By Aditi Panda

India is known for its rich heritage and ancient culture which is depicted through its sculptures, monuments and temples that have great architectural significance. Each heritage site is unique and not only bears an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition of an era nonexistential at present but it also represents lifestyle, courage, valour and distinguishable geomorphic features, therefore necessary to be preserved as national heritage. These sites stand proudly as masterpieces of our creative geniuses, years of collective labour and planning, that probably can never be replicated. ‘World Heritage Day’ is celebrated on April 18 every year to create awareness globally to preserve the existing monuments and various sites around the world that have achieved world heritage status. This year, the theme of the day was set as ‘Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism’. Some observations regarding Indian heritage sites are noteworthy. As ideal citizens, we all campaign World Heritage Day zealously. However, when you visit these places, it’s heart breaking to see the walls and doors, with names scribbled on them. Some names are even carved within a heart symbol. Some symbols and scribblings are made with white paint to grab the attention of the visitors. This is infuriating and disgraceful for any Indian to see their national treasure being damaged in this manner. Would any sane person write names on the walls of the monuments to immortalise their love? Such irresponsible act not only obliterates the magnificence of our ancient structures but it also creates a bad impression in the minds of tourists visiting these world heritage sites.

“In India, we tend to ignore and neglect the importance of our heritage and archaeological sites. Ideally, we should be making extensive efforts to preserve these for our next generation, but on the contrary, we are defacing those pieces. As we can’t recreate such master pieces, we should refrain ourselves from spoiling them”, says Prasad Barve. Currently, Mr. Barve is a professor and at the same time a student of ancient and medieval Indian heritage. He is also an avid traveller who has visited many beautiful world heritage sites across India. “I agree, love is a special feeling and every pair wants to leave a stamp behind but that does not give anybody the right to damage our cultural heritage. Our ancestors invested their lives, wealth and time to build each heritage”, says Anindita Shenoy, a banker and an avid traveller. She implores today’s youngsters to invent some new idea to declare their love instead of spoiling the beauty of the heritage sites. On one hand, there is an irresponsible bunch of people who ruin and damage our world heritage monuments, on the other hand it’s exhilarating to know that many youth groups throughout our country are on a mission to wipe out these no-sense carvings from our heritage sites. ‘Youth for Seva’ (YFS) is one such group with a mission to clean our monuments. Sangram Patra, an enthusiastic member of this lively group, spoke to Coffee Bytes about the unique initiative and their future strategy to save our heritage.“Recently our group visited Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves which are one of the historical Jain cave shelters in Odisha. While moving around, we were shocked to see names and cupid symbols throughout the site. Obviously, such acts not only create a bad impression towards our mindset but also pose a question to our ethics, especially, by the foreign tourists. That’s when we all decided to clean these world-famous caves. We first spoke to the archaeology department and took the necessary permissions to wipe and clean the caves. Along with other YFS volunteers, we organized a meeting and made a proper plan followed by cleaning the rocks and walls using brush, detergent water, kerosene etc. but, we were partially successful only, as the names were carved using sharp instruments,” added Sangram. Without more theoretical elaboration, it’s time for solutions and actions. YFS urges for more volunteers through Coffee Bytes to join hands for this noble initiative.

If,interested, please contact:Sangram:+91-9090089099Subrat :+91-9937083542

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