Restoring history

Five restored heritage sites in India

Tourism

March 21, 2020

/ By / New Delhi



history of india

The restoration of various heritage sites in India has not only opened more avenues for tourists to visit but, has also contributed to the conservation of India’s rich history.

India’s robust history speaks for itself amidst the presence of numerous ruins and remains of heritage structures that are invaluable witnesses to India’s past. Restoration of these structures becomes utmost important to preserve the historical evidence from further degradation and to strengthen the essence of the country’s rich past.

Tourism to the newly restored heritage sites is often met with an enthusiastic cheer. Worthy of Instagram and Snapchat beauty, the restored heritage sites aim to recreate history and paves way for tourists to acknowledge the modern efforts to save the slipping past.

Here we mention some of India’s restored marvels.

Gohad Fort, Madhya Pradesh

credits: KEVINSTANDAGEHOTOGRAPHY

Located at Gohad, about 50 km north-east of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state in India, the Gohad Quila is known to be an architectural legacy of the Jat Kingdom who settled the town of Gohad in the early 16th century. With Vaisali River located in its north and an agricultural field in the south, the fort finds itself almost at the centre of the Gohad town and is filled with historical quirks.

Years of neglect had let the fort become decrepit. In 2014, Madhya Pradesh’s Department of Archaeology and World Monuments Fund began detailed documentation and assessment of the structural condition of the fort. By August 2016, the emergency restoration of two important gateways that were cracked and damaged, and other exemplary but weak structures, such as the historic Hamam (bath) was completed.

The restoration process strengthened the historic appeal of the Gohad Quila in a variety of ways and converted it into a local historical asset. The UNESCO in 2017 cited the restoration of Gohad Fort with an honourable mention in the annual Asia-Pacific Awards for cultural heritage prevention.

 

Royal Opera House, Maharashtra

Located in Mumbai and originally opened on 16 October 1916, the Royal Opera House, just off Chowpatty beach in south Mumbai,was once called the ‘theatre-de-luxe of the East’, a shining jewel in ‘Bombay the Beautiful’. With its baroque architecture and state-of-the-art interior designing, it was a close competitor to the similar structures in Europe.

It hosted many memorable live performances like operas, plays, musical acts by renowned artists and was later turned into asingle-screen cinema due to dwindling crowds. Then came the video and digital technology that further pushed the business down, forcing the owners Jyotendra Sinhji Jadeja and his wife, Kumud Kumari Jadeja, from the former royal family of Gondal to shut the Royal Opera House in 1993.

The interior view of the Royal Opera House

 

After 16 long years, in 2009 the restoration began in the supervision of conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah and her team of architects and engineers. The leaking roofs, propped up balconies, broken wooden seats among other work such as introduction to 21st-century acoustics, sound design, air conditioning, electrical works, and fire-fighting systems turned the Royal Opera House back into a world-class theatre restored its original grandeur.

 

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

One of the most eminent Vaishnav temples in India, Sri Ranganathaswamy temple also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, lies in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha. About 325 km south of the capital Chennai, in Tiruchirapalli district, this living temple and sacred centre of pilgrimage are regarded as the first among the 108 divya desams that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Scriptures on the outside of the temple

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, some pieces of evidence prove the origin of the temple to be in the 1st century AD. It has seven prakaras(outer boundaries of the sanctum sanctorum) and 21 towers, including the majestic 236-feet-high rajagopuram. Besides its historical significance, the temple’s location on an island between the Kollidam and Kaveri Rivers has made it vulnerable to flooding and needed to be restored.

The massive renovation project that began in 2014 restored the hundred-pillar, thousand-pillar mandapams and various other mandapams as well as several sculptures in the numerous sub-shrines. Under the guidance of experts in archaeology, about 60,000 tonnes of construction waste/debris was removed during the renovation.

In 2017, it won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit for cultural heritage conservation.

Haveli Dharampura, New Delhi

Credits: havelidharampura.com

Amidst the cobbled by-lanes of Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, lies Delhi’s first Asia Pacific UNESCO award for Cultural and Heritage Restoration winning Haveli Dharampura.

Before and After restoration

The 19th-century‘ haveli’ in the walled city is an exquisite mixture of the Mughal, Victorian and Hindu architecture. In the cacophonous bazaar of Chandni Chowk, Haveli Dharampura’srestoration turned it into a hotel.

With the objective to retain and restore the original structure and character of the Haveli, 50-odd workmen worked 24/7 for nearly 5 years to restore the Haveli. Apart from rebuilding the entire broken and collapsed walls and roofs, the blocked windows, partition walls, Dholpur stone pillars, old Sal wood joists and planks of the ceiling were all fixed with appropriate measures.

 

Tomb of Mir Anees, Uttar Pradesh

The tomb of 19th Century Urdu poet Mir Babar Ali Anees or commonly known as Mir Anees who has written over 213 marsiyas and many other elegies (a form of Urdu poetry) including Nauha, soz , salaam and qasida, lies in the Lucknow, the city of Nawabs in Uttar Pradesh. The tomb was in shambles before a group of 50 odd people; calling themselves Aashiqaan-e-Anees (lovers of Anees) helped the Awadhnama Educational and Charitable Trust along with government support to restore the tomb of the poet.

The tall grass around the tomb was chopped off and original possessions of Mir Anees, his Lakhnavi Topi, manuscripts and inkpot were added to the newly restored tomb. The tomb is now regularly visited by litterateurs, intellectuals, authors and theologists from across the world.

 

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