Heritage Education in India

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage

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Heritage Alerts
October 2017


ASI officials find megalithic urns on college campus in Tiruttani

The Archeological Survey of India officials have discovered megalithic urns burial presumably three thousand years old inside the premises of Subramania Swamy Government Arts and Science College in Tiruttani - at least 80 km away from Chennai.They found it on September 27.However, due to lack of safety and preservation of the artefacts, many people are either breaking the urns or damaging the sites, which have to be preserved to know about those people who lived in the past. This came to light after heavy rainwater drained away the shallow sand deposits exposing the ancient sites buried under the earth. The urns were found under the earth 10-foot below the ground level. So me of the students and college staff noticed the urns and they alerted the college administration, which later informed the ASI officials about this. A team of officials led by ASI sub-collector Loganathan from Poondi visited the place and confirmed that these urns were 3,000 years old. They kept stones around the exposed urns and white washed the sto nes marking a boundary around the urns. The officials also informed the college authorities to preserve the place from intruders to get more information about the megalithic sites. A 4.5-tall urn with a circumference of 3 ft and a mouth width of 1.5 ft was found at a depth of 10 ft. Several shards of bones, a shred of a skull and pottery that included water jars (kalayams) and bowls of varying sizes were recovered from the urn. Speaking to the state minister for archaeology , Tamil language and culture Mafoi Pandiarajan, he said, "We will preserve the urns and artefacts from the college premises. A team of ASI officials will be sent to unearth more from the site.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/asi-officials-find-megalithic-urns-on-college-campus-in-tiruttani/articleshow/60898748.cms, Oct 3, 2017

500-yr-old Durga temple to be declared heritage site: Rijiju

Union minister Kiren Rijiju today said that Nartiang village in West Jaintia Hills district – which is home to a 500-year-old Durga temple will be declared as a national heritage site. “I will ask the village council and people here to send a proposal (in this regard)…. This place deserves a recognition,” Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, told reporters at Nartiang. Perched on a hill top and overlooking the Myntang river, the Durga Bari at Nartiang in the Jaintia Hills district was built by Jaintia kings in 16th or 17th century. Nartiang is also a famous tourist destination for its monoliths, the tallest in the entire Khasi-Jaintia Hills region. “I will talk to both the union tourism minister and union culture minister to provide assistance to this area. This is my commitment,” Rijiju said.

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/500-yr-old-durga-temple-to-be-declared-heritage-site-rijiju-2507402/, Oct 3, 2017

This Mini Museum Will Land on the Moon in 2019

In 1969, a small group of artists managed to smuggle a ceramic wafer onto the Apollo 12 lunar lander. Known as the Moon Museum, this thumbnail-sized chip featured drawings by six famous artists of the era, including a drawing of a dick by Andy Warhol. It was the first piece of art to hitch a ride to space, and to this day remains the only human artwork on the surface of another celestial body. This will change in 2019, when the Moon will officially host a far larger art museum known as the MoonArk. Originally conceived by the American artist Lowry Burgess, the MoonArk has been over a decade in the making and represents the collaboration of over 200 artists from around the world. It is a cylindrical structure standing eight inches tall and two inches in diameter, and weighing just six ounces. Despite its small stature, by the time the MoonArk arrives on the lunar surface, it will have cost its creators over $1.4 million—a relatively small price to pay for an artwork that its creators say will last for millions of years. The MoonArk will be hitching a ride on the Astrobiotic Lunar Lander designed largely at Carnegie Mellon University as part of Google's LunarX prize, a $20 million race to put the first privately funded robot on the surface of the Moon. In 2008, Burgess was approached by the Carnegie Mellon team working on the Lunar Lander and asked if he'd like to contribute a piece of art to the mission. Burgess readily agreed. Designing a piece of art for a lunar gallery is a daunting prospect. Not only does the artwork have to be incredibly small and lightweight, it also has to be able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions on the Moon's surface, which can see temperatures ranging from 250 to below -240 degrees Fahrenheit. "There were enormous limitations placed upon the project because it costs a million dollars a pound to send something into space," Burgess, a professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University, told me on the phone. "Not many art projects have a million dollars to start with, so I had to think very small and very light." Burgess was the obvious choice for creating such an extreme art project. In 1989 he created "Boundless Cubic Lunar Aperture," the first piece of artwork officially commissioned and flown in orbit by NASA. He's also something of a history buff when it comes to astronomy, and he drew upon our species' artistic infatuation with the Moon when drafting designs for the MoonArk. "We wouldn't have life on Earth without the Moon, it stirs everything to life," Burgess said. "So the thought with the MoonArk was that we should take life back to the Moon as a gift to show this is what it's created." The finished MoonArk, a copy of which was put on display last weekend at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, consists of four stacked canisters that are each two inches in diameter and two inches tall. Taken together, Burgess said all of the major art forms are represented in the canister (architecture, design, music, drama, ballet, and poetry). Each canister approaches these art forms with an eye to an overarching theme: Earth, Metasphere, Moon, or Ether. Earth focuses on our planet and the creatures found there. The metasphere highlights the communicative aspects of our species, from the contents of our text messages to the satellite infrastructure that makes global communication possible. The Moon canister focuses on our relationship with our nearest celestial neighbor. Ether takes the Earth and Moon and places them in a broader cosmological context. Although each canister contains many unique elements, some central design themes unite them. Each one is contained in a lightweight aluminum cage, which protects some murals that encase each canister and depict things like a night view of Earth from orbit or the photos sent via text message between a husband and wife over the course of several months. Each ornamented canister contains a unique sculpture, representing concepts like a spacecraft's orbital trajectory around Earth or the Moon. Above and below these sculptures, ultrathin sapphire disks overlaid with platinum etchings depict aspects of life on and off of Earth, such as the migration patterns of humpback whales and photos from the Apollo missions. The assemblies that mount these disks in the canisters are also artworks, and contain engravings that are transcriptions of music from ballet or collections of sediment from around the world. The MoonArk will also be transporting DNA from a number of lifeforms, such as the Arctic Tern, as well as a collection of plankton, water samples taken from the most polluted river in India and from Earth's major oceans, wooden Inuit maps of the Greenland coastlines, and more. The center of stacked canisters is hollow. When the canisters are placed on the lunar surface by the Astrobiotic vehicle, they will be arranged in such a way that the top of the canister is facing toward Andromeda, the closest galaxy to the Milky Way, and sunlight will be able to pass through the center of the canister. Although the MoonArk won't be arriving on the Moon until 2019, its cosmic journey really began last year. In October 2016, Burgess and a few colleagues created a "Symphony for Andromeda," consisting of natural sounds and original music that was sent from the Dwingeloo radio telescope in the Netherlands toward Andromeda. An image of this symphony is also contained on the disk in the fourth canister of the MoonArk. As Elon Musk and other pioneers of the new space industry work to make humans a truly interplanetary species, Burgess thinks that space art projects like the MoonArk will have an increasingly large role in our colonization of the solar system. "Humans are not just technical creatures—we're cultural creatures, we're spiritual creatures," Burgess said. "The arts are a very big part of human life, so if we're going into space, we're going to take all of that with us. The MoonArk is a prophecy of that potential."

- https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/d3y5aq/this-mini-museum-will-land-on-the-moon-in-2019, Oct 4, 2017

Karanth’s restored house to be opened on October 10

After a delay of over a year, the refurbished residence of Dr. K. Shivaram Karanth at Balavana, Puttur, will be inaugurated on October 10. The house built by Karanth at the Balavana in 1930-32, where in lived till 1973, is in a shambles. The process of its restoration began in 2014 and took a concrete shape next year. Since Karanth’s children, Kshama Rao and Ullas Karanth wanted the house to be restored to its original shape, the work was handed over to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The inaugural programme is jointly organised by Kannada and Culture Department, Dr. K. Shiravama Karanth Balavana Samithi and the district administration wherein Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree would open the renovated house. Former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily will inaugurate the museum while District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai will inaugurate the cultural programmes at 10 a.m. On the occasion, eminent writer Vaidehi will be presented with the Balavana annual award. Workshops and cultural programmes in the afternoon form a part of the inaugural programme. While the building was ready at a cost of ?28 lakh in January itself, its opening was delayed for unknown reasons. Ms. Rao, an eminent dancer, had told The Hindu, “It looks the same.

I, my brother Ullas and my sister have waited for long to see our house in its original form.” The museum, named “Baalyave Belaku” after Karanth’s first work, will provide a glimpse into her father’s life, Ms. Rao had said. The museum should be developed on the lines of Sabarmathi Ashram, where all the belongings of the Mahatma are kept. It should give emphasis on literature, nature and culture as her father was more into those arenas, Ms. Rao said. INTACH had taken up the restoration work by keeping most of the old material used intact. Stones, tiles, rafters, door frames and windows were restored through cleaning process while cracks on walls were filled scientifically without causing any damage, according to its architect Pankaj Modi. Walls were plastered with mixture of lime and jaggery while red oxide coat was given to floors to maintain the originality.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/karanths-restored-house-to-be-opened-on-october-10/article19804048.ece, Oct 5, 2017

Interaction meet on ‘Indigenous Flowers of Jammu’ held

INTACH Jammu Chapter in collaboration with Directorate of Floriculture and Department of Environ-mental Sciences, University of Jammu organized an interaction meet on ‘Indigenous Flowers of Jammu’ as part of National Heritage Awareness Programme. In the meet, officials of Floriculture, Agriculture and Horticulture Departments and students from GGM Science College, Government College for Women Parade and Gandhi Nagar participated. A brainstorming session on the ‘Indigenous Flowers of Jammu’ was held. On the occasion, Babita Rakwal, Director Floriculture Jammu was the chief guest and Dr CM Seth and Prof Anil Raina, HoD Environmental Sciences were the guest of honour. Various speakers highlighted the importance of flowers in daily life. Among others present were Ashok Gupta, Joint Director, RS Jasrotia, Kuldeep Wahi, Dr Sudhir Singh, Satwant Singh Rissam and Dr Suresh Abrol.

- http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/interaction-meet-indigenous-flowers-jammu-held/, Oct 5, 2017

Architectural marvels of India on display

A summary of cultural traditions of the Indian subcontinent highlighted through architecture. That is Splendours of Indian Architecture, an exhibition on architectural marvels of India being held at the VNM Gallery in Kozhikode. The exhibition that began on October 2 is curated by noted art scholar and art historian Sarayu.V. Doshi. It is organised by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). It covers successive periods of India’s architectural history from the medieval to modern era. The exhibits are photographs with detailed captions on each structure and drawings for assistance.

They start with pictures of Lothal, the remnants of Indus Valley civilisation that dates back to around 2500 BC, proceeding through the Great Stupa in Sanchi to the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, and the Elephanta caves in Maharashtra. Viewers get a glimpse of the ‘Descent of Ganges’ structure in Mamallpuram, Rani Ki Vav, the biggest well in the country, the Khajuraho Temple, Qutub Minar, Dilwara temple in Mount Abu, Man Mandir Palace in Gwalior, Thikse Monastery in Ladakh, Humayun’s Tomb and other Mughul constructs such as Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Akbar’s Tomb. The curator pays tribute to the well-planned cities that are also architectural marvels -Varanasi, Jaisalmer, New Delhi and Chandigarh. The latest in the list are the Akshardham Temple in Delhi constructed in 2005 and the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai constructed in 2009. The exhibition will conclude on October 17.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/architectural-marvels-of-india-on-display/article19798166.ece, Oct 5, 2017

Life on the border

A writer travelled along the Radcliffe Line – through the vibrant greenery of Punjab as well as the more melancholic landscape of the states surrounding Bangladesh – to examine life on the border. But contrary to the general perception, he found the regions along the line among the “most peaceful and boring places on earth” with nothing but a string of villages on either side. Titled Gazing at Neighbours:Travels Along the Line That Partitioned India (Tranquebar/Rs 399/347 pages), this non-fiction travel book is authored by senior journalist Bishwanath Ghosh. Launched recently at INTACH, Delhi, the book is a narrative of historical stock-taking as much as of travel. What was the reason behind his curiosity about the Radcliffe Line that led him to travel extensively along it? “For the simple reason that I had no idea whatsoever how the Radcliffe Line – and the places sitting on it – looked like, even though the creation of that saw over one million people being butchered and another 15 million uprooted from their homes.

Was the line inhabited? If yes, who lived there? What kind of life did they lead,” Ghosh asked during an interview with IANS. He said that his travels “lifted the curtain over my ignorance” and that the Radcliffe Line turned out to be very different from what people think of it. “The Radcliffe Line, in spite of all the bloodshed it caused 70 years ago, turned out to be one of the most peaceful and boring places on earth.

