More heritage sites for restoration

A view of heritage complex Mubarak Mandi of Jammu. (UNI)
A view of heritage complex Mubarak Mandi of Jammu. (UNI)

The administration of Jammu and Kashmir has made significant progress in restoring and preserving heritage sites in the Jammu division. Under Phase-I of the Scheme for Revival, Restoration, Preservation and Maintenance of Architecture and Heritage, work is underway on 18 monuments. In Phase II of the scheme, the Department of Culture has identified 31 more monuments in Jammu Division for restoration. These restoration efforts are significant for Jammu and Kashmir, as each temple and shrine holds a unique story and spiritual significance. The Government’s focus on restoring and preserving these heritage sites will bring them back to their former glory and highlight their historical importance.
Historically, these sites have not received adequate attention and investment for preservation and maintenance. The absence or lack of sufficient financial resources allocated for the heritage sites has led to their total neglect. A lack of regular upkeep has led to deterioration and damage over time. The significance of these heritage sites has not been widely acknowledged by the public or by Government authorities. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or extreme weather conditions have further exacerbated the neglect and deterioration of these sites.
We must understand and protect these, as heritage sites are often tangible representations of a region’s history, culture and identity. They provide a glimpse into the past, allowing us to understand the traditions, customs and achievements of our ancestors. These sites are living testimonies to the events people, and civilizations that have shaped our present. They showcase unique architectural styles, craftsmanship, artistic expressions and religious practices. They provide a hands-on learning experience for students, scholars and researchers. Heritage sites are huge attractions for domestic and international tourists. Visitors are drawn to experience the beauty, grandeur and historical significance of these sites. Tourism associated with heritage sites can bring economic benefits to local communities by creating job opportunities, supporting local businesses and generating revenue through tourism-related activities. They contribute to a community’s sense of identity and pride. Restoration and preservation efforts often involve the revitalization of surrounding areas, including infrastructure development, tourism facilities, and community engagement. By integrating heritage sites into urban planning, they can become focal points for sustainable tourism, economic growth and community development. Many of these heritage sites have religious or spiritual importance, serving as places of worship, pilgrimage, and contemplation. They hold sacred value for individuals and communities, providing a space for spiritual reflection, rituals, and connection with a higher power. These sites encourage communities to preserve and promote their unique cultural heritage.
Preserving and safeguarding heritage sites is crucial for maintaining cultural continuity, promoting understanding among different communities, and nurturing a sense of shared humanity. These sites are not only a testament to our past but also an investment in our future, ensuring that future generations can appreciate and learn from the rich tapestry of human history.