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November 2017

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Spotlight on tribal dance

The Jharkhand chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) has decided to celebrate World Heritage Week here by educating schoolchildren of the city about a major ingredient of Jharkhand's vibrant heritage - its tribal dance forms. World Heritage Week is celebrated across the globe every year between November 19 and 25, mostly by school and college students, in order to increase awareness about the importance of preserving cultural heritages. Intach has begun to approach English medium schools in the city whose students are generally unaware of the state's performing art forms. "Culture is an intangible heritage that forms the identity of a state or a country. We decided to bring it to the threshold of schoolchildren who otherwise are hooked to the Internet. This would be an opportunity for them to know Jharkhand better," said Intach Jharkhand co-convenor Amitava Ghosh. Dance forms like Paika, Dasai, Firkal and Kharswan and Manbhum Chhau will be staged by professional artistes in six schools of the city. Intach resource persons will also tell children about the background of the dance forms so that they relate to them when they watch the performances. "There are stories behind every dance forms. There are dances of celebrations, hunting, martial arts and war. Students will get to learn many things," said Ghosh.

- https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/jharkhand/spotlight-on-tribal-dance-182389, Nov 1, 2017

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The Mairie all set to stand tall again

Amid the tug of war between heritage conservationists and the Public Works Department (PWD) over rebuilding the Mairie, the iconic 19th century landmark which collapsed in 2014, the project for revival is now almost complete with the government going ahead with its plan to rebuild the structure using modern materials. Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy is expected to lay the foundation stone for rebuilding the landmark on Thursday. “The project will be implemented by the Project Implementation Agency while the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is the architectural consultant. The construction is expected to be completed in 12 months with World Bank assistance,” said A. Arul, senior architect of INTACH. While the PWD had been pitching for reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and cement mortar and cement plaster, INTACH’s preference was for lime mortar and ‘Madras-terrace roof’ technique. INTACH experts pointed out that structures built in the traditional way have a much longer life. In contrast, the buildings built with so-called modern technique using RCC just 35-40 years ago are already in dilapidation. The proponents of modern techniques and materials take the line that good quality lime for traditional construction is not available any more, while torchbearers of the traditional way aver that the raw material required for lime or cement is actually good quality limestone. Just like the original. According to Mr. Arul, “The new structure, including the pile foundation, will be modelled on the original structure using modern materials. The new building will have a multi-purpose hall and the office of the Municipal Commissioner on the ground floor. The first floor will include the office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.” Built in 1870-71, the building was an important landmark in the city and formed a part of an ensemble of important structures such as the old lighthouse, Customs House and French consulate on the Goubert Avenue. Considered a symbol of French colonial power, the French named the premises as ‘Town Hall’ (Hotel De Ville) which housed the office of the Mayor of the Puducherry Municipality, the Municipal Council, the Registry and other offices, including the office of Registrar of Births and Deaths. ‘Harbinger of democracy’. “It was the biggest administrative building for 100 years and a symbolic landmark during the French regime. It was in this building that the first attempt at democracy for Puducherry was tried out during 1870-1900 long before the first general elections were held in British India,” according to Ashok Panda, co-convener, INTACH. The building housed the Legislative Assembly of Puducherry for four years from 1964 (when the first general election was held in the wake of de jure transfer of power) before the Assembly was shifted to the present premises in 1969. It also provided facility for marriages and other public functions. The eastern and western façade of the two-storied building featured arcaded entrance verandahs on high plinth accessed by a broad flight of steps in dressed granite. The first floor had coloured galleries and a large ceremonial hall with wooden flooring, he said. Having braved the elements for over 100 years, this building started showing signs of decay with the cement plaster peeling off from the ceiling, and started crumbling in 2012 with one part remaining closed. The main part of the building was cleared out and the offices were shifted after it was declared unsafe. The building collapsed under the impact of incessant rains in November 2014.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/the-mairie-all-set-to-stand-tall-again/article19956768.ece, Nov 1, 2017

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River island Majuli aiming to become country's first carbon-free district

Ecologically sensitive Majuli is set to savour a unique tourism experience this month. The world's largest riverine island---known for its neo-Vaishnavite Satras dating back to the 15th century, the art of traditional mask-making and Raas festival---is aiming to become the country's first carbon-neutral district. The Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) is going to launch the 'Majuli Sustainable Tourism Development Project' (MSTDP) on Wednesday featuring daily cycle rides to different Mishing villages and Vaishnavite Satras where guides will narrate the history of the place, tales and legends of the mystic island to the tourists, said ATDC chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah. "Under the project, at least 30 rock rider bicycles will be used for rides as part of the carbon-free travel experience on the island and to create an environmental protocol for the tourism industry," he said. The MSTDP will be managed by Root Bridge Foundation, an NGO promoting sustainable tourism practices in northeast India. There will be different kinds of rides-cycle rides for students and only-women tours where the visitors can experience authentic village life and learn about Sattriya culture. The cycles will be available for rent from the Circuit House campus at Garamur in Majuli. Local youths will play guides to visitors, explaining the history and myth of the river island. Tourists will be able to take a peek into the lifestyle of the people on the island, the folklore and culture associated with them, as also explore their art and crafts. "The project also envisages different levels of interventions consisting of capacity-building programmes and catalyst funding for women and indigenous communities who are working in the field of art and craft," Baruah added. ATDC said the entire programme is designed in such a way that the benefits of tourism is shared by the host communities.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/river-island-majuli-aiming-to-become-countrys-first-carbon-free-district/articleshow/61386437.cms, Nov 1, 2017

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Odisha to preserve Assamese litterateur's residence

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced that the state government will take up the renovation and conservation of Assamese litterateur late Lakshminath Bezbarua's heritage residence in Sambalpur. The government will preserve the heritage property at its own expense. "I and the people of Odisha have immense respect for Lakshminath Bezbaroa. The state government will renovate his residence in Sambalpur at its cost and take care of it," Patnaik said. "With this, I hope the cultural ties between the two states will be reinforced." Patnaik made the assurance while meeting Assam's Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley and Chief Minister's Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami here. The Minister and the official are in Odisha as per Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's direction to take up the matter with the state government here. The government assured that it would desist from any action leading to demolition of the heritage building. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, a non-profit, will be assigned to prepare the renovation plan. Initially, Rs 50 Lakh will be spent on renovation, said Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda. Hrishikesh Goswami thanked the Odisha government for the proactive measure to preserve the residence. Before meeting the Odisha Chief Minister, they had visited Bezbaruaha's residence on Monday and interacted with district administration in Sambalpur. Notably, Sonowal on October 27 talked to his Odisha counterpart Patnaik over phone and requested him for the preservation of the residence, which is intrinsically associated with the emotions of the people of Assam. Born in 1868, Bezbarua enriched Assamese literature with his essays, plays, fiction and poetry. He is popularly known as Rasharaaj or the king of humour for his satirical writings.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/features/nawazuddin-apologises-withdraws-memoir/articleshow/61354478.cms, Nov 1, 2017

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In a first in Tamil Nadu, Srirangam temple bags Unesco award

The Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam has bagged an award of merit from Unesco for protecting and conserving cultural heritage, thus becoming the first temple from Tamil Nadu to grab the prestigious honour from the UN body. The traditional method of renovating temple premises as well as re-establishment of rainwater harvesting and the historic drainage system in preventing flooding are the two key parameters that earned the temple the award.

Launched in 2000, Unesco Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation programme is aimed at acknowledging the efforts taken to restore and conserve historical structures without affecting their heritage value in the region comprising 48 countries. Unesco had invited applications earlier this year to submit conservation projects either taken up by individuals or in public-private partnership model in the last 10 years for the awards. Subsequently, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department of Srirangam temple applied for the awards in May. As the results of the awards given under four categories were disclosed by Unesco Asia-Pacific on Wednesday, Srirangam temple was the only religious centre from south India to find a mention under 'Award of Merit' category.

HR&CE sources said that the temple had received the international recognition for the Rs 20 crore (from HR&CE and donors) renovation project taken up prior to a consecration ceremony in November 2015, especially without affecting its centuries' old architectural design. "The communique received by us cited the traditional construction method involved in reworks and re-establishment of the historical sewage system as parameters for receiving the international award," P Jayaraman, joint commissioner of the temple, told TOI. In 2015, restoration work was carried out in the entire temple complex by craftsmen who had in-depth knowledge in traditional architecture involving the usage of limestone and chemical-free construction practices. Similarly, the flooding problem in the temple was overcome by re-establishing historical water harvesting and drainage system, and the waste water after re-treatment was used for watering the garden within the temple. There were 43 applications from 10 countries for the 2017 Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Mumbai's Christ Church and Royal Bombay Opera House were the other monuments in India that received the Award of Merit this year. The awards are classified under four categories -- Award of Excellence, Awards of Distinction, Awards of Merit and Award for New Design in Heritage Context. They are being given to encourage the efforts of all stakeholders and the public in conserving and promoting monuments and religious institutes with rich heritage in the Asia-Pacific region. A jury comprising nine international heritage conservation experts reviewed the documentation of the conservation project taken up by Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple management.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/in-a-first-in-tn-srirangam-temple-bags-unesco-award/articleshow/61427765.cms, Nov 2, 2017

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ASI approves excavation at site of Mahabharata’s ‘house of lac'

After years of requests by archaeologists and local historians, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally approved the excavation of what locals believe is the site of the 'Lakshagriha', the house of lac which features in an important incident in the Mahabharata. The site is located in Barnawa area of Baghpat district. Retired ASI superintending archaeologist, (excavation) KK Sharma said, "Lakshagriha plays a significant part in the Mahabharata. The Kauravas had built the palace out of lac and planned to burn the Pandavas alive, but the brothers escaped through a tunnel.

The structure was located in what is now Baghpat, at the site called Barnawa. In fact, Barnawa is the twisted name of Varnavrat, one of the five villages that the Pandavas had demanded from the Kauravas to settle in after their exile." Speaking to TOI, director (excavation) of ASI Jitender Nath said, "After a thorough study of the proposal we have given licence to two ASI authorities, Institute of Archaeology in Red Fort, Delhi, and our excavation branch, to jointly conduct the excavation." According to ASI officials, the excavation will begin in the first week of December and will continue for three months. Students of the Institute of Archaeology will also participate in it.

Asked about the religious significance of the site, Dr SK Manjul, director, Institute of Archaeology, said, "It will not be appropriate to say anything on the religious aspect of this site as of now. We chose this site primarily because of its proximity to other important sites like Chandayan and Sinauli. In Sinauli, excavations had revealed an important Harappan-period burial site. We had recovered skeletons and pottery in large quantities in 2005. Similarly, a copper crown along with carnelian beads was found in Chandayan village in 2014." The crown was found by local archaeologist Amit Rai Jain and the find had been reported by TOI. Though not much remains at the site, its most significant part is the tunnel inside the mound, which the Pandavas may have used to make their escape. Krishan Kant Sharma, associate professor, department of history, Multani Mal PG College Modinagar and secretary of Culture & History Association, "No one has ever ventured too deep into the tunnel as it has several turns. But maybe now this excavation will map its length."

