Simply in awe of the beauty of Varanasi ghats, a French professor of architecture said some more concrete steps should be taken to conserve the unique heritage of the place that attracts a lot of tourists from across the globe.
Sexagenarian Pierre Bouche with a group of his pupils organised an Indo-French exhibition-cum-workshop on learning from Indian neighbourhood ‘case study of living heritage of Banaras’ at Rajendra Prasad Ghat on Saturday. “Banaras ghats are unique. It is a wonderful landscape that is perhaps nowhere else in the world. The Indian government should make more serious efforts to conserve it,” Bouche shared with HT.
Prof Bouche along with a group of his students visited Varanasi about 10 years ago. He surveyed and studied architecture of around 30 buildings then. The team prepared a detailed report and went back to Paris. Bouche submitted the report to the UNESCO and discussed the importance of architectural heritage of Varanasi with its authorities.
In a decade, he visited Varanasi five times. Four times with his students at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette (National School of Architecture, Paris La Villette). Prof Bouche’s students of architecture visit the city of ghats to have an idea about architectural heritage of Banaras.
“In Paris, government protects each building of architectural importance. Even empty buildings are conserved. The government authorities need to understand a bit more that tourists from around the globe visit Banaras to catch glimpses of the picturesque view of the ghats,” Bouche said.
“Each building of architectural heritage needs to be conserved and there should be no permission to turn any such building into a hotel,” he opined. Asked if he would speak to Indian authorities over it, he said possibly in future.
Prof Bouche had also worked along with the government of Rajasthan, UNESCO and city of Udaipur a few years ago. He surveyed around 40 buildings of architectural importance and prepared a detailed report, suggesting the ways to conserve them.
He revealed that thereafter a foundation was constituted and the state government with the help of the UNESCO made serious efforts for conservation of the buildings.
To make people aware of the architectural importance of Banaras, Bouche has held two exhibitions at ghats in association with the Bharatiya Vidyapeeth College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai. The first exhibition was organised earlier this month soon after he arrived in India on January 13.
“Hope, people and authorities will take care of the living architectural heritage of Banaras,” Bouche said. His pupil Aurelian Vaux has so far surveyed 30 buildings of architectural importance and will stay here for couple of few more months and prepare a report.