It was indeed a big night for India as it was the talk of the town at the 2017 UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards as Mumbai, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu win big and made the motherland proud. Out of the 43 excellent projects that were presented to over 10 countries for the Cultural Heritage Conservation Award, India made its mark by winning 7 in the Conservation Category. Looking close in the Award night, Mumbai took home the maximum number of awards where Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower and Wellington Fountain won the Honourable Mention, Christ Church, and Royal Opera House bagged the Award of Merit. Even the Capital city was awarded Honourable Mention for the Haveli Dharampura in Shahjahanabad. And that’s not all as the Southern State of Tamil Nadu was delighted too as it won Award of Merit for Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is the only Temple which is acknowledged and praised by UNESCO. Besides, the central state of Madhya Pradesh was awarded the Honourable Mention for its Gateway of Gohad Fort, Gohad.
For this year, an international panel consisting 9 conservation experts acknowledged sixteen projects from six countries namely India, Australia, Iran, China, Singapore and New Zealand for the Heritage Awards. The deciding ground for which country wins was that the amount of efforts organizations and private individuals put in for conserving and restoring the framework of buildings with heritage importance. The main motive behind awarding these countries who have put in the tremendous effort was to increase awareness and to motivate other individuals and organisations to take up conservation projects in and around the area they live in.
Check out the winners who made the country proud.
The Honourable Mention Winners
Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower, Mumbai
This landmark has been irreplaceable from the heart of Mumbai since the 19th century for being the two-fold drinking water fountain and clock tower. Dating back to 1880, it was put together with love in the memory of Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia. With due attempts of the Kala Ghoda Association and city government, this collapsing water fountain and the clock tower was brought back to its actual order and is the perfect symbol of public-private partnership.
Wellington Fountain, Mumbai
This octagonal fountain with eight marble statues was built around the time of 1865 through public contribution to celebrate the visits of Duke of Wellington. Wellington fountain was carved in a neo-classical style with the achievements of the Duke inscribed and hence it serves as a pure example of heritage sites of that time. As the fountain’s natural appearance was declining with time, the restoration process took place in the year 2016 by a public-private partnership.
Haveli Dharampura, Shahjahanabad, New Delhi
This Haveli in New Delhi got its good looks from 1887 being sculpted in the Late Mughal Style. It is one of the Havelis that were constructed at that time, built to serve the twin purpose of residence and commercial use. The locality got its name from the word “Dharam” reason being the existence of many religious institutes. The preservation process of the Haveli was a private action by the Heritage India Foundation which took place in the 20th century where now it is more of a luxury boutique hotel still having the Mughal touch to it.
Gateway of Gohad Fort, Madhya Pradesh
This 11 pillared site, tactfully built a fort on the Vaisli river is the most important and exquisite symbol of Jat rulers. Gohad Fort is one of the main tourist attraction in Madhya Pradesh because of its ravishing architecture. But when the news of the deterioration of Hathiya Paur and Sankal Darwaja was heard, the protection and conservation began so that there was no hindrance in the tourism of the state. The conservation of this another fabulous site proved as an example of public-private authorities coming together to preserve the cultural and heritage importance of the fort.
The Award of Merit Winners
Christ Church, Mumbai
Another neo-classic style built beauty is the Christ Church structured in the 19th Century. It is not just one of the oldest and finest public building in Mumbai but a place of worship for the spiritual believers. The picturesque white beauty was brought back to its original self where some of the past interventions were reversed and some new changes were made to intensify the interior.
Royal Opera House, Mumbai
Nestled in Mumbai, Royal Opera House is the “only surviving opera house” of India. The word Royal that you see attached to the Opera House was done so to bring to notice the fact that the foundation stone of the place was laid during the British Raj in 1909 and was complete by the year 1912. Built-in neo-baroque style the opera house was the star of Mumbai, screening a number of performances until the time it was shut down for several years due to negligence. Finally, some strong steps to renovate the place were taken in the year 2008 where the Opera House got its charm back and was reopened last year.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
Devoted to Ranganatha, the incarnation of the most revered Hindu deity Vishnu, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is nurtured in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu. Being one of the most important shrines of the state, it is included in the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Vishnu. It follows the Tamil style of architecture and is also one of the eminent historical Vaishnava temples in South India. Restoration of the ethereal beauty of the temple was undertaken by a public-private collaboration without changing the age-old heritage.
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