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/asi-approves-excavation-at-site-of-mahabharatas-house-of-lac/articleshow/61428457.cms, Nov 2, 2017

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Aurangabad nominated for UNESCO World Heritage City

Maharashtra may soon get its first city with UNESCO's World Heritage City tag. The state government is working on nominating Aurangabad for the prestigious label, which will ensure restoration of heritage sites and boost tourism in the town. So far, only Ahmedabad in Gujarat, which is an over 600-year-old walled city founded by emperor Ahmed Shah, has been given the status, making it India's first world heritage city. With a history dating backing to the 2nd Century BC, Aurangabad was part of a trade route linking Ujjain to Ter near Osmanabad. It has a rich heritage complete with fortifications and gates, palaces, caves, akhadas (wrestling schools), religious sites like dargahs, temples, gurudwaras, gram daivats (village deities), and hamams (public baths)

. "This is the first such proposal from Maharashtra seeking the status of a World Heritage City for a city. We will send it to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for scrutiny, and it will, in turn, forward it to the UNESCO," said Tejas Garge, Director, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. He added that they had asked the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation for a list of heritage monuments and their conservation status, legal provisions and measures taken for their upkeep. Called 'Rajatadag' during the Satavahana era, Aurangabad is also known as the 'City of Gates' because of the 52 gates built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, of which only few survive today. Dulari Qureshi, a local historian and a member of the divisional commissioner's heritage committee, said that to get the status, maintenance of these monuments was as important as their heritage values.

Qureshi added that Aurangabad had monuments ranging from the palaces of Abyssinian general Malik Ambar, who is credited with founding Aurangabad, or Khidki, as it was known in the 17th century, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and his General Pahad Singh Bundela. While the nearby Ajanta and Ellora caves, which are also UNESCO world heritage sites, are tourist attractions, Aurangabad city too has 12 ancient caves with sculptures located in the campus of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, which were built between 1st century AD to 7 century AD. Qureshi said that the gates in Aurangabad were surrounded by encroachments and stressed on the need to maintain and protect such monuments. "Industries can adopt each gate," she suggested. In October 2016, the state cabinet had approved the conduct of procedures for declaring Aurangabad as a World Heritage City. The state government will appoint a conservation architect to prepare a proposal in this regard. The directorate is also working on an archaeological guidebook of Aurangabad district, which will be published soon.

Aurangabad fell on the trade route connecting Ujjain to Ter via Burhanpur, Ajanta, Bhokardhan and Paithan. It was called 'Rajtadag' during the Satavahan era. It consists of historic and heritage sites like Bibi Ka Maqbara and Panchakki. Malik Ambar, a high-ranking Nizamshahi nobleman, is credited for laying the foundations of modern day Aurangabad as 'Khadki. The city served as Aurangzeb's capital in the Deccan for a while. Later, it was also the made the capital of the Asaf Jahi dynasty by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It has also been ruled by the Marathas It was part of the Nizam of Hyderabad's princely state before it was merged into the Indian union in 1948.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-aurangabad-nominated-for-unesco-world-heritage-city-2557105, Nov 2, 2017

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Painstaking work restores Mumbai’s structures to former glory

All four heritage structures of Mumbai that were among the winners of the UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation announced Wednesday saw painstaking conservation work for months before they were recently restored to their former glory. Three of the projects had been undertaken by conservation architect Vikas Dilawari, and one by architect Abha Lambah. The Awards of Merit were given to Byculla’s Christ Church and the Royal Bombay Opera House, apart from honorable mentions for the Bomanjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower in Fort and the Wellington Fountain in Colaba. Charles Duckworth, the administrator of Christ Church, said he was not expecting the honour, and that it had come as a surprise. The 19th century church on Claire Road in Byculla was one of the last Neo Classical structures to be built in the city. It was constructed for the convenience of then city Governor Montstuart Elphinstone to attend Sunday Mass at a church closer to his home in Parel than the St Thomas Cathedral in Fort. It was restored by Dilawari’s firm over a period of one year between 2015 and 2016.

UNESCO’s award citation states that the building had suffered from “earlier inappropriate repair works that disguised and diminished its cultural value”. The Royal Opera House was brought back to life on October 18 last year after lying in dereliction for 23 years. “The award is a validation of the work that the whole team put in for eight years. It is also a validation of the fact that privately owned heritage can reach high levels of conservation without any government support and can also turn a dilapidated building around into a dynamic, vibrant cultural centre,” said Abha Lambah, the architect who worked on the project. When the team began work on the project in 2006, it was confronted with severe structural damage to the building. The greatest challenge was to repair the structural damage and make it modern without compromising on its heritage. “We had to insert modern air-conditioning, lighting and high quality acoustics that are required for today’s performances without compromising on its historic value,” added Lambah.

The team relied on old photographs of the structure to reconstruct it, including the old balconies. The BH Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower was brought back to life in a restoration effort by the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in January this year after lying in a dilapidated condition for years. Built in 1882, the clock tower was erected with public funds as a token of appreciation for Bomanjee Hormarjee Wadia, a prominent citizen. “We are gratified and pleased for Vikas Dilawari who did such a difficult job of restoring a building on the verge of collapse. It is not just a conservation effort but also an engineering feat,” said Maneck Davar, chairman of the KGA. The clock tower was restored to its former glory after painstaking work of eight to nine months. While restoring the structure, its location posed a major challenge. “Since it is at a traffic island, we had to be very careful that nothing falls onto the vehicles below,” said Dilwari. The teakwood beams had rotted and fallen down and tree roots had grown into the structure, making it unsafe.

After providing scaffoldings, the conservationists used stainless steel pins to hold the heavy basalt stones together. While restoring the structure 100 per cent, Dilawari ensured that all old materials were reused save for a concrete slab. “We reused all the old wooden beams which could be salvaged and restored. We only had to replace the earlier stone slab and cast a new concrete slab. When the structure was constructed, it had some inherent defects, which were revealed only with time.

We corrected them as well without making any changes to the exterior,” added Dilawari. To prevent flooding within the structure after the road level around it increases, the team also restored an old drain. “By restoring the 19th century street landscape features, which were otherwise ignored, they have added meaning to the surroundings,” he added. Dilawari’s firm also worked on Wellington Fountain, opposite Regal Cinema in Colaba. The 152-year-old fountain was built to commemorate the frequent visits to Bombay of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. The restoration work was funded by Mahindra & Mahindra, while experts from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage also assisted in restoring the fountain’s original basalt and metal surface, which had been hidden over the years by layers of paint.

- http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/painstaking-work-restored-mumbais-structures-to-former-glory-4920108/, Nov 3, 2017

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Heritage loses out in school repairs

An INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) report submitted to the government has said that work on two buildings of Government Central High School, Attakulangara, cannot be accepted as restoration work. The report to Minister for Education C. Ravindranath says documentation of the heritage building on the campus was not done before the work was taken up. The restoration is currently at a stop after INTACH submitted a memorandum to the Minister in August expressing concern over the work not being suited to preserving a heritage structure. It had called for the restoration being taken up with assistance from conservation experts. The report was prepared by conservation architect Pankaj Modi who had been entrusted by the Thiruvananthapuram chapter of INTACH to study the buildings on the school campus.

Mr. Modi, director of the Bengaluru-based Centre for Heritage Initiatives, was accompanied by Hemachandran Pillai, former Director of the Department of Archaeology here, and school heritage cell member Asha Gopinathan on his visit to the school. The report said that flat arches in the heritage building could collapse over time as doors and windows had been removed without supporting the arches. Reasons for removal of pillars and front verandah in the heritage building could not be ascertained owing to lack of documentation before the work was started. In the other two buildings, ornamentation was introduced in the pillars and replastering done using cement mortar.

The report did not find a problem with the load bearing walls of the heritage building. The truss system was fine except in places where the tiles were broken or where these had been removed at the southern end. The report makes seven recommendations for restoration of the buildings, including documentation of the buildings in their present stage, restoration of the roof and replacement of broken tiles, and reconstruction of verandahs. INTACH convener Shaji Krishnan said that with the rain coming down, the heritage building could suffer as there was not much overhead protection. The technology and worksmanship used in heritage buildings were different from that in modern buildings, and the government should continue the work by roping in a conservation architect. “A lot of money is being spent on the school, and we hope this report is made the basis of any future work by the government.”

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/heritage-loses-out-in-school-repairs/article19971026.ece, Nov 3, 2017

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Century-old Krumbiegel Hall in Lalbagh collapses

The over 100-year old Krumbiegel Hall in Lalbagh has collapsed. Years of neglect by the horticulture department appears to be the cause. The lecture hall, named after Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, who served as superintendent of Lalbagh between 1908 and 1932, was one of the oldest heritage structures inside the historic botanical garden. While the facade still remains standing, the entire middle portion of the Greek-style structure has caved in. The exact date of the collapse is not known, although conservationists believe it could not have been more than a few days ago. “We had first approached the horticulture department in 2010 to restore it and have been requesting them to take steps to conserve the structure ever since,” said Meera Iyer, co-convenor, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), explaining that the building slumped because of prolonged government apathy and indifference. “The hall had vegetation growing out of it. The waterproofing was completely damaged because of which the plaster was gone. Forget maintenance, the horticulture department was using it as a dumpyard.” Also referred to as the Horticulture Lecture Hall, the structure bore the emblem of the Mysuru royal family - the Gandabherunda (two-headed mythological bird) on the facade. The Pompeian red structure sports Corinthian-style columns below triangular pediments. Earlier this year, when Gustav Krumbiegel’s greatgranddaughter Alyia Phelps Gardiner Krumbiegel made her maiden visit to Bengaluru, the horticulture department assured her that the heritage hall will be preserved. “Years of neglect has made restoration work difficult and expensive. The lime and mortar base used by British builders cannot be replaced by regular cement or plaster of paris. It requires skill and resources to restore a complicated structure like that. The Krumbiegel Hall has witnessed the unfurling of the story of Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, and that alone makes it a reason to preserve it,” Alyia had written in a Facebook post. Even after its collapse, restoration seems to be stuck in government red-tape. Dr Jagadeesh, joint director of horticulture (parks & gardens), told ET that the Archaeology Department did not take up restoration because the structure was not a listed heritage building. Apparently, the tourism department had stepped in. “The structure collapsed because of the rain. We will take the matter forward with urgency now. We have completed the conditional assessment,” he said. “We cannot renovate it since it is difficult to get the same kind of materials, expenses are higher and it will not be too long-lasting. So we will re-build it like it was. But I cannot commit to how early it will be done as it is subject to availability of funds, permissions from higher-ups and many other factors.” Artist Suresh Jayaram, an authority on Gustav Krumbiegel who has been pushing for the structure’s restoration, said the government’s unwillingness to restore the structure hints at vested interests for the land on which the hall stood.

