Budgetary support sought to map unprotected monuments in State

Mysuru taluk alone has yielded around 650 sculptures, hero stones, temples, kalyanis, etc.  

The exercise to map and document unprotected monuments in the State will require at least ₹6 crore for which the Department of Archaeology Museums and Heritage has sought budgetary support from the government.

The pilot project of the exercise undertaken in Mysuru taluk was completed recently and the taluk alone has yielded around 650 sculptures, hero stones, temples, kalyanis, etc. The taluk-level pilot project helped ascertain the complexities and the enormity of the exercise in mapping all unprotected monuments across the State.

The objective of the State-wide exercise is to prepare a baseline data for the number of unprotected monuments, document their present status, trace their history and antiquity and conserve them for posterity.

Historically important structures could include kalyanis, temples, ruins of forts, tombs, towers etc of considerable architectural merit. The physical verification will also help assess if the precincts have been encroached upon or not. If any new discovery fulfils the criteria stipulated by the Archaeological Survey of India and the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities and reflects architectural and historical significance, they could be incorporated in the protected list.

At present, Karnataka has 844 protected monuments that are of significant artistic and historical importance but the figures have not been updated for nearly two decades. It is reckoned that there are thousands of monuments across the State but they risk being obliterated owing to developmental pressure or for land grabbing if not documented and mapped.

Based on the pilot project for Mysuru taluk, the department has prepared a project report and has submitted it to the government seeking budgetary allocation in the coming financial year so that the mapping project across the State could be launched. Commissioner for Archaeology, Museums and Heritage Venkatesh told The Hindu that a rough estimate indicates that mapping the monuments would cost around ₹6 crore. The pilot project in Mysuru was undertaken by the department staff. However, for the rest of Karnataka, human resource has to be outsourced by roping in PG students of history from different universities, NSS volunteers, etc., apart from NGOs, said Mr.Venkatesh.

“The pilot project has given us a broad idea of how the mapping can be undertaken across the State. Interaction with local village headmen and gram panchayat members helped us cover much ground as they are well-versed about the presence of ancient temples and monuments within the vicinity of their respective villages,” said Mr. Venkatesh.

Though Minister for Kannada and Culture C.T. Ravi impressed upon the department to prepare a conservation plan as well, the authorities have decided to go about it in a phase-wise manner. Officials said preparing the baseline data and ascertaining the importance of the monuments is the immediate objective and conservation will follow next.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 9:02:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/budgetary-support-sought-to-map-unprotected-monuments-in-state/article30647679.ece

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