Want to learn about British colonial heritage in Shillong? If interested, from next week onwards, one can join a three-hour Shillong Heritage Walk to acquaint with the city’s colonial heritage.
The walk was inaugurated on Friday by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma by taking a walk from Ward’s Lake to Raj Bhavan and to Pinewood Hotel.
The Shillong Heritage Walk will be opened to tourists from next week, and will take them on three-hour guided walk to acquaint them with the British history and colonial heritage through buildings, architecture and parks.
The heritage sites include Earle Sanatorium, Khyndailad, Meghalaya legislative Assembly secretariat, Brahmo Samaj, Presbyterian church, legislative council building, Shillong Club, Secretariat Hills, Centenary Monument, PWD quarters, All Saints’ church, Raj Bhavan, Pinewood Hotel and Wards Lake.
Conrad, while thanking the forest and tourism departments for the initiative, said Shillong has many historic locations and the idea of the Shillong Heritage Walk is to make it more structured and organised so that tourists can enjoy the city’s heritage.
Five years ago, the Meghalaya Heritage Authority had planned to list of 30 government and private buildings and sites located in and around this state capital as heritage properties.
Altogether 23 government and seven private buildings/sites were under the consideration of the authority to be listed as heritage buildings/sites under the Meghalaya Heritage Act, 2012.
Most of these buildings/sites have been in existence since the British Raj, and many of them are in a dilapidated condition because of absence of any upkeep for decades.
The government buildings/sites include the Raj Bhavan, PWD office at Barik, Tara Ghar bungalow near Ward’s Lake, Shillong Golf Course, old high court building near the Assembly secretariat, and Pinewood Hotel.
The other buildings which are under consideration by the authority include the Lyndhurst Estate at New Colony, Chanchal Raj Bungalow in Rilbong, Beauchamp House, Beauchamp Cottage, Shrubberias Bungalow, Miramar Bungalow and Chandralaya Bungalow in Bivar Road.
The list also includes Lumpyngad bungalow, Brightwell bungalow, Crabtree bungalow, Bracken Hill bungalow, Lake House bungalow, Lake Side bungalow, Rupshi bungalow, Inverniel bungalow, Greenview bungalow Number 1 and Greenview bungalow Number 2.
Among the private buildings are All Saints’ Church, Presbyterian Church at Khyndailad, Tripura Castle, Brookside (Tagore House) at Rilbong, Jeet Bhumi and Shillong Club.
The Meghalaya Heritage Act, 2012, provides for the conservation and protection of heritage sites. These include buildings, artefacts, structures, areas, streets and precincts of historic or cultural or environmental significance (heritage buildings and heritage precincts) and natural features of environmental significance and sites of scenic beauty.
It also provides for conservation and protection of areas of environmental sensitivity.
Under the act, “heritage building” means and includes any building of one or more premises or any part of structure or artefact, which requires conservation or preservation for historical or architectural or artistic or artisanry or aesthetic or culture or environmental or ecological purpose.