Thousands of monuments, heritage structures, sites and other antiquities found across Karnataka — both in the public and private realm — will be documented and a village-level registry of the monuments would be formed.
The exercise, funded by the Union Government under the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities, will help identify lesser-known monuments. “Almost every village in the State has a heritage structure or monument, which would be identified to form the village-level registry. It could be a first such exercise attempted in the country and will start in a couple of months,” Kannada and Culture Department Secretary Jayaramraje Urs told The Hindu.
Karnataka has 650 monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, 752 State-protected monuments, 25,000 temples notified by Muzrai Department and an estimated 25,000 unprotected monuments spread across Karnataka. Besides, it has one art gallery and 50 museums on antiquities of which 15 are managed by the Government.
Identification and documentation of the monuments would be taken up. “Historical and cultural significance would be documented using available resources like the Gazette, books, research papers and others. We will involve research scholars, history students and teachers,” Mr. Urs added.
At a meeting held here on Tuesday, it was decided to form a State-level advisory committee comprising eminent historians, who would guide the activities. Officials from the departments of Muzrai, Culture and Archaeology, besides the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), would also be involved and non-governmental organisations working in this field would be drafted.
Work taken up
According to R. Gopal, Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Karnataka, has been a pioneer in documenting monuments and heritage structures since the State had launched a similar project in 2004. “We have almost completed documentation of protected documents and the work on unprotected monuments has to be taken up now,” he said.
The State Government is proposing to have a village-level registry where the responsibility of maintaining it will be vested with the village accountants. The deputy commissioners of each district would be requested to monitor such a work and village accountants to submit a quarterly report on the monuments and antiquities, Mr. Urs said.
According to Mr. Gopal, the village-to-village survey may throw up monuments such as stone inscriptions, ruined palaces and other antiquities. A nodal officer at the district-level would be appointed to coordinate the activities. This effort would help in development of tourism also, he added.