Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18: World Heritage Day

What is World Heritage Day?

IANS | Apr 18, 2011, 03.46 pm IST

As the country celebrates World Heritage Day on Monday, here's how it all started. 

In 1982, a symposium organised by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in Tunisia proposed observing an "International Day for Monuments and Sites" across the world. 

The proposal for an annual day was then approved by the UNESCO general conference in November 1983 that April 18 should be declared the International Monuments and Sites Day. The day is traditionally called the 'World Heritage Day'. 

In 2010, international cooperation within the context of world heritage was the subject at a lecture by Simon Richard Molesworth, honorary chairman of the executive committee of the International National Trusts Organisation. 

Molesworth said, "a day dedicated to world heritage offered an opportunity to raise public awareness about natural and cultural heritage." 

Celebrating the life of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib and a talk on rethinking restoration in India were some of the highlights of World Heritage Day. 

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture organised an exhibition on Mirza Ghalib's works with at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. It will be accompanied by a movie on the life of Ghalib by Sair-e-Nizamuddin, a young group of heritage volunteers. A ghazal recital by Begum Muneer Khatoon was organised at the India International Centre. 

The capital's National Museum, one of the the country's largest repositories of tangible heritage, listed its efforts at conservation. It organised a lecture by Professor K.V. Thomas, the union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution. 

Plans are afoot by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state archaeology department to restore many of the city monuments. Work is in progress in Hauz Khas, Adilabad Fort and Lodhi Gardens. 

A rethink on the way to restore and conserve the country's heritage was the crux of the third Pupul Jayakar Memorial Lecture at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). 

The state INTACH chapters organised heritage walks in cities like Bengaluru, Amritsar, Chandigarh and in neighbouring Gurgaon. 

In Gurgaon, the spotlight was on traditional water harvesting methods and monuments associated with storage of water. The capital and surrounding areas have several "baolis" or historical step wells which were used for storing water.

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