- https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/century-old-krumbiegel-hall-in-lalbagh-collapses/articleshow/61638911.cms, Nov 13, 2017

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Jaipur's Nahargarh Fort is the site of India's first Sculpture Park; to display leading artists' works

The city of Jaipur will be the first in India to get a Sculpture Park. Located within the premises of the Madhavendra Palace in the city’s iconic Nahargarh Fort, the park is a first-of-its-kind endeavour where an Indian state has collaborated with a non-profit to support contemporary art. The partnership between the Government of Rajasthan and Saat Saath Arts aims to boost cultural tourism to the site. Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, had earlier announced, “The sculpture park at Nahargarh fort will be the first permanent international art space in Rajasthan drawing people from far flung parts of our state and the Indian subcontinent as well as from across the world, bringing them together to share and celebrate diverse international creative expressions.” For a nominal fee of Rs 20 (for Indians) and Rs 50 (for foreigners), people will be able to view cutting-edge contemporary sculptures by top-notch Indian and international artists. Displayed both indoors and outdoors, the exhibition is planned to be an annual fixture. This year’s edition will have artworks by 16 Indian and 8 international artists, including Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, LN Tallur, Huma Bhabha, Aastha Butail, Anita Dube, Vibha Galhotra, Reena Kallat, Bharti Kher, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Manish Nai, Gyan Panchal, Prashant Pandey, Thukral and Tagra, Ravinder Reddy, Asim Waqif, Benitha Perciyal, James Brown, Stephen Cox, Evan Holloway, Matthew Day Jackson, Hans Josephsohn, Arlene Schechet and Arman. Some of the notable works on display include Jitish Kallat's "Annexation" (2009), LN Tallur's "Chromatophobia" (2012) and Arman's "Fried Chicken" (1984). Another highlight is the seven sculptures in Hydrocal plaster by Arlene Schechet. For the artists, the park is a great medium to showcase their work. Thukral and Tagra, who are displaying some of their work in iron, granite, terracotta, marble, wood, nylon and mica, said they were glad to be a part of the project. The duo works collaboratively in a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, installation, game theory and design. "It's a great initiative. We need more authorities to support the arts," they said. The Saat Saath Arts Foundation works towards international exchange between India and the rest of the world through the visual arts and education initiatives. Apart from working with museums and galleries across the world, the foundation also raises additional funds for exhibitions which include Indian artists in international institutions. Aparajita Jain, founder and director of the Foundation said that the initiative aims to promote India's growing interest in contemporary art and culture while bolstering its significant legacy. “The sculpture park at Madhavendra Palace is a true amalgamation of the best of India's past and present, made possible through a unique collaboration between the public and private sector,” she said. The park has been curated and designed by Peter Nagy, director of Nature Morte Art Ltd. Nagy envisaged the exposition as a means to bring together modern and traditional arts and to explore diverse perspectives. He essentially selected artists who worked with everyday domestic objects. “For most of my career as a gallerist and curator I have been trying to break away from the white-box exhibition space. With this project, I am able to indulge my passions for art, architecture and décor into a marvellous synthesis of the past and the present,” he said. Future plans for the project include several outreach and education programmes with fashion shows and music performances.

- http://www.firstpost.com/living/jaipurs-nahargarh-fort-is-the-site-of-indias-first-sculpture-park-to-display-leading-artists-works-4206211.html, Nov 13, 2017

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Monument mapping

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) begun documenting the monuments at Prachi Valley from the Bakreswar Temple at Bhinjarpur near the state capital on Sunday. The archaeological remains of temples and sculptures, starting from the early historic to the medieval period, dot the valley that originates from the Kuakhai river and covers approximately 60km. The Prachi is a tributary of the Mahanadi, flowing through Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur, and is considered to be the holiest river in the state, often called the eastern Saraswati. According to archaeological evidence, the valley civilisation predates both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Traditions confirmed by local chronicles revealed that most valley monuments, which are now in different stages of decay, were constructed between the seventh and 15th century AD. Intach's state convener Amiya Bhusan Tripathy said an important realm of Odisha's history was incomplete without proper listing and documentation of the monuments along the entire stretch of the river. "Many of the old monuments have disappeared in recent years, making it all the more necessary for proper listing of the existing vestiges," he said. Bhubaneswar chapter convener S.K.B. Narayan said along with the tangible heritage, the intangible attributes such as the rich oral tradition, customs, festivals and folklore too would be documented. Project co-ordinator Anil Dhir said the six-month project would document nearly 350 monuments, including temples, mutts, ghats, structures and sites. He said the entire stretch of the river till the estuary would be surveyed and a comprehensive report made.

- https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/odisha/monument-mapping-185540, Nov 13, 2017

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Retracing Buddha’s steps

Just 10 km north of Varanasi, the chaotic spiritual capital of India, is a quiet oasis of calm and tranquility. With desolate rambling ruins and stupas, prayer wheels, thick groves and meditative silence, it is a venerated Buddhist site. It was here, around 530 BC—just five weeks after he had found enlightenment—that the Buddha gave his first-ever sermon. Sarnath, derived from Saranganath, means ‘Lord of the Deer’. It harks back to an old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva takes on the form of a deer and offers his life to a king, instead of the doe he is planning to kill. The king is deeply touched and creates the park as a sanctuary for deer. Sarnath was also called ‘Isipatana’ denoting the place where holy men or devas fell to earth. In the seventh century, when the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang visited Sarnath, he found 3,000 monks living here. In the 12th century, Sarnath was razed by the Turks. “Except for the Dhamekh Stupa, much of the site lay in ruins for almost a millennium,” explains our guide. It was Col Mackenzie in 1815 and later Alexander Cunningham in 1834, who started systematic excavations in Sarnath, uncovering many of its priceless treasures. Sarnath today is a major place of pilgrimage, both for Buddhists from India and abroad. Today most of the ruins are found in one place protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Mud paths meander their way between monuments and ruins. The lofty brick mound of the Chaukhandi stupa is the first monument a visitor encounters in Sarnath. Built in 5th century AD, this was marked the place where Buddha first met his five companions. This was a terraced temple in the Gupta period. Later in 16th century, an incongruous octagonal tower on top of the stupa was added by Raja Todarmal’s son, to commemorate the visit of Emperor Humayun. In the lush, manicured lawns, sitting under massive trees are a group of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka listening to a lecture by their leader. A short walk away is the gargantuan Dhamekh Stupa that glows orange in the afternoon sun. I am dwarfed by its gigantic proportions as I walk around the structure of shiny Chunar stones bound with iron clamps. This ancient stupa was enlarged during different time periods. It is said to mark the spot where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples, after attaining enlightenment, revealing his Eightfold Path. The façade has brick work with eight niches in eight directions. Below them runs a string of beautifully carved stones with geometric designs, floral patterns and human figures. The pattern seems to mimic the designs of the original cloth-covering called devadushya, which was wrapped around the stupa. North of the stupa is the ruins of the main complex of the Mulagandhakuti Temple and vihara where, according to Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha meditated during the rainy season. The temple’s courtyard has scores of small shrines and votive stupas. Close by, under a protective structure stands the 8-foot stump of the famous Ashoka Pillar, which was damaged during the Turkish invasion. The pillar bears three inscriptions—the edict of Ashoka in Brahmi, the second added in Kushan period and the third in early Gupta script. As I walk through the groups of monastic ruins with cells, I imagine the haunting spectacle of rampaging Huns and later Muslim invaders as they destroyed all the monuments. I sit by the stupa under the shade of a tree, watching devotees circumambulating the stupa, chanting the mantra “Buddham, Saranam, Gachhami”. The new Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is a welcome break from the overwhelming history in Sarnath. Situated amidst the brick ruins of ancient Sarnath, this modern temple was erected by the Maha Bodhi society in 1931. The insides of the temple have some ethereal frescoes of the Buddha’s life painted by the Japanese painter, Kosetsu Nosu. You can also see the Bodhi tree whose sapling was brought from a tree in Sri Lanka. This Bodhi tree in turn originated from the original tree under which Buddha sat in Bodh Gaya and gained enlightenment 2,500 years ago. We round off the day with a visit to the Sarnath Archaeological Museum.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/spirituality/2017/nov/11/retracing-buddhas-steps-1697076.html, Nov 13, 2017

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INTACH lashes out after heritage building is painted with graffiti

The decision by shoe manufacturing company Puma to paint the wall of a heritage building in Chawri Bazar in old Delhi with graffiti, as part of an advertisement campaign, has led to backlash from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The walls of the building, which figures in the supplementary list of heritage sites, were painted over a month ago, but the matter was brought to light by INTACH’s Delhi Chapter Convenor Swapna Liddle on Sunday. Head of Marketing at Puma India, Debosmita Majumder, said that “all necessary permissions were sought”. The supplementary list of 554 Heritage Sites — notified under section 23 of the Delhi Building Bye Laws, 1983 for Conservation and Protection — states that “no advertising signs shall be displayed without the prior approval of the authority”. Liddle said, “The law clearly states that no development or alteration shall be allowed without permission from different authorities, including vice-chairman of the DDA, and commissioner of the municipality.” She added that before granting permission, the agency has to act in accordance with the advise of the heritage conservation committee. Two other buildings in the vicinity have also been painted. The owner of the building in question, Arun Khandelwal, however, said the structure is not a heritage building and the company had taken permission from him before shooting the advertisement. “The area is looking better now, it is more lively,” he said. “This is a private property and the graffiti is making the area look more beautiful. If there is something on which action needs to be taken, it is how the walls of the Old Delhi are defaced by posters and advertisements,” he added. Liddle, however, said, “The building was painted very inappropriately causing permanent damage to the carved sandstone, limestone plaster and Lahori bricks. Those who made and approved this advertisement, those who stood by while this was done, are all responsible for this insensitive treatment.” The building is also categorised as a ‘haveli’ and a private property, according to the supplementary list of 554 Heritage Sites on the Delhi government’s website.

- http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/intach-lashes-out-after-heritage-building-is-painted-with-graffiti-4936295/, Nov 14, 2017

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Jain priest finds 10th Century sculpture of Mahavir in Kanchi village

A 3ft-high rock sculpture of Mahavir, the 24th and last Jain Tirthankara, has been discovered in Vayalakavur, a remote village near Uthiramerur in Kancheepuram district. After inspecting the sculpture, Jain scholar K Ajithadoss said it dated to the 10th century AD, adding that the stylistic pattern shows it was sculpted during the later period of Jainism in presentday Tamil Nadu. The sculpture of Mahavir in sitting posture was found in the backyard of a private property in Vayalakavur, 26 km from Uthiramerur, by Jain priest Jeevakumar. "The sculpture was lying neglected and covered under the bushes. I went to the site after a villager told me about it. The three umbrellas on the sculpture have been damaged. As the villagers were not aware of its significance, they did not preserve it," said Jeevakumar, who has discovered many sculptures of Tirthankaras in the Kancheepuram region. This is the 10th sculpture of Tirthankaras discovered by the priest at the Jain temple in Thirukalukundram whose devotion to Jainism made him survey the stretch with funds from his own pocket. Many sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras have been discovered from Uthiramerur, showing it was once a main centre of Jainism. "Buddhism and Jainism flourished in present-day Kancheepuram during the 6th century. Chinese scholars Fa Hian and Hiuen Tsang also visited the town. They have recorded the significant influence of Jains in the Pallava kingdom particularly in Kanchi. The nearby Jinakanchi-Thiruppruththikundram was a very famous centre of Jainism and had a highly celebrated mutt called Jina Kanchi Mutt. It was shifted to Mel Sithamur near Tindivanam," said Ajithadoss. Even though a number of Jain sites have been excavated by heritage enthusiasts and scholars in the state, they are not being given adequate attention by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the state-owned department of archaeology. "Jainism once flourished in the Uthiramerur stretch. Ancient sculptures of Tirthankaras found at many places here testify to this. But there has been no proper documentation or study so far to establish this, which is unfortunate," said Ajithadoss. "We plan to make a shelter with the help of villagers to preserve the sculpture," he said.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/jain-priest-finds-10thc-sculpture-of-mahavir-in-kanchi-village/articleshow/61637647.cms, Nov 14, 2017

