Conservation of Dewan-e-Khaas at Shalimar Garden

Germany to help in restoration of Kashmir’s heritage sites
SRINAGAR, MAY 02: Germany is helping to preserve the cultural heritage of Kashmir and as a first step towards the restoration work; the country has added Rs 22 lakh Diwaan-e-Khaas at Shalimar garden to the list of such heritage sites in India.
Dr Martin Ney, Ambassador of Germany in India,  while inaugurating the first phase of the restoration of Dewan-e-Khaas at Shalimar Garden in presence of J&K’s Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar said that Germany will help in whatever possible way to preserve this treasure. He said since 1981 Germany has spent more than Rs 400 crore on 2650 projects aimed to preserve cultural heritage in 144 countries. In India alone more than 50 such projects have been undertaken, Ney said.
The Ambassador unveiled a plaque commemorating the project and also opened to public view the restored Papier Machie ceilings inside the Dewan-e-Khaas.
The Ambassador while praising the beauty, handicrafts and heritage of Kashmir praised the workmanship of Kashmiri artisans and proposed that the Papier Machie designs at Shalimar Garden should be replicated in shawls and sold as souvenirs to tourists.
Naeem Akhtar while thanking the German Ambassador for the help in the conservation project said there is scope of more international cooperation in such work. He said Kashmir is blessed with so much of cultural heritage and natural wonders which need to be conserved and showcased. “Fortunately, the mindset is changing and people are now imagining its worth and providing a helping hand in conservation and preservation of such sites,” he said.
The Minister said that Kashmir is sitting on a goldmine of heritage sites and with the support of the people it has to be preserved for the generations to come.
The Minister said the government is trying to channelize the confidence of young students and translate the same into revival of our tradition of knowledge and crafts. He said in education, Kashmir is making huge strides and students are cracking elite examinations and many are headed to Germany as part of global job market.
Akhtar said hopefully the 25 years of darkness through which Kashmir has travelled will soon come to an end. He asked the German Ambassador to convey to the diplomatic community in New Delhi about hospitality, beauty and safe environment in Kashmir.
The Dewaan-e-Khaas is located on the fourth terrace in the erstwhile Zanana quarter of the garden and positioned in the middle of the terrace amidst a pool of water replete with an array of as many as 120 fountains.
With a view to seek financial support and expert assistance for restoration of Dewan-e-Khaas, INTACH Kashmir chapter made a proposal to the German Embassy to help and support a restoration project for Dewan-e-Khaas. The proposal comprised mainly of restoring the Papier Machie ceiling and to the extent possible, the wall moldings.
The German Ambassador also interacted with students during a question answer session.