A gate of Padma Palace, which has been selected as one of the conservation sites. Telegraph pictures.
The state arts and culture department, in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), has decided to take up the conservation of a number of important heritage sites in Hazaribagh, Ramgarh and adjoining areas.
The plan, which covers Isco village’s rock and cave paintings, Hawa Mahal (Kashmir palace), and a water tank (Bauli) inside Padma Palace (in Hazaribagh), will see the state floating tenders to rope in agencies for their maintenance soon. Work at the sites was likely to begin at the end of monsoon, with the funds for the project being drawn from the Centre’s 14th finance commission.
Isco, around 45km from Hazaribagh, has been buzzing with tourists ever since the discovery of rock and cave paintings in its caves that date back to a period between 10000 and 4000 BC. The village has also made headlines for the art and cultural work put forth by its Ganju and Kurmi tribe members.
Isco’s popularity slightly overshadows that of Padma Palace, the erstwhile seat of the Ramgarh rulers of the 16th century, that sprawls on a majestic 200 acres in Hazaribagh, and is second on the state’s immediate conservation list.
The officials have decided to revamp Hawa Mahal inside the palace, which is known for its Kashmiri architecture and another bathing tank inside the premises that was used by the queens.
A four-member team of state and Intach officials, led by development commissioner Debashish Gupta, had conducted a six-day reccee of the sites from May 27 to June 1.
A committee, comprising Gupta and assistant director (archaeology) of state arts and culture department Amitabh Kumar, Ranchi University’s head of anthropology department Karma Oraon and state convener of Intach S.D. Singh was later formed to draw up a report and send it to the government.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, Intach’s state convener Singh said that they would soon carry out exploration of other heritage sites that need maintenance.
“Though we take care of around 30 heritage sites across Jharkhand,we decided to give priority to these three sites as they are very popular with both national and international tourists. But we are looking at other heritage sites also,” Singh said.
He added that Intach regional convener Bullu Imam in fact had drawn up the names of some other places in and around Hazaribagh that needed immediate attention. “Our teams will visit the sites soon,” he said.
Amitabh Kumar, assistant director of the state arts and culture department, said that they had visited many sites that needed conservation but zeroed down on only a handful in accordance to their importance. “If possible, we will also document the rock paintings of Isco,” Kumar said.
Interestingly, the state, in association with Intach, had taken up 26 heritage sites under the 13th finance commission and drawn detailed project reports. The list of sites taken up for conservation then included Pithoria mosque, Audrey House besides a number of other historical spots like Rajmahal in Sahebganj.