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Shekhawati havelis turning into history

The rate at which the frescoed havelis of Shekhawati region, part of the rich cultural heritage of the state, is being demolished, they may soon become memory. Of the 500 havelis that existed some time ago, only about 160 remain, that too when there is a ban existing on demolishing heritage havelis in Sikar and Nawalgarh. On Sunday evening, one more haveli turned into rubble, barely 30 feet away from the Nawalgarh nagar palika office. "Recently, four to five havelis have been sold. More than 50 havelis have either been demolished," said a resident. On Sunday evening, one more haveli turned into rubble, barely 30 feet away from the Nawalgarh nagar palika office. 'Havelis are brought down gradually'. Ironically, this has happened when the World Bank (WB), along with the Cities Alliance, has chosen Nawalgarh for the pilot project to provide technical assistance (TA) to the Rajasthan government for the 'Inclusive revitalization of 40 historic towns and cities'. "The demand for havelis is being driven by new heritage lookalike properties and real estate prices in Nawalgarh. They first dismantle doors, windows and 'jaalis' and sell them for lakhs. The structure is brought down gradually. Last night, one such haveli was demoloshed adjacent to the main market,," said Shankar Saini, a resident and crusader of Viraasat Sarankshan Sangh Shekhawati. Earlier, following reports of the sale of Goenka haveli in Dundlod town and another one in Nawalgarh, the district collector of Jhunjhunu had issued orders banning construction, repair or renovation of havelis as well as the sale of these heritage structures. In April 2015, the divisional commissioner of Jaipur also had directed the collectors of Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts to prohibit the sale of havelis in the Shekhawati region and prevent construction or repair that may damage the heritage look of havelis. But, the Goenka haveli was brought down, said Saini. In the recent past, Batiyon ki Haveli too was demolished and a market has come up in the area. "The Jhunjhunuwalon ki Haveli, Jaipuriya and Chaar havelis were brought down earlier," he said. The proposal to protect heritage structures, meanwhile, lies in limbo as the state government has not yet constituted the heritage development council (HDC). "I have spoken to the collector of Jhunjhunu and asked him to take immediate action to prevent the demolition of havelis. The HDC has not been constituted so far and the proposal is still in the draft stage," admitted Manjit Singh, principal secretary, local self-government department. The heritage devpt council. The state local self-government (LSG) department was to constitute the heritage development council (HDC) to preserve and restore ancient havelis in the Shekhawati region. The council was to identify and prepare a databank of heritage assets in the region, and make recommendations to the state government on declaring heritage assets as protected and regulated under relevant rules. The council would also be authorized to acquire rights in heritage assets by way of purchase, lease, gift or bequest for the purpose of conservation. But the council has not been constituted so far.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/shekhawati-havelis-turning-into-history/articleshow/61639144.cms, Nov 14, 2017

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Seven years on, J&K still waits for formation of heritage conservation body

Srinagar’s Draft Master Plan – 2035 has an entire chapter dedicated to ‘Natural and Cultural Heritage’ and its conservation strategy includes 28 diverse tasks. The only problem: More than one-third of these tasks fall under a non-existent body, the Jammu & Kashmir Heritage Conservation & Preservation Authority (JKHCPA). The state passed its own Heritage Conservation and Preservation Act in 2010. Taking up the task of preserving tangible and intangible heritage, the act called for the formation of an authority ‘for the purpose of exercising powers and performing the functions assigned’. Seven years have passed but the body responsible for implementing the act has still not been formed. Only two meetings have been held for its formulation and both have failed to appoint staff members. In 2013, the state cabinet created posts for the JKHCPA which still lies vacant. Saleem Beg, the state convener of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage). was part of the initial meetings to formalise the authority. “We wanted Urban Development to take the charge but it was seen as a technical department so the authority fell under the Department of Culture” he said. Dilshad Khan, Secretary to the state’s culture department responded to queries by saying “You can contact the ‘director’ ”. The JKHCPA doesn’t have a director, Khan later clarified that she was referring to the Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums. The said directorate falls under Khan’s department. When its director was contacted, he clarified that it’s the Department of Culture which is responsible. Though different government bodies were contacted for information about the JKHCPA, everyone remained clueless. This obliviousness affects the future of conservation in the state. The nine tasks the JKHCPA has in the Srinagar Development Authority’s (SDA) Draft Master Plan include comprehensive mapping of heritage buildings, socio-economic surveys and conservation under public-private partnership. When asked about JKHCPA’s role, Khan said, “It doesn’t have anything to do with the draft plan”. The question on how the tasks will be achieved without a functioning body remains unanswered. The SDA’s senior town planner, Farzana Naqashbandi has worked for two years with her department on the draft plan. Yet, on being asked why a non-functioning body was given tasks on conservation, she struggled to clarify. INTACH’s convener was not surprised with the responses and points to other problems with the draft master plan. “They’ve taken our data but interpreted it in reverse manners. Conservation happens in the entire cityscape, not by identifying specific buildings as the plan does.” he said. The plan divides the city into two zones for conservation, a division which is the opposite of INTACH’s four zones. Identifying historical sites has also taken a priority, yet for a city like Srinagar treating historical sites in an isolated manner may prove difficult for its long term conservation. The city has for long suffered from encroachments on land and on water bodies which form its heritage, further the issues of insufficient sanitation, road and drainage networks add to the woes. “When you take a monument out of its surroundings, it lose its context. After the militancy, bureaucrats have become security conscious, they don’t move out, which means they don’t know what they’re doing” says Beg. If the master plan is any indicator, the JKHCPA is needed for the long term policy on cultural mapping, community development, and urban design with regards to heritage. But if the last seven years are a testament, the body is absent.

- http://indianexpress.com/article/india/seven-years-on-jk-still-waits-for-formation-of-heritage-conservation-body/, Nov 15, 2017

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India's First World Heritage City Races to Rub the Soot Off Fragile Icons

Traffic chokes the centuries-old stone archway into Ahmedabad's historic quarter, the snarl of honking rickshaws and sputtering buses coats the monuments of India's only heritage city in a greasy layer of soot. Conservation experts warn Ahmedabad, one of the world's most polluted cities, faces a mammoth task defending its newly won UNESCO status as its fragile cultural icons decay under neglect, traffic and trash. The 600-year-old enclave was named India's first 'World Heritage City' in July -- despite warnings from some of UNESCO's own experts that it lacked a convincing plan for protecting its ancient citadels, mosques and tombs. Ahmedabad hosts the towering Bhadra fort, the legendary stone latticework of the 16th-century Sidi Saiyyed mosque, and countless relics fusing the unique Hindu and Muslim architectural styles of its conquerors. Authorities hope the global recognition from the UN's cultural body will restore community pride in the crumbling, garbage-strewn old city.

"They themselves also will be slightly more restrained in dirtying the places," said P.K Ghosh, chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s heritage conservation committee, of the city's inhabitants. But many families that once fastidiously tended to ornate wooden homes in the old city are leaving in droves for the comforts of the modern city outside, tired of shabby living conditions. Treasures in ruin. Jagruti Vyas, a long-term resident, hoped the UNESCO listing would bring standards in her dilapidated neighbourhood into line with newer areas beyond the old city's walls. "We hope to see similar changes, such as this part of the city becoming cleaner," she told AFP from the narrow doorway of her wooden home. But it is the pressures of modern Ahmedabad -- the chronic air pollution, crushing traffic and chaotic urban sprawl -- that experts say are also rapidly eroding its cultural capital. The cramped heritage district was never built for cars, yet today thousands of trucks and rickshaws are diverted through its narrow lanes and alleys. The grinding congestion tears apart roads and fouls the air with fumes, streaking stone-carved monuments with black exhaust stains. Long-flouted laws banning construction near heritage sites have also hampered efforts to save Ahmedabad's treasures from ruin.

In the heart of the old quarter, just the dome of a medieval mosque is visible behind a tangle of shops, electricity wires and flats illegally erected around the sultanate-era relic. Ornate homes have been torn down and replaced by garish structures "totally incongruous" with history, said Ghosh. He said the heritage listing would give teeth to those safeguarding Ahmedabad's architectural heritage. "There will be stricter enforcement of the rules. "Pulling down the exquisite old architectural pieces will not be easy now," he told AFP. Challenge starts now. Some long-neglected quarters, sealed off from the outside world by labyrinthine alleys, are well beyond restoration. Many traditional 'pols' -- clusters of settlements identified by UNESCO as bearing "enormous" historical value -- are all but abandoned, the iconic wooden homes collapsing from neglect.

A small boy was injured in October when a balcony caved in, while at least two people died in July when monsoon rains brought whole houses crashing down, media reported. Once grand havelis -- beautiful multi-level wooden mansions -- are being rented to poor migrants and businesses looking for warehouse space. Conservation architect and old city expert Khushi Shah said Ahmedabad was "one of the most unique urban settlements in India" that could not be recreated once it was gone. "The city which we call a 'living heritage entity' will no longer be so if people start moving out," she told AFP. Ahmedabad's conservation committee has three years to document close to 3,000 buildings of heritage value to strict UNESCO standards -- a monumental task for Ghosh's small team. UNESCO could revoke or downgrade Ahmedabad's listing to "heritage in danger" should the deadline be missed and the committee fail to show it has slowed the decline and destruction of the old city.

Jigna Desai, associate professor at CEPT University's architecture faculty in Ahmedabad, said the coveted UNESCO inscription would mean little if there was nothing left to protect. "How do you make sure that this evidence does not deteriorate, that the evidence stays for the world to see, or the next generations to see?" she told AFP. Ghosh's deputy at the heritage council, P.K.V Nair, agrees: "Getting the listing was one thing, now meeting that challenge is more important."

- http://www.news18.com/news/india/indias-first-world-heritage-city-races-to-rub-the-soot-off-fragile-icons-1579571.html, Nov 16, 2017

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Animal conservation: Tiny tots show the way

Children of the Delhi Public School had a fun-filled day at the annual day celebrations here, which began on Wednesday. Children of the Pre-primary school celebrated “The Pangean Carnival” with the theme to protect endangered animals. Priyanka Varghese (OSD to Chief Minister) along with Kalyan Chakravarthi (Special Secretary, Environment & Forests) were present on the occasion. “Our children must be taught to love animals and to be the defenders of environment for tomorrow. It is a celebration to join hands together and learn the language simplicity and innocence. The children are taught the value of preservation of nature; hence we have Haritha Haram programmes for all classes,” said the principal.

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2017-11-16/Animal-conservation-Tiny-tots-show-the-way/339625, Nov 16, 2017

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Heritage walk in bird paradise

From the coins used in Baroda state centuries ago to history of Vishwamitri River and Parsi community in the city, Barodians will be able to see and experience their past as it was. A group of citizens has come together to celebrate the week-long People's Heritage Festival from November 18 to November 26. Nature lovers can watch the migratory birds during the natural heritage walk organized for the first time at Dabhoi's Wadhwana Lake and those having keen interest in heritage structures can choose from a number walks in the city apart from attending seminars and lectures. Also on cards is celebration of the city's 506th year of existence. The World of Vishwamitri: An informative exhibition of photographs that documents the river that starts from Pavagadh hill and snakes through its way through the city and flows into the Gulf of Khambat. Art conservator Chandrashekhar Patil has documented the river's different aspects including its crocodiles, the ecology, bridges over it and Chhatris of the Gaekwad rulers. City's Parsi connection: An exhibition chronicling the connection of the Parsi community with erstwhile Baroda state has been organized near Parsi Agiyari.

