Bengal to map its forgotten religious institutions in remote areas for conservation
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that a decision to map all these religious institutions has been taken by the information and cultural affairs department under two programs.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 16:41 IST
In a bid to conserve all the lesser known and forgotten religious institutions – temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches – that are lying in a dilapidated state in remote corners and need immediate attention, the West Bengal government has decided to map them.
This is the first step before the government can initiate efforts to conserve them. While some could be conserved by the government, others may need a public private partnership, a senior official said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that a decision to map all these religious institutions has been taken by the information and cultural affairs department under two programs - ‘Maha Tirtha Bhumi’ (Great Pilgrimage Land) and ‘Maha Punnya Bhumi’ (Great Sacred Land).
This is over and above the religious institutions that are already conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state government’s directorate of archaeology and museums.
“There are many ancient temples and mosques spread across the state and some are tucked away in remote areas on private lands. Many are in a dilapidated state as no efforts have been made to conserve them. The government has decided to map all these institutions,” Banerjee said.
Citing at least two examples she mentioned the name of the Devi Chaudhurani temple in north Bengal and the temple of Bon Bibi in the Sunderban mangroves, the world’s largest delta inhabited by tigers.
Legend goes that bandit queen Devi Choudhurani had established the Kali temple deep inside the forest where she used to take shelter. Bon Bibi is a forest deity revered both by Hindus and Muslims in the Sunderbans.
“It is not an easy task and it would take time to come up with such a map. But this would help us to conserve our heritage. In future a decision could be taken whether the government would take these up for conservation, or go for a public private partnership or may be involving the community for their conservation. The government will plan for this in the next stage,” said a senior official.