It is nothing but a string of villages, with farmers bent over their crops on either side of the line. It is life as usual for these farmers: the border is a mere technicality for them. “They bear no animosity whatsoever towards Pakistan or Bangladesh – – and why should they? A farmer is a farmer first, no matter on which side of the Radcliffe Line he lives. Which is why you hear the shrillest anti-Pakistan cries not on the Radcliffe Line but in faraway Mumbai or in the insulated, air-conditioned TV studios of New Delhi.

If only people travelled, India would be more peaceful and less noisy,” added Ghosh, an associate editor with The Hindu newspaper in Chennai. He also found that the border in Punjab is completely fenced – though that does not prevent smuggling of narcotics – and that there is no movement of people across the Line other than at the Wagah check post. But on the Bangladesh side, Ghosh said, the Radcliffe Line often runs through villages and hamlets and homes, so people easily move across. “I myself stepped across the border – into Bangladesh – numerous times,” he recalled.

Several books have been written on the Radcliffe Line in the past. Ghosh’s work stands out primarily for its ability to match historical facets with minute detailing of his travel experiences. Thus the book reads as a credible account on these lines as well as a fascinating travelogue. Ghosh said that his objective was simple. “To grab the reader gently by the arm and take them with me to the lands through which the Radcliffe Line runs while telling them the story of Partition in the simplest manner possible. This has been my approach for all my books. The 47-year-old author has previously published the popular “Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop but Never Get Off”, “Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began”, and “Longing, Belonging: An Outsider at Home in Calcutta”.

- http://www.thestatesman.com/features/1502506156-1502506156.html, Oct 5, 2017

The bones were that of a horse, say archaeologists

The mystery shrouding the discovery of bones at the ancient temple of Lord Vedanarayana Swami at Nagalapuram on Tuesday was unravelled with the archaeologists stating that they were that of a horse that might have been sacrificed at the time of the temple’s construction during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) launched digging work at the temple complex a week ago for construction of ‘vahana mandapams’. On Tuesday, the workers noticed splinter bones, which led to speculation about human sacrifice. The construction of the temple had been commissioned by Sri Krishnadevaraya, the emperor of the Vijayanagara empire, in the early 16th century. As per the inscription found in the temple, the work on the dexterous edifice continued for about a century. J. Vijay Kumar, former Deputy Director (Archaeology and Museums), who also worked as the Chief Museum Officer with the TTD, on Wednesday conducted a study at the temple complex. During the five-hour exercise, his team, comprising technical supervisor Sivakumar, studied the condition of the bones and their varied sizes. The presence of teeth and the position of the burial in a crescent shape led to the conclusion that the skeletal remains were that of a horse. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr.

Vijay Kumar said the workers camping at the temple site during construction some five centuries ago might have used horses for their transportation in the forested area. “Going by the crescent shaped burial and at the south-western direction (vayavya), it was possible that the horse might have been sacrificed before commencing the construction work. In the traditional temple architecture, each direction has its own significance, and Nagalapuram temple also witnessed several phases in construction,” he said. Mr. Vijay Kumar said construction of the Nagalapuram temple, named after Nagalamba, the mother of the emperor, was taken up during the closing years of the architectural glory of South Indian temples.

“The best period of temple construction in South India was between the 12th and 14th centuries. Later, it passed through a lean phase, before coming to a close in 300 years. Study at the digging site suggested that 500 years ago the engineers had planned the construction in a mysteriously scientific manner. They had tested the soil and granite thoroughly,” he added. With the mystery unravelled, people of Nagalapuram mandal headquarters and surrounding villages heaved a sigh of relief. Mr. Vijay Kumar said he advised the temple authorities to perform “samprokshanam” (cleansing) at the burial site and go ahead with the construction activity.

-http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/the-bones-were-that-of-a-horse-say-archaeologists/article19797785.ece, Oct 5, 2017

City archaeologist discovers relics of Georgian Queen Ketevan in Old Goa

By Shirish Borkar, WHAT is bygone is not forgotten. A zealous quest coupled with untiring efforts can bring out history even from the ruins. Archaeology has helped in bringing out many hidden mysteries. One such mystery was solved in the historical strata of old Goa when modern day science and a desperate desire helped in establishing the fact that an excavated long bone from the ruins of St. Augustine Church Complex in 2004 is of 17th Century Queen Ketevan of Georgia. Playing a big role in this discovery is a Nagpurian, Nizamuddin Taher, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Nagpur Circle. He and his team were at the forefront in this research and establishing provenance of the relic to be that of the martyred Saint Queen. The research undertaken by the archaeologists could be equated with the efforts of finding the cause of death of Queen Cleopatra (snake-bite) or knowing the cause of death of Napoleon (arsenic) by analysing his hair.

Who was Queen Ketevan
Queen Ketevan of Kakheti, a kingdom in Eastern Georgia was spouse of David I and mother of Teimuraz who ruled the region in early 17th Century. In 1613, the emperor of Persia Shah Abbas I, led an army to conquer Georgia and took Queen Ketevan as prisoner. From 1614 to 1624, the Queen remained in Shiraz as the prisoner of Shah Abbas I. In 1624, the Persian Emperor ordained that the Queen should adopt the Islamic faith. When the Queen resisted his wishes, she was forced, tortured and finally strangled to death in September 1624. In 1623, two Augustinian friars -- Ambrosio dos Anjos and Manuel da madie de Devs -- had arrived in Shiraz to start a mission and they gained the Queen’s trust and became her confessors. After her death these friars unearthed the remains of the Queen and hid them for three years in their monastery at Asfahan. In 1627, part of these remains (her right arm and palm) were brought to Goa and kept in a black box (stone sarcophagus) on second window of the apostle side in the Chapter Chapel in St. Augustine Complex. During 17th century, Queen Ketevan being a devout Orthodox Christian, was bestowed Sainthood by the patriarch as she had resisted conversion and died as a martyr.

Found in Old Goa
Father Giorgi had come to Goa on more than six occasions with different delegations including Indologists, to retrieve the bone relics of Queen Ketevan at the St. Augustine Complex in Old Goa. ASI started working on the project in 1988 and five different teams were associated with the assignment. Finally, the site where the relics were kept within the black box (Stone Sarcophagus) was located by Nizamuddin Taher. Its provenance was established by cross reference of the archaeological data with historical reference and confirmed by ancient DNA analysis. The analysis was conducted by the scientists at centre for Cellular and Modular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. The saliva specimens of Georgian citizen were provided through the efforts of Father Giorgi and David Koridze, a banker by profession, as there were no blood relatives or legacy of ancestry of queen from the female lineage or direct descendants for cross checking or matching the genetically sequenced DNA specimen.

The research has been authenticated by an international publication in a reputed journal ‘MITOCHONDRION’ published from USA and having a high impact factor. The research undertaken by Taher has been independently verified and authenticated by three missions undertaken by the Georgian delegations since 2006 which included priests, archaeologists, cameramen and prominent citizens of Georgia. They visited the St. Augustine Complex and also gleaned the diorama installed in the Archaeological Museum in Old Goa by archaeologist and researcher Nizamuddin Taher. They also met local people, press and senior ASI officials. The Georgians highly appreciated the work undertaken at the site by Nizamuddin Taher and his team comprising fellow archaeologist Abhijit Ambekar, photographer, draftsmen, skilled workers and the students from CLC Caucasus International University, Georgia in excavating the bone relics and interpreting the discovery.

Taher to be conferred PhD
All the facts were taken into consideration while recommending honorary Doctorate for incumbent Taher in the field of social science (Archaeology and Research) and on the recommendation of Darpan Parashar, Advisor on International Relations attached to the University. The CLC Caucasus International University, Georgia is now conferring PhD to Nizamuddin Taher for the research undertaken, also considering and critically evaluating the site-specific conservation undertaken at the site which is a world heritage property by adopting a Minimum Intervention Module. The conservator has also taken up in-situ preservation of the fallen remains to maintain the ruins as ruins, to enhance the romance of the past. Early attempts for relics Attempts were made from 1988 but it failed to locate the relics of Queen Ketevan from within St. Augustinian Complex. Father Razmadze Giorgi, Dean of St. Ketevan Church in Georgia, and his team comprising eminent citizens of Caucasus region and the Patriarch of the orthodox church of Georgia had taken up as their life mission to trace the elusive relics by scouting the historical literature. On getting a clue that the parts of her remains are scattered in different geographical regions like Asfahan, Rome (Vatican), London, Belgium and India, Fr Giorgi and team requested the Government of India and also the Government of Goa to help in tracing the place where the bone relic of Queen Ketevan might have been placed. The relics that were given to Teimuraz, the son of Saint Ketevan, were lost during the medieval period 17th-18th Century during the frequent shifting of articles and goods in the war-torn Georgia. The country was in constant turmoil as it was a buffer state between the Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Persia.

- http://thehitavada.com/Encyc/2017/10/6/City-archaeologist-discovers-relics-of-Georgian-Queen-Ketevan-in-Old-Goa.aspx, Oct 5, 2017

Road laid on historical sculpture at Davuluru

The officials of panchayat raj department laid BT Road negligently on a Bhairava sculpture belonging to the 12th century AD at Davuluru village in Kollipara mandal of Guntur district. Dr E Sivanagi Reddy, CEO, the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati, observed it on Thursday as part of the campaign ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’. Dr Reddy said that there are three inscriptions engraved on a slab set up in the local temple dated back to 1132 AD, 1141 AD and 1143 AD which registered the construction of the temple dedicated to Gokarneswara. The CEO regretted on the role of the officials who did not take care of the historical sculpture while laying the road. He made an appeal to the Department of Archaeology and Museums to shift the sculpture to the temple and erect it on pedestal for proper display.

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-10-06/Road-laid-on-historical--sculpture-at-Davuluru/331244, Oct 6, 2017

This 10-year-old from Delhi performs an unique jugalbandi with Ustad Shujaat Khan

Ustad Shujaat Khan, world-renowned sitar maestro, with Aarav Verma, budding artist and student of Shiv Nadar School created a confluence of sitar recital and artwork at "Strings Inspire Strokes" event held in New Delhi. Ustad Shujaat Khan, world-renowned sitar maestro, with Aarav Verma, budding artist and student of Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon created a confluence of sitar recital and artwork. In a unique performance, Grammy award nominee, Ustad Shujaat Khan played the sitar, while the 10-year-old, Aarav Verma, matched the artist's tunes with the strokes of his brush on the canvas to create a masterpiece. This unique event titled "Strings Inspire Strokes" was held on October 1 at Sri Sathya Sai International Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. Ragas with artwork: Shujaat Khan played evening ragas while keeping the tempo with Aarav's artwork. His music complemented Aarav's colours on the canvas. At the end of the performance, the art work made by Aarav Verma was auctioned for a noble cause. It was auctioned for Rs 55,000 and the proceeding went to Shri Ram Krishna Cancer Hospital, Deoband.

Aarav Verma, who generally likes to express his feelings on the canvas said: "It was an incredible experience to perform next to Ustad Shujaat Khan ji. I had not decided before hand in terms of what I wanted to paint, instead I wanted to follow the mood and the melody of the evening. I have always followed my heart when it comes to painting, and my parents have always encouraged me to just do that."

A brief about Aarav:
Aarav is a Class 6 student of Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon. Aarav has been showcasing his artwork since 2014 in India and abroad. Some of his exhibitions include Wunderkind -- an exhibition of his solo paintings in Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi and FBMI, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi in 2015. Aarav's works reflect the thoughts and feelings natural to a young boy of ten. They react the authentic moments of creativity that burst out of a child. And one can see his curious eyes seek out animal and insect forms, and even facial peculiarities of fellow human beings and portray them with a sense of discovery that clothes them in mystery. This way of looking at the world around is one of the characteristics of childhood. More about Aarav's artwork: Aarav, started drawing when he was three-years-old and naturally took to drawing human faces and figures when other children of his age where still busy painting flower and nature. His parents took note of his special talent very early and motivated him by providing him with different drawing materials. Aarav has not kept himself restricted to art on canvas alone, he has also experimented with sculpture. Another interesting aspect of Aarav's artwork is that all his paintings are untitled. He does not like to concise the thoughts behind his artwork by giving them a name.