Navsari was a part of the state of Baroda and there was a strong connection between Parsis and royal Gaekwads. Dadabhai Navroji started his public life in Baroda state as the dewan to Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1874. Dinosaurs in Gujarat: It is believed that dinosaurs had walked on the earth in Gujarat. Environmentalist and author Neelkamal Shah will exhibit images of the Rajasaurus Narmadensis also popularly known as Narmadasaurus whose skeletal remains have been found in India and confirmed by paleontologist Paul Sereno who identified this new species. Also on display will be images and information about site locations and fossil excavation. Home Museums: A new concept has been introduced to ensure that citizens having collection of a fascinating array of products can put it on display.

The collectors will be display their collection at their homes during particular hours of the day during the heritage week. Those interested in watching the collection ranging from artworks to antique items and historical artefacts can visit the homes. Walk through city's history: Heritage lovers can get new perspective about the city and its history by visiting the historic monuments and buildings along with green zones. Several walks have been organized during the week including that at Sayajibaug, M S University, Kala Bhavan, Kirti Mandir, Food Walk and nature walk at Dabhoi's Wadhwana Lake for watching migratory birds.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/heritage-walk-in-bird-paradise/articleshow/61664996.cms, Nov 16, 2017

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INTACH to document heritage of Prachi Valley Civilisation

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has launched a project to document the monuments of Prachi Valley in Odisha, where a civilisation believed to be earlier than that of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, flourished on the banks of a river. The entire stretch of the river till the estuary will be surveyed and a comprehensive report made through the six-month project - Documenting the Monuments of the Prachi Valley, Chief Project Coordinator Anil Dhir told PTI. Work for the project commenced from Bakreswar Temple in Bhinjarpur near Bhubaneswar last week.

The Prachi river, a tributary of the Mahanadi, originates about 10 kms from Bhubaneswar, he said. It flows through Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur districts, and this region is called the Prachi Valley. Archaeological evidence shows the Prachi Valley Civilisation predates both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, Dhir said, adding that recent archaeological excavations have revealed rich findings and more excavations have been planned.

State Convener of INTACH, Amiya Bhusan Tripathy said without proper listing and documentation of the monuments in the entire stretch of the Prachi river, an important realm of Odishas history remains incomplete. "Many of the old monuments have disappeared in recent years, which make it all the more necessary for a proper listing of the existing vestiges," he said. Local chronicles show there are around 350 to 400 monuments including temples, maths, ghats, structures and sites constructed during the 7th century to the 15th century along the 60-km stretch of the river, both Dhir and Tripathy said.

During the six-month project, the INTACH team would document nearly 350 monuments, most of which are now in various stages of decay. "We are planning to involve local stakeholders, villagers, students and temple authorities of the region in the project," Dhir said. The project will be of immense help in rediscovering the history and past civilisation of Odisha, he said. Even though Prachi is a small compared to some of the other rivers of Odisha, it contains hidden treasures of a magnificent past, he said. Similar to early civilisations like the Aryan, Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian, the Prachi Valley Civilisation, too, flourished on the banks of a river.

Prachi Valley Civilisation has contributed a lot towards amalgamation, assimilation and proliferation of different religious faiths and cults, Dhir said. Major religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Saivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism grew chronologically, without attacking the religious and philosophical sentiments of the people of those days, he said. The river now runs dry for most of the year and only in the monsoons does it bear any resemblance to its glorious past. This once-navigable river is now virtually dead, but is steeped in history. Many artifacts are frequently excavated, and surface finds of pot sherds and carvings are often discovered, Dhir said. S K B Narayan, Convener of Bhubaneswar Chapter of INTACH said along with the tangible heritage, the intangible attributes like the rich oral tradition, customs, festivals and folklore would also be documented. PTI SKN RBT

- http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/intach-to-document-heritage-of-prachi-valley-civilisation/1/1091487.html, Nov 17, 2017

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Museum awaiting greater patronage

Visitors to the capital city have many options to explore the rich cultural legacy of Kerala, but there is just one place that has the dance forms of the State and the rest of the country as its reigning theme. The Guru Gopinath National Dance Museum, located at the exquisitely designed Guru Gopinath Natana Gramam in Vattiyurkavu, is a place that deserves more attention than it currently gets. It has been nearly two years since the Natana Gramam (dance village) and its dance museum, functioning under the State Culture Department, was thrown open to the public. It was set up to promote ‘Kerala Natanam’, a dance form nurtured by dance maestro Guru Gopinath and his wife Thankamani. Today, the Natana Gramam is an ideal gateway to the world of culture and arts.

Constructed in traditional Kerala architectural style, the cultural complex has galleries displaying figurines of performers of diverse dance forms, particularly the Kerala Natanam, Kathakali, and Mohiniyattom, and ritualistic dance forms such as Theyyam. There is a whole section dedicated to dance mudras, mounted on walls. The museum displays an interestingly diverse collection of photographs and audio and video materials. The Natana Gramam organises a six-day festival every year, bringing traditional art forms from different parts of the country and the world on a single stage.

Wax museum
The institution houses a wax museum that gives visitors a glimpse of dance forms from the far corners of the world. It also has frescoes and reliefs done with taste. The galleries focus on history and evolution of dances, tribal, folk, classical, and temple dances of Kerala; dances of India and the world; and the dance pursuits of Guru Gopinath. “Natana Gramam is one of the most beautiful museums in the State showcasing the diverse art forms of India, but we have poor visibility and, as a result, public participation in our programmes are minimal,” says Natana Gramam vice-chairman K.C.

Vikraman, reflecting on the poor turnout for the events at the complex through the year. But things could be changing, as was seen in a three-day drawing and sculpture workshop for children organised by the cultural complex in association with the Kerala Lalitakala Akademi over the past two weeks. “Guru Gopinath’s daughter is right now making a documentary on him and that should help popularise this cultural complex as well,” hopes Natana Gramam secretary Sudarsanan Kunnathukal.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/museum-awaiting-greater-patronage/article20461807.ece, Nov 17, 2017

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INTACH to protest Krumbiegel Hall demolition

Following the demolition of the Krumbiegel Hall in Lalbagh Botanical Garden, members of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) will organise a peaceful protest at the Double Road entrance to the garden on Sunday at 10 a.m. The protest is being held to voice their objection to the Horticulture Department razing the 100-year-old structure, which was renamed to honour Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, who was superintendent of Lalbagh between 1908 and 1932. For years together, the department failed to take up restoration of the hall despite conservationists requesting the department to do so, said Meera Iyer, co-convener, INTACH. “We are questioning the gross neglect of the historic building by the department, which led to its collapse recently, and also the department's decision to demolish the building without any expert opinion or public consultation,” said Ms. Iyer.

Protesters also want to highlight the necessity of having a law to protect public heritage buildings. “Other countries have a heritage law in place to protect their urban public heritage structures. Most of these building are restored and reused. We need a similar law. Also, why should the Horticulture Department be in-charge of heritage and historic structures. There must be an independent agency to take care of such public structures,” said Yashaswini Sharma, an architect. “Krumbiegel Hall is no more, but let this be the last building we lose,” said Ms. Iyer. “We will also be demanding the department to take immediate steps to restore the old aquarium building inside Lalbagh,” she added. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Horticulture, Lalbagh, issued a statement on Saturday saying that inspection by CIVIL-AID Techno Clinic Pvt. Ltd.

found the hall to be unstable and not in a state to be restored. Based on the report, the department had roped in INTACH to give an estimate for rebuilding the structure and the job was entrusted to the PWD Department, the statement said. But, due to some reason the work could not be taken up. However, Ms. Iyer termed it misleading and said: “INTACH had presented estimates to the department for conservation and restoration of the hall and not its rebuilding."

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/intach-to-protest-krumbiegel-hall-demolition/article20933324.ece, Nov 20, 2017

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INTACH opens new chapters in Haryana, Raj, Chhattisgarh

Expanding its footprint, heritage body INTACH has opened a new chapter each in Haryana, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, taking the total number of its branches to 200, a senior official today said. A non-profit organisation established in 1984 and headquartered in New Delhi, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) works on protection, conservation and promotion of tangible and intangible heritage. "We are marking the World Heritage Week (November 19-25) and happy to share that three new chapters have been recently added to our list. Hisar Chapter in Haryana opened early this month," the senior INTACH official told PTI. He said in Rajasthan, a joint chapter has been launched for three towns of Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu, while in Chhattisgarh, a chapter has been started in Khairagarh. "The three towns in Rajasthan are filled with old havelis, forts and palaces. And so it is fitting that we have a chapter to cover that historic area. In Hisar also, the city is rich in heritage," he said.

According to the official, the new chapter in Chhattisgarh has been started in an art university in Khairagarh, considering the tribal culture of the region. "So, now we have 200 chapters across the country," he said. In November last year, the heritage body had opened a chapter in the historic city of Darbhanga in Bihar and prior to that in December 2015, in silk city Bhagalpur. Gaya and Sitamarhi have also been on INTACH's radar but, still facing some challenges. "In Sitamarhi, we got good response but not the required number of volunteers we need to get the specified number of members and life members, required for starting a chapter. "In Gaya, we are in touch with faculty at Magadh University to mobilise support for membership, but we have not got good response at all so far," Bihar Chapter Convener Prem Sharan rued. The ancient city of Gaya, is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mahabodhi Temple, and the iconic Vishnupad Temple, besides a large number of colonial-era buildings.

The Gaya Collectorate, District Board building, District Engineers Office, the Dakbungalow, are some of the oldest heritage buildings in the city, known for the time distinct architecture and red colour. Besides, it is also dotted with several private mansions and palatial houses, many of which are in ruins, and immediate need of restoration. INTACH has chapters in all major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Shimla, Patna, Ahmedabad and Bhopal. The new chapters are likely to give boost to documentation and preservation of heritage in the three states.

- http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/intach-opens-new-chapters-in-haryana-raj-chhattisgarh-117112000835_1.html, Nov 20, 2017

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INTACH to infuse new life in Bezbaroa houses

Conservation and renovation of the house of doyen of Assamese literature Lakshminath Bezbaroa near Nelson Mandela Chowk here will be carried out by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The INTACH has started initial work for renovation of the building. The renowned Assamese writer and poet stayed in Sambalpur for 20 years from 1917 to 1937. He had constructed two houses near Nelson Mandela Chowk in 1924. Bezbaroa was residing in one of the houses while the other was being used as his office. Member of INTACH, Sambalpur Chapter Deepak Panda said experts have already inspected both the houses.

The building, which was being used as office by Bezbaroa, is in more dilapidated condition than his residential house, he said.Panda said the office of Bezbaroa requires immediate attention and INTACH has started preparing the detailed project report (DPR) and estimate for renovation of the building. The DPR will be ready within a fortnight and renovation of the office will begin after the DPR and estimate is prepared. The State Government has announced `50 lakh for renovation of Bezbaroa’s house, he said. Panda, who is also the Convener of Laxminath Bezbaroa Smruti Committee, said they will submit a proposal to the Assam Government to develop a cultural exchange centre, library and museum by utilising both the houses.

