Gwalior, Orchha on UNESCO World Heritage City List
Source: Click here
News: The historical fort cities of Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of UNESCO’s world heritage cities urban landscape city programme.
- Gwalior: It was established in the 9th century and ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.The city is known for its palaces and temples, including the intricately carved Sas Bahu Ka Mandir temple.
- The Gwalior Fort occupies a sandstone plateau overlooking the city and is accessed via a winding road lined with sacred Jain statues.Within the fort’s high walls is the 15th-century Gujari Mahal Palace, now an archaeological museum.
- Orchha: It is popular for its temples and palaces and was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.The famous spots in the town are Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir.
- UNESCO World Heritage Cities Programme: It is one of six thematic programmes formally approved and monitored by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
- Aim: To assist States Parties in the challenges of protecting and managing their urban heritage.
- Urban Landscape City Programme: It was adopted in 2011 at UNESCO’s General Conference.This programme approach to managing historic urban landscapes is holistic by integrating the goals of urban heritage conservation and those of social and economic development.
Hampi stone chariot now gets protective ring
Source: Click here
News: Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has placed wooden barricades around the famous stone chariot at Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi for protection.
- Hampi Stone Chariot: It is an iconic monument located in front of Vijaya Vittala Temple in Hampi, Karnataka.Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Dedicated to: Stone Chariot is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, the official vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
- Significance: Stone Chariot in Hampi is one of the three most popular stone chariots in India. Other two are in Konark (Odisha) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).
- Style: Built in Dravidian style, the stone chariot reflects skill of temple architecture under the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.
- Vijaya Vittala Temple also known as Vittala Temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.The temple is located in Hampi, near the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
- Built by: Temple was built in the 15th century during the reign of King Devaraya II of the Vijayanagara Empire. Several sections of the temple were expanded and renovated during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
Why Jharkhand is seeking a separate religious code for Sarna tribals
News: Jharkhand government has convened a special session and passed a resolution for the provision of a separate ‘Sarna Code’ for tribals.
- What does the resolution say? The resolution seeks a special column for followers of the ‘Sarna’ religion in the Census 2021.
- What is the Sarna religion? Sarna followers are nature worshippers who do not consider themselves Hindus and have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades. At present, they are not classified as a separate religious entity.
- Nature Worship in Sarna: The holy grail of the Sarna faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
- Was there a separate code before? The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals. Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
- Significance of Separate Code: The population of Sarna tribals in the State has declined from 38.3% in 1931 to 26.02% in 2011. One of the reasons for this was tribals who go for work in different states not being recorded in the Census. Therefore, the separate code will ensure the recording of their population.
Painting and Architecture
Prime Minister calls for e-marketing of “Channapatna toys”
What is the News?
The Prime Minister has called upon to explore the possibility of e-marketing of Channapatna toys across the country and the world, during the India Toy Fair 2021,
The PM advised the artisans to make use of advanced information technology(IT) technology to popularize toys across the world.
About Channapatna Toys:
- Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls). Artisans of the town Channapatna in Karnataka manufactures them.
- In Kannada, Channapatna is also called “Gombegala Ooru”, which means toy town in English.
- Origin: The origin of these toys can be traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan. He invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in the making of wooden toys.
- The Father of the Channapatna toy is Bavas Miyan. He is known for his commitment to helping the local artisans with the art of toy-making and bringing in new technologies to improvise the toys.
- Wood Used: The Channapatna toys are made of specific wood, called “Aale Mara or the ivory wood”. Vegetable dyes are used for colors that are safe to use and environment-friendly.
- GI tag: This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication(GI) under the World Trade Organization(WTO).
Other Traditional Indian Toys of Different States:
- Kerala- Kathakali dance dolls, animal-shaped toys, and Woodcraft Toys
- TamilNadu- Thanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommai , Choppu saman Toys
- Punjab- Folk toys, Handwai, Chankana, Lattu, Ghuggu
- Telangana: Nirmal Toys
- Madhya Pradesh– Adivasi Gudia Hastashilpa (Dolls), Betel Nut’s Toys, and Tin Toys.
- Uttar Pradesh- lacquered toys and miniature utensils Toys.
