INTACH geared up to restore heritage

INTACH Vice-Chairman S. K. Misra, who was behind the successful Highway Tourism experiment of Haryana and is the driving force of the Heritage Festivals started in the state, told The Tribune that INTACH was also geared towards creating a Heritage village in Punjab and commencing restoration of heritage buildings in the state.

Mr Misra said a 10-minute film focussing on the damage caused to Quila Mubarak, the fort palace of the Patiala royal house, had been made. It would be presented to the corporate sector in London and the United States. He said the World Monument Fund (WMF) had already listed Quila Mubarak in its list of endangered monuments and pledged a grant in the ratio of 1:2 with government putting in the major share. Due to the enormous exercise involved, he said INTACH had decided to generate funds globally for the quila.

INTACH has also decided to release a book ‘Land of the Gurus’ which showcases both the heritage and religious circuit in the state for international tourists. Mr Mishra said while both Patiala and Kapurthala were being targeted for their heritage value, Amritsar was already globally known due to the Golden Temple. He said the book also listed a religious circuit for the convenience of NRIs. A light and sound show depicting the history of Patiala will be the major attraction for next year’s heritage festival.

As far as new tourism initiatives are concerned, INTACH has suggested establishment of a heritage village in the state on the lines of the villages established by it at Pragpur in Himachal Pradesh and Raghuraj in Orissa. Mr Misra said a few villages had been surveyed, including the birthplace of Akbar the Great. At both Pragpur and Raghuraj, he said, INTACH had followed a holistic approach. The attempt was to ensure total community development by roping in the state government to provide the needed facilities. This model would be followed in Punjab also, he added.

Mr Misra, who is slated to take over as Chairman of INTACH in a few months, said steps were also being taken to initiate work on restoration of various heritage buildings. He said INTACH conservation laboratories would take up the conservation of wall paintings in the Quila Mubarak complex. He said work on paintings in one of the painted chambers had been done for a few years by a UNESCO approved INTACH laboratory earlier also but had been discontinued when the state government did not give the necessary support. He said besides the wall paintings in the Quila, work on restoring the Durbar Hall would also be started in the first phase of restoration of the entire complex.

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