Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bidar only South Indian monument to figure in latest World Monuments Fund list

According to the World Monuments Fund, the sites in the list are crying for immediate attention for preservation, protection, and adaptive reuse.

Bidar has three national monuments - Bidar Fort, Ashtur tombs and the Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan.

House of Sheikh Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri and Juna Mahal in Rajasthan are also on the list

The historic city of Bidar figures in the 2014 World Monuments Watch list released by the World Monuments Fund (WMF), a New York-based NGO working for the protection of monuments.

WMF president Bonnie Burnham announced the list in New York on October 8, according to P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner of Bidar. The WMF had received 741 proposals from 166 countries. But the final list contains 67 sites from 41 countries.

The three sites in India to figure in the list are the house of Sheikh Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri, Juna Mahal in Rajasthan and “the historic city of Bidar”. These, according to the list, are sites are in need of immediate attention for preservation, protection, and adaptive reuse.


Mr. Jaffer said the announcement would benefit the city in many ways. It would attract worldwide attention, leading to increased tourist footfalls. It would also help the government get technical advice and support from institutions specialised in the preservation of monuments.

“It could also help us raise funds from the government or donor agencies for protection and preservation of monuments,” Dr. Jaffer said.

Bidar has three national monuments - Bidar Fort, Ashtur tombs and the Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan. The city also has 20 sites recognised by the State Department of Archaeology and Heritage and over 40 unrecognised sites of the medieval periods.

“We will upload the WMF recommendations on the district website. We will also open a Facebook page on Bidar on the WMF watch list and raise awareness about the issue,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

Two interpretations centres would be set up in the Bidar Fort and at Ashtur at a total cost of Rs. 80 lakh. This would provide information to tourists on the architectural and cultural aspects of monuments. In this background, an international seminar on Bidar’s heritage would be organised in January.

According to a release issued by Ms. Burnham, a copy of which was sent to the district administration, the list contains sites that are facing several preservation challenges like climate change, armed violence, neglect by authorities, lack of resources or even increased tourism activity that can damage monuments. An independent panel of international experts on archaeology, culture and preservation had prepared the list, Ms. Burnham said.

Over 150 sites have been preserved and protected by the WMF and its associate organisations in several countries since 1996. Famous sites restored by the WMF personnel include Venice in Italy, Gokarna Mahadev temple in Nepal, and the Citadelle Laferrière in northern Haiti.

The WMF also takes up restoration works on sites referred by Unesco.