- Jammu & Kashmir- Walnut wood carving toys
- Chhattisgarh- Clay & Terracotta, Dhokra Metal Casting, Wood Carving, Metal Craft toys.
- Daman & Diu- Tortoise Shell toys and crafts,
- Andaman & Nicobar Island- Timber Toys, Coconut shell toys
Source: The Hindu
Social media is giving a boost to the “Kinnal craft”
What is the news?
Social Media has given a boost to the artisans of the Kinnal Craft and their wooden dolls. It allowed them to advertise their products online and sell them.
- Kinnal Craft or Kinhal Craft is a traditional wooden craft local to the town of Kinhal or Kinnal in Koppal District, Karnataka. The craft was awarded the Geographical Indication tag in 2012.
- Artisans: The traditional artisans of the craft are known as chitragars. They use a local variety of wood called Polki Marran which grows in and around Jabbalgudda village (near Koppal).
- Origin: The craft dates back to the 15th or 16th century. It is thought to have gained prominence and patronage under the Vijayanagara Empire, and later, the Nawabs of Koppal. The intricate carvings on the famous Hampi chariot are believed to be the handiwork of the Kinnal artisans.
- Colours Used: The craft is painted using water-colours or enamel, the signature colours of Kinnal are red, green, yellow and black.
- Themes: The themes are mainly mythological — idols of deities including Hanuman, Garuda, Gowri and Durga are among Kinnal’s signature creations.
- Many of the artisans are also involved in making larger idols for the local village festivals, or ooru habba, along with paraphernalia such as palanquins, cradles and chowkis.
- Significance: Kinhal toys also have a signature gold and silver colour which is done using a special technique called “Lajawara” method. It is prepared by hand-beating sheets of tin which results in a powder that when processed further yields silver and then gold paint. It is a very expensive and tedious process.
Source: The Hindu
PM Praises “Pattachitra Painting”
What is the News?
The Prime Minister has praised the Odisha pattachitra painting in the Mann Ki Baat.
About Patachitra Painting
- Pattachitra or Patachitra Painting: The name Pattachitra has evolved from Sanskrit words patta meaning canvas and chitra meaning picture.
- It is a traditional, cloth-based scroll painting based in Odisha and West Bengal.
- Based on: These paintings are based on Hindu mythology. They are especially inspired by Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect.
- Colours: All colors used in the Paintings are natural. Material like Gum of tree, shells, and lam soot, etc. are used for making the color.
- Paintings are made fully in the traditional way by Chitrakaras, i.e. Odiya Painter.
- Style: The style is a mix of both folk and classical elements but leaning more towards folk forms. The dress style has Mughal influences.
- Popular Themes: Some of the most popular themes represented through this art form are
- Thia Badhia – depiction of the temple of Jagannath;
- Krishna Lila – enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child;
- Dasavatara Patti – the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu;
- Panchamukhi – depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity.
- Pattachitra has been a component of an ancient Bengali narrative art. It originally served as a visual device during the performance of a song.
- Based on: The paintings are mostly based on mythological, religious stories, folklore, and social. The artist of the Bengal Patachitra is called Patua.
- Colour: Use of natural color is one of the characteristics of the Bengal Patachitra.
- The Kalighat Patachitra, the last tradition of Bengal Patachitra is developed by Jamini Roy.
- Buddhist Literature: Bengal Patachitra is referred to in the Buddhist literature in Haribansha(1st century A.D), Abhigyan Shakuntalam(2nd century A.D) and Malavikagnimitra (4th century), Harshacharita (6th Century).
Source: Hindustan Times
World’s oldest known cave painting (a wild pig image) found in Indonesia
News: Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known animal cave painting in Indonesia – a wild pig – believed to be drawn 45,500 years ago.
Source: Indian Express
- About Cave Painting: The cave painting uncovered in South Sulawesi in Indonesia consists of a figurative depiction of a warty pig, a wild boar that is endemic to this Indonesian island.
- Technique used: The researchers used a technique called uranium-series dating to analyse a mineral formation that overlapped part of the image and that must have formed after the cave art was produced. The mineral formation is at least 45,500 years old suggesting the artwork itself could be much older.
