Tuesday July 17, 2018

Rs 120 crore Krishna heritage circuit to come up around Mathura-Vrindavan

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Tourism ministry is set to spend over 120 crore on the infrastructural development of the Mathura-Vrindavan pilgrimage circuit, a move that will tranfrom the profile of a land where Lord Krishna and his gopis (consorts) are believed to have once romped in gay abandon and is visited by millions round the year in the present day.

The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a Braj Heritage Planning Board to suggest ideas and monitor implementation of projects in the Braj area. The union government has already declared Mathura a heritage city.

Union Tourism Minister, Mahesh Sharma at a function held last week told media persons that a new international airport would be sited along the Yamuna Expressway that links Mathura to Agra on one end and to Greater Noida on the other on national capital’s outskirts.

Stating that a new circuit centred around the cult of Lord Krishna, part of the Hindu Trinity and one of its most beloved personal gods, is being developed from Akshardham in Delhi to Mathura, the minister said Rs. 120 crore would be spent on developing the “Braj Chaurasi Kos” that includes Vrindavan, Goverdhan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon, Kokila Van, Sher Garh and Mahavan areas.

Mathura’s Member of Parliament and Bharatiya Janata Party leder Hema Malini wants the airport to come up at Mahavan in Mathura district on the Expressway. Both the Uttar Pradesh and central governments appear keen to speed up development of the Braj area which draws tourists and Krishna devotees from across the world.

“With so much money pouring in, the profile of the Sri Krishna land is set to change in the coming years,” told Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society president Surednra Sharma.

The region, however, has been facing a tough time in the wake of widespread encroachments and traffic snarls for a long time, giving commuters a difficult time while visiting this place.

The authorities have, however, started initiating strong steps now against encroachments.

A major anti-encroachment drive to clear roads leading to Goverdhan and the district’s Sonkh town from the national highway, ahead of the month-long festival season, has been launched with discernible results.

“We had written so many times to the district administration but there was no result. Now now it seems the process has begun against encroachment,” said Braj Bachao Samiti member Rhais Qureshi.

“Holi Gate, Deeg Gate and Bharatpur Gate areas continue to remain heavily encroached upon. The administration is worried because the annual Mudiya Poonau fair will draw over eight million pilgrims and thousands of vehicles,” according to local activists.

“The Mandi crossing was the biggest bottleneck for thousands of daily commuters. The administrative machinery had been reluctant to clear the encroachments due to political pressure,” the activists alleged.

In one instance, the “anti-encroachment drive was abruptly halted for some time on the Goverdhan crossing three days ago due to a well-connected roadside hotel owner,” a source said.

Denying any such incidents, city magistrate Vinay Kumar told IANS: “We are not afraid of anyone. We demolished the walls and the person who opposed was told in no unclear terms that no one would be spared.”

“The campaign will continue and we will remove all bottlenecks,” he added.

The entire city is dwarfed by encroachments. Thousands of pilgrims who visit Braj Mandal daily have to face traffic snarls for hours.

According to Vijay Kant Katara, of Braj Bachao Samiti, there is not a single crossing in the city without encroachments. “You cannot even move on foot. Interestingly, traffic policemen are never available to manage the movement of vehicles,” Katara.

The situation in Vrindavan is worse, as motorists from Delhi, Noida and Agra headed for Mathura or Vrindavan these days are facing all kinds of problems. Luxury buses are stranded for hours or are made to hold up by corrupt policemen.

District authorities keep experimenting with traffic plans, though the problem remains, said Mathura residents Ashok Agarwal and Pavan Kumar.

-(IANS)

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10 Indian Sites That Got UNESCO World Heritage Tag

Maharashtra now has a total of five sites – more than any other state in India

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10 Indian sites that got UNESCO World Heritage tag
10 Indian sites that got UNESCO World Heritage tag. IANS

— By Sonali Pimputkar 

Mumbai’s rich bunch of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the Fort and Marine Drive precinct on Saturday, June 30, got the UNESCO World Heritage tag, giving India its 37th site. The precinct was added to the global list at the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Manama, Bahrain. It covers an area of 66 hectares with Oval Maidan at the centre and includes a row of 19th-century Victorian buildings on one side while the 20th-century art deco structures on the other. There has been a universal praise for the team who represented Mumbai’s case to UNESCO. With this Mumbai gets its third UNESCO heritage tag – joining the Elephanta Caves and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (headquarters of the Central Railway). Maharashtra now has a total of five sites – more than any other state in India – including the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad. India is home to 37 World Heritage Sites approved by UNESCO which brings cultural and natural glory to the country. Here’s a look at 10 heritage sites of India that got the UNESCO world heritage tag before the Mumbai Art Deco buildings.

