Mahal may soon be history. No wonder earlier this month the Supreme Court asked the government to demolish the Taj Mahal if it couldn't protect and restore it. Years of general apathy has taken its toll on the monument. Pollution has yellowed its exterior walls. The 1,000-plus factories operating in the area are is the primary cause of worry. Thanks to the thousands visiting the mausoleum there is immense pressure on the sandstone. There have been instances of flaking, slabs cracking. Add to this our tendency to scribble graffiti and touch the marble leaving greasy marks; these need strong agents to clean leading to slow chemical decay. A polluted Yamuna hasn't helped matters. Sewers carrying effluents from the factories flow into the river. Dumping of garbage and smoke from cremations have added to the woes of Taj. Successive governments have failed in taking steps to save India's most famous monument. A lack of political will and general bureaucratic apathy have led to the slow decay of an architectural marvel. The Archaeological Survey of India, mandated with taking care of India's monuments, has taken sporadic restoration steps. These have included mud packs and use of chemicals to stop the decay. But the results have not been totally successful. It's here that India Today Group has decided to step in. One of India's premier media organisation has decided to step up to save the Unesco heritage site and India's only wonder of the world. Starting today (Tuesday, July 17) India Today TV will broadcast a seven-part series on how to save the Taj. The 30-minute programme will be aired at 6 pm. India Today Group's flagship magazine India Today will start a 12-part campaign with its issue dating July 30. India Today Group's fight to save the Taj is not just about protecting a medieval tomb from decay but restoring our cultural heritage for future generations. For many foreigners Taj Mahal is synonymous with India. The monument is an important marker in our development as a civilisation and India Today Group is stepping up to find innovative ways to save the monument of love for posterity.

- https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/walkway-into-ahom-tomb-245113, July 17, 2018

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Shocking! No earthing system in Odisha capital temples

While the government is taking initiatives to preserve Odisha’s rich heritage and culture, not a single shrine in temple city Bhubaneswar has lightning arrester earthing system except Lingaraj temple. Amidst several casualties in lightning strike reported from across the state, the ancient temples describing the rich art and culture of Odisha are existing without having safety system. According to Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), there are 11 temples in Bhubaneswar under Odisha State Archaeology, 23 under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and six heritage places in the city. Except Lingaraj temple, there is no earthing system in other ancient temples in Bhubaneswar. Even as the ASI and State archeology department are spending crores for safety, preservation and maintenance of the temples, the ancient heritage is likely to be destroyed as there is no earthing system installed in the temples so far. However, the Lingaraj temple, which is only shrine with earthing system, is not safe from the lightning strike. Source said that the earthing system in Lord Shiva temple lies incomplete. Although, the earthing wire covers entire temple, it is not connected to the main earthing on the ground. As the wire is disconnected with main earthing due to floor work of temple in the past one and half year, the shrine is prone to lightning strike, alleged the servitors. However, the temple will have advanced earthing system to arrest the lightning, the ASI source said. A special power station machine will be installed in the temple’s top and base to examine the functioning of earthing. Later, new earthing will be installed in the temple, he added. Meanwhile, the condition of other centuries old temples including Bhaskareswar, Kapileswar, Brahmeswar, Nabakeswar, Rameswar, Megheswar, Bakreswar, Boital, Chitrakarini, Sisireswar, Mukteswar, Parashurameswar, Rajarani, Sidheswar, Tirtheswar, Ekamreswar, Taleswar, Bhabani Shankar in Old Town area and nine temples on premises of Lingaraj temple remains similar. As there is no earthing system in these above temples, they are likely to be more affected by lightning.

- http://odishasuntimes.com/shocking-no-earthing-system-in-odisha-capital-temples/, July 18, 2018

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Princess diaries

A former shooter and now an author, Rajyashree Kumari, princess of Bikaner, dons many hats. From being a staunch supporter of preserving heritage properties to being a life member of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, and an active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), she definitely has her hands full. In 1969, Kumari then seven, won the National Air Rifle Championship followed by the Arjuna Award. Modest as she is, Kumari finds the attention given to her childhood quite unnecessary. However, she adds, "Shooting came very normally to me as our ancestors were all hunters and shooters. My father was really good at shooting and he started teaching me from a very young age and that’s how it all began.” Just as shooting was something passed on by her ancestors, her love for books was imbibed from reading the tomes on history, tradition and the many books and written accounts pertaining to the period of her grand and great-grandfather that were at home. “But nothing was kept in an organised manner, they were all kept in a dusty store until my father decided to put them in order. At that time I was in college and he would ask me to help him.

Thus, started the process of categorising all the different files according to the periods. And there was a huge amount of information for someone who wanted to learn," she shares. Kumari’s first book The Lallgarh Palace — Home of the Maharajas of Bikaner was a piece of cake as accessing the archives was pretty simple. “By that time the archive was nicely organised and information was mostly available within the palace. I did very little research outside the walls of the palace."