- Significance: The painting provides the earliest evidence of human settlement of the region.
- Is it the oldest human produced art? The painting may be the world’s oldest art depicting a figure, but it is not the oldest human-produced art. In South Africa, a hashtag-like doodle created 73,000 years ago is believed to be the oldest known drawing.
The proposal to demolish the Louis Kahn’s IIMA building is an act of cultural vandalism
Synopsis- IIMA decision to demolish historic dormitories designed by architect Louis Khan, this would constitute an act of cultural vandalism.
- Louis Kahn, a world-famous architect, called in 1960s to Ahmedabad to design various buildings, and the IIMA was one of the iconic structures built by him.
- Works of this excellence belong to both national and universal heritage.
- However, the administration of the Indian Institute of Management decided to demolish 14 dormitories on the IIMA campus as they turn unsafe.
- It led to the protests in the campus and reconsideration of the decision.
Why the proposal to demolish the dorms of IIMA represent as cultural vandalism?
Having supported the restoration of the entire campus for years, the administration claimed that as this work was not ‘satisfactory’ the whole lot should be pulled down, which is an act of cultural vandalism against an architectural masterpiece which is not only of great importance to India but to the world.
- Current laws in India provide national heritage protection only to buildings and sites more than 100 years old. This leaves Kahn’s IIM- Ahmedabad in extremely vulnerable positions.
- capitalism, political corruption and land speculation pose threats to ancient and modern works of quality.
Fortunately, many organizations and individuals both within the country and abroad have written to the institute, urging the management to reconsider the decision.
What is the significance of Louis Kahn IIMA Architecture?
Kahn built two projects on the Indian subcontinent, the Assembly Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIMA). Both reflect his response to the cultures, climates and traditions of their respective places.
Significance of IIMA building-
- The complex is built mainly in brick, with some interventions of concrete for lateral bracing and tie bars.
- With its interweaving of space and form, light and shade, orthogonal and diagonal geometries, the dormitory complex is a virtuoso demonstration of Kahn’s immense skill as a designer.
- A citadel of learning, replete with cylindrical towers, shaded streets and squares, it is not unlike a tight-knit Indian fortified town.
- First, there is a need to reshape national heritage laws to protect 20th-century buildings.
- Heritage should be assessed on the basis of long-term quality rather than the cut-off date of a hundred years.
- Second, IIMA Director and Board need to live up to their responsibilities by restoring and protecting Kahn’s work in its totality, so that the future generations may be inspired by it.
Thus, the leaders of IIMA should be persuaded to complete the restoration of Kahn’s buildings at the highest possible level, and perhaps attain the same World Heritage status
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The signature of Kahn and other foreign architects on Indian cities
Source: The Indian Express
News: A controversy has erupted over a decision by the Indian Institute of Management(IIM), Ahmedabad to bring down 18 dormitories built by legendary American architect Louis Kahn on the old campus and replace them with a new building.In this Context, let us look at the contributions of different architects on Indian Cities,
- Antonin Raymond & George Nakashima: Golconde, India’s first reinforced concrete buildings built between 1937 and 1945 in Puducherry was designed and completed by them.
- Otto Königsberger: He was the chief architect and planner of Mysore State between 1939 and 1948.Later, he was commissioned by Tata & Sons to develop the industrial township of Jamshedpur in the early 1940s.He also later designed the master plan for Bhubaneswar(1948) and Faridabad(1949).
- Albert Mayer and Mathew Nowicki: They designed the city of Chandigarh.
- Le Corbusier: He was a Swiss-French architect.He designed many of Chandigarh’s civic buildings from courts to housing.He is often called the “father of modern Indian architecture”.
- Patrick Geddes: He wrote town planning reports from 1915 to 1919, for 18 Indian cities including Bombay and Indore.
- Frank Lloyd Wright: He was an American architect.He never built a structure in India but his influence was unmistakable.His students, Gautam and Gira Sarabhai were the founders of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
- Buckminster Fuller: He is known for his geodesic domes – large-span structures made of a network of triangles. Gautam Sarabhai inspired by Fuller designed the Calico Dome in 1962 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat at the same site that served as a mill shop.
