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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Murals on Gurugram walls bring to life lost history of Haryana

The Gurugram district administration is creating wall paintings across the city covering a myriad themes such as history, heritage, and environment.

gurugram Updated: Nov 08, 2019 16:06 IST
Sadia Akhtar
Sadia Akhtar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
A set of seven panels near the  Mini Secretariat, in Gurugram depict some of famous monuments of Haryana.
A set of seven panels near the Mini Secretariat, in Gurugram depict some of famous monuments of Haryana. (HT Photo )
         

Hakra Ware pottery, The Pashupati Seal, The Great Bath, the famous “Priest King” and the bronze figurine of the “The Dancing Girl” from Mohenjo-Daro are some of the subjects of newly created murals that commuters passing by the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway can spot and admire. The visual treat is a result of a beautification drive undertaken by the district administration, under which the dull facade of walls across the city have been transformed into a colourful palette that highlight the history and heritage of the state.

As part of the drive, the district administration is creating wall paintings across the city covering a myriad themes such as history, heritage, and environment. While wall paintings depicting nature are not new to the city, it is probably for the first time that heritage has been represented prominently in the public space. A roughly one-kilometre long stretch near the Expressway is adorned with 20 paintings, which depict various aspects of the Harappan Civilization, while another set of seven panels near the Mini Secretariat depict monuments of the state. These monuments, both protected and unprotected, include Chuhimal ki Chattri of Nuh, Jal Mahal, Karnal Fort, Asigarh Fort, Hansi fort and Chor Gumbad .

Aparajita, assistant commissioner (under training), who is the nodal officer for the beautification drive, said that the focus on heritage structures was aimed at generating awareness about the state’s history. “Gurugram is a cosmopolitan city which is visited by people from all parts of the country. The city is known for industries, offices, and some popular places like Cyber Hub, but we also need to be known for our heritage and culture. We are a succeeding city as far as expansion of officer spaces are concerned, but our culture also needs to be highlighted,” said Aparajita who goes by the first name.

The murals are  a result of a beautification drive undertaken by the district administration, under which the dull facade of walls across the city have been transformed into a colourful palette that highlight the history and heritage of the state.
The murals are a result of a beautification drive undertaken by the district administration, under which the dull facade of walls across the city have been transformed into a colourful palette that highlight the history and heritage of the state. ( Parveen Kuamar / HT Photo )

The funding for the beautification drive is being provided by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram on the directions of the district administration. While research and work on the project had started a month back, finishing touches were given around two weeks back. The administration is in the process of shortlisting more areas in the city for more paintings.

Parul Munjal, associate professor at the Sushant School of Art and Architecture, said that while it was a good effort to give space to heritage in public space, the impact would have been greater if the administration had gone more micro. “It’s good that the government has moved on from painting only the Taj Mahal to highlighting state heritage. This might generate some awareness about heritage structures in the state since local history doesn’t always find a significant representation in the public space. People may not be aware that Haryana has these architectural marvels,” said Munjal.

She, however, said that the administration could have gone more local and depicted heritage structures in the Gurugram district. “If places closer home are depicted, then there is real potential of people actually visiting these places. People get excited when they find hidden marvels in their city,” she said.

Rajesh Kumar, a snack vendor, who parks his food cart opposite the Mini Secretariat, said that the paintings had added colour to the area. He said that it would give both residents and outsiders a new perspective to look at. “Nowadays, even educated people don’t seem to know much about local heritage and culture. After seeing the paintings, the visuals will stay in their mind. They might just be motivated enough to explore these places,” said Kumar, who hails from Bihar but has been living in the city for the last 15 years. He said that even he was unfamiliar with most of the monuments that had been painted with names.