At the tender age of 10, Aarav already has 500 paintings to his credit. Here's what Ustad Shujaat Khan said: Blessing the young prodigy, sitar maestro Ustad Shujaat Khan said, "It was indeed a unique experience to witness Aarav matching his brush strokes with the beats of my sitar, in order to create a master-piece. His work is amazing and he will go a long way." Furthermore, praising the laurels that Aarav has brought to the school, Monica Sagar, Principal, Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon said, "It was a memorable evening as a celebrated Ustad teamed up with an Ustad in the making to put up one of its kind artwork, marking the confluence of two worlds of art. Art is an irreplaceable way of expression and it was heartening to see our school student performing live with the world renowned sitarist Shujaat Khan. Aarav is a motivation for other students, and standing by our school's philosophy of creating life-long learners, we will extend full support to him in his future endeavours as well."

- http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/10-year-old-aarav-performs-jugalbandi-ustad-shujaat-khan/1/1062222.html, Oct 6, 2017

Lack of funds hits repair of Delhi's oldest church

The oldest church in the Capital, Saint James, was all set to get a complete face-lift after the restoration work started earlier this year, but the plan might not reach the finishing line now due to lack of funds. Built in 1836, the church is a major landmark in the Kashmere Gate area. The church committee had directed the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to create a Detailed Project Report, which was submitted in April, 2016. The first phase of restoration started in March, 2017. However, the crucial part B of Phase I, which involves waterproofing the terrace that was damaged by water, was abandoned midway.

The church committee even wrote to the Governor of Delhi and some overseas organisations, asking for funds. But as of today, the work, which requires Rs 2.7 crore more, remains suspended. The 180-year-old colonial structure with classical architecture and a Florentine dome is historically significant. Over a period of time, the rising pollution and vibrations due to trains passing nearby have left the building vulnerable to damages. Every two-three years, the church committee gets it painted, but the damage due to the underground Metro tunnels has caused havoc to its structure. The two tunnels are only 15 and 35 m away from the church. Kamal Baluja, Chairman of the Church Conservation Committee, said, "We realise that the church needs urgent attention. That is why he had collaborated with INTACH. The part A of Phase I, which involved stabilising the structure and taking care of the damages caused over the years, is complete. A four-feet construction below the surface, around the boundary wall, has been finished."

"This part cost us Rs 50 lakh. After that, we had to stop the work. Part B of Phase I requires Rs 38 lakh and the complete restoration, including Phase II, requires Rs 2.7 crore," he said. When queried, an INTACH source said, "This structure has a rich past. We hope that the church generates enough funds to get the work done without any disruption. It requires intense conservation as decades of work has caused damages. It requires careful work to maintain its authenticity and integrity. The church is a living testimony to events of the last 150 years in the city." Some valuable objects, which have high antiquarian value and need to be restored using scientific methods, also belong to the church. The list includes original European stained-glass windows depicting the crucifixion, ascension of Christ and his resurrection, a painting titled 'The Prodigal Son', original work of Italian painter Pompeo Batani, a processional cross gifted by Lord Irwin, a rare pipe organ gifted by T Ralph in 1899, and a church bell.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-lack-of-funds-hits-repair-of-delhi-s-oldest-church-2551401, Oct 9, 2017

Butcher Island fire: Elephanta Caves tourists complain of soot, stench

Tourists visiting Elephanta Caves near Mumbai’s coast on Sunday found their clothes stained by soot from the fire at Butcher island. A diesel tank at the oil terminal on the island caught fire on Friday after being struck by lightning. Gharapuri island, where the caves are located, is located to the south-east of Butcher island. Sanjay Kumar, 53, originally from Patna, went to the UNESCO world heritage site on a vacation with his family on Sunday. “There were small black particles in the air which stuck on to our clothes. There was a strong smell.” Air quality experts told HT the soot or ash contains black carbon, which is among the most deadly form of pollutants, and can easily enter the respiratory system, causing health ailments. Researchers said strong winds may have pushed the particles to the surrounding areas.

“We expect the impact of the fire to show in our readings by Sunday night. However, if it rains, the pollutants will get dispersed,” said Gufran Beig, project director, System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research. “Black carbon is more dangerous than PM2.5 (particulate matter of the size less than 2.5 microns) and can be extremely harmful for children and senior citizens.” Doctors said the area needs to be cordoned off. “Tourists who have been exposed to the soot and are experiencing breathlessness, need to visit their nearest physician for a check-up,” said Dr Sanjeev Mehta, pulmonologist, Lilavati Hospital in Bandra.

Tasneem Mehta, former vice-chairman, INTACH, who prepared the management plan for Elephanta, said the Archeological Society of India (ASI) and the state government were told about the environmental concern as early as 2000. “We had suggested that any kind of development in the area should be curtailed or at least be limited. The soot can only be removed through scientific means and ASI needs to look into it as the caves are carved out of limestone,” she said. Experts pointed out that even marine life could get affected. “The chances of dilution of black carbon are less and it can easily get stuck in the gills of marine species or get consumed once it settles at the bottom of the sea shore,” said E Vivekanandan, scientist, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.

- http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/butcher-island-fire-elephanta-caves-tourists-complain-of-soot-stench/story-EEQjXEPUFlbGJi1uXy5p3L.html, Oct 9, 2017

4th Day of Parytan Parv Celebrated with Full Fervour across The Country

4th day of Paryatan Parv saw various activities taking place across the country. Indiatourism in association with the Cycle Club Jaipur and the travel industry organized a cycle rally. In the North East, several activities were kicked off under Paryatan Parv. Indiatourism, Guwahati organized activities to generate awareness of the importance of tourism while a Tourism Sensitization programme was organized in the University of Dibrugarh in association with INTACH chapter and Assam Tourism. IndiaTourism in association with the Ministry of DONER, North Eastern Tourism Development Council (NETDC) and State Governments of Manipur and Meghalaya organized various events showcasing local cuisine, handicraft & handlooms. Indiatourism offices in Goa, Patna, and Kolkata organized various activities including Heritage Walks, a ‘Run for Incredible India’ and quiz contests for students to promote ‘Dekho Apana Desh’ as part of the Paryatan Parv celebrations. The Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav in the World Heritage City of Ahmedabad, Gujarat which has been beautifully illuminated as part of the ParyatanParv celebrations, witnessed yoga sessions by AYUSH.

A guided Heritage Walk and an excursion trip for students was also organized by Indiatourism Mumbai in association with the State Government. In Delhi, Sensitization programmes for service providers were undertaken by India Tourism Delhi while Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa organized a tourism awareness rally in the city. The State Government of Madhya Pradesh as part of Paryatan Parv organized Narmada Utsav, a Cultural Event showcasing folk heritage at various heritage destinations of Madhya Pradesh. Go Heritage Runs were also organized. Keeping with the spirit of Paryatan Parv, the Uttarakhand Government organized a Trek while Himachal Pradesh Government conducted a Youth Parliament, to deliberate on the importance of Tourism and involvement of youth in the promotion of tourism. The Government of Uttar Pradesh organized a Dance competition. Other Central Ministries are also participating in Paryatan Parv by organizing various activities. The Railway Ministry has illuminated some of the major railway stations in the country.

Under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, some of the major airports in the country have also been illuminated. The Online contests on MyGov platform for Dekho Apna Desh Photo Contest, Incredible India Quiz, Dekho Apna Desh Blog Contest have elicited a tremendous response. Winners of the contests will receive attractive prizes.

- http://punjabnewsexpress.com/national/news/4th-day-of-parytan-parv-celebrated-with-full-fervour-across-the-country--67264.aspx, Oct 9, 2017

Researchers to revisit Harappan tech for modern use

A group of researchers from across the country are revisiting 5,000-year-old technologies used by Harappans, including water management, in a bid to learn from the lost Indus Valley civilisation for use in modern times. The researchers claim that the Harappans had perfected most of the technologies such as stone-beading, crafts production, Indus ceramic technologies, metal and metallurgy, which are still used. The researchers from Deccan College Pune, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi, M S University Baroda, Allahabad University, JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth Jodhpur, Archaeological Survey of India and Indian National Science Academy recently gathered in New Delhi for the purpose. Prof D Balasubramanian, chairman of research council for history of science, said the researchers will relook at the science, technology and innovations that happened in ancient India in 3,000–4,500 BC or 5,000-6,000 years ago.

“Everybody talks about Italy having viaducts but we had it earlier than them,” he said, recalling that people in in Gujarat had Baori or step-wells that were interconnected through viaducts 6,000 years ago. Prof Vasant Shinde, vice-chancellor, Deccan College of Post Graduate Research & Training, Pune, said certain technologies continued from 5,000 years to modern times, “till 30 years back”. He highlighted the continuation of pottery-making, stone-making in Khambat region of Gujarat besides the cold hammering technique in metallurgy. On water harvesting, Prof Shinde said the present generation is doing a lot to deal with water scarcity but are not learning “from Harappan ancestors who had devised simple and effective tech”. “We can use water harvesting the way they did it. They dug underground water wells which were interconnected,” he said. The researchers said they would not require foreign collaborations and huge funding from abroad as they have access to better technologies and funds to conduct in-depth studies.

- http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/researchers-to-revisit-harappan-tech-for-modern-use/story-fBn9Qu2GQoM5KBg3VxV5yO.html, Oct 9, 2017

Schools must tour heritage sites: CBSE

There was a time in history when school vacations meant travelling to your hometown, city or your village. Not any longer though. Vacations now mean exotic locations outside the country, even for the student community. Touring India or even exploring your own state is no longer a priority. Perhaps it was with this in mind that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has notified all schools to conduct Paryatan Parv, a programme specially designed to encourage tourism in India from 5th to 25th October. The notification by CBSE states that schools should encourage trips and excursions to heritage spots as it would help them ‘connect with the real world which will lead to acquisition of permanent knowledge.’ P. Ushasri, principal of Johnson Grammar School, says, “We conduct picnics on yearly basis but for safety measures, we do not encourage out of state trips. We agree that students should learn more about our state’s heritage spots.

Most children visit abroad or go to Delhi, Jaipur and so on during their holidays. We ask them to share their experiences after the holidays. This will be a welcome change and we will encourage students to speak about our heritage spots like Golconda.” Meanwhile, schools have also been notified to conduct debates, essay competitions, quizzes and painting competitions related to tourism. Some schools have already started the practice. Seetha Murthy, principal of Silver Oaks School, says, “Our school has a heritage club and we conduct heritage quizzes annually where children are quizzed about heritage spots across the nation.” Interestingly, Hyderabad fails to make it to the list of tourist destinatio-ns chosen for 4,000 girls from Kendriya and Navodya Vidyalaya who will be visiting spots in Ban-galore, Mysore and Goa. Encouragement of state tourism for this year’s programme will ensure that Hyderabad will be a preferred destination spot for schools next year.

- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/081017/schools-must-tour-heritage-sites-cbse.html, Oct 9, 2017

The art of photography

I don’t know whether the Madras Photographic Society has anything to do with the recently-publicised Chennai Photo Biennales, the first last year and the next scheduled for 2018, but participant or not, it certainly deserves a bow for being the country’s first photographic society. Its founder was an Army doctor, Alexander Hunter. The Society was founded in 1857, shortly after Lord Canning arrived as Governor-General. Canning and Lady Canning, both photography enthusiasts, were responsible for the famed Government series, The People of India. Hunter had still earlier, in 1850, privately started the Madras School of Arts. The School, taken over by Government in 1852, moved from Popham’s Broadway to Poonamallee High Road. There, he and an eight-member committee revised the syllabus, offering two streams, Industrial and Artistic. Hunter was put in charge of the institution, renamed the Government School of Industrial Arts, in 1855. It was the first formal school of Art in the country.

In it, Hunter introduced Photography. Hunter retired in 1868, to be succeeded by Robert Chisholm. No mean photographer, Hunter encouraged the School, it is now the Government College of Arts and Crafts to build up a photographic collection. Unfortunately, little seen is this work, especially the monuments of South India captured by Government photographer Linnaeus Tripe and his assistant C Iyahsawmi. Hunter himself did a series of pictures of the ‘Seven Pagodas’ (Mahabalipuram) and worked with his wards on photographs of the five hill tribes of the Nilgiris for the ‘People of India’ project. It was at a prize-giving of the School that Hunter urged the Governor to provide it more suitable premises. They came up on the PH Road site in Chisholm’s time and to his design — and remain there. The earliest mention of a photographic exhibition organised by the Society that I have been able to trace dates to 1858.

That year too, ‘Photographers’ were listed separately in the Trade List of The Madras Almanac. In 1859, Tripe won the Gold Medal at what promised to become an annual exhibition, but when told it was for amateurs only, he accepted the decision gracefully, then refused the medal awarded for ‘Amateurs and Professionals’, saying his employment gave him an unfair advantage “both as to the variety and number of subjects” photographed. By the next year, the exhibition’s reputation had spread and entries came not only from throughout the country but also from Australia, parts of Asia and Europe. Over the next 50 years Madras had a galaxy of photographers, their work known to this day. They included the Nicholas Brothers, Albert Penn, Samuel Bourne, Capt Tripe, Willoughby Hooper, Edmund Lyon, Wiele, Theodor Klein and Willie Burke. In comparison, how many of the Madras photographers of the 20th Century will go into posterity for their work? Harry Miller is the only one I can think of, but I welcome additions.

