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A log of architectural heritage

- Students travel to Bengal village to document heritage

Nov. 18: Forty-one students from Guwahati College of Architecture went to Panchmura village in West Bengal last year. The idea behind the trip was to document the architectural heritage of various parts of the country that are on the verge of losing their identity.

Their findings were put on display at a four-day exhibition, “Documented Drawings of Panchmura settlement in West Bengal”, which ended today.

Officials of the college said this was an effort by the students to archive, document and map the human settlements and gather a deeper insight into the art, culture and sustainable livelihood. Earlier, they had documented Majuli.

Panchmura is a village of potters near Bishnupur, West Bengal. It is known for its terracotta artefacts. The Guwahati College of Architecture in collaboration with Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, Mumbai, conducted the tour with second year students.

“The potters’ village of Panchmura, in Bankura district of West Bengal, is a small and self-sufficient village. We went there to document the village, study the vernacular architecture, their livelihood, lifestyle and culture. It was an enriching experience for us, documenting in the scorching heat, studying about a craft which is very indigenous in its own way,” said Sahil Jain, a student.

“We had gone there to document the entire village, study the human settlement, their culture and lifestyle. It was a great and a very different experience for us. We even got to know about the terracotta artefacts and how they are made, which was very interesting and something very new for us,” said Tanya Agarwal, a fifth semester, said.

Director of cultural affairs Madhurima Barua Sen, who came to see the exhibition, appreciated the immense effort shown by the students in exhibiting the Panchmura settlements along with its famous terracotta artefacts.

Sen hoped the cultural affairs department would provide a platform to showcase these true talents to the outside world. She asked the students to build aesthetically appealing buildings.

A college official said physical documentation plays a seminal role in recording history and through these documents the students have tried to capture the built artefacts along with the settlements. “This kind of documentation is of paramount importance to the young architects who yearn to study a human settlement, understand the intricacies and finer nuances of the way of life which have a deeper insight into the art, culture, sustainable livelihood and its impact on the ecosystem.


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