- Joseph Allen Stein: He was an American architect.He is known for designing important buildings in India most notably in Lodhi Estate in Delhi nicknamed Steinabad after him.He is also famous for being the architect of the scenic Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode’s campus.
- Louis Kahn: He was an American architect.He designed the old campus of IIM Ahmedabad.The plan’s most distinctive features are the numerous arches, and square brick structures with circles carved out in the façade.
Who are the Tharu tribals?
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Uttar Pradesh government has embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.The intention is to put Tharu villages on the tourism map and to create jobs and bring economic independence to the tribal population.
- Tharu: They are an ethnic group indigenous to the Terai in southern Nepal and northern India.
- Origin: The word tharu is believed to be derived from sthavir, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism.
- Worship: They worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
- Occupation: Most of them are forest dwellers and some practice agriculture.
- Language: They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu and Awadhi. In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal, they speak a variant of Maithili.
- Theravada Buddhism: The name means ‘the doctrine of the elders’ – the elders being the senior Buddhist monks.It is strongest in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. It is sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhism’.
“Tholpavakoothu” the shadow leather puppetry to be Performed using Robots
What is the News?
For the first time, Tholpavakkoothu, the famous shadow leather puppetry will tell the stories of the Ramayana with the help of robots.
- Tholpavakoothu is a form of shadow leather puppetry that is practiced in Kerala. It is also known as Nizhalkkoothu and Olakkoothu.
- Temple art form: It is a traditional temple art. It has roots in Palakkad and neighboring regions in Kerala. It used to be performed in the Bhadrakali temples of Palakkad for telling tales from the Ramayana.
- Origin: It is believed to have originated in the ninth century AD and uses Kamba Ramayana as its basic text.
- Made up of: The puppets used to be made out of deerskin but are now typically made from goatskin. The puppets are painted in vegetable dyes, as these dyes last long.
- Instruments used: The instruments used for the art form include Ezhupara, Chenda, and Maddalam.
- Puppeteer: The lead puppeteer is usually called a pulavar. It is an honorific given to a puppeteer who is also a scholar.
Source: The Hindu
Govt approves inclusion of four indigenous sports in Khelo India Youth Games 2021
Source: Click here
News: Sports Ministry has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of Khelo India Youth Games 2021.The games include Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba.
- Gatka: It is a traditional martial art form originated from Punjab.It is associated with the Nihang Sikh Warriors and is used both as self-defense as well as a sport.
- Kalaripayattu also known as Kalari is an Indian martial art that originated in Kerala.It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India.
- Thang-Ta also known as Huyen Lallong is a martial art form of Manipur and has been practised by the Meiteis. It is dedicated to fighting skill and worship.
- Mallakhamba: It is a traditional sport from Indian subcontinent and has been well-known in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.It involves gymnasts performing aerial yoga or gymnastic postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole, cane, or rope.
What is Khelo India?
- Khelo India Programme: It was introduced by the Ministry of Sports and Youth affairs.
- Aim: To revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
- Mass participation of youth in annual sports competitions through a structured competition;
- Identification of talent
- Guidance and nurturing of the talent through existing sports academies and new set up either by the central Government or State Government or in PPP mode.
- Creation of Sports Infrastructure at mofussil, Tehsil, District, State levels among others.
- Merger: The scheme is a merger of three schemes namely:
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan: Infrastructure in rural areas and encouraging sports through competitions
- Urban Infrastructure Scheme: Development of Infrastructure in urban areas.
- National Sports Talent Search: Identifying sports talent.
- Key Features of the Scheme:
- Under the scheme, Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
- State wise budget allocation is not made and projects are sanctioned based on their viability. Funds are released project wise.
- Verticals: To meet the objectives of Khelo India, the entire programme is divided in 12 verticals as mentioned in the below picture:
Note: Sports being a State subject, the responsibility of promotion of sports, including identification of young talent and its nurturing rests with State Governments. Government of India supplements the efforts of State Governments through its various schemes.
Festivals and others
11th edition of “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav”
What is the news?
The 11th edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav is being held in West Bengal this year.