The Father of Tamil Prose
In my Colombo days, a senior Tamil Income Tax officer, a close friend, would often speak of Arumuga Navalar and I’d listen with a blank mind. I must have, however, absorbed something for Arumuga Navalar has figured in this column a couple of times. My latest mention was on September 25, when I spoke of him pioneering Tamil prose. That reference had me recalling I’d never noted Navalar’s progress in life. So, today, we start in Jaffna’s temple town, Nallur, where Arumugam was born in 1822. He inherited his father Kandhar’s love for Tamil, even while studying at Jaffna Methodist School, run by Rev Peter Percival, later to be a Professor at Presidency College, Madras, and Madras University’s first Registrar. Percival, recognising Arumugam’s outstanding proficiency in Tamil, hired him as the School’s Tamil pundit as well as his own. Arumugam also taught English. Percival next had Arumugam helping him translate The Bible. When Percival moved to Madras, Arumugam came to help see the Tamil Bible through the press. Whether it was the lack of recognition he received or not, Arumugam returned to Jaffna and became critical of the Christian missionaries.

He began to focus on spreading Saivite thought and established printing and publishing houses in Jaffna, Chidambaram and Madras (Miscellany, October 29, 2012) to propagate Tamil and Saivism. His eloquence during speaking tours in Tamilzhagham and Ceylon, lecturing on Saivisim, earned him the description ‘Navalar’. Even as he campaigned for the revival of Saivism, Arumugam urged that Tamil be written in prose. His demonstrations of prose being the best way to spread Tamil learning, made him a major figure on the Tamil literary scene. Rev Constantius Beschi and a couple of other Tamil writers had tried prose before him, without making the impact he did in transforming the language of poetry to that of prose. Writing the Periapuranam and Thiruvilaiyadalpuranam in easy-to-understand prose, reaching them to a wider audience, he found himself designated as the greatest Tamil prose writer of the 19th Century and called ‘The Father of Modern Tamil Literary Prose’. He also became a prolific editor of the Tamil Classics, in which work he introduced English punctuation marks. But for all that Arumuga Navalar did for the Tamil Classics and Saivism, many feel his most successful work was his four-volume Balapaadam, offering children easy understanding of religion and Tamil culture. I believe they are still in print. The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes from today

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/the-art-of-photography/article19827442.ece, Oct 9, 2017

Why Indian stone henges are not UNESCO heritage sites

That India was once a flourishing country of various tribes can be substantiated from the diverse architectures of prehistoric megalithic monuments that dot the country from Kashmir in the north to Kerala down south, and from Manipur in the far east to Gujarat in the west. Despite this profuseness, the common man still remains oblivious of this major source of India’s prehistory. The term megaliths, having its origin in Greek etymology, is essentially a union of two Greek words of 'mega' meaning large and 'lithos', suggesting stones. Megaliths are burials of sorts of the deceased which the tribals across India had once raised, and continue to do after the death of their near ones. These are also commemorative stones which the tribals erect in the memory of their departed. Megaliths in India are the fascinating creations of the ancient Indians. It embraces a broad array of architecture, ranging from dolmens, menhirs, stone circles, and cairn circles among others. Also, excavations have revealed extensive burials patterns, such as sarcophagi, cist circles, pit circles, dolmenoid cists, cist within cist, urn burials, pot burials etc.

Excepting in a few states of India, ancient megaliths have been found all over. The peninsular part of South India accommodates a wide variety and a large density of these tombs. From Vidharbha in central India to Gujarat, M.P., Chhattisgarh and U.P., a wide array of megaliths are interspersed everywhere. In Chhattisgarh and M.P., many tribes still pursue an uninterrupted megalithic burial tradition. Rajasthan too once housed very ancient megaliths but they are mostly destroyed. Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir come with abundant ancient megaliths too. Jharkhand has a very thick density of megaliths. Here the broad assortment of megalithic types is very alluring where several tribes still raise these monuments after death. Odisha has many ancient megalithic monuments and many tribes still build megaliths after death. The North-Eastern part of India is thoroughly megalithic. Here megalithic tribes still build megalithic tombs after death in memory of the departed. The tribes of different states have varied names for their megaliths. The megalithic tribes of Jharkhand as Mundas, Asurs, Oraons and the Hos call a menhir either a birdiri or a burudiri, whereas for them a dolmen is known as sasandiri. Every tribal village of the state comprises of a burial ground called hargarhi, harsali or jangarha in which the sasandiris or the birdiris are placed. A megalith is also called a pathalgadha in the state.

In Chhattisgarh and M.P. the Korkus call their menhirs Mundas. The memorial stones of both the Gonds and Bison-horn Marias are called Uraskal. The Gadabas of Orissa still erect menhirs as commemorative symbols for the deceased and also create stone circles which they call as sindibors. Dolmens in the Vidharbha region are called pandukal or pandukutti. Dolmens in the of Marayur region belong to the Iron Age and are called Valivadu or Muniyara. In Central and South India, menhirs with names as varied as kaduvakal, virgal, birakal or virakal etc were once raised to honour the departed heroes of their communities. In Tamil Sangam literature menhirs are called nadukal.

Manimekalai, the great Tamil Buddhist epic by Chitalai Chathanar calls various burials to be “cutovor” and pit burials as totukulip or patuvor. The book also refers to dolmens as pantar- kal and urns burials as “taliyar kavippor”. The Garos call their menhirs Kima whereas the Khasis have diverse names for their menhirs as Kinmou, Mounam, Moulaniti, Mongni or Moukni depending on the particular purposes for which they are raised where a dolmen for them is maokinthayi. However, the popular non-tribal names of menhirs are Birkhod, Birkol and Birakallu etc. Tribals also erect menhirs in memory of significant incidents in their communities, families and villages. Menhirs are also set up as boundary stones of their villages. Modern research has revealed that several megaliths in the country as that of Vibhuthihalli, Hanamsagar, Nilurallu, Punkri Burwadih and Chano, like their European counterparts, have been made in accordance to astronomical orientations. These served as observatories of the transits of the sun and the moon, perhaps, to function as calendars of their communities. Asota (Pakistan), Burjahom, Chokahatu, Katia Murbey, Karkabhat, Junapani, Brahmagiri, Maski and Hire Benekal are names of a few more megalithic sites of the country among the countless. It was the British who brought the megaliths of India to the limelight. They were knowledgeable of megaliths since Britain is home to a vast number of these monuments.

They were indeed surprised to find such a wide assortment of megaliths across all over India. Megalithic burials do find mention in Buddhist Tripataka and their other stories but very scantily in the Vedic corpus. However, as discussed above, there are references of various megalithic burials in the Dravidian Sangam literature. Excavations of many megalithic burials have been conducted in several parts of India and the grave yields have been dated from Iron Age to the historical period. Excavation of megaliths has not been conducted in many of these monuments of the country, therefore, their fixed date has not been affirmed. Road building has destroyed many a megalith across the country. In such a course buried pots have been unearthed from several megalithic sites of the Pathalgadda region of Jharkhand. It has yielded chalcolithic remains that may push the dates of many megaliths of Jharkhand to the Chalcolithic era. The megaliths of Asota and Burjahom have been dated to the Neolithic era and their excavation has, surprisingly, revealed no grave remains. Many megaliths in Junapani and that in M.P. too seem to be non-sepulchral in nature as their excavation has yielded no buried bodies. India, despite being a treasure house of megaliths, does not hold the coveted World Heritage tag, as do Britain and Europe. Much to the happiness of the tribals in India, Hire Benekal could have been the first ever megalithic complex to receive this prestigious label. Chokahatu in Jharkhand, on the other hand, is not only an enormous site, spreading to a few acres of land that house over 8000 megaliths.

The Munda tribals still erect their sasandiris here, making it the only megalithic site in India in use for over 2500 years. The continuous uninterrupted usage of the megalithic site for over two millennia makes Chokahatu an obvious claimant of the World Heritage Status. Megaliths are not protected as heritage monuments in most states, and they are being destroyed constantly by the villagers in greed of buried treasure. Many who know nothing of megaliths, cart away menhirs to their homes, using them as drain covers or as washing stones by their wells. Scholars have done little or nothing in promoting the significance of a megalith. Little does one know that India is one of the rare countries in the world where many tribes continue to practice megalith-making as a living heritage since archaic times. Thus, without megaliths, the prehistory of India remains incomplete. The common man is still ignorant of these ancient monuments of the humankind. Fortunately, one observes that among the younger generation, there is a growing surge of curiosity and interest in megaliths. Someday megaliths will certainly become a major source of our country’s prehistory which will, indubitably, persuade scholars to rewrite the unknown chapter of our country’s past.

- http://www.wionews.com/south-asia/why-indian-stone-henges-are-not-unesco-heritage-sites-21158, Oct 10, 2017

Row over renovation of heritage building

Work to renovate an 108-year-old building at Payyannur, here, to develop it into a heritage museum featuring the region’s legacy of the freedom movement, has got embroiled in a row with conservation activists alleging that adequate care has not been applied in the execution of the plan to revamp the structure. The structure, now known as the Old Police Station building, which was earlier proposed to be demolished for construction of a mini civil station, was declared a heritage building under the Kerala Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites Act, 1968.

Though the office of the Registration Department still occupies a portion of the building, the works for conserving the structure and turning it into a museum have now been stalled in the wake of objections raised by conservation activists alleging that conservation norms were not complied with in the works awarded to a contractor. “Conservation works should be done with utmost care under the supervision of a conservation architect and Archaeological Department officials,” said V. Jayarajan, regional convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, who was in the forefront of the campaign to save the structure from being demolished for building a mini civil station. Urging the Department to intervene urgently, he said that the heritage value and the history of the structure would be lost. Payyannur Poura Samithi president K.V. Sasidharan Nambiar, conservation activists K.V.

Radhakrishnan and E. Unnikrishnan also called for adhering to conservation norms while renovating the building. According to conservation activists, the removal of the old roof tiles during the rainy season would further damage the heritage building. Conservation officials of the Archaeology Department, however, said that the works were awarded to a contractor having experience in conservation activities. Denying that the works caused destruction of the old roof tiles, they said that the tiles were removed to reinstall after replacing the already broken tiles. Otherwise there would be leakages which would render the ?90 lakh renovation works useless.

The 11 wooden pillars inside the structure are all heavily worn out and have to be replaced, they said adding that the building has materials that are naturally damaged which have to be replaced. The row has hit the works as the formal inauguration of the commencement of the renovation activities were scheduled on October 21. The conservation plan is to renovate the unoccupied portion of the building in the first phase. As and when the Registration Office is shifted, the whole building will be converted into a full-fledged museum featuring Payyannur’s history during the freedom struggle, Salt Satyagraha and showcasing history of the Payyannur khadi production.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/row-over-renovation-of-heritage-building/article19839966.ece, Oct 12, 2017

Secunderabad Railway Station is India’s first Green Railway Station

The Secunderabad Railway Station has earned the distinction of being the first railway station in the country to be certified as a ‘Green Railway Station’ by the Indian Green Building Council – Confederation of Industry (IGBC-CII), in association with Indian Railways. The Station has bagged the coveted Silver Rating in the category, according to an SCR release. The IGBC-CII, with the support of Environment Directorate of the Indian Railways had developed the Green Railway Stations Rating system to facilitate adoption of Green Concepts to reduce adverse environmental impacts due to station operation and maintenance and enhance overall commuter experience. The six modules involved in the evaluation of the Secunderabad station were sustainable station facility; health; hygiene and sanitation; energy efficiency; water efficiency; smart and green initiatives and innovation and development. Tai Lee Siang, chairman, and Terri Wills, chief executive officer, World Green Building Council presented a shield, plaque and certification to SCR officials during the Green Building Congress-2017 at Jaipur last week.

The certification is valid for three years. Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR who was instrumental in drawing up the plan to meet norms for the Green Railway Station Certification, congratulated officials involved in the exercise. Secunderabad Railway Station holds a total area of 13.34 acres and has 408 different species of trees available in the station area. Organic fertilizers and pesticides are being used while solar photo voltaic installations cover 41.2% of the exposed station roof area. A 500 Kwp solar plant was installed in 2016, generating 2,500 units of power per day, accounting for 37% of energy requirements of the station, and leading to savings of Rs.72.92 lakh annually. With 4,864 fixtures, Secunderabad station is 100% LED lit as well. Other green initiatives here include a 5lakh-litre Sewerage Treatment Plant, central waste collection, bottle crushing machine, CO2 sensors at AC waiting halls and rainwater harvesting pits.

