Saturday, 12 September 2009

Saving the historical monuments

Saving the historical monuments to preserve cultural heritage of Punjab

 By Ravinder Singh Robin, AMRITSAR,(ANI)

An endeavour is underway to preserve various heritage buildings of Punjab State in a bid to treasure the cultural heritage including historical monuments, which can help in boosting tourism in Punjab.

The palaces and Havelis across Punjab bespeak glorious heritage. These historically important buildings include religious places belonging to different faiths and can attract tourists to Punjab.

The Sheesh Mahal and Qila Mubarak at Patiala, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s summer palace at Amritsar or ancestral home of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Khatkar Kalan - they are important sites that need to be preserved for the coming generations.

“Every community, society has a very precious heritage which has to be and can be transferred to the next generation and this is the responsibility of any civil society to transfer that heritage to the coming generation if you don’t perform that duty, that is a sin, that’s crime,” said Dr. Sukhdev Singh, Punjab State convener, Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

To spread awareness about preservation of these heritage sites, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage recently organized a workshop on the theme ‘Cultural Heritage and Media’ in Amritsar.

The event highlighted the fact that popularizing existing heritage buildings and protecting sites of cultural importance, presently in ruins due to negligence and development activities, ought to be the main priority.

There were proposals to convert heritage sites into museums and heritage hotels for tourists to get a glimpse of Punjab’s rich cultural heritage.

It was suggested that the restored monuments could be commercially used on public-private partnership basis.

“Nuclear families have become more common than joint families and it has resulted in a big change in the whole system. Like in our system, the kids are taught to respect elders and follow the path of honesty. People get equal share in all institutions like in home, office and agriculture but today they are aware of especially one aspect of their lives,” said Paramjeet Singh , Prof. Of Architechture, Gurunanak University, Amritsar.

“There is a significant relation between tourism and the heritage sites because some tourists surely have some interest in what’s the history of people and what’s the culture of people. They don’t come here just to see the huge marble buildings. They don’t want to see the modern architecture, which infact is mostly western, they come here to know about the past of this place, so it surely encourages tourism,” said Dr. Sukhdev Singh.

Amritsar is the heritage city of Punjab. The city is known globally for the revered Golden Temple, one of the pilgrimage centers, which stands intact and was built nearly 400 years ago.

The heritage tour in Amritsar remains incomplete without visiting the old city, known for its traditional market and centuries old residential houses.

Be it the historic Jallianwala Bagh or the Summer Palace, the royal residence of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, they take every visitor here to the era they stand testimony of.


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