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Archives, Archaeology deptt celebrates World Heritage Week on ruins of rich Dogra heritage
Minister shames government for 'failing to appreciate, preserve inherited legacy'
11/24/2017 12:14:34 AM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Nov 23: The pomp and show seems to have become the hallmark of the present regime in Jammu and Kashmir, in yet another instance about officials trying to keep their political bosses happy by projecting "All is Well" the department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums is celebrating the World Heritage Week in Jammu from 19th to 25thNovember.
The department has spent lakhs on advertisements and publicity to ensure that its failures are not highlighted by the media organizations. But the fact is that the department has miserably failed to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Dogra dynasty and is probably celebrating the week on the ruins of rich treasure, once Jammu region had.
Meanwhile, admitting that the successive governments have failed to preserve the rich Dogra heritage, Minister of State for Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks-Priya Sethi in her official message said, "We have checkered history from Mohenjodaro to Dogra dynasty. As inheritor of this rich inheritor legacy we have unfortunately failed to appreciate."
The unattended status of Ambaran, near Akhnoor, speaks of neglect and utter failure of Government to realize the potential of one of the most significant Buddhist archaeological sites in entire north India. "Dalai Lama after visiting Akhnoor had confirmed the findings of the experts that this Kushana period establishment was one of the earliest monasteries in J&K. Ambaran had shot into limelight, especially amongst the Buddhist world but it continues to be in shambles," said sources.
Giving details about unattended and dilapidated sites, sources said that memorials and the commemoratives associated to the monuments of the region are among the best in the world for their archaeological value, design and historical significance.
"Be it the palaces of Mubarak Mandi Complex or the Bahu fort and many others, the neglect is evident. We often celebrate day's historical significance but it is a disturbing fact that we have not looked after the illustrations of history and retained the same properly," sources said and added that the majority of these monuments are in a bad shape.
They said that there are gates in the epic history of Jammu which have colossal historical value and significance to these values associated with the culture of the city; the stories associated with them are incalculable.
"The famed gates of the old city are believed to have been constructed during that time. There were four main gates including Maheshwari Gate, Gummat Gate, Jogi Gate and Denise Gate. Of these, only the first two remain are in their original position while the Jogi Gate has been replaced by another structure at the same location," sources said.
They said that a number of palaces in Jammu have already collapsed or are in an advanced stage of decay as no steps have so far been taken to preserve them. These palaces now house government offices that are causing further damage to these magnificent heritage buildings.
"The historic Gol-Ghar building was the first victim of neglect when it was gutted in 1980s. The ruins of the imposing multi-storied structure stand as a mute testimony to the Dogra rule," said sources, adding that another red stone building is the Rani Charak's palace. It has developed cracks, but could still be conserved. Some arches and columns in the palace require immediate repairs.
The Poonch House that was built near the canal road by the erstwhile ruler of Poonch in 1930s, also needs immediate attention of the government as it has also got damaged at many places. The palace now houses the institute of music and fine arts. The other monuments in the Poonch town, including the Moti Mahal, Baldev Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Syndicate building and the Haveli Mian Gulab Singh, are also in an advanced stage of decay.
"The Bhimgarh and the Zorawar forts at Reasi in Udhampur district that are an important part of the Dogra history are also fading due to neglect. The Bhimgarh fort that was built in the 19th century has suffered major damage although it has been declared a protected monument by the state Department of Archaeology," said sources.
Despite spending crores of rupees and preparing voluminous reports on preserving and conserving architectural /cultural heritage of various Dogra historical sites spread across Jammu region, majority of them are facing neglect.
"Till date even the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex has not been completely restored to its pristine glory. For the past several years, conservation work is going at snail's pace and almost every Chief Minister, after making round of the heritage complex, accords it a top priority but beyond that no major headway is achieved," rued sources, adding that poor planning and lack of administrative initiative has led to total neglect of the preserved portions of the heritage complex.
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