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Sprucing up our heritage

What happens when one of the most arcaeologically rich cities hosts a sporting event second only to the Olympics?Tourists get twice the fun for the price of one, Nivedita Khandekar reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 05, 2009 00:29 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

What happens when one of the most arcaeologically rich cities hosts a sporting event second only to the Olympics?

Tourists get twice the fun for the price of one.

While attending Commonwealth Games 2010, they can slip out any time to visit any of the 1,200 heritage monuments this city has to offer.

With as many as three world heritage sites — the Qutb Minar complex, Humayun’s Tomb complex and Red Fort complex — to boast of, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is getting ready to showcase the legacy of the Capital to an estimated 1 lakh tourists during the Games.

Of the 175 ASI-protected monuments, work has begun on sprucing up 46 of them.

“These monuments are mostly important ones like the world heritage sites and also those on the routes of Games venues. The list also includes a few lesser known monuments,” said KN Shrivastava, ASI director-general.

What’s planned

Conservation and/or repair work will be carried out at most monuments. For instance, the Tughlaqabad Fort wall and the Siri Fort wall are being restored to their original glory.

The ASI is carrying out chemical treatment at a few monuments that need cleaning up. “The residents and regular visitors to the Hauz Khas area are witness to how the black colour on most of the monuments due to moss has given way to a clean sandstone yellow (or the original colour of the monuments) after chemical treatment,” said an ASI official.

“The landscape around helps build its ambience. So we are focusing on environmental development like lawns and other horticulture interventions,” said an official from the horticulture branch.

Tourists can also enjoy ‘Delhi at Night’. India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has identified more than 20 monuments. They are being lighted up by ITDC.

Facilitating tourists

While the world heritage sites have basic public utilities like toilets and drinking water, they aren’t available at all 46 monuments. Plans are afoot to provide these facilities at all of them. Uniform brown stone signage would also come up at all sites.

“The additional facilities would include publication counters that will have brochures telling the history of the place, audio guides, cafeterias and the like as available at the three world heritage sites,” said another ASI official.