  • Capitol Complex of buildings, ChandigarhChandigarh Capital Complex is a government compound designed by the architect Le Corbusier and is spread over an area of around 100 acres. It comprises of three buildings, three monuments and a lake, including the Palace of Assembly, Secretariat, the signature Open Hand Monument, Geometric Hill, Tower of Shadows and Punjab and Haryana High Court building. The site got the UNESCO World Heritage tag in 2016.
  • Rock Shelters at Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

    Located 45 km South of Bhopal at the Southern edge of the Vindhya hills, the area is covered with thick vegetation, natural shelters and rich flora and fauna. The shelters were discovered in 1957 and were added to heritage list in 2003. The name ‘Bhimbetka’ has been associated with ‘Bhima’, the hero-diety of Mahabharata and the name literally means ‘sitting place of Bhima’. The place is a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters. These paintings depict man’s experimentation with creativity and belong to different prehistoric periods, including Late Paleolithic Period i.e. Old Stone Age that consists of large representations of rhinoceroses and bears. Paintings from Mesolithic i.e. Middle Stone Age consists of animals and human activities, Chalcolithic i.e. early Bronze Age consists of agriculture, early historic and medieval consists of religious motifs and tree gods.

    Bhimbetka
    Bhimbetka. IANS
  • Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

    Located on the banks of Saraswati river, Rani ki Vav (Queen’s step well) was built in 11th century AD in memory of King Bhimdev I. Stepwells are a distinctive form of water storage systems that have been in existence since the 3rd millennium BC. Rani ki Vav is designed into seven levels of stairs with more than 500 principle sculptures and over thousand mythological and religious works. The site has also been felicitated with the ‘Cleanest Iconic Place’ title by the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) in October 2016.

  • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat

    Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is located around the Pavagadh hill and is known for its archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties. The history of this site dates back from the 8th to 14th centuries. The park is studded with eleven different types of buildings including temples, mosques, tombs, wells, walls and more.

     

  • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka

    The heritage site is named as ‘Group of Monuments at Pattadakal’ by UNESCO as it houses nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary that portrays an amalgamation of architectural features of Northern (Nagara) and Southern (Dravida) India. Eight among the nine temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and the ninth is Papanatha Temple, a Shaivite sanctuary. Apart from the major temples, several small Shiva shrines are seen here.

    Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
    Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka. IANS
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya PradeshKhajuraho Group of Monuments are popular for its artistic magnificence rather than religious aspects. The site comprises of 22 temples. It is said that initially there were about 82 temples built. The temples belong to the Hindu and Jain community and have an amazing fusion of sculpture and architecture. Every evening the Khajuraho temple complex organises a light and sound show in the open lawns in English and Hindi. Besides, The Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in February that features classical Indian dances.
  • Khangchendzonga National Park, SikkimKhangchendzonga National Park (former Kanchenjunga National Park) also known as Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is the first ‘Mixed Heritage’ site of India. Located in the Himalayan range, the park is home to plains, glaciers, lakes, and valleys. Animals like snow leopard, red panda, and musk deer are spotted here regularly. Besides, the park is home to several rare and threatened plants and animals.
  • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara, BiharThe ancient Nalanda University or a large Buddhist monastery located in the Southeast of Patna was a centre for learning in the seventh century. The site comprises of stupas, shrines, viharas and several artworks in metal and stone. The site stands out as the most ancient university in the Indian subcontinent. It is also said that the site was an organised mediation of knowledge for over 800 years. The historical development of the site proves the development of Buddhism into a religion and its educational traditions.
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand

    Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand
    Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand. IANS
  • The heritage sites comprise of two core areas -Nanda Devi National Park and the Valley of Flowers National Park -about 20 km apart. The Valley of Flowers is popular for its natural beauty and endemic alpine flowers. While the Nanda Devi National Park is known for its wilderness and spectacular topographical features including glaciers and moraines. Both the parks are blessed with a high diversity of flora and fauna, with a notable number of globally threatened species including Himalayan musk deer and various plant species.

    Also read: Indian Railways Will Promote Heritage Tourism By Preserving Its Metre-Gauge Tracks

 

  • Jantar Mantar, Rajasthan
  • Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734, Jantar Mantar got the World Heritage tag in 2010. The cultural property has been inscribed as ‘an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.’ Jai Singh II had constructed five Jantar Mantars at different locations – New Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Varanasi, and Ujjain.