- https://telanganatoday.com/secunderabad-railway-station-indias-first-green-railway-station, Oct 12, 2017

From ruins to treasure

When one talks about Odisha, the majestic Jagannath temple or the architecture-rich Sun Temple comes to mind. Certainly, these two monuments have been the state’s symbols for several centuries. However, the land of Jagannath is not limited to these two monuments but has to offer. And this became evident during a recent visit to the state. Very few people know that Odisha had a flourishing history of Buddhism. In fact, it was the state’s religion. Therefore, every corner of the state is dotted with footprints of Buddhism. However, Buddha never visited the Odisha but Chaityas, Stupas, Viharas, edicts and inscriptions bear testimony to the Buddhist heritage. The earliest reference to the state was in the writings of Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang, who visited India in the 17th century

. He has given vivid account of the flourishing of Buddhism in Odra (the old name of Odisha). The other reference is by the great Mauryan king Ashoka, who provided a boost to the spread of Buddhism in the region. One can find several references in Ashokan and post-Ashokan pillars, bell capitals, copper plates as well as discovery of Buddhist figures and images. Therefore, the land is a haven for those who have any interest in Buddhism. The best way to explore the Buddhist circuit in the state is through its diamond triangle ~ Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri in Jajpur district.

Peep into history
Buddhism was part of Odisha for many centuries. But it got momentum after the Kalinga War and conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism in the 3rd century BC. At the time Odisha was a very vibrant state and ruled by the mighty Kalinga Kingdom. The state was very important from both commercial and cultural points of view. This made many neighbouring kingdoms envious. Mauryan King Ashoka was one of them. In a bid to conquer the state, Ashoka fought a furious battle near the river Daya. The battle was one of the deadliest in history. Ashoka has described it in the 13th rock edicts, which say 100,000 men were killed in action, an equal number were taken captive. This disaster changed Ashoka, who then propagated Buddhism not only in Odisha but all over the world. In an attempt to spread peace and Buddhism among the people of the world, Ashoka sent missionaries to far off countries like Sri Lanka, Japan and China. After Ashoka, it was during the reign of Bhaumakara dynasty in Odisha from 8th to 10th century AD, that Buddhism has reached its zenith. During this period Buddhism was the state’s religion.

Buddhism in Odisha
It was the year 1869 when a government official named C S Banerjee went to visit two mounds in the jungle. What he found was treasure. He came across a huge number of scattered antiques, relics and artefacts. Then in 1890, another government official M M Chakravarty came across another mound in a hilly jungle, and found it with a full of antiquities. Later this place was known as Ratnagiri. Then he found another mound in 1905 with a brick structure and artefacts, which was later known as Lalitagiri. The entire area was declared protected, and excavation was ordered. The excavation, completed in 1984, unearthed many precious Buddhist antiques. This is how Udayagiri (hill of rising sun), Lalitagiri (red hill) and Ratnagiri (hill of gems) has seen daylight.

The best way to start the journey is from the state Capital ~ Bhubaneswar. And it is convenient also. Just 6 km drive from the main city of Bhubaneswar one can find the famous Buddhist shrine ~ Dhauli, famous for its rock edicts. Situated in the serene foothills, by the river Daya, it is one of the 14 rock edicts of Ashoka. It is the first specimen of stone-art in the shape of the forepart of an elephant. The elephant looks like it is coming out of a cave carved out of the solid rock at the top. Under this structure there is an inscription of Ashoka, written in Brahmi. The inscription mentions the vast devastation caused by Kalinga War and describes various instructions to the Mauryan viceroy placed in Odisha to rule the people. It also has the famous declaration: “All men are my children. What I desire for my own children, and I desire their welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, that I desire for all men. You do not understand to what extent I desire this, and if some of you do understand, you do not understand the full extent of my desire.” Just 500 metres away is a Shanti Stupa. Built in the early 1970s, the double-story structure represents Budha’s Prinirvana ~ his passage from the world of suffering and illusion to the world of bliss and reality.

The Stupa has four chambers, adorned with four beautiful images of Buddha. Also there are scenes from the Jataka Tales on the walls of the lower part of the Stupa. The five umbrellas placed on its flattened top represent five important aspects of Buddhism. The Stupa was built to mark peace in the world by Kalinga Nippon Budha Sangha and Japan Budha Sanga under the supervision of Mahamanya Fuji, head of the Japanese Buddhist faith.

After Dhauli one can head 90 km away from the state Capital to another famous and most important Buddhist site ~ Lalitagiri, in Jajpur district. Located on the hills of Parabhadi and Landa, the green site is said to be one of the earliest Buddhist complexes in the state. Excavated in 1985, it h a s four monasteries, sculpture of the Buddha, antiquities like gold and silver ornaments and stone plaque. But the most important finding is a relic casket, which, historians claim, belongs to very important followers or probably the Buddha himself. The casket was kept in a small museum inside the site’s premises. The site has many antique articles from the 8th-9th century AD. Lalitagiri also houses a small museum displaying artefacts found during the excavation, such as Buddha statues in different postures and Buddhist deities like Tara, Padmapani, Hariti and Manjusri.

Another famous Buddhist site, Udayagiri is also located in Jajapur district. It is the largest Buddhist site in the state. However, chronologically it comes after Ratnagiri and Lalitagiri. It houses antiques from 7th to 12th century. The archaeological findings are classified in two parts, namely, Udaygiri I and Udaygiri II. Based on the U-shaped basin, Udayagiri is known for its bell-shaped Stupa signifying Vajrajana. The site comprises Maha Stupa, which has a beautifully carved image of Dhyani Buddha Aksobhaya on the eastern side, Amitabha on the western side, Amoghasiddhi on the north and Ratnasambhava on the south . There is a square monastery too, an ornate gateway leading to the chamber that houses the image of Lord Buddha in “Bhumisparsa” mudra. Other than these a number of sculptures of Buddha and other Buddhist divinities, like Tara, Manjushri, Bhrikuti, Hariti, Chunda, Avalokiteswara, Maitreya, Aparajita, Vairochona and Vasudhara, were discovered here.

Ratnagiri has a rich concentration of Buddhist antiquities. But before visiting this site, head for the Buddhist museum, which is located just a few kilometres from the site, to have real insight into Buddhism. The museum has four galleries and has an excellent collection of excavated antiquities. Ratnagiri is located on a hillock, carries Buddhist antiques from the 5th to 13th century AD. This place was an important centre of Mahajana from of Buddhism. From 8th to 9th century it became a hub for Tantric Buddhism and in the 10th century it played a significant role in the emergence of Kalachakra Tantra. Among the remnants, the place is full of votive stupas, a big stupa and various giant Buddha statues. The compound has two large monasteries. The larger monastery complex has an open courtyard and 24 cells for residence, made up of bricks. One side of the courtyard has the inner sanctum housing a giant statue of Buddha, in Bhumisparsha posture. On the other side, there are different sized Buddha heads and statues. The entry gate of the monastery is also very beautiful, decorated with the picture of a couple in royal clothes. The other monastery is smaller.

- http://www.thestatesman.com/travel/from-ruins-to-treasure-1502509670.html, Oct 12, 2017

200 years on, Paigah tombs to get a facelift

The Paigah Tombs that are decorated in stucco work and represent Mughul, Greek, Persian, Asafjahi, Rajasthani and Deccani styles, have no parallel in the city in terms of style of architecture. Cosmetic changes in the past. The Archaeo-logy Department took up the protection of this place in 1990. Some settlers were evicted from inside the compound in 2009. Beautification work was done but no repair work for biodiversity conference in 2012. However, now after almost 200 years, those historical relics are going to get a fresh lease of life. As part of the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Union Tourism Ministry, these tombs come under the heritage circuit in Hyderabad and Rs 4.10 crore has been sanctioned for bringing back to the old grandeur to the tombs. Lying in a derelict state, these tombs near Santosh Nagar could easily replicate the success story of Humayun Tomb in Delhi that now attracts more than 10 lakh tourists after renovation. Telangana Department of Archaeology & Museums (DAM) director N R Visalatchi says, “Unlike other monuments, the Paigah Tombs have intricate design that include jalli work on walls and doors and stucco work of very high quality. The conservation part is being undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the amenities for the interpretation systems such as lighting, pathways, compound wall, landscaping and other facilities for tourists would be done by the Archaeology department. A member of AKTC said that inside it is terracotta and on the outside is lime mortar.

A team from New Delhi collected samples from the site and also invited workmen from Iran and Central Asian countries as part of the preliminary research. Visalatchi says, “Fruits, drums, serpents, flowers, vases, pineapple shaped stucco ornamentation on the roof and rosewood doors are a delight but need great deal of workmanship.” While heritage lovers in the city welcome the restoration work they are apprehensive about settlements at the necropolis. Intach co-convenor Sajjad Shahid says, “What one sees today is just a part of the graves of the Paigah family. All settlements should be removed and a proper pathway to the tombs from the DRDL main road should be made.” He further adds, “Paigah nobles preferred their graves to be open without a roof similar to the tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. However, there are four pillars known as chowkandi in locally, which is nothing but an enclosure.” The final resting place of several members of the Paigah family who held high positions in Nizam’s government were known to be fiercely loyal and contributed in almost all fields. The tomb of Hussain-Un-Nissa, daughter of the fifth Nizam is a replica of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb at Taj Mahal. There is a lot of history attached to the tombs and could become a major tourist attraction in the years to come, says Visalatchi. The deadline for the Swadesh Darshan scheme is 36 months. By T P Venu

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Commoner/2017-10-12/200-years-on-Paigah-tombs-to-get-a-facelift/332818, Oct 13, 2017

Intach looks to develop handmade paper making tradition of Kagzipura village

An eight-day training workshop was organized at Kagzipura village, about 20km from the city, to preserve and develop the 700-year-old tradition of manufacturing handmade paper. The workshop, which was held from October 5 to 13, was organized by the Aurangabad chapter of Intach (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) and the heritage, craft and community division of Intach Delhi. "Kagzipura is a small village situated between Daulatabad and Khuldabad. The name of the village itself indicates that it has something to do with 'kagaz' or paper," aid Intach activist Ashish Garde on Saturday. The village is trying to survive on the production of a unique handmade paper, an art which is 700 years old, dating back to the era of Muhammad Tughalaq, a sultan. Tughalaq is known for shifting his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad and back. Recently, due to the lack of orders, paper manufacturing had come to a grinding halt. To revive the historic handmade paper tradition of Kagzipura, Intach Aurangabad designed a programme comprising marketing support, improvement in quality, and training for manufacture of value added paper products, said Garde. Intach Aurangabad also roped in trainers from TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement) to train the artisans of Kagzipura. "Many young women and men from Kagzipura participated in the workshop," said Garde. Garde added that Intach also created a brand identity for Kagzipura's handmade paper, which was unveiled during a valedictory function held on October 12. Some of the prominent people who attended the Intach programme include, Mukund Bhogale, Intach convener for Maharashtra; Shivakant Bajpayee, deputy superintending archaeologist; Bindu Manchanda, director, heritage, craft and community division of Intach Delhi; Ajay Kulkarni, convener of Intach Aurangabad, co-convener Maya Vaidya, and Sneha Bakshi and Azeem Shaikh of Intach.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/intach-looks-to-develop-handmade-paper-making-tradition-of-kagzipura-village/articleshow/61085289.cms, Oct 16, 2017

Marred by time and apathy, British-era park lies forgotten

Away from the hustle-bustle of Lutyens' Delhi exists a space that once witnessed King George V being commemorated as the Emperor of India. Coronation Park near the Nirankari Sarovar on Burari Road in north Delhi is the site where Delhi Durbars were held in 1877, 1903, and 1911. After independence, it was converted to coronation memorial, when statues of former British Kings were moved from various locations in the city to here. Coronation Park was also considered for the building site for the Viceroy House, but due to its proximity to the Yamuna flood-prone area, Raisina Hill was chosen, where the Rashtrapati Bhawan stands today. Today, as one walks into the park, which still has the Obelisk constructed to commemorate King George V, who presided at the location as Emperor of India in December, 1911, one can see graffiti on the heritage walls. It is at this spot that the decision of shifting the Capital from Calcutta to Delhi was made. But now, several plinths created for the statues stand vacant and the five with statues do not have anything written under them. "This is a park from the British Era but we call it the Tagore park. The statue opposite the Obelisk looks like Tagore with a big beard," says Manish Maurya, 19, a Delhi University student. "How would we know who these people were? There is nothing written under them. We come here to relax. We have no idea who these people were," he adds. The entire park is littered with garbage, broken dustbins, and broken barbed wire, while people have defaced the walls by witing and drawing on them. The spot is mostly frequented by couples, who come here to get away from the prying eyes of their families. The park still has all the grandeur of the past but the royal magic has been marred by neglect for years. Over the years, the park did see some restoration and conservation work by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). First in 2005, INTACH and the Government of India restored the park. Then again in 2015, when the park underwent its second round of restoration, some marbles were placed, walls were painted, gardens were tended to, and lights were put up, but it already looks in a bad shape today. The park's condition also raises the question that why is Delhi so keen on parting with its British roots — first the roads were renamed, and now this beautiful British-era park lies neglected.

