International Heritage Day: INTACH announces project to save Amritsar heritage : The Tribune India

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International Heritage Day: INTACH announces project to save Amritsar heritage

International Heritage Day: INTACH announces project to save Amritsar heritage

Several heritage structures in the walled city along the heritage walk trails have been in a poor condition. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Neha Saini

Amritsar, April 17

Beyond the popular tourist spots, the built heritage of Amritsar is gradually fading away. Whether once grand havelis of Misl period or the remnants of the glorious abodes of Marwari merchants, the structural history of the walled city is gradually falling prey to rapid urbanisation.

While successive governments have failed to provide a sustainable solution or initiate any plan for restoring these structures, INTACH Punjab chapter has announced a project to identify and list built heritage including monuments and buildings to be brought under restoration cover.

Several heritage structures in the walled city along the heritage walk trails have been in a poor condition. Tribune photo

“This has been a long standing goal for us to protect the built heritage, intangible heritage of not just Amritsar but its surroundings. This was a seat of political, economic and cultural importance and there are many such unidentified heritage structures that require to be saved. If we do not do it now, then the future generations will never know or experience of their heritage,” said Col Balwinder Singh, president, Punjab Chapter of INTACH.

INTACH will be initiating a ground level identification, listing and documenting of the heritage structures across Amritsar, Taran Tarn and Ajnala. These will be later published in a gazette for research and restoration purposes.

Commercialisation inside the walled city also had paved way for rapid demolition and destruction of many old structures.

While concerned authorities have been sitting any plans of restoration and protection of such structures, experts believe that all might not have been lost.

“Amritsar still possesses its glorious heritage in the form of labyrinth street pattern, which is distinct character, traditional mohalla depicting intangible heritage. The walled city is losing its character due to various reasons, but prominently due to neglect and extensive change of land use especially from residential to hotels and commercial activities.

“On the World Heritage Day, we and the municipal corporation should take initiative to introduce concept of listed buildings, which will be useful step for initiating restoration. Another important step is to establish heritage cell that will be responsible for the listing of built heritage in the walled city,” said Prof Balvinder Singh, a conservation expert and former head of department, Guru Ramdass School of Architecture and Planning, GNDU.

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