The Bold Voice of J&K

Save withering heritage of historical towns

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Shiv Kumar Padha
Only those nations and the races could survive in the world which owed allegiance to their past, had confidence in their present and hopes tagged with the future. The races and the nations which indulged themselvesin wars, annexations, invasions and plunder couldn’t uphold the glory of their past had become extinct from the soil. Etymologically the word heritage is a property that is or may be inherited, valued things such as historic buildings, monuments, traditions, skills, arts and vocations passed down from previous generations. Heritage is the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects and culture. It is both tangible and intangible like the ideas, songs and dances.
Talking exclusively about India the monuments, the ancient places of worship, the historical structures, skills and vocations provide recognition to the regions, states, towns and cities they are located. QutubMinar and Red fort complex of Delhi, Churches and convents of Goa, monuments of Hampi, Budhist monuments of Sanchi, Khajuraho monuments of M.P. Ajanta and Ellora caves Of Maharstra, Hill forts of Rajesthan, Golden Temple and JalianWala Bagh of Punjab, Sun Temple of Konark, Shankeracharya Temple and Chrar-e-Shrief of Kashmir, Mubarak Mandi, Bahu Fort, Raghunath and Purmandal Temples of Jammu and infinite others are the valuable heritages of the different Indian states and regions. Whole Jammu and Kashmir is gifted with rich heritage which is not being protected by the archaeological department properly. There are number of monuments located in different towns and villages which are either not in the notice of the archaeological department or even if they are, the department doesn’t have resources to care for their protection and development. Amongst the historical towns of Jammu Division Basohli is the oldest which is gifted with rich cultural heritage. Though a small old state, Basohli has left an indelible mark on the cultural horizon of India. Besides its tangible heritage of beautiful and unique old palaces, forts, 15th – 16th century old temples, monuments, old water tanks and chiseled cavesBasohli is also known for itstraditions, Chitterkala, astrology,
classical singing and Ayurveda.
According to Kahan Singh Billoweria, historian and resident of Basohli, Raja Bhoopat Pal, in order to make capital of Basohli invincible for the hostile Rajas of ChambaandNurpur, founded the capital at the place where it is now in 1635 A.D. Raja Bhoopat Pal also founded the palaces and the forts and his successors Sangrampal, Kirpal Pal, DheerajPal, Medini Pal and Amrit Pal made additions to it from time to time. Raja Mahender Pal added the Rang Mahal and Sheesh Mahal to it decorated with the mural paintings. Vigne the French traveller who visited Basohli between 1835-39 called it a finest building he had seen in the east. He admired its square turrets, embattled parapets, Chinese roofed balconies and a moat like tank in front. The grandeur of the palace was not inferior to that of Heidelberg, he has remarked. The palaces which were ever the glory and pride of the east are now in the ruinous state and are gradually collapsing due to the neglect of the government. It has many historical secrets and information lying in its compartments underneath. The fort of Chanchlo Devi, Jalakadi (in the heart of the town) and the fort of Thein are in the ruinous state.While Chanchlo Devi fort is housing the temple the forts of Jalakadi and that of Thien has become the shelter for the monkeys and bats.
Basohli was known for its old 15th and 16th century temples. Before ponding of the dam there were about 125 temples some of them on the sides of the Dhakees (way) leading to the river Ravi has submerged in the dam water. The temples which survive are the Temple of lord Shiva with Shivling of gem taken out of the bracelet of the Mahabharat warrior Bhoorishrabha whose arm was chopped by Arjuna with a shot ofan arrow while defending SatikiYadav from the attack of Bhoorishrabha. The Temple is standing with itsone wall deep in the tank. The Shiv Temple of Mahandera is at a mile away from the town. It is very old temple as per its architectural style is concerned. There are friezes all around the temple the upper portion bears circular medallions with three faces or heads of Shiva. The doorways are carved with figures of demons and gods.
Basohli paintings are famous world over. Hardly there is any museum in the world which has not showcased the Basohli paintings there. The great patrons and the originators of the Basohlischool of arts were Raja Sangram Pal and Raja Kirpal Pal (178-93).
(To be continued)

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