Gujarat’s Smritivan Museum listed among world’s most beautiful by UNESCO - Hindustan Times
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Gujarat’s Smritivan Museum listed among world’s most beautiful by UNESCO

Jun 16, 2024 07:03 PM IST

The Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum, dedicated to the devastating 2001 Bhuj earthquake, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2022

The Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum in Gujarat’s Bhuj has earned global recognition by being listed as one of the world’s seven most beautiful museums by the prestigious Prix Versailles Award, presented annually by UNESCO.

The Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum stands as a symbol of Gujarat’s resilience and transformation in the face of adversity. (File Photo)
The Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum stands as a symbol of Gujarat’s resilience and transformation in the face of adversity. (File Photo)

The memorial museum, dedicated to the devastating 2001 Bhuj earthquake, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2022. It stands as a symbol of Gujarat’s resilience and transformation in the face of adversity.

Situated on Bhujio Hill and spanning 470 acres, Smritivan features the world’s largest Miyawaki forest with 500,000 trees. The site pays tribute to the 12,932 victims of the earthquake, with their names engraved on plaques across 50 check dams.

Other highlights of the museum complex include a restored 300-year-old fort, a solar power plant, extensive tree plantations, and a dedicated museum building spanning 11,500 square meters. The museum offers insights into earthquakes as natural disasters through exhibits and a special theatre that simulates the 2001 quake experience.

“This global recognition is a matter of immense pride for every Gujarati. Smritivan exemplifies our state’s commitment to preserving cultural heritage while promoting environmental conservation,” Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel said in a statement.

Notably, Smritivan is the first Indian museum to receive such a prestigious international honour for its adherence to local culture and sustainable practices.

The Prix Versailles Awards, established in 2015, are presented annually at UNESCO headquarters to honour exceptional architecture and design projects worldwide. This year, the museum category was introduced, and Smritivan found itself among esteemed company, including the A4 Art Museum in Chengdu, China; Simose Art Museum in Hiroshima, Japan; Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt; Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Oman Across Ages Museum in Manah, Oman; and the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, Poland.

Gujarat has consistently aimed to elevate its cultural heritage under Modi’s leadership, with initiatives like the Statue of Unity and the recognition of Garba dance and Dhordo village by UNESCO and UNWTO, respectively, according to the government release.

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