Earlier, there was plan for demolition of Bezbaroa’s house for construction of an approach road to the under construction second bridge over Mahanadi river and development of rotary junction at Nelson Mandela Chowk. However, the demolition plan led to public outcry in Assam after it was reported in the media. Subsequently, Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal took up the matter with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik. Later, Cultural Affairs Minister of Assam Naba Kumar Doley and Media Adviser to Chief Minister, Assam Hrishikesh Goswami visited Sambalpur. They also called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the issue at length following which the State Government took a decision to conserve and renovate both the houses of Bezbaroa.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/nov/20/intach-to-infuse-new-life-in-bezbaroa-houses-1705732.html, Nov 20, 2017

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Odisha urges INTACH to expedite conservation, renovation of Bezbaruah house

Fulfilling its commitment for conservation and renovation of house of the noted Assamese novelist and poet Laxmikant Bezbaruah, the State tourism department today wrote a letter to the Director, INTACH for submission of estimate of the renovation expenditure. In a letter, Additional Secretary to tourism department, Dr NB Jawale requested INTACH to furnish the DPR and estimate for conservation and renovation of house of Bezbaruah.

"I am directed to request you to furnish the DPR and estimate for conservation and renovation of house of Bezbaruah, (Assamese novelist and story writer) at Sambalpur", the letter read. Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced that Odisha Government will take up steps to conserve the ‘heritage home’ of Assamese litterateur Laxminath Bezbaroa in Sambalpur. Notably, Naveen had made the announcement after a meeting with Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s media advisor Hrishikesh Goswami at the State Secretariat on October 31. The CM had committed apart from conserving the dilapidated structure, Odisha Government would also take up renovation work of it, shortly.

Later the Chief Minister had taken to twitter and wrote,” Happy to share that my Government will renovate house of Assamese poet Laxminath Bezbaruah in Sambalpur & convert it into a heritage site". Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, who was present in the meeting, informed that the renovation work would be undertaken with the help of INTACH, an autonomous non-governmental Indian non-profit society that seeks to preserve Indian culture and heritage. The initial project expenditure has been kept at Rs 50 lakh and the Assam Government would be communicated to send 'personal items' used by Bezbaruah in due course to be placed in this heritage home. A four-member team led by Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley had visited the heritage residence of Bezbaruah located at Kacheri Chhak in Sambalpur on October 30. The visit succeeded Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s call to Naveen on October 27, urging him not to demolish the Bazbaruah house for construction of an approach road to the newly constructed second overbridge on river Mahanadi.

-http://pragativadi.com/odisha-urges-intach-expedite-conservation-renovation-bezbaruah-house/, Nov 20, 2017

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After Krumbiegel fate, all eyes on aquarium

The Lalbagh Botanical Garden is home to some of the city’s oldest historical structures: the now-demolished Krumbiegel Hall, the Dr. M.H. Marigowda National Horticulture Library, the Glass House and the aquarium building. The over 150-year-old Marigowda Library, which was also in a dilapidated condition, received some good news when the Department of Horticulture flagged off conservation work in the building earlier this year. According to the department, the work is likely to be completed within one-and-a-half months. But, the equally old aquarium building is still waiting to be restored. The circular building was originally a menagerie, housing birds and animals, and was opened to public in the early 1860s. It was later converted into an aquarium. It eventually fell into neglect and for the past few years has been lying abandoned and unused.

“The aquarium was one of the three buildings INTACH had approached the horticulture department for restoration. We are still keen on restoring it,” said Meera Iyer, co-convener, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). It has a unusual building plan and can be restored and re-purposed as an interpretation centre, which the garden really needs, she said. “Once restored, the building can be used to give information to the visitors about the history of the garden, its trees, birds, shrubs and butterflies. And perhaps it could named after Krumbiegel, which would be a fitting memorial to his memory,” she said.

M. Jagadeesh, Joint Director, Horticulture, Parks and Gardens, said: “According to a technical report given by a private agency, both the aquarium and the Krumbiegel Hall were found to be unstable structures. So even if repair was done, the report said that the buildings may not survive for long. But, we are in talks with the Law and the Archaeology department to work out a plan for renovating the aquarium.”

-http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/after-krumbiegel-fate-all-eyes-on-aquarium/article20667905.ece, Nov 20, 2017

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Heritage festival organized

Bhartiya College of Education, in collaboration with INTACH Jammu Chapter, launched World Heritage Week, here today. On this occasion, a Heritage Festival was organized, which comprised of cultural tableaux by various groups of students. Dogra cultural stall exhibited Dogra Festival of “Rutt Rahre” and “Bachh-Doa”, Rakheidey, Bahu Mela and ethnic food items. Kashmiri stall also presented the scintillating folk culture, folk arts and folk songs, along with Kashmiri cuisine. Kerala stall presented marriage songs, Onam Festival, ethnic food stall etc. The Himachali Jhanki had made folk Rangoli, presented marriage songs, food items and Himachali Art and Craft while Punjabi stall had a mix of art, craft, songs, dance etc. Subash Dogra, ACR Udhampur, was chief guest on the occasion.

He was accompanied by Ashok Khajuria, Chief Planning Officer Udhampur. Dr S K Magotra, Principal GDC Udhampur, Dr Chander Shekhar, Principal GCW Udhampur , Dr K C Sharma, president Dogra Heritage Society, S.M Sahni, convener INTACH Jammu Chapter, Kuldeep Wahi, Co-Convener INTACH Jammu, S Manmeet Singh, Chairman Ranjeet College of Education Jammu and Madhu Khajuria, Chairperson of the college were the special guests on the occasion.

- http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/heritage-festival-organized/, Nov 20, 2017

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Tourism deptt organises heritage walk

Celebrating the world Heritage Week, the department of tourism Kashmir in collaboration with The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) organised Heritage Walk for the students who were made aware about prominent heritage and architectural sites of the in downtown. Around 75 students from Kashmir University and Architectural College Bemina participated in the program. The students walked through heritage corridor from Mughal era stone Mosque Pathar Masjid where from they moved to Budshah tomb and also Khanqah-e-Moula Shrine. Experts from INTACH and Architectural College Bemina were the recourse persons who provided the students information about the heritages sites in the old city. As the day coincides with the World Fisheries Day, the students were taken to Faculty Of Fisheries at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST) Shuhama as part of the natural heritage programme. The students got to see the trout farms where the experts provided them the information about the trout farming and other natural habitats.

The third and the last part of the day was for natural bio-diversity program for which students were taken to Dal Lake where they were apprised about the aquatic bio-diversity. In addition heritage walk, the department also organised FAM tour for the locals travel agents to SPS Museum where they were given information by the curator about the artifacts. On the second day tomorrow, the department in collaboration with Kashmir Unvirsity will organise seminar at Nigeen Club, Srinagar. Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said old city in Srinagar is an important heritage corridor which needs to be promoted.

“We organised this programme for the students of the tourism studies from Kashmir University also who can tomorrow become resource persons for our heritage sites. The heritage is an important aspect of tourism which is attracting travellers from across the globe," said Shah. He said revival of heritage walk will help us tap niche tourism and high-end travellers.

- http://www.risingkashmir.com/news/tourism-deptt-organises-heritage-walk-, Nov 20, 2017

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Special exhibition at MIT to commemorate heritage week

A special exhibition is being held at Marathwada Institute of Technology (MIT) College till December 3 to mark the ongoing heritage week. The event has been organised by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). It evoked a good response on Sunday, the second day after its inauguration. The event aims to inspire people through awareness to join the cause for heritage conservation. INTACH convener Ajay Kulkarni said, "The theme of the exhibition is 'Heritage & Us.' We aim to sensitise citizens about the cause of heritage conservation. The exhibition tries to inculcate the significance of heritage among citizens and their responsibilities towards preserving centuries old legacy." The exhibition showcases some of the fine examples of cultural assets in the entire country as well as Aurangabad and its precincts. The exhibits include replicas of monuments, handicrafts, cuisine, attire, festive decorations and natural heritage.

"Besides general public, we have also specially focused on school students. We have reached out to many schools with an appeal to ensure their students visit the exhibition. Awareness is the first step towards conservation. If the young generation is aware about the heritage they have inherited, they will strive to conserve it," organisers said. The exhibition also focuses on spreading awareness about proper maintenance of monuments. For demonstration purposes, few successful examples of conserved heritage structures in the city are also on display at the exhibition. "We believe that the exhibition could act as a great source of information. It could motivate people to get to know more about the heritage we have and how we can take care of it through collective efforts. We appeal to citizens from every walk of life to visit the exhibition," Kulkarni added.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/special-exhibition-at-mit-to-commemorate-heritage-week/articleshow/61810221.cms, Nov 20, 2017

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Documenting Deccan’s Coin Collection

The department of archaeology — in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) — has documented coins from different eras, with the help of a Deccan College professor. More than 700 coins made of different materials like copper, lead and silver have been photographed and documented in the research, conducted by Shahida Ansari, associate professor in epigraphy, palaeography and numismatics. Most of these coins were in the possession of the college, but this is the first time that they have been systematically catalogued. Speaking to Mirror about the research, Ansari said, "This research can be treated as a dictionary for those who wish to study coins, since we have clearly documented the coins and put in coloured pictures of them. Also, the metal, shape, measurement, weight, thickness, obverse have been mentioned on the right side of the image, along with a remark mentioning its estimated age and dynasty. Generally, when such a catalogue is made, the attached pictures are not clear enough to understand the inscriptions on the coins."

The coins documented in the research are from the 6th Century BC onwards to the era of East India Company. The 741 coins from the Deccan College museum come from South India, Central India and Western India. These have been collected over the various excavations carried out by the Deccan College since its conception. The study was done for a period of two years, from 2015 to 2017, and was funded by INTACH, Delhi. The research will be published as a monograph and will also come as a virtual display on the college website, so that it is accessible for all who hold interest in the subject.

"While teaching my students about the coin, I realised that some of them were in dire need of conservation and if we would catalogue them, the study and documentation of these coins will be beneficial for the students," Ansari added. Sushama Deo, head of the AIHC and archaeology department, felt that the study can work as a motivation for others as well, since not many people pursue this subject for study. "This documentation of the coins of various eras can turn out to be fruitful for students and researchers who wish to study coins, since they will get all the details at one place, something which they had to gather from various publications earlier," she said.

- http://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/documenting-deccans-coin-collection/articleshow/61787143.cms, Nov 20, 2017

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A journey through pre-historic stone tools

In order to celebrate World Heritage Week, a two-day photograph exhibition on archaeological excavations and conservation and a workshop on stone tool, pottery and toy making is being conducted by pre-historic branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in association with Central Museum, Civil Lines, at the latter's premises on Friday. Chief guest Professor Preety Trivedi, head of archaeology department of Nagpur University, inaugurated the workshop on Friday. The exhibition deals with the life of Stone Age people, their toolmaking techniques and hunting strategies. On the display were different kinds of stones used by the early age men, as per their cultural evolution. There was a collection of old blades, fluted cores, ring stones, cleaver lower palaeolithic tools like hand axe, choppers etc. As the metallic ages came later, the above tools were all made of stones and those were used for hunting, cutting trees and such related work by the pre-historic men.

