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Thursday, 26 July 2012

On Jhelum banks, Kashmir gets gateway to heritage showcase

Lal Ded Memorial Cultural Center comes to life in Shaher-e-Khaas


Srinagar, July 24: This heritage building on Jhelum banks, demolished a few years back got a new life Tuesday when its restored avatar was dedicated to the people in the form of a cultural center named after Valleys revered saintess: Lal Ded. With this, Lal Ded Memorial Cultural Center was thrown open for people by Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora.
 The building, which earlier housed a school, has been restored by the state chapter of INTACH, a prominent organization into heritage conservation in the country, in collaboration with state’s Tourism department. The colonial architecture building will be a “gateway to Kashmir’s art and cultural heritage”.
 “INTACH has done a great job in preserving the heritage site. Had the work to reconstruct the site been done by some government agency, it would not have been in the same shape as it is right now,” the Tourism Minister flanked by MOS Tourism and Home, Nasir Aslam Wani and MLA Habba Kadal Shamima Firdous, said while inaugurating the facility at Ganpatyar in Habba Kadal. The government top brass arrived at the venue in a motorboat.
  “I would like that INTACH should continue to look after the place as they know the cultural and historical value of the site,” Jora said adding “They (government departments) would have ruined it as you know the work culture in the government departments.”
 The INTACH Convener, Muhammad Saleem Beg said: “Lal Ded Memorial Cultural Center is a gateway to cultural heritage of Kashmir”.  “Photographs, crafts, artifacts and objects representing spiritual and architectural facets and traditions of Kashmir have been showcased,” Beg said while pointing towards artifacts.
 The added attraction at the centre is life size photographs on Kashmir’s heritage by world famed landscape photographer Mukhtar Ahmad.  Situated on the banks of Jhelum, the Lal Ded centre is expected to draw big number of visitors while its entrance from the riverside could be an added advantage.
 The Tourism Minister and the MOS Home minced now words to appreciate the work done by team INTACH including its architect Sameer Hamdani.
 The earlier building housed a school for 60 years. The school was founded by prominent poet Dina Nath Naadim who dedicated it in the memory of Lal Ded.
 Some three years back, however, the building was demolished. Later, the government seems to have realized the mistake and asked the INTACH people to restore it in collaboration with the Tourism department.

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