Talking about her book Palace of Clouds that was recently unveiled by Maharaja Gai Singh of Jodhpur, the 59-year-old says, "It is a logical progression from my previous two books — the first one was about the palace and the families of the five generations who lived there, the second was about the Maharajas of Bikaner — the content was all there, it just needed to be tied up with me, becoming a contemporary representative of theirs. I would say the book is semi-autobiographical taking information from previous two books and linking up with this one,” she adds. Kumari feels a strong sense of duty to her ancestry. “I try and keep the history alive through looking into various heritage properties and various trusts that my father has created. And also through these books. In my own way, it is a way of paying tribute to my ancestors.” After three books, is she planning to pen a fourth? “Right now I’m completely exhausted. I won’t be able to write a letter if you ask me,” she laughs, adding, “But I suppose, when the first book is out of print then maybe I will revive it. And instead of making it just about the palace, I might work on palaces and forts of Bikaner and make it into a coffee table book."

-http://www.asianage.com/life/more-features/190718/princess-diaries.html, July 19, 2018

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Planning for Madras Week begins in right earnest

The organising committee of the Madras Week 2018 is inviting individuals, groups and institutions to be a part of the event, to be held in August. “We want people from all parts of Madras [Chennai] to participate. Those who have old photos and things that relate to old Madras can start an activity in their respective areas and we will guide them,” said Vincent D’Souza, Editor, Mylapore Times. The organisers said that participation is a purely voluntary effort by those wanting to organise programmes during the week. Madras Week will be held between August 19 and 26. This year, city hotels will once again be enthusiastic participants. Some will be venues for talks, while others will host art and photographic exhibitions, besides organising other festivals. Art galleries have also taken to this event in a big way. And so have diplomatic missions and their cultural centres. Senior journalist Sushila Ravindranath said, “When we first started we went around asking hotels for space. But now they come and ask us what we have planned and support us." Battle re-enactment
Colours of Glory Foundation is organising a pictorial exhibition on the military history and a battle re-enactment. “The re-enactment, being staged by the NCC cadets attired in period costumes, is that of the Battle of Colachel (August 10, 1741) between a Dutch East India Company force and the Travancore Army, resulting in the Dutch being trounced, the first and only instance of a native Indian force decisively defeating a European one,” said Capt D.P. Ramachandran, founder and managing trustee of the Foundation.

Govt. participation
Writer-historian V. Sriram recalled how the government acknowledged the Madras Week last year. He said that it would be good if it collaborated with the organisers and held some activities this year. Several IT companies that organised programmes last year are planning to do more this year. As are several social and sports clubs, Rotary Club, and cultural centres. A special effort is being made to host events in Tamil as well. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Chennai Chapter is organising walks, exhibitions, awareness programmes, and workshops to create awareness of the city’s tangible and intangible heritage. Those who are planning events are requested to send in details by email to editor@madrasmusings.com and to themadrasday@gmail.com. Details received will be put up on the website.
www.themadrasday.in.

-https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/planning-for-madras-week-begins-in-right-earnest/article24465937.ece, July 20, 2018

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A Stone That Sings? 2500-Year-Old ‘Ringing’ Rock Discovered Near Krishnagiri!

Did you know that rocks could compose melodious and soothing musical notes? Interestingly, Lithophones have been around since the dawn of human civilisation, and the oldest known specimen is from the Devonian Age, 350 million years ago! Closer home, ancient Indians were considered musical connoisseurs for their esoteric implementation of man-made Lithophones as an architectural element. The best examples of this include the Nellaiappar temple (8th century) in Tirunelveli, Vijaya Vittala temple (15th century) in Hampi, Madurai Meenakshi temple (16th century) and Suchindram Thanumalayan temple (17th century); all of which have musical pillars. However, the discovery of a 2,500-year-old lithophone in Anjetti, an isolated village in Krishnagiri district opens up a whole lot of mysteries! The ‘ringing’ stone which is 3¾feet long, four feet wide and about 2¾ft tall, was discovered by a team of hero stone experts comprising Sugavana Murugan, K Parandhaman and S Anbarasu from Krishnagiri District Historical Research Centre (KDHRC). The team found that the ancient rock had 98 cupules that made ringing sounds upon being struck.

“The sound was similar to the one when two metals are struck. The ringing ability of the rocks is due to its acoustic nature,” said Murugan, who had previously documented hero stones in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, to The Times of India. Cupules are circular man-made hollows on the surface of a rock or a rock slab as defined by archaeologists. To this date, it has not been understood why ancient man created such depressions. “Perhaps they were somehow related to mother goddesses of the now-defunct fertility cult of the ancient people, for whom megaliths were temples apart from burials or memorials.

If that is the case, chances are this may be a female or goddess stone. The engravings seem to indicate that it may belong to a period prior to the Iron Age or Chalcolithic period,” said Subhashis Das, Kolkata-based senior labyrinth expert. According to Srikumar Menon of Bengaluru’s National Institute of Science, this is an important discovery from the Megalithic era. The team intends to study the area further with the help of carbon dating, as many megalithic monuments, dolmens, cairn circles as well as a ruined labyrinth have been unearthed in abundance in Anjetti.

-https://www.thebetterindia.com/151520/news-2500-year-old-lithophone-anjetti-krishnagiri/, July 20, 2018

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