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav:
- Nodal Ministry: It is a festival started by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2015.
- Objective: It enhances mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures. Thereby it secures stronger unity and integrity of India.
- Participation of Zonal Centres: The festival witnesses the active participation of Seven Zonal Culture Centres. These zonal centres play a key role in taking the vibrant culture of India to the masses.
- Significance: The festival is instrumental in showcasing folk and tribal art, dance, music, cuisines & culture of one state in other states. It is reinforcing the cherished goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” and at the same time supporting their livelihood.
- The 10th edition of the festival was held in Madhya Pradesh in October 2019.
Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme:
- It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2016. It will promote engagement amongst the people of different States/UTs to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures. Thereby it is securing stronger unity and integrity of India.
- The states carry out activities to promote a sustained and structured cultural connect. Activities are taken in the areas of language learning, culture, traditions & music, tourism & cuisine, sports, and sharing of best practices.
Source: The Hindu
National Tribal Festival “Aadi Mahotsav”
What is the News?
The Vice President of India has inaugurated “Aadi Mahotsav”, a National Tribal Festival.
- Aadi Mahotsav: It is an annual Tribal Festival that was started in the year 2017.
- Organized by: It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India & Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED).
- Aim: It aimed to familiarise the people with the rich and diverse craft, and the culture of the tribal communities, in one place.
- Theme: “A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Crafts, Culture and Commerce”, which represents the basic ethos of tribal life.
Key highlights of the festival:
- Tribal Handicrafts: The festival showcased several tribal handicrafts such as:
- Maheshwari sarees of Madhya Pradesh
- Toda embroidery from Tamil Nadu
- Moga silk from Assam
- Tribal dishes: The festival also showcased several tribal dishes from different parts of the country namely:
- Dal Pitha, Dhooska, Chilka roti from Jharkhand
- Gurudi, Jowar papad and roti on Mahalpatta from Maharashtra, and
- Samai urundai, Ragi kali and Thenai rice preparations from Tamil Nadu.
What is the significance of this festival?
- Tribes constitute over 8% of our population. However, they are among the most disadvantaged sections of society.
- Their crafts are characterised by natural simplicity, with a timeless appeal. The wide range of handicrafts which include hand-woven cotton, silk fabrics, wool, metal craft, terracotta, bead-work, all need to be preserved and promoted.
- Hence, TRIFED as the nodal agency is working to improve the income and livelihoods of the tribal people, while preserving their way of life and traditions.
Kalrav festival at Nagi- Nakti bird sanctuaries in Bihar
Why in News?
‘Kalrav’, Bihar’s 1st state–level festival started at the Nagi-Nakti bird sanctuaries in the Jamui district, Bihar.
About the festival:
- About the Festival: The festival is hosted by the department of forest, environment and climate change.
- Aim: The event is intended to create awareness about the conservation of birds and their habitat, the wetlands.
- Importance of Birds:
- Those who can understand a bird’s behavior can understand that it sends a signal of any impending natural calamity.
- Birds also help in the pollination of plant species.
- Hence, as a part of the bird conservation plan, the forest department has developed a bird ringing station at Bhagalpur
Nagi- Nakti Bird Sanctuaries:
- Nagi Dam and Nakti Dam are although two different sanctuariess but they can be taken as one bird area due to their closeness.
- These sanctuaries are a home to wide variety of indigenous species and migratory birds that turn up during the winters from places like Eurasia, Central Asia, the Arctic Circle, Russia and Northern China.
- Birdlife International has declared it as an important bird area due to a rare phenomenon. I.e. appearance of Around 1,600 bar-headed geese which is about 3% of the global population of this variety, at this sanctuary.
- The sanctuary is unique for its rock formation, “tor” in Jamui area. In India, this rock formation is available only in Hampi in Karnataka.
1000-yrs Old Monpa Handmade Paper Industry revived
News: Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) has revived the 1000 year old Monpa Handmade Paper of Arunachal Pradesh by commissioning a Monpa handmade paper making unit in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. The paper unit will also serve as a training center for the local youths to sustain the tradition.