Coronation Park was also considered for the building site for the Viceroy House, but due to its proximity to the Yamuna flood-prone area, Raisina Hill was chosen, where the Rashtrapati Bhawan stands today.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-marred-by-time-and-apathy-british-era-park-lies-forgotten-2553164, Oct 16, 2017

Dalit women, foreigners go on heritage walk in Jodhpur

It was quite a sight to behold as Dalit women dressed in pink marched along with foreigner women through the streets of Jodhpur to promote tourism and sensitise the people about the importance of the Blue City.They set off from the south entrance of Mehrangarh Fort on Friday morning and walked upto the Clock Tower through the narrow lanes and busy markets of the Walled City.The walk was organized by the Smabhali Trust for celebrating a decade of women empowerment through its various programmes to provide socio-economic footing to the women from deprived backgrounds and Dalit communities.Managing trustee Govind Singh said that Jodhpur has a rich culture of hospitality and in order to inculcate this value among the citizens, the beneficiaries as well as the foreign volunteers of the trust, the walk was organized.To celebrate the rich and varied folk culture of the land, the trust also held performances of folk arts which are nearing extinction like 'Pabuji ki Fad'.Convener of Jodhpur chapter of Intach, Mahendra Singh Tanwar, said that the characteristics of valour and spirituality are woven across the landscape and legends of Marwar region, which were well-depicted in various ballads, poems, verses and books through various art forms and 'Fad' is one such prolific art form."Economic independence for women from lower strata of the society and education for their children, sensitization and conservation of art forms nearing extinction, have also been integrated in the trust's programmes," Singh said."Inculcating a sense of pride for the rich culture, traditions and heritage is something which keeps you connected and fascinated with your city and helps you in grooming yourself as a concerned citizen," Singh added.. . , As Reported By TOI.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/jaipur/937921/dalit-women-foreigners-go-on-heritage-walk-in-jodhpur/, Oct 16, 2017

Archaeologists call for preservation of ponds, tanks

The archaeology enthusiasts, who recently discovered ruins of a brick wall of pre Ahom era fortification to save the kingdom from invaders, has sought the attention of Archaeological Survey of India for a systematic excavation of area to determine the date of the brick wall on the top of Narakasur Hills. It is significant that Guwahati served as the capital of the Kamrupa kingdom and continued as the capital city of Assam till the 10-11th century AD under the Pala dynasty. In the mediaeval times (12-15th century), however, the city functioned as a strategic outpost of the Koch Hajo and Ahom kingdoms of western and eastern Assam. Pointing out that central to its existence are also several ponds and tanks built at different time periods and have significant archaeological importance, the Archaeology Survey of India however admits that most of these ponds, built by kings, were constructed as acts of piety or service to the people but now needs to be preserved and protected. The team of archaeological enthusiasts led by a doctor Satyakam Phukan who discovered the historic brick walls has also recorded extensive archaeological ruins on the Narakasur Hills during the exploration of the hills. At many places along the crest of the hills, the team could uncover many brick structures hidden under the soil. Mr Phukan said that along the crest of the hills, remains of an extensive wall, possibly some ancient fortification, can be ascertained. Remains of the brick structure were evident all along the track, he said. The experts feared that many people have started settling in the area and ongoing earth cutting may cause serious damage to these historical reminiscences. “These ruins were never explored neither during the British era nor in the post-Independence era of India by any authority. But we are certain that systematic archaeological exploration will bring to light many hitherto unknown facts about the history and archaeology of Guwahati and Assam,” said Mr Phukan who in a letter to the State’s Director of Archaeology, has also requested to initiate necessary steps for undertaking systematic archaeological exploration of the site. The archaeology enthusiasts pointed out that there were a number of ponds and tanks in the city that came up at different times and held tremendous importance. Thanks to the apathy of the government and the public, many of these ponds have succumbed to encroachment. Localities such as Durgasarobar near the Kamakhya temple and the Ganesh temple in Ganeshguri area once had tanks or ponds that have now disappeared. According to eminent Assamese writer and historian, Kumudeswar Hazarika, there were about 300 tanks in Guwahati and North Guwahati when the two were a single entity until the British occupied Assam in 1893 and people used to drink water from them. A majority of them, however, were filled up by the British.

- http://www.asianage.com/india/politics/161017/archaeologists-call-for-preservation-of-ponds-tanks.html, Oct 16, 2017

Mumbai: State Bank of India Foundation grants Rs 10 crore for CSMT restoration

The central railways has received a financial grant worth Rs ten crore on Tuesday from a foundation for restoring the heritage building of Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). The State Bank of India Foundation has partnered with the central railways over the period of at least five years for the conservation project. On Monday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the central railways and State Bank of India Foundation for conserving the heritage structure. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a non-profit organisation has been assinged the work of identifying the defects in the heritage building. “We were assigned the work of identifying defects in the structure on the southern and eastern facade of the iconic railway station of Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). We have submitted the maps to the central railways which reflects the minor defects in the structure and awaiting an approval from the railways to restore the remaining structures,” said Vikas Dilawari, a conservation architect, appointed by INTACH for restoration work. The CSMT building needs to be restored as many structures have been broken and are covered in dust due to pollution. At several places, the building has symbolic structures including ‘lady of progress,’ which shows a female figure holding a torch pointing upward in one hand and a spoked wheel in the other. “Structures like these needs to be restored as many parts are broken and covered in dust. We hope to restore the iconic structure through the funds received from the SBI foundation,” said an official. The southern side of the station building also has a unique three structures that represent Industry, Commerce and Trade which would be restored under the project.

- http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mumbai-state-bank-of-india-foundation-grants-rs-10-crore-for-csmt-restoration/1155498, Oct 17, 2017

A symbol of Naraka Chaturdasi goes missing!

On Naraka Chaturdasi, the day that marks the slaying of demon Narakasura by Krishna’s spouse Satyabhama, the theft of their rare statue ‘Satya Venugopala’ points to official and civilian apathy. Consecrated at Salakamcheruvu of Singanamala mandal in Anantapuram district, the statue in ‘ardhan-areeshwara’ (half male - half female) form is considered a rarity in Sri Vaishnavite iconography. “The idol is themed on ‘Narakasura vadha' and hence Satyabhama’s ferocity is depicted through four hands, holding a bow and arrow, a ‘parashu' (axe) and ‘paasam’ (rope),” says archaeology expert J. Vijayakumar. The statue dating back to the 16th century belongs to the Singanamala region, which is home to several dilapidated and living temples and is hence considered a historical site. Mr. Vijayakumar, who retired as Deputy Director of the State Archaeology department in Telangana, hails from Chittoor district, and has worked extensively in Rayalaseema, besides being the founder member of the INTACH's Anantapuram chapter. With the flute and cows around, the male half is anybody's guess as ‘Venugopala,’ but the female half was considered for long to be Radha, his favourite companion. During his stint as technical assistant in 1995, it was Mr. Vijayakumar who contradicted the popular belief and identified her as Satyabhama, as Radha never wielded any weapon. Speaking to The Hindu, he admired the idol as one of the best ever sighted in the State. Unfortunately, the statue was found missing recently. “It could have been mistaken by the miscreants as a semi-precious green stone, which it is not,” he says referring to the chemical treatment conducted by INTACH during his tenure.

‘Conduct heritage audit’
A great treasure is lost as its whereabouts are not known yet, he adds, urging the government to take up heritage audit and form village-level heritage committees to stand guard.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-symbol-of-naraka-chaturdasi-goes-missing/article19878777.ece, Oct 17, 2017

School of ROCK

To celebrate the monumental find, the Deccan College and the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums are hosting the 22nd International Congress of the Rock Art Society of India (RASI). The three-day event will cover a host of interesting topics related to rock-art research in the country, and the challenges and progress the field has made in the last 150 years since Carlyle spotted the rock paintings. Dr Kantikumar Pawar, assistant professor of behavioural archaeology at Deccan College, explains that rock art is classified into rock painting, rock engraving and bruising (petroglyph). “Rock engravings are found inside and outside cave shelters,” points out Pawar. Bruising involved using a rock nodule to etch images on rocks, a style, which was predominantly practised by early people in the Western Ghats. However, rock paintings unlike rock engravings are only found inside caves. In ancient times, rock art flourished in India, and there are over 5,000 locations spread across central, northern and southern parts of the country, where these murals still exist. “Rock painting was rendered using pigments derived from vegetables. Ochre and hematite were also commonly used, with animal blood and vegetable fibre as the binding agent,” informs Pawar. Prehistoric rock art gives a glimpse into how the huntergatherer society lived. According to Pawar, the paintings commonly depict communal gatherings, social life and hunting and dancing scenes. The images also offer an insight into the psychological behaviour of primitive communities. However, there are numerous challenges involved in dating rock art. Over the years, the pigments of the murals have worn off, making it difficult to gather scientific data. “Accessing these cave shelters, which are often located in densely forested areas is not easy,” adds Pawar. A talk on tribal art and cupules is on the agenda too. Cupules are man-made circular hollows found on the surface of rock slabs, dating back to the Lower Paleolithic Period. Such cupules are found at Daraki- Chattan in Madhya Pradesh. In 2010–11, Pawar was surprised to discover that the Gonds living in Betul in Madhya Pradesh practice rock art to this day, in which the godhani (cow) is a recurring motif. “They paint cave shelters on the second day of Diwali,” said Pawar. A one-day field trip to the famous rock-cut cave sites of Karle and Bhaja is also on the itinerary. You can apply for a RASI membership by visiting www.dcpune.ac.in.

WHERE: Convocation Hall, Deccan College, Yerawada
WHEN: October 26–28
CALL: 9881409532
COST: Rs 1,500 and Rs 750 (students)

- http://punemirror.indiatimes.com/entertainment/unwind/school-of-rock/articleshow/61121645.cms, Oct 18, 2017

Odisha researchers document monuments of Jagannath Sadak in WB

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), West Bengal and Odisha Chapters released the “Listing and Documenting the Monuments of the Jagannath Sadak in West Bengal” yesterday at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. The Project had been launched in November, 2015 and had been flagged off by the Honorable Governor of West Bengal. INTACH had earlier undertaken and completed the Listing of the Monuments of the Old Jagannath Sadak in the Odisha stretch and a report was prepared which was released at Bhubaneswar in July, 2014. The report had listed 200 Monuments of the old road, starting from Jaleswar to Puri. The West Bengal Report was released by the Chairman of INTACH Maj. Gen. L.K.Gupta (Retd.) along with Dr. Rajesh Purohit, the Director of the Indian Museum. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Amiya Bhusan Tripathy IPS (Retd.), State Convener of INTACH Odisha, said that the relevance and importance of this ancient road has not been highlighted.

He said that the heritage of this pilgrim road and its importance in spreading the Cult of Jagannath all over the country has been overlooked in history. Nearly 400 monuments have been listed in the three volume report which includes 400 maps and 1000 photographs. Tripathy said that the listing did not have only Hindu temples, but 7 Mosques, 4 Gurudwaras and 6 Churches too have been listed as they had associational significance with the Old Sadak and its pilgrims. Shri G.N.Kapur, State Convener of INTACH West Bengal said that efforts will be made to conserve and preserve the remnants of the Old Sadak in West Bengal. The Director of the Indian Museum emphasized on the rich heritage of Eastern India especially Bengal and Odisha and the manner in which they were intertwined. He lauded the efforts of INTACH in producing the report and said that it was an empirical study.