A separate counter demonstrated the art and toolmaking process. The pre-historic men used stones, broke and shaped them and transformed those into proper stone tools. The hall was full of the pictures and depictions of the life of early men along with the required information. Art of sculpture-making was also shown to the people during the exhibition. "The archaeological excavations is a continuous process and we keep discovering new things. My idea behind this exhibition was to make people aware and remove their misconceptions regarding the traditional linear depictions of pre-historic men," said Vijaykumar Nair, deputy superintendent archaeologist and organizer of the workshop. Preety Trivedi stated, "Such exhibitions should be held frequently as the archaeological department depends 90% on peoples' awareness.

It is important to display such artefacts and update the common man about them. This will help people to inform us if they themselves have come across any such findings anywhere in the country." A visitor Ashwini Gorle said, "The workshop is very informative. We have been evolving since ages and we must know about it. I am very fond of knowing about such findings and never miss a chance to attend such exhibitions."

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/a-journey-through-pre-historic-stone-tools/articleshow/61788108.cms, Nov 20, 2017

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A journey through pre-historic stone tools

In order to celebrate World Heritage Week, a two-day photograph exhibition on archaeological excavations and conservation and a workshop on stone tool, pottery and toy making is being conducted by pre-historic branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in association with Central Museum, Civil Lines, at the latter's premises on Friday. Chief guest Professor Preety Trivedi, head of archaeology department of Nagpur University, inaugurated the workshop on Friday. The exhibition deals with the life of Stone Age people, their toolmaking techniques and hunting strategies. On the display were different kinds of stones used by the early age men, as per their cultural evolution. There was a collection of old blades, fluted cores, ring stones, cleaver lower palaeolithic tools like hand axe, choppers etc. As the metallic ages came later, the above tools were all made of stones and those were used for hunting, cutting trees and such related work by the pre-historic men.

A separate counter demonstrated the art and toolmaking process. The pre-historic men used stones, broke and shaped them and transformed those into proper stone tools. The hall was full of the pictures and depictions of the life of early men along with the required information. Art of sculpture-making was also shown to the people during the exhibition. "The archaeological excavations is a continuous process and we keep discovering new things. My idea behind this exhibition was to make people aware and remove their misconceptions regarding the traditional linear depictions of pre-historic men," said Vijaykumar Nair, deputy superintendent archaeologist and organizer of the workshop. Preety Trivedi stated, "Such exhibitions should be held frequently as the archaeological department depends 90% on peoples' awareness.

It is important to display such artefacts and update the common man about them. This will help people to inform us if they themselves have come across any such findings anywhere in the country." A visitor Ashwini Gorle said, "The workshop is very informative. We have been evolving since ages and we must know about it. I am very fond of knowing about such findings and never miss a chance to attend such exhibitions."

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/a-journey-through-pre-historic-stone-tools/articleshow/61788108.cms, Nov 20, 2017

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Prehistoric rock art discovered in Krishnagiri

When hero stone expert Sugavana Murugan and archaeologist S Paranthaman visited the Kalabhairava temple in Krishnagiri a week ago, little did they know that it would take them to an ancient rock painting atop a hill. After visiting the temple, which is under renovation, the duo walked into the nearby Mealpattimalai where they found three paintings in white ochre supposedly created 2,500 years ago. The site is located on the Krishnagiri-Maharajakadi road, five km from Krishnagiri town. The paintings portray human figurines riding horses and other symbols.

"It was not a planned visit. We climbed the hill to check whether there were any prehistoric remains as Krishnagiri is known for sites having prehistoric rock arts and stones. We found the rock art inside a rock dwelling. Remains of some works in red ochre were also visible near these pieces of art," said Sugavana Murugan, who has documented hero stones in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri." The two horsemen are present on either side of the boulder and the symbol which is unidentifiable is seen at the centre of it. So it must have done as a tribute to soldiers who died in a war," said Murugan. Krishnagiri has 16 sites with prehistoric rock art, and they are mostly found on the dolmens and ceilings of rock dwellings. Thalapalli, Myiladumpariai, Oppathavadi and Mudippinayanapalli, Mallachandram and Oramanakunta are some prominent sites where rock art was found. A prehistoric painting of a human figure seated on a hourse with an arm raised, holding a spear, was discovered a decade ago in Mallapadi by the department of ancient history and archaeology of University of Madras. Unfortunately, most of these sites are not taken care of by the state archaeology department or the ASI. Murugan said the same thing could happen to these ones too. "There are many sites in Krishnagiri from where we found prehistoric rock arts and stone tools. But no has taken any interest in preserving it. We are planning to display a board with details of this ancient pieces of art," he said. However, a detailed study is necessary to assess the exact period of the work.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/a-journey-through-pre-historic-stone-tools/articleshow/61788108.cms, Nov 20, 2017

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Karnataka: ‘SELF-SACRIFICE’ Hero Stone Discovered In Coorg

A unique self-sacrifice hero-stone inscription was discovered at Basiruguppe in Torenuru grama panchayat of Somawarpet taluk in Coorg. According to Prof Murugeshi T, associate professor of ancient history and archaeology, MSRS College, the rectangular stone slab of about four feet in height is divided into four sections or panels. On the top first section, there are three lines of writing and fourth line is written on the left side of the stone. The inscription is written in the Kannada script of early 9th century AD. It says that Bhava Gaavunda, son of Naaka Shetty, a chief of elephants, died and some land grants were given. Murugeshi said that among the depictions on lower most section is one of a self-sacrificing man seated on a legged cot with his hands folded upright on his chest.

“He seems to be wearing a headdress like a peta or turban and his eyes are closed. His peaceful appearance clearly indicates that he was ready to selfsacrifice. A man is shown ready with a sword to behead the seated man. In the second panel, the beheaded soul (in t he form of men) is taken by two Gandharva Kanyas (heavenly ladies) to the heaven. In the third panel, he was seated on a two tired seat in a style of Veerasana with two lady attendants by his side are shown standing with a fly– whisk,” Murugeshi said.

“In the early historical period, we saw the practice of velevyali, lenka, garuda, shulabhrama, siditale, sati and nishadi, and many more types of memorial stones in south India. This inscription belongs to velevyalis or lenka type of memorial stones. They were considered as son of the royal home or mane magan, who sacrificed themselves in honour of their diseased royal persons. The writing of the inscription had shown much similarity with the records of Gangas of Talakad. The name Anniga is also commonly found in Ganga records. In Coorg, many Ganga records have already been reported. Thus, the inscription under study is assignable to the Ganga period,” Murugeshi said. The study was supported by Dr Rajashekharappa, epigraphist, and Napanda Muddappa of Arasinaguppe and Rajeshnathji of Yogishwara Mutt of Markanja and Torenuru grama panchayat.

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/karnataka-self-sacrifice-hero-stone-discovered-in-coorg/articleshow/61757660.cms?, Nov 20, 2017

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J&K celebrates ‘Heritage Week’ to preserve, protect its culture

Jammu and Kashmir Education and Tourism Minister Priya Sethi inaugurated ‘Heritage Week’ on Sunday to generate awareness on preservation of the state’s ancient culture and environment. The week-long festival will be celebrated throughout the state from November 19 to 25, and special programmes will be held showcasing the cultural heritage and rich biodiversity of the state. “The state is known for its heritage sites all over the world and various programs related to the historical structures, tourist places and cultural and traditional heritages of the state will be initiated in order to celebrate the Heritage Week," Sethi said.

Illumination of heritage sites, heritage walks and special cleanliness drives will be undertaken by involving tourism, culture, education, urban development and other concerned departments. Pertinently, on November 20, a symposium and painting competition will be held along with a photo exhibition. This will be followed by ‘Food Ethnic Day’ on November 22. On November 22 and 23, an ‘Ethnic Cultural Programme’ promoting the local folk dances and music will be organized and a ‘Heritage Walk’, showcasing composite culture of the state, will take place on November 24. Moreover, a valedictory function will be orgainsed on November 26 to felicitate the personalities and organisations who have contributed towards the preservation and restoration of state’s heritage. (ANI)

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/jk-celebrates-heritage-week-to-preserve-protect-its-culture-2649736/, Nov 20, 2017

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Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal Announces AC Locals To Start Running By December 25

If all goes well, the much-awaited air-conditioned local train will start running as early as December 25. Won't that be a very Merry Christmas then! The AC local announcement came from Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who visited the heritage gallery at CSMT yesterday, interacting with commuters en route. Goyal, who was accompanied by art director Nitin Desai and INTACH vice-chairperson Tasneem Mehta, also proposed grand plans of an extended heritage transport museum for Mumbai. Museum move. Divisional railway officials said the minister has plans to convert the entire CSMT building into a museum complete with outdoor exhibits, representing railway history in a perspective, given the fact that it is the Ground Zero for Indian Railways.

The heritage gallery today is a small room that preserves and displays relics of India's first railway company found along the line. The station building, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, is one of the most important stations around the world. mid-day had recently highlighted how Central Railway and INTACH had joined hands to kick-off phase two of the restoration of the building and that the CSMT's eastern and southern facades that house the heritage gallery are in line for a touch-up. Mehta said, "Railways has been the backbone of India and the great unifier of this country.

Construction of railways changed the way India was. It connected people from the north and the south and built India as one nation. This romance of travel and historical importance of the railways has to come out well." Taking stock. Earlier in the day, Goyal visited Elphinstone Road and Currey Road stations to review work on foot overbridges (FOBs) and other upgrades that are happening after the September 29 stampede. He also went through the designs that were made by the Indian Army for FOBs. Goyal said he was quite happy with the collective efforts of the Army and railway teams, and also with the fact that an additional bridge would soon be ready at Elphinstone Road station.

At Currey Road station, the new bridge has a few issues, as the land belongs to a private party, but railway officials are expected to sort it out at the earliest. A painful end to Piyush Goyal's day. Later in the day, after finishing his visit of the CSMT heritage gallery, Goyal complained of stomach pain. Railway officers immediately called the consulting physician at Bombay Hospital, Gautam Bhansali, to the spot. Dr Bhansali took him to Breach Candy Hospital and got his CT scan done, which revealed a 4mm stone in his right kidney. However, the minister won't need a surgery as the stone is small and will get dissolved with medicines. He has been admitted there for a day's observation and is expected to be discharged today.

- http://www.mid-day.com/articles/railway-minister-piyush-goyal-announces-ac-locals-to-start-running-by-december-25/18778192, Nov 28, 2017

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Experts welcome proposal in revised Master Plan, but separate agency necessary

The first step towards preserving the City’s rich heritage has been taken with the Bangalore Development Authority creating 12 Heritage Zones for the first time in its revised Master Plan 2031, which was made public on Saturday. The following areas in the City have been proposed as Heritage Zones with the number of sites in the brackets: Central Administrative Zone (38 sites); Pete and Bangalore Fort (37); Gavipuram Basavanagudi and V V Puram (66); M G Road (27) Shivajinagar (12); Cleveland Town (10); Richard’s Town (25); Malleswaram (2); Ulsoor (10); Whitefield Inner Circle (3); Begur Temple (2) and Bangalore Palace (3 sites).

While giving a thumbs up to the move, leading heritage experts said that private property owners whose buildings have been brought under the list need to be offered solid incentives as compensation. Yashaswini Sharma, one of the collaborators for the project to build a Hoysala style temple in Kolar and author of ‘Bangalore the early City AD 1537 - 1799’ says it is a very good idea to come out with Heritage Zones. However, there needs to be an implementing agency, she feels. “It is otherwise like a tiger without teeth. For instance, the United States has a Landmarks Law and we need something on similar lines. Without any body to oversee it, how can we ensure it is implemented,” the architect asks. Sharma also stated that private property owners need to be incentivised if their buildings are declared as heritage property.

