A Walk Through Our Priceless National Heritage
Did you know that there are 35 World Heritage Sites in India, recognized by UNESCO? Many of these are places of cultural & architectural heritage which are proud jewels of our country. It is thus very disappointing when our own people without realizing the worth of these national heritages malign their walls with inconsequential messages & proclamations of true love! No matter the efforts put in by agencies such as ASI or INTACH, unless the public realizes the importance of preserving our rich architectural heritage, we cannot really achieve the desired conservation & protection of our treasure troves.
There are many ways to care for the heritages but making people aware of their existence & grandeur is a great way to start.
It is thus commendable when many non-governmental organizations such as the Delhi Heritage Photography Club come forth to unite people to conserve the rich heritage of Delhi by capturing it in their cameras.
Started as a hobby club in 2010, DPHC now has more than 1500 members & has successfully conducted heritage open photo walks at more than 80 monuments in & around the national capital. Many enthusiasts have joined hands in their initiatives & are also independently conducting walks to heritages further exploring this historically important city.
Today even the schools & colleges are becoming more interested in making their students aware of our heritage by conducting field trips to such places of historic & architectural importance. Students not only get to marvel at the age-old architecture but get reveled in the history of these monuments.
Like DPHC, many more organizations now organize walks or bicycle rides over weekends to explore these hidden secrets of monuments strewn across the chaos of the city. Groups of enthusiasts from far & near join in these walks or rides to help conserve the national heritages.
Because of more responsible citizens visiting these monuments, the earlier sites of garbage strewn & betel nut spat walls are soon becoming a fact of the past. It is indeed a welcome change brought about by the citizen of a responsible country.
Many institutions are providing backing to these initiatives in their own capacity. For example, The India Habitat Center in Delhi provided free space for exhibiting these photographs of the monuments clicked by these amateurs to showcase the rich historic origins of our country. Around 100 photographs featuring the Monuments of Delhi adorned the corridors of IHC for the exhibit.
And not just Delhi, our country has many such heritage monuments all over. Sites like the architecture Temples in Kerala, Monuments of Hyderabad, Forts of Rajasthan, Maratha hilly adorned fortresses in Pune which could be immortalized by the youth by capturing them in vivid snaps.
Field trips should be arranged by educational institutions to these places to inculcate the importance of preserving & conservation in our young ones’ minds.
There is a Pune heritage walk which sees an eclectic bunch of people every Sunday gathered around Shanivarwada & Aga Khan Palace or Kelkar museum admiring the prestige points of the city’s history. Mumbai also has its own historically proud architecture of the British era which is worth exploring. More such efforts can lead to further awareness in effective maintenance of these structures.
Citizens from all aspects of life should come together in understanding the value of these historic treasures that we collectively own & are responsible for. Why not organize a one-day tour to a bunch of these monuments this weekend with your society members & kids to help clean & preserve or restore back the glory of such monuments across the city?
As people witness your example, they will also join hands to bring about a welcome change in the way we treat out ancestral heritages.
After all, Mahatma Gandhi truly said that “A nation’s cultural heritage resides in the hearts & souls of its people!”
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