Staff Correspondent

Manipal: The revamped “Mangalore Christian House” at the “Heritage Village” here was inaugurated by Ann Ollestad, Ambassador of Norway in India, on Monday.

The “Heritage Village” is a project undertaken by the Hasta Shilpa Trust to restore and rehabilitate ancient structures that are in a dilapidated condition in Manipal.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Ollestad said that relations between Norway and India were increasing not just in trade and commerce, but also in the arenas of culture and environment protection.

“The relations between the two countries are strengthening and expanding at a great speed,” she said.

Ms. Ollestad said that India enjoyed a prominent position in the South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) and in the world.

India-Norway ties

“India has made rapid strides in the field of Information Technology. Foreigners come to India to study its history, religion and culture. It’s cultural heritage has resulted in the making of the world’s largest democracy. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi wants to strengthen the relations between India and Norway,” she said.

Culture played an important role in foreign policy. If one did not know one’s past, it would be difficult to know where one would be in the future. Environmental concerns played a vital role in cultural preservation, she said. “Heritage sites were attractive both to domestic and international tourists. This makes it essential to preserve traditional structures. The Hasta Shilpa Trust has done commendable work at the Heritage Village,” Ms. Ollestad said.

In his welcome address, trustee Mohandas Pai said that the Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi had provided funds for the restoration and rehabilitation of 14 traditional structures at the Heritage Village.