The Chairman of INTACH, Maj. Gen L.K.Gupta stressed the need of documenting both the tangible and intangible heritage of the country. He said that INTACH has been accorded the status as a Centre of Excellence and spoke of its role in conservation and preservation of heritage sites all over the country. The need of the hour was creating awareness about heritage and culture, which INTACH is actively promoting by its outreach programmes and its various chapters all over the country. Anil Dhir, the Co-ordinator of the Project, gave a vivid talk on the project and the various aspects of the synthesis of the Bengal and Odishan cultures. He spoke of the relevance of Sri Chaitanya and the Guadiya Vaishnavites in the making of the road and the various Mutts that are scattered all over the Old Sadak. The visits of many holy saints including Guru Nanak, Namdev, Ramananda, Tulsidas, Mahdava Acharya and Kabir have left behind indelible traces on the old road. While preparing the report many old travel accounts of the Persian, Arabic , English, French and Dutch travelers were discovered. Besides being a Pilgrim trail, the road was also an important trade route with various amenities for the travelers.

Of the 512 Kms of the original road, only 168 kms is still intact, the rest of it has been encroached upon by the highway and the railways. Dhir said that unlike Odisha, West Bengal had three different roads, all of which culminated at Dantan on the Odisha border. Different routs were taken by Guru Nanak and Sri Chaitanya, while the sea route from Tamluk, the ancient Tamralipti too was prominent. The release was attended by many dignitaries from Odisha and West Bengal. Shri Sanjib Hota, Shri Kulamani Deo, Shri S.K.B Narayan, Shri Pradyumna Satapathy, Shri Bata Kishore Tripathy, Shri Ananta Mohapatra, Shri Baikunth Panigrahi and others attended the release ceremony.

- http://odishasuntimes.com/2017/10/23/odisha-researchers-document-monuments-of-jagannath-sadak-in-wb/, Oct 23, 2017

18TH Day of Nationwide Paryatan Parv Celebrations

On day eighteen of the Paryatan Parv, various programmes have been organized in the State of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram. Guided Heritage Walk ‘Knowing the Brahmaputra River’ was organized by India Tourism Guwahati in association with Assam Tourism, INTACH and Tour Operators Association of Assam. A Cultural Evening,Quiz / Essay / Painting Competitions, Sensitisation Programmes for Stakeholders, Tourism Exhibition have been organized by India Tourism Guwahati in association with the State Government of Meghalaya and North East Tourism Development Council at Shillong.District Level Sports Tournament amongst Youth Clubs organized by NYKS at Bungtlawng, Mizoram. Ministry of DONER in association with State Government of Manipur has organised Imphal Evening.

The State Government of Bihar has organised several programmes such as Cultural evening showcasing the Cultural & Heritage of Bihar, Cleanliness Awareness Programmes at Tourist Sites, Painting Competitions on tourism related themes, Quiz Programmes at Pawapuri and Nalanda. The State Government of Uttarakhand has organised Aerosports activities at Pithoragarh, The State Government of Madhya Pradesh has organised Children’s theatre, group singing and painting competition on flora & fauna at Pench National Park, Essay & Painting Competitions were organised at Ernakulam District by the State Government of Kerala. In Delhi a ‘Sunday Art Hatt’ was organised by Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi Tourism has organised Cultural Programme at Dilli Haat- INA, India Tourism Delhi has organised various programmes like Yoga Session at Humayun’s Tomb, Heritage Walk at Mehrauli Archaeological Park and Hauz Khas & Siri Fort.

IHM Gwalior has organisedExcursion Trip for students to Mitawali and Padawali, Run for Incredible India, Tourist Awareness Programme on Swachhta was organised by IITTM, Nellore, Quiz competitions were organised by IHM & IITTM in Chennai,Essay & Quiz Competitions were organised by IHM, NITHM and City College, Hyderabad.

- http://indiaeducationdiary.in/18th-day-nationwide-paryatan-parv-celebrations/, Oct 23, 2017

INTACH, West Bengal &Odisha Chapters released book on Jagganath Sadak in West Bengal

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), West Bengal and Odisha Chapters released the “Listing and Documenting the Monuments of the Jagganath Sadak in West Bengal” today at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. The Project had been launched in November 2015 and had been flagged off by the Honorable Governor of West Bengal. INTACH had earlier undertaken and completed the Listing of the Monuments of the Old Jagannath Sadak in the Odisha stretch and a report was prepared which was released at Bhubaneswar in July 2014. The report had listed 200 Monuments of the old road, starting from Jaleswar to Puri. The West Bengal Report was released by the Chairman of INTACH Maj. Gen. L.K.Gupta (Retd.) along with Dr. Rajesh Purohit, the Director of the Indian Museum. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Amiya Bhusan Tripathy IPS (Retd.), State Convener of INTACH Odisha, said that the relevance and importance of this ancient road has not been highlighted.

He said that the heritage of this pilgrim road and its importance in spreading the Cult of Jagannath all over the country has been overlooked in history. Nearly 400 monuments have been listed in the three volume report which includes 400 maps and 1000 photographs. Tripathy said that the listing did not have only Hindu temples, but 7 Mosques, 4 Gurudwaras and 6 Churches too have been listed as they had associational significance with the Old Sadak and its pilgrims. Shri G.N.Kapur, State Convener of INTACH West Bengal said that efforts will be made to conserve and preserve the remnants of the Old Sadak in West Bengal. The Director of the Indian Museum emphasized on the rich heritage of Eastern India especially Bengal and Odisha and the manner in which they were intertwined. He lauded the efforts of INTACH in producing the report and said that it was an empirical study. The Chairman of INTACH, Maj.

Gen L.K.Gupta stressed the need of documenting both the tangible and intangible heritage of the country. He said that INTACH has been accorded the status as a Centre of Excellence and spoke of its role in conservation and preservation of heritage sites all over the country. The need of the hour was creating awareness about heritage and culture, which INTACH is actively promoting by its outreach programmes and its various chapters all over the country. Anil Dhir, the Co-ordinator of the Project, gave a vivid talk on the project and the various aspects of the synthesis of the Bengal and Odishan cultures. He spoke of the relevance of Sri Chaitanya and the Guadiya Vaishnavites in the making of the road and the various Mutts that are scattered all over the Old Sadak. The visits of many holy saints including Guru Nanak, Namdev, Ramananda, Tulsidas, Mahdava Acharya and Kabir have left behind indelible traces on the old road. While preparing the report many old travel accounts of the Persian, Arabic , English, French and Dutch travelers were discovered. Besides being a Pilgrim trail, the road was also an important trade route with various amenities for the travelers. Of the 512 Kms of the original road, only 168 kms is still intact, the rest of it has been encroached upon by the highway and the railways. Dhir said that unlike Odisha, West Bengal had three different roads, all of which culminated at Dantan on the Odisha border.

Different routs were taken by Guru Nanak and Sri Chaitanya, while the sea route from Tamluk, the ancient Tamralipti too was prominent. The release was attended by many dignitaries from Odisha and West Bengal. Shri Sanjib Hota, Shri Kulamoni Deo, Shri S.K.B Narayan, Shri Pradyumna Satapathy, Shri Bata Kishore Tripathy, Shri Ananta Mohapatro, Shri Baikunth Panigrahi and others attended the release ceremony.

- https://orissadiary.com/intach-west-bengal-odisha-chapters-released-book-jagganath-sadak-west-bengal/, Oct 24, 2017

Ancient Ramappa temple crumbling due to apathy

The historical Ramappa temple, which was nominated for a UNESCO world heritage tag, is craving for attention. The 800-year old engineering marvel of the Kakatiya regime is in a pathetic condition, evidenced by the collapsed compound wall, water leakage, and that fact that the debris of removed Kateshwaralayam is still lying around. Ramappa temple, located at Palampet village in Venkatapur mandal of Jayashankar-Bhoopalapally district, was built by Racherla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapathi Deva in 1213 AD. The temple stands on a raised platform with the Garbhagruha, an Antarala and Maha Mandapa having lateral porched entrances on three sides. A few days ago, the Hyderabad High Court took suo motu cognisance of the pathetic condition of the temple and asked both the Telangana government and the Centre to file a counter. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state government are the custodians of the monument.

While some parts of temple were already crumbling, a portion of the compound wall collapsed due to rains in August.Following this, the ASI approached the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Warangal, to check the strength of the compound wall and restoration of foundation design. But the ASI is yet to take up works to rebuild the wall. Similarly , the magnificent Kateshwaralayam mandapam on the temple premises is in a dilapidated condition, with parts of it having been removed and dumped nearby. "Renovation and reconstruction works need to be taken up. The state government has released funds only to remove the structure, but not for renovation of the mandapam," a senior ASI official said. Tourism and culture department officials said the Ramappa temple was first sent for world heritage tag in 2015 and then again in February 2017.The UNESCO asked the ASI to send details of the structure.

The state government has appointed a consultant, Chudamani, who is an architect and a classical dancer, to submit a report to be sent to UNESCO. Officials claim the biggest advantage of the structure is that it is free from encroachments. When asked, tourism and culture secretary B Venkatesham said the state government is committed to the protection and conservation of the temple and that every effort is being made to secure the world heritage tag.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/ancient-ramappa-temple-crumbling-due-to-apathy/articleshow/61195534.cms, Oct 24, 2017

INTACH Nagaland Chapter joins nationwide tourism campaign

The nationwide tourism campaign ‘Paryatan Parv’ launched by the Ministry of Tourism from October 5 to 25 with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of ‘Tourism for All’, was organized by INTACH Nagaland Chapter at Dimapur on October 24, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Department of Tourism, Nagaland. INTACH Nagaland Chapter State Convener Sentila T. Yanger in a press release stated that the event was observed with a ‘Heritage Walk’ by the participating school children around the Kachari ruins and painting competition on Rural Tourism and Eco Tourism in Nagaland, in the premises of the Circuit House Dimapur.

Altogether seven schools participated in the event. The winner was Likhum Longkumer, a Grade 6 student from The Maple Tree School who won the first prize of Rs.3000. The four consolation prizes of Rs.1000 each was bagged by the following school children Bodü Rhakho Class 7 student from Hollotoli School, Nikina Yeptho Class 9 student from Delhi Public School, Joshua Jakha a Class 9 student from Delhi Public School and Itna Kiba from the Delhi Public School.

- http://morungexpress.com/intach-nagaland-chapter-joins-nationwide-tourism-campaign/, Oct 25, 2017

Christ Church – a historical journey of heritage restored

Located in the heart of Guwahati city inside Nehru Park at Panbazar, the revered building of Christ Church is a symbol of peace and hope. Turning pages from its glorious and eventful history, this church marked the beginning of the institutionalisation of Christianity in the north-eastern region. It was founded in 1844 when Rev Robert James Bland was appointed as the Chaplain of Assam, and consecrated in 1850 by Rt Rev Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta.In the 1860s Oscar Jean Baptiste Mallitte photographed the church for the first time in its neo-Gothic architectural glory. It stood as an epitome of colonial British architecture until two severe earthquakes brought the structure to ruins in 1856 and 1897. The present-day building of the church was built in 1901. Being the first church of North East India, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Given that the building was extensively damaged by termites, Rev Angel Daimari and the pastorate committee of the church took the initiative to restore this historic church and give it a new lease of life. The members of the church contributed towards this cause.

Ranjib Baruah, a heritage conservation architect, supervised this project under the aegis of the Heritage Conservation Society of Assam (HeCSA). Other members of HeCSA who are actively associated with this project are artiste pensioner Manik Borah, chief advisor and retired bureaucrat Himanshu Shekhar Das along with Pradeep Sharma, Dr Bhupen Deka and Bikash Goswami as advisors. “A combination of Tudor-style architecture and Assam-type construction was used to restore this church. To stabilise the building bamboo, GI lead and plaster were used,” said Jayanta Baruah, secretary of HeCSA. The restoration process began in March this year and has been completed in record time. On October 26, the Christ Church will be rededicated by Rt Rev Michael Herenz, Bishop of the Diocese of North East India.

