SRINAGAR: The state will do its utmost to conserve and restore to glory the heritage monuments for inclusion into the tourist circuit as destination sites for heritage lovers, the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Tuesday.
“Kashmir is a repository of ancient monuments and archaeological artifacts. The state will do whatever is possible to conserve our heritage monuments and restore these to their original glory so that these are integrated into our tourist circuit as destination sites for heritage lovers,” he said.
Sayeed was addressing a function by the state chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
He expressed concern over the threat posed by “wanton abandonment, vandalism and disasters like floods” to the “priceless” heritage sites of the Valley.
Sayeed, who is also the state’s Minister for Tourism, called for prioritizing mapping and preservation of Kashmir’s heritage, which was “precariously standing on the edge”.
“There is a need to preserve these as marks of our great historical past. They needed to be preserved for future,” he said.
The CM said cruises on Jhelum were primarily aimed at promoting heritage tourism in the Valley.
The river cruises will begin from May 12 from Peerzoo Restaurant, taking tourists to heritage destinations like LD Memorial, Khanqah-e-Moula, Maharaj Gung and the Shrine of Hazrat Bul Bul Shah (RA) in the first leg.
Describing the old Assembly complex as a “huge treasure trove” that the state possesses, Sayeed asked INTACH to begin mapping of its restoration so that its conservation and preservation is taken up on priority.
“The old Assembly had a Durbar Hall akin to the House of Commons in Britain and it had one of the finest galleries of exquisite art works in the state,” he said.
The INTACH consultants briefed the Chief Minister about the initiatives taken for renovation and restoration of revered Dastageer Sahab Shrine at Khanyar and the Aali Kadal Masjid at Eidgah, besides revival of three key areas along the Jhelum riverfront from Zero Bridge to Srinagar Club, Shergarhi Palace Complex and Safa Kadal Artisan Cluster.
Sayeed was also briefed about the initiatives taken by INTACH for preservation of 40 heritage structures in Bijbehera, which has been listed as a major historic town under the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities, Union Ministry of Culture.
Later, the Chief Minister also viewed a presentation on the proposed tourist resort at Satwainan, Lakhanpur in Jammu, which will be spread over 67 kanals of land, ideally located across the wide expanse of the Ranjit Sagar Dam.
The resort which is expected to attract tourists from nearby states like Punjab, envisages laying of a children’s park, restaurant, dedicated food-street and tourist hutments.