There are some errors too in the Master Plan, she states. “The Bangalore Palace has been listed as a public building but it is a private property. Also, Kumbriegel Hall and the Old Aquarium do not find place in the heritage list. So, they were already aware that the Hall would be demolished and may be the aquarium would be the next to follow.” Meera Iyer, co-convenor, INTACH Bengaluru, bills it “a great first step to offer recognition to heritage sites.” She also commended the regulations attached to each zone.

“Private property owners need to be offered solid incentives like ‘Heritage TDR’ as is been done in Ahmedabad or very good compensation. Otherwise, the move will not go down well with them. Meera also bemoaned that a lovely, old stone building like the Malleswaram Girls’ Higher Secondary School did not find place in the heritage list while the Basavanagudi Post Office in the list was converted into a modern building years ago. Historian Arun Prasad feels it is a good move particularly in light of the Bengaluru Urban Arts Commission set up to take care of heritage structures gone now. “Monuments are the tangible soul of the City and need to be preserved at all costs.” Prasad added, “A separate agency needs to be set up to implement all the rules proposed.”

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2017/nov/28/experts-welcome-proposal-in-revised-master-plan-but-separate-agency-necessary-1712618.html, Nov 28, 2017

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Chikankari, a Lucknawi art

Lucknow, the largest city of Uttar Pradesh, India, has always been known as a multicultural city. It flourished as a North Indian artistic hub and the seat of power of Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries. But do you know what sets the land of culture, tourism, music and poetry apart? Well, Lucknow is known for its language and the kind of clothing and embellishments women have adorned right from the beginning. And ‘Chikankari’ is one such popular embroidery that has its charm till date. Chikankari is a 400-year-old art, practised only in Lucknow today. It constitutes ‘shadow work’ and is a very delicate and artistic hand embroidery done using white thread on fine white cotton cloth such as fine muslin or chiffon. Yellowish muga silk is sometimes used in addition to the white thread. The work is done on caps, kurtas, saris, scarves, and other vestments. The chikan industry has not only survived but is still flourishing. About 2,500 entrepreneurs are engaged in manufacturing chikan for sale in local, national and international markets with Lucknow being the largest exporter of chikan embroidered garments.

Wondering what we are talking about? Well, recently a book, dedicated to the incredible style of embroidery, Chikankari, was launched in Koel Art Gallery, Karachi. The book has been written by Paola Manfredi, who was born in Italy and has lived and worked in India for over thirty years. With a background in ethnology, she is passionate about textiles and deeply interested in the history of textile exchanges between East and West. Combining scholarly learning with approachability, she has worked with communities to promote the excellence of South Asian craftsmanship, particularly in Aary, Chikankari from Lucknow, and Nakshi Kantha from East Bengal (today Bangladesh). Manfredi is associated with a number of international organizations involved with textiles, crafts development and conservation. Her work has been shown in exclusive exhibitions in India and abroad. The book talks about the history and cultural relevance of Chikankari. Moreover, the book focuses on the work that appeared in Lucknow in the late 18th century and its exquisite aesthetic and craftsmanship. Chikankari is not just embroidery.

In fact, it is a creative blend of delicate work and impeccable dressmaking and sewing techniques - which come together to create art that is legendary for its elegance and finesse. This beautifully illustrated book showcases unknown gems from personal and public collections, and brings to life the history of this unique craft. Various chapters describe the mysterious origins of the embroidery, the range of costumes, the inspirations behind common Chikankari motifs, the time-honoured elaborate production process, and the bewildering array of stitches that raised this craft to its status as a truly exceptional form of art. Now coming back to the launch event! It was a well attended one, where a number of socialites, designers and media persons were spotted. At the event, Manfredi gave a detailed intro about her book, followed by a question and answer session. All in all, the launch was a success. It not only managed to pique the audience’s interest but also revealed the history behind this amazing art.
— Iqra Sarfaraz

- https://www.thenews.com.pk/magazine/you/249520-chikankari-a-lucknawi-art, Nov 28, 2017

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Ideas built to protect Ahmedabad legacy

Being the first world heritage city of India is both an opportunity and responsibility. While on one hand Ahmedabad has a 600-year-old legacy alive in form of monuments, traditional community life flowing across generations in Pols and a unique amalgamation of the antique and modern, real issues of sustaining heritage, improving infrastructure, and providing incentives to keepers of heritage need concrete solutions. Ahmedabad should celebrate its uniqueness while learning from other cities — was the gist of the discussions conducted by heritage hoteliers, conservationists, historians and government representatives who met at the House of MG on Tuesday evening to deliberate on the 'Future of Heritage.'

The event was organized as part of the celebration of World Heritage Week. Representatives of over 30 erstwhile princely states from Gujarat and Rajasthan participated in the event. Abhay Mangaldas, founder director, House of MG and convenor of INTACH, said that heritage hoteliers met in the city and discussed different aspects of conservation and sustainability. "We have two proposals — inspire citizens to adopt a monument and announce the inscribed area of Walled City as Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to provide impetus to craft, culture and tourism," he said. Mangaldas added in his speech that there should be public-private partnership for conservation and he gave the example of the revamped Sidi Saiyed Mosque that now has permanent lighting.

Majaraja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur and Jose Dominic, CEO of CGH Earth Group, took part in the first panel discussion. Singh, in his speech, said that heritage is not just about forts and buildings — it has an intangible aspect to it and suggested that the city should identify its strength as its USP. It is also about involvement of citizens, he added, giving example of the 'Blue City' project. Dominic elaborated on his journey and said that one has to play around challenges and that Ahmedabad's unique Pol culture would appeal to independent tourists. In the second group discussion titled 'Opportunities and Challenges for India's first World Heritage City,' Mukesh Kumar, municipal commissioner, said that the challenge is not resources, but getting the right people for the conservation of the city's heritage. Kumar said that AMC played a major role in unifying all players towards the common goal of getting World Heritage Site status. He said that a plan is already in the pipeline where AMC will help restore private structures. Other aspects discussed at the meeting included encroachments on protected monuments, traffic issues in Walled City areas, government versus private control of monuments and process of preparing the dossier for the city.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/ideas-built-to-protect-city-legacy/articleshow/61841077.cms, Nov 29, 2017

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Rly Min Piyush Goyal proposes global transport museum at CSMT

As Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal visited Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) on Monday, he took the opportunity to propose yet another plan for the maintenance and restoration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apart from a few cosmetic changes, Goyal proposed to develop a World Transportation Museum inside the 129-year-old building. This comes close on the heels of the Central Railway (CR) receiving Rs 10 crore from SBI Foundation for maintaining the heritage structure for the next five years. The minister reached the station in a local train at around 5.10 pm on Monday, As reported by DNA India. According to the Newspaper, while there, he inspected the station’s premises and took a few moments at the concourse to admire the structure’s Victorian Gothic architecture. “There should not be any billboards on the pillars.

The designs on them should evolve and necessary enamelling should be done for restoration,” Goyal told the Central Railway officials. He also met Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s (INTACH) Tasneem Mehta and conservation architect Vikas Dilawari who are supervising CSMT’s restoration. He visited the building’s in-house museum which is currently a room of barely 500 sq ft.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/mumbai/972165/rly-min-piyush-goyal-proposes-global-transport-museum-at-csmt/, Nov 29, 2017

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13-YR-OLD VIKASA SOUDHA GETS INTO ‘HERITAGE LIST’

Move over age-old buildings with architectural marvel with rich history, heritage value and strong connect with the city. There is a grand new entrant into the heritage list: the 13-year old Vikasa Soudha. The draft Revised Masterplan (RMP) 2031, which has introduced heritage zones, has put Vikasa Soudha on the top list of heritage buildings — a property that is nowhere close to being a heritage structure. Perhaps, it's only claim to fame: it's a replica of the 60-year old seat of power, Vidhana Soudha. In fact, Vikasa Soudha was built after bringing down the Government Press building which was a heritage structure.

Built during the chief ministerial tenure of S M Krishna in 2004 at a cost of Rs 150 crore, Vikasa Soudha is on a 7.5 acre plot and has a built-up area of 6.24 lakh sqft. Going by the definition of "heritage building" mentioned in the RMP 2031: ``A building possessing architectural, aesthetic, historic or cultural values,'' Vikasa Soudha does not qualify into this bracket. "It is clearly not a heritage building and I don't understand how the building has made its way into the list. Neither does it have any architectural value, nor a history, or age, to be identified as heritage. The building should have evolved, it should have been a part of the city's history and association and should have some value.

Vikasa Soudha is just a replica of Vidhana Soudha and it cannot be merely classified as heritage just because Vidhana Soudha falls in that category,'' says conservation architect Pankaj Modi. While the RMP 2031 has introduced 12 heritage zones, the first one being Central Administrative Heritage Zone having Vikasa Soudha along with Vidhana Soudha, High Court, GPO and Raj Bhavan. Central Administrative Heritage Zone is the administrative complex for Karnataka government that has large open spaces with important buildings located along axis of roads. There are mostly administrative and public buildings and along with official residences as explained in the masterplan.

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/13-yr-old-vikasa-soudha-gets-into-heritage-list/articleshow/61855518.cms?, Nov 30, 2017

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Need to repaint all shrines:Fire Service tells Govt.

Fire and Emergency Services (FES) has asked the state government to replace the paint of all the historic shrines in Kashmir from conventional to fire-retardant solutions. In the backdrop of Khanqah-e- Maula fire earlier this month, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, directed the officials to conduct fire safety audit of the shrines of Kashmir. As many as five departments apart from the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board were roped in to prepare their recommendations to prevent similar incidents in future. The FES has submitted its recommendation in which they have suggested a slew of measures to make shrines less vulnerable to calamities.

Deputy Director FES, Muhammad Akbar Dar, told The Kashmir Monitor that their department has essentially mentioned replacement of the conventional paint used in valley shrines, as it enhances the chances of spreading fire. “Most of our historic shrines here are purely made of wood and the conventional paint used on it catalyses fire, as was seen in case of Dastageer Sahab shrine ablaze. So, we have asked the government to use fire retardant paint, which is available in the market,” he said. Dar said they have also suggested the installation of advanced suppression system to predict the possibility of fire.

“Under this system the shrine interiors will have an array of glass bulbs, which in case of fire will automatically spray water by detecting the abrupt rise in temperature,” he said. Deputy Director FES said the government needs to equip all the shrines with one lakh liter underground tank. “During Khanqah incident, the water was available, but we had no access to spire. So, we have recommended the government to build a mechanism for protecting entire structures.

Further, water source should be there with monitor and adequate pumps,” he said. Meanwhile, sources revealed that the state government has roped in departments including Power Development Department, Public Works, Public Health Engineering, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), and police to give their expertise in protecting the shrines. “The PDD will suggest technicalities with respect to wiring while other departments Fire services will look into fire safety measures. Similarly INTACH will formulate plan and WAKF is there to implement it,” sources said. They said that the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar will monitor the entire process of fire safety audit of shrines.

- https://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/137741/need-to-repaint-all-shrinesfire-service-tells-govt, Nov 30, 2017

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