- http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct2517/city051, Oct 25, 2017

‘Spread awareness on heritage sites’

East Godavari district Collector and chief patron of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s (INTACH) district unit Kartikeya Misra on Sunday called upon the teachers to create awareness among the children about the need for preserving the cultural heritage. Inaugurating an awareness programme for teachers working in the municipal and aided schools organised by the INTACH’s district unit here, Mr. Misra said India was lagging behind the foreign countries when it comes to protecting the heritage sites. He said there were 23 heritage buildings including the one that was housing Collectorate in the city and steps would be taken to protect them for posterity.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/spread-awareness-on-heritage-sites/article19945874.ece, Oct 30, 2017

Priceless art: Paintings of Svetoslav Roerich to be restored

A high profile art restoration project will soon be underway with a niche team of "art doctors" setting up their lab in the premises of Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG). A small police team will stand guard at the premises 24/7 to give security to the priceless paintings. 248 paintings of internationally-acclaimed artist Svetoslav Roerich, which were in the "safe custody" of VAG over the last 23 years, will be conserved and all necessary clearances have been obtained. The state archaeology department is handling this sensitive project and will soon be signing a MoU with INTACH Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre (ICKPAC). Russo-Indian painter Roerich had settled down in Bengaluru along with his actress wife Devika Rani and the couple had purchased and developed Tataguni Estate on Kanakapura Road, a 468-acre farm on the outskirts of the city, where they lived, had a studio and set up a lavender oil extraction factory. The couple had no children and there was a dispute over their property. A theft case was registered and the police seized the couple's belongings and put them in safe custody till the case is resolved. Among other things, 248 paintings came into VAG's custody. Read Also: "All the necessary permissions have been taken since this case is yet to be settled in the court. But the paintings cannot be ignored, they are in bad need of restoration and the Board has cleared the project to conserve them. State archaeology department is handling it and, after several years, these art pieces are being handled by professionals. The paintings cannot be taken out of the VAG premises and the place will have round-the-clock police security," Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate Board chief executive officer, GH Puttahalagaiah, told Bangalore Mirror. From the archaeology department, N Manjula, who till two days ago was the commissioner, had taken keen interest in the restoration project and had decided to hand the project to INTACH Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre. The Centre, on its part, carried out a status report of the paintings after individually scrutinising every canvas. "We are setting up our lab in the VAG premises and will expand our team. We have examined each and every art piece. There are a few unfinished ones too. Overall, everything needs treatment and we are waiting for the MoU to get inked so that the work can begin. The government has set a deadline of 18 months which is far too little. The project may need at least three years. Since this is a sensitive project, the Centre is not authorised to reveal the finer details," director of INTACH Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre, Madhu Rani, told BM.

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/priceless-art-paintings-of-svetoslav-roerich-to-be-restored/articleshow/61346707.cms, Oct 30, 2017

Master Plan pitches for conservation of heritage sites in Srinagar

There are 20 nationally protected monuments/ buildings of historic and architectural significance falling in the local planning area, 13 of which are located in Srinagar. In a bid to preserve cultural and religious heritage of Srinagar, the draft Master Plan has urged both government and non-government bodies to protect and conserve heritage buildings, and ensure their preservation in the urban development through statutory framework. The draft reads: “The Revised Master Plan provides information on historic buildings, gardens and also buildings and sites of cultural and religious significance, the current initiatives, of both government and non-government bodies to protect, conserve and integrate them into the urban environment and further ways of enabling the need through statutory framework of planning and guidance.” “It is well recognised that conservation of heritage buildings and sites, and provision of improved infrastructure in historic areas promote tourism development which in turn leads to enhancement of livelihood opportunities for local communities, and hence economic development,” it further reads. The draft says that the fundamental step towards heritage conservation and improvement of historic areas requires mapping of heritage buildings, open spaces, public/community spaces such as ghats along the rivers and gardens, and also identification of local artisans and traditional markets among other things. Heritage protection and conservation at the national level is undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India and at the state level by the directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museums. There are 20 nationally protected monuments/ buildings of historic and architectural significance falling in the local planning area, 13 of which are located in Srinagar. The department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Kashmir, has also listed 10 monuments in the local planning area, nine of them in Srinagar. Also, nine sites have been notified as Heritage Sites under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Heritage (Conservation and Preservation) Act 2010. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (Amendment and Validation of 2010) stipulates need for development guidelines in a 300 metre buffer around ASI- protected monuments. The state act known as Jammu and Kashmir Ancient Monuments Preservation Amendment Act, Samvat 2010 specifies a 100-metre buffer area around state protected monuments “The city of Srinagar praised for its beauty has rich resources both natural and cultural (tangible and intangible). Like most of the medieval settlements along river banks, the evolution and expansion of Srinagar was centered on the meandering course of river Jhelum,” it states. “The river served not only as a principal spine of transportation but also as the centre of social and cultural life of the inhabitants. The daily life of the citizens revolved around the river and the numerous water channels linked to it. The labyrinthine streets and alleys are similar to host of medieval cities scattered around the world. Over the course of history, around the 19th century, the city got organized into mohallas/neighbourhoods based on occupations,” it states. “Historic environment is important to the society as a whole or a community within it. These areas merit recognition and conditions for enhancement while ensuring protection of their inherent values,” it adds.

- http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/master-plan-pitches-for-conservation-of-heritage-sites-in-srinagar/264547.html, Oct 30, 2017

Hampi: ASI walks extra mile: Stay off 500-year-old structure

The Archaeological Survey of India is walking extra mile to preserve the Water Pavilion, a 500-year-old architectural marvel, at the UNESCO world heritage site Hampi. For the first time ever, a key road leading to Hampi is being deviated for the safety of the protected monument. To be taken up for conservation, it will be showcased as part of displaying the unique drinking water management system existed during the Vijaynagar era. The octagonal Water Pavilion throws light on existence of the modern-day concept of free drinking water, way back during the Vijaynagar times. The water pavilion, now in a dilapidated state, is behind Royal Palace situated in Kamalapur-Hampi stretch. It is situated at a distance 1.5 km away from Kamalapur and 2 km behind Hampi. It was designed by Vijaynagar rulers to quench the thirst of travellers walking to Hampi. Since it had been built to address needs of travellers, it was positioned adjacent to the main road. However, that has proved a threat to the structure with changing times. Busy traffic and rampant movement of heavy vehicles in the mining areas have weakened the structure, causing cracks. With the structure on the brink of dilapidation, ASI has swung into action. ASI brass recently cordoned off the entire area, which will now be taken up for conservation. As the protected monument is situated bang on the road leading to Hampi, ASI has proposed to give part of its land to preserve the structure. A major portion of the road will be occupied and fenced as part of conservation. The same area, belonging to ASI, will be handed over to district administration and public works department for the purpose of constructing road. “Deviating an existing road for the purpose of saving a monument is happening for the first time at Hampi. Measures are being taken to prevent any collapse,” sources told Bangalore Mirror. “The Octagonal Water Pavilion is a protected monument and is situated on the main road. Because of a lot of vehicle movement, it has been weakened. It is an open structure and exposed to the road. It will be taken up for conservation and we want to give protection to monument. Heavy traffic causes vibration. Hence on left and right side, we will fence it. We have had talks with the district administration and PWD officials. They have agreed to our proposal. Conservation will start after Hampi Utsav,” Moortheshwari K, Superintending Archaeologist ASI told Bangalore Mirror. The site is important because of another vital historic site it abuts. The Water Pavilion is attached to the site that has an ancient water pipeline, which stands as an example to the well-planned water management system during Vijaynagar times. With the conservation, we want to bring back the waterways that existed and to make people understand the technology of those times,” Moortheshwari added.

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/hampi-asi-walks-extra-mile-stay-off-500-year-old-structure/articleshow/61347141.cms, Oct 30, 2017

Vikarabad gets its heritage centre

Dharur in Vikarabad is now site for Telangana Heritage Centre which will showcase an eco-friendly building experience. The heritage centre inaugurated on October 29 will also help preserve local cultural practices. Spread over 24.5 acres, this centre is expected to preserve local craftsmanship and nurture and support local rural human resource. The centre’s authorities have also decided to conserve and protect local environment. The heritage centre, which will start functioning fully in 2018, will support Saturday Angadi in the mandal, which hosts potters, bamboo weavers, Lambadi artisans, and local weavers. The establishment will be run by Our Sacred Space, a private organisation for ecology conservation. The centre will also have many rare fauna, including Baobabs, Nagalingam and timber trees of various species. South Indian Temple tree, the Kalabash or Beggar-Bowl tree has also been planted. Several flowering trees and shrubs have also been planted, including pride of India, jasmine, jacaranda, gardenia, kamini and oleandar. The owners have also planned a food forest close to the retreat building, which will host several fruit trees.

Retreats to be hosted

The centre will host three special residential retreats starting next year. The first will include a contemplative dance retreat by Jyothi Rout from California Bay area. The other two retreats will be a yoga, nutrition and spinning retreat. An alternative education retreat is also planned with K.B. Jinnan, an alternative thinker and educationist. In the coming years, other retreats, including dance, yoga, writing, kalari and night camping, will be organised. Local sightseeing for retreat residents will include a kayaking trip in Kotapally boating project on the Kotapally Reservoir.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/vikarabad-gets-its-heritage-centre/article19951701.ece, Oct 31, 2017

What is Odissi actually?

Odisha, on the east coast of India, where the sun rises over the temples on the shore, celebrates Oriyan culture in architecture, dance, music, painting and even in the hand-woven ikkat silks used for dance costumes. Odissi, a dance of Odisha, is a dance re-discovered in the twentieth century; one that has moved, like all classical dances of India, from the temple to the stage. Odissi dance is particularly known for its lyrical grace, elaborate rhythmic variations and dramatic expression. It is easily identified by silver ornaments worn by the dancer and the pith flower ornaments topped by a prominent/elevated tiara of pith flowers representing the spire of the temple. The sensual ‘S’ curve of the body in Odissi, created by the asymmetrical Tribhangi position, can be seen in sculptures dating back to the dancing girl of Mohenjodaro. The lyrical movement of the torso during dance phrases as well as in final sculpturesque poses is a defining characteristic of the Odissi style of movement. The Natya Shastra text on dance, drama and music by Bharata Muni is a definitive and detailed text on the pan-India performing arts, written sometime between the 2nd centuries BC and AD. It speaks of the dance of Odhra Magadha, which included Kalinga and Odhra (modern Orissa), excelling in dramatic expression, that is, abhinaya. The relief sculptures of dancers and accompanying orchestra found on the walls of the second century BC Rani Gumpha Sanskrit theatre at Udayagiri, Orissa, predated the Natya Shastra. Perhaps the most significant shared aspect of Odissi to other classical Indian dance forms is the motivation of the dance from a spiritual consciousness. Odissi is a celebration of the divinity of being. The metaphysical import of the dance in the past and present is not limited to simple religious ritual, but aimed toward a transformational experience for audience and viewer. The existing circular, open-to-the sky Yogini temple near Bhubaneswar is a reminder of the Yogini Nritya that was foundational to the core Buddhist-Hindu spiritual expression which evolved over centuries. The state of Odisha is known as the land of temples. Its dance reflects the sculpturesque poses adorning the walls of its myriad temples from 7th century Shivite to later Vaishnavite temples, especially the magnificent Jagannath Mandir in Puri built in the 11th century. From the 9th century, there was a tradition of young women dedicated to service in the temples offering dance and song to the deity. These dancers who lived as servants of the deity, supported by temple funds, were called Maharis. In Jagganath Puri, the Maharis danced and sang only the songs of Krishna from poet Javadeva’s Gita Govinda. Radha’s love for Krishna is generally considered a metaphor for the soul’s love for the union with the divine. The emphasis is on anticipation and yearning for union expressed in a rainbow of emotional nuance over many beautiful and evocative poems, with the fulfillment of union treated relatively briefly in the text. The passion of Bhakti, or devotion, was articulated with sophistication in the aesthetics of music and dance. A vocalist, percussionist and musician keeping rhythm with small cymbals, or gini, always accompanied the dance, with additional musicians at times. This is the same model for accompaniment of classical Odissi today. The medieval neo-Vaisnavism of the Chaitanya era created the right environment for dance to become a vehicle of expression to reach the people. The custom of having Odissi performed by boys dressed as girls enabled the devotional poetry to reach the general public outside temple precincts. Women dancing in public was not acceptable during that era, and sakhi bhava or worshipping Krishna as female devotees was an acceptable religious practice. Gotipuas are boy dancers who begin training by the age of seven and generally end their dancing career by the time they reach eighteen. The Gotipuas performed at religious festivals, social gatherings, occasionally in temple courtyards, and had considerable patronage up until the 19th century. The Oriya texts and the music and training of Gotipuas have provided a strong base for the revival of Odissi in the 20th century. The 20th century revival of Odissi drew on what remained of centuries of rising and falling fortunes in the development of the dance, both within and outside the temple. Rediscovery of its artistic heritage was an integral part of a renaissance of national self-discovery that culminated in India’s independence from colonial rule. The ancient Mahari tradition, with its emphasis on dramatic expression, and the medieval Gotipua tradition of boy dancers performing outside the temple precincts, which emphasized the more physical and even acrobatic aspects of the dance, were the foundation for the development of classical Odissi as a theatrical performance art on the stage as we know it today.

- http://www.asianage.com/life/art/311017/what-is-odissi-actually.html, Oct 31, 2017