- Monpa Handmade Paper: It is an heritage hand paper artform of Arunachal Pradesh. This handmade paper is also called as Mon Shugu in the local dialect and is integral to the vibrant culture of the local tribes in Tawang.
- Origin: The art of making originated among the Monpas over 1000 years ago. Gradually this art became an integral part of local custom and culture of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Why did it decline? Monpas paper used to be sold to countries like Tibet, Bhutan ,Thailand and Japan as no paper making industry existed in these countries at that time.
- However, the local industry gradually began declining and the indigenous handmade paper was taken over by inferior Chinese paper.
- How will it be made now? The fine-textured Monpa handmade paper will be made from the bark of a local tree called Shugu Sheng, which has medicinal values too. Hence availability of raw material will not be a problem.
- Significance: The paper has great historic and religious significance as it is the paper used for writing Buddhist scriptures and hymns in monasteries.
Singapore’s beloved street hawker culture, now a Unesco ‘Intangible Heritage’
Source: The Indian Express
News: Singapore’s vibrant street hawker culture has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. street hawker centres are representative of Singapore’s multiculturalism with stalls selling cheap, delicious food of Chinese, Malay, Indian origins among others.
- Intangible cultural heritage: It means the traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed through generations as a way of life.
- These include oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
- Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage : It was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003 and entered into force in 2006. India ratified it in 2007.
- Purpose of the Convention
- to safeguard the expressions of intangible cultural heritage that are endangered by the processes of globalization;
- to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals;
- to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage.
- Intangible Cultural Heritage Sites from India: India has a total of 13 intangible cultural heritages included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
- These include: Kutiyattam, the tradition of Vedic chanting, Ramlila, Ramman, Mudiyettu, Kalbelia folk songs and dances, Chauu Dance, Buddhist chanting of Ladakh, Sankritana, Craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Nowruz, Yoga, and Kumbh Mela.
“St. George’s Orthodox Church” is set to become Monument of National Importance
What is the News?
St. George’s Orthodox Church in Kerala is set to become a Centrally-protected monument of national importance. The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) will recognise the church for protecting it.
Impact of this recognition: This will stop the demolition of the St. George’s Orthodox Church. The demolition started after the road widening project in National Highway(NH) 66.
About St. George’s Orthodox Church:
- St George Orthodox church is believed to be established in AD 950 but some experts say it was built in AD 1050.
- The church was rebuilt in 1952. But, the eastern part of the church was retained (not rebuilt) to preserve the murals.
- The mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces.
- Significance: The most attractive feature of the church is the murals paintings (around 47). These paintings are considered to be over 600 years old. Further, they reflect the blend between traditional Kerala mural art and Persian art.
Monuments of National Importance:
- Nodal Authority: Monuments of National Importance are designated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- What is a National Monument? ‘Ancient Monument’ is defined under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act,1958. The Act defines Ancient Monument as any structure or monument or any cave, rock-sculpture, an inscription that is of historical, archaeological interest. Further, Ancient Monument has to be in existence for not less than 100 years.
- Maintained by: The Central Government is authorised to maintain, protect and promote the Monuments of National Importance.
- Sites: Currently, 3,691 monuments nationwide are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI). The highest number of them were in Uttar Pradesh followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Source: The Hindu
“Swachh Iconic Places”-12 sites to be transformed into ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’
What is the News?
The Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced 12 iconic sites. Sites will be covered under Phase IV of the Swachh Iconic Places(SIP) Initiative.
Swachh Iconic Places(SIP) Initiative:
- It is an initiative of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti under Swachh Bharat Mission(Grameen).
- It aims to improve the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites. The initiative will ensure a distinctly higher level of Sanitation/Cleanliness at these places, especially on the peripheries and in the approach area.
- Ministries Involved: The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, and the concerned State/UT governments.
Places covered under Phase IV: The 12 sites covered under Phase IV are:
- Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
- Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
- Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
- Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
- Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
- Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
- Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
- Rock Garden, Chandigarh
- Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
- Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
- Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
- Kalighat Temple, West Bengal
Risa textile of Tripura
Why in News?
The Tripura government is planning to promote Risa textile as the signature textile of Tripura nationally.
What is Risa textile?
