This Guide to the cultural heritage of Haryana is an important resource on the unprotected heritage of Haryana. The first section of the guide provides an overview of Haryana’s natural, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources with articles that focus on the State’s geographical transformations, political history, cultural changes and chronological evolution of architectural types.
The main section of the guide presents details of each district, its history and indigenous characteristics along with major heritage landmarks. This section is heavily supported by maps and drawings and serves as a useful reference for each district. The heritage walks identified in the few select towns within each district showcase the major heritage precincts that are the only collective remains from the past besides the numerous isolated monuments listed in this book.
The book is a first attempt at a chronological and geographical mapping of Haryana’s rich cultural heritage.
Shikha Jain is an architectural historian and heritage management expert. She has been the State Co-convener, Intach Haryana from 2007-09 and is currently the State Convener since 2009. She is the director of Dronah (Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage) and the Chief Editor of the biannual refereed journal Context. She has contributed a number of papers and articles on the built heritage of India in national and international journals and vojnferences and is the author of Havelis: A Living Tradition of Rajasthan and Princley Terrain: Amber, Jaipur and Shekhawati.
Bhawna Dandona is a Conservation architect, specializing in structural and architectural materials conservation. She received a master of science in Historic Preservation form University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in USA and India including Intach on numerous building conservation projects. She has keen interest in history, Photography, investigative and documentation tools for historic buildings and sites. Currently practicing as an independent consultant in India, she is also a visiting faculty at School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.
It gives me immense pleasure to write a foreword to the guide book on Haryana on the occasion of the 150th year celebration of Archaeological Survey of India brought out by National Mission on Monument and Antiquities (NMMA) in collaboration with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
The cultural heritage of Haryana is reflected through its magnificent monuments, sites and works of art of varied nature which includes a large number of Harappan sites, inscriptions, coins and coin-mouldings, stupas, brick temples, forts, tombs, mosques, tanks, wells, sarais, kosminars, towers, churches, etc. Some of the excavated sites like Kunal, Bhirrana, etc. in the region have yielded interesting findings on the early farming culture dating back to 5th millennium BCE followed by a number of Harappan and Painted Grey Ware sites discovered in the State. The range of relics from the past is indeed very vast, and covers a long span of time from prehistoric to colonial times.
The monuments, sites and antiquities protected by Archaeological Survey of India and State Archaeology Department are only a fraction of the total repository of the State, and considerable amount of work has to be done for the protection and preservation of its heritage. Therefore, it is felt desirable to build a national database on monuments and antiquities so that it would form bedrock for scholars and planners for reference, and formulating proper management and conservation plan of the cultural properties.
Today archaeologists and conservators are racing diligently to protect our monuments and sites threatened by vandalism, neglect and rapid urbanization. For better protection and preservation of our recorded heritage, it is essential to bring up the documentation work to world class standard that will facilitate the growing and highly specialized sophisticated works of scholarship in these areas. At present NMMA is involved in preparation of a National Register on Monuments and Antiquities under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
As part of its mandate, NMMA in collaboration with Intach, provides a ready reckoner for the extant built heritage in Haryana detailing useful information on the monuments and sites in a meticulous manner to understand its historical, archaeological and architectural importance. As a reference guide, for making preparation for heritage walk and people’s conservation register on the important cultural and natural sites in Haryana, the book will be immensely useful.
NMMA and INTACH deserve to be congratulated for their sincere efforts to bring this quality publication in a time bound manner.
Since its inception in 1984, INTACH has promoted special publications on the lesser known and unprotected heritage of this country. A number of INTACH Guides have been published such as the special ones on cities of Chennai, Delhi and Agra besides several other books on future heritage of cities across India.
This Cultural Heritage Guide for the state of Haryana is the first guide book covering an entire state and Intach is extremely appreciative of the National Mission of Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) in supporting this ambitious publication.
The remains of the tangible heritage of Haryana are of great historical importance to be documented and conserved for posterity. During the last few decades, a colossal amount of Haryana’s heritage has been destroyed. While this guide book describes the protected monuments under ASI and the State Archaeology Department of Haryana, its biggest contribution is in informing the reader about the unprotected heritage that has been listed by INTACH but may soon disappear due to lack of any protection or heritage legislation.
This guide to the cultural heritage of Haryana on one hand documents and presents some of the best examples of protected and unprotected heritage of Haryana to make it more accessible to the general public while, in the larger context, it will lead to a greater awareness of the increasing need for urgent protection of the unprotected heritage.
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