Sunday, February 21, 2010

Plan for Modern India

By Mahesh Kaul

India as a nation has witnessed processes and challenges at all levels of human consciousness. The most affected areas have been religious, social, cultural and political. Indian national life and hence Indian consciousness has been the amalgam of experiences in all these fields that have shaped mental plane of the inhabitants of this ancient land whose national spirit of existence in the comity of nations has always emerged from the cultural spiritual core.
This core has existed as the nucleus of this ancient civilization. Never ever has been a thought given to the fact as to what has withheld the national sense inspite of the invasions and vandalisations from the outsiders and the colonizers.what has kept the land of Bharata alive when every external thrust was meant to subjugate the masses and crush the nation in every possible sphere.Swami Vivekananda, the wandering monk of India who ignited the flame of Indian nationalism by embracing the whole mankind in the Universal religion of Vedanta answered all these questions that concern the national life of India and chalked out the plan of action for the future of the India in nation by providing the solutions to the problems of modern Indian an introductory article written for the Bengali fortnightly Udbhodhana, which was published on 14th of January, 1889.He wrote with pride that "Of that ancient Indian race upon ,which the rays of civilization first dawned deep thoughtfulness first revealed itself in full glory,there are still found hundreds of thousands of its children,born of its mind-the inheritors of its thoughts and sentiments -ready to claim them."
Swami Vivekananda was revealing the power of the blood of Indian thought that has flown and is still flowing in the soul and the mind of its people and acting as glue that binds the Indian nation by the cohesive force of spiritualism. And he was not bothered whether it flowed in the veins of the nation in 'a distinct or in some subtle way'. This dormant and silent flow of Indian thought as per him belongs to the major portion of the universal ancient inheritance.Elaborating on the predominant power structure and the political situation Swami Vivekananda ponders over the inherent structure of the Indian national life and says "Once in far remote antiquity, Indian philosophy, coming in contact with Greek energy, led to the rise of the Persian, The Roman, and other great nations. After the invasion of Alexander the Great, these two great waterfalls colliding with each other, deluged nearly half of the globe with spiritual tides, such as Christianity.again, a similar commingling, resulting in the improvement and prosperity of Arabia, laid the foundation of the modern European civilization. And perhaps in our own day, such a time for the conjunction of these two gigantic forces has presented itself again. This time their centre is India".
Further explaining the nature of the Indian consciousness and its uniqueness, he said "The air of India pre-eminently conduces to quietness, the nature of the Yavana is the constant expression of power; profound meditation characterizes the one, the indomitable spirit of dexterous activity, the other; one's motto is "renunciation", the other's "enjoyment".One's whole energy is directed inwards, others is directed inwards, the other's outwards; one's whole learning consists of knowledge of the Self or the Subject, the other's, in the knowledge of the not-self or the object (perishable creation); one loves Moksha (spiritual freedom), the other loves political independence; one is unmindful of gaining prosperity in this world, the other sets his whole heart on making a heaven of this world; one, aspiring after eternal bliss, is indifferent to all the ephemeral pleasures of this life,and the other doubting the existence of eternal bliss,or knowing it to be far away,directs his hole energy to the attainment of earthly pleasures as much as possible."Swami Vivekananda's analysis of the Indian existence, consciousness and the spiritual core enables to understand the foundations of the Indian nation and he asks boldly with the conviction of