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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why do we visit ancient temples, monuments?

One of the reasons why we visit heritage places is to know the historical or spiritual background of the place ( Sthala Purana) and appreciate the monumental efforts that went in to the creation of such enormous beauty, structure or edifice. That is why Mona Lisa is eternal, as also the Taj Mahal or Effiel Towers.
In Mysore we have equally fantastic places of interest such as The Chamundi Hills, Brindavan Gardens ,The Amba Palace to name only a few. These places have great background story / history behind their creation and toursits coming from alll over the world will give anything to know about the Sthala Purana such as who / when created this and how did they do it?
Instead of giving that historical bit of news what do we give to quench the thirst of the inquiring toursit? See the first picture.
This board next to famous Nandi sculpture in Chamundi Hills does not give any detail about the monument. It says , in both Kannada and English the following: "Quote":
Under Setion 3 of the Karnataka Ancient and historical monuments and archeological sites and Remains Act 1961, this is declared as a protected monument. Whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuese this protected monument shall be punushable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both as per Section 26 of the Karnataka Ancient and Historial Monuments and Archological Sites and Remains Act 1961.
By Order
Directorate of Archaelogy and
Museums in Karnataka, Mysore " Unquote"
There is no mention anywhere when it was sculpted , which period, under which king, who was the sculptor etc! In some places there is some alteration in the board such as President of India Hon. xxx visited the site on date / month / year etc.
In Chamundi Hills itself though the chamundi temple came during Yadava period, there is a Mahalingeshwara temple which is attributed to 4th , 5th century A.D. In fact people are supposed to visit the Shiva temple and then only visit Chamnudi temple. Probably Yadavas themselves might have practised the worship in that order.
It is true lot of miscreants and even educated idiots indulge in sculpting their and their lovers' names on priceless heritage monuments and to prevent such henious acts warning is indeed necessary. There are no two opinions on that.
But shouldn't a tourist, visitor who comes from all over the country and all over the world know the historical significance and detals of that place. Not all can afford a toursist guide and basic details should be made available as a right to the tourist. Then only you can call your city as truly a heritage city!


  • Visitors with mischief in mind don't care about the Sec./clause under which they are liable to be booked, if caught; and they, anyway, wouldn't pause to read such stuff.
    It is the inquisitive tourists/visitors with archaeological interest, such as ERR, who look for info. on places they visit and naturally gravitate towards such notice boards, only to find them carrying intimidatory messages.
    Maybe the district authorities could set aside a part of the grants they receive for tourism promotion/heritage protection for researching/publishing brochures on every heritage site, in co-operation with scholars/students in university.Such info. could be handed out to visitors with entry /car park tickets.

    By Blogger GVK, at 8:05 AM  

  • A board indicating that it is a protected monument is sufficient. I don't know who really bothers about the legislation behind that. I'm not sure if this is the case only in Karnataka or if rest of India is also a victim to such idiocy.

    By Blogger Vishwas Krishna, at 7:19 AM  

  • Actually, I too found this a big lack at several historical places we visited. The people in charge are totally ignorant/unaware of the historical/architectural significance of the places we visited. At some places we got little informative books, many others don't even have that.

    By Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN, at 3:58 AM  

  • So true, everything you have written. I live in the US, where even minor historical sites and monuments are preserved and treated with care and respect.
    On the other hand, I visited Mammallapuram, south of Chennai, a couple of years back and was very impressed with how impeccably it was maintained, with detailed signposts explaining the history of the various monuments.

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