A 20-member team of experts from Unesco advisory body International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will be on a study tour of Punjab’s forts from February 7 to 19.
Before that, the experts will take part in a conference of the International Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage (ICOFORT) in Delhi on February 5 and 6. “Their mission is to study the forts both from the perspectives of historical narrative; technology and materials of the past; and the current conservation and management scenario,” said heritage conservation expert Gurmeet Sangha Rai, a voting member of International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism.
The experts, said Rai, would begin their tour from Chandigarh on February 8; go to Patiala, Nabha, and Bathinda; and return via Patti, Amritsar (Gobindgarh Fort) and down the Grand Trunk Road as they visit the fortified structures, the serais, along the Mughal imperial highway.
The forts are one of the key themes of Punjab’s heritage and important for cultural tourism, Rai added. “The conservation of many of these structures is in various stages of planning or early stage of implementation,” she further said.
In her views, the tour is an opportunity to highlight the heritage value of the sites, “for the government to understand that heritage conservation is more impotant than restoring old buildings”.