For the Love of Heritage – Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in India.

Architecture and cultural heritage of a nation reflects a country's character.

Architecture and cultural heritage of a nation reflects a country’s character. For India, with such a rich and diverse history and cultural, the country does not put much efforts to preserve the remains of its past.

Mangala Heritage Home ThirupugalurIndia’s rich cultural heritage is expressed through its incredible collection of art and architecture, each reflecting the influences of the countless communities that shaped it. India spends less than 1% of its annual budget on culture, and the lack of funds and interest have resulted in most monuments and historical sites being neglected for years. The experience of visiting such historic sites is most of the times poor and saddening due to poor maintenance of the surroundings.  The worst part is that there are several monuments which have disappeared under the watch of people who are responsible for protecting them.

It is depressing to think of a monument more symbolic than the Taj Mahal in India. Though Taj Mahal is considered as one of the most popular tourist attractions, Lately, it has become the prime focus of an intense campaign to eliminate the legacy of Muslim rule. Even the Chief Minister and other local politicians in the state of Uttar Pradesh believe that Taj doesn’t represent Indian culture. Under the pressure of such politicians, the government did not allocate any funds for its maintenance.

Conserving and Restoring of Cultural Heritage involves the preservation of culture, built form and lifestyles, a lesson in history. It is essential to conserve these structures and precincts as they symbolize the historic growth of our country.

Art and culture aren’t usually a priority for most governments around the world. I have been pretty close to arts, and I firmly believe that conserving and restoring of cultural heritage in India is of utmost importance. With this belief, I and my team have restored an old bungalow while preserving its heritage and architecture and converted it into a tourist destination which is now, “Mangala Heritage Home.”

mangala heritage retreat - Ranvir Shah

Keeping conservation and restoration in mind, I also wanted to provide better economic opportunities for local communities by promoting Eco-Tourism. Mangala Heritage Retreat is a delightful home in the small town of Thirupugalur, in the Nagapattinam District.  The home-turned-retreat is located within a row of homes, opposite the ancient Agneeswarar temple and overlooking the moat-style temple tank. The region, at the edge of Tamil Nadu’s rice bowl, is primarily agricultural, with rice and cotton fields.

 

To stay at Mangala Heritage Retreat is to be ensconced in a culture in which antiquity and the contemporary are both alive. It is especially ideal for curios travelers, long-stay workshops and residency programs for dancers, writers, artists, historians and others seeking immersive creative engagements. It is equally perfect for families seeking to explore their heritage and those who are on pilgrimage routes.

Mangala Heritage HomeThe Importance of Restoring and Conserving of Cultural Heritage –

There is no doubt the innovation and development in architecture are essential but restoring and preserving the old and historically valuable monuments is also crucial. Such heritage structures are the reflection of our history and help us to understand and respect people who lived in different ears with different cultures. Preservation of historical monuments will also help us observe the changes in our society.

Here are a few more benefits of restoring and conserving of cultural heritage:
  • Culturally a country is more valuable for having the tangible presence of past eras and historic styles.
  • Economically a country benefits from increased property values and tax revenues when historic buildings are protected and made the focal point of revitalization and when the community is attractive to visitors seeking heritage tourism opportunities.
  • Citizens of a country can take pride in its history and will have a connection for protecting the historic heritage.
  • Restoring and conserving of cultural heritage will also boost tourism, which, in turn, will increase revenue from tourism.

The good news is several Indians have begun to open up their collections to the public. But still, there are hundreds of heritage buildings in our cities, mostly dilapidated. The responsible resources must find new ways to preserve their structure, including engaging the private sector. When I see a restored heritage structure, I feel happy and proud of our country and its all for For the Love of Heritage.