The traditional Tripuri female attire comprises three parts — risa, rignai and rikutu.
- Risa: It is a handwoven cloth used as a female upper garment, and also as headgear, a stole, or a present to express respect. As an upper garment, it is wrapped around the torso twice.
- Rignai: It is primarily worn as the lower garment and literally translates into ‘to wear’. It can be understood as an indigenous variety of the sari of mainland India.
- Rikutu: It is mainly used as a wrap, or like a ‘chunri’ or a ‘pallu’ of the Indian sari. It is also used to cover the head of newly married Tripuri women.
Significance of Risa:
- Risa has been in circulation as an honorary stole among indigenous community leaders and tribal political leaders.
- It is common in almost all 19 indigenous tribal communities of Tripura. However, each community has its own designs.
- The garment is made in handloom or loin looms at homes. Usually, only one or two pieces are prepared in a month. Most of this art is handed down through generations. However, many of the designs were lost with the passage of time, and only a few remain.
- Adolescent Tripuri girls are first given a risa at age 12 to 14, to wear in an event called Risa Sormani.
- It is also used for other purposes such as;
- in religious festivals such as Garia Puja by tribal communities,
- In weddings and festivals as a turban by men,
- headscarf by young girls and boys and
- during winters as a muffler.
Source: Indian Express
Government organises a ‘DekhoApnaDesh’ Webinar on “Exploring Buddhist Circuit by Train”
News: The Ministry of Tourism has organised an interesting webinar titled “Exploring Buddhist Circuit by Train” as a part of the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ Webinar series.
- Dekho Apna Desh Initiative: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism launched in January 2020.
- Objective: To promote domestic tourism in India which is intended to enhance tourist footfalls in places of tourist interest so as to help develop the local economy.
- Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series: During the pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism as part of its ongoing engagement with the industry and its audiences is organising webinars on the overall theme of ‘DekhoApnaDesh’.
- Objective: To create awareness about and promote various tourism destinations of India – including the lesser-known destinations and lesser-known facets of popular destinations.
Government launched virtual toy hackathon ‘Toycathon 2021’
News: Union Education Minister and Union Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development jointly launched the Toycathon 2021.
- Toycathon 2021: It’s a kind of hackathon for the toy industry. It has been organized by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of I&B and All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE).
- Aim: To conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behavior and good value among the children.
- Themes: It is based on nine themes viz. Indian Culture, History, Knowledge of India and Ethos; Learning, Education and Schooling; Social and human values; Occupations & specific fields; Environment; Divyang ; Fitness and sport; Out of the box, creative and logical thinking and Rediscovering/redesigning traditional Indian toys.
Why is Toycathon being organized?
- Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub.
- India is home to 25% of global children belongs to the age group of 0 to 12 years.
- India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans produce indigenous toys which not only have cultural connect but also helps in building life-skills and psychomotor skills among children especially at an early age.
- India’s share in the global toy market is estimated to be at $90 billion, which is just 0.5 per cent of the global share. Apart from that 80 per cent of the toys sold in India are imported from China.
Union Minister reviews “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” Project
News: Union Minister for Tourism has held a review meeting review meeting of the “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” project.
- Adopt a Heritage Project: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India. It was launched in September 2017 on World Tourism Day.
- Aim: To ensure quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.
- Objectives of the Project:
- Developing basic tourism infrastructure in and around heritage sites, monuments, natural sites and tourist sites.
- Develop facilities and amenities to improve the tourist experience at heritage sites, monuments, natural sites and tourist sites.
- Promote cultural and heritage value of the country and develop avenues to create awareness about the heritage/natural/tourist sites in the country
- Develop and promote sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensure proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
- Develop employment opportunities and support livelihoods of local communities at heritage sites.
- Eligibility: Private and Public Sector Companies, Trusts, NGOs and Individuals are eligible for adopting heritage site (s)/ monument (s) under this project.
- Key Features of the Project:
- The sites/monuments are selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals known as Monument Mitras for an initial period of five years.
- The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary on the basis of the bidder’s ‘vision’ for development of all amenities at the heritage site.
- There is no financial bid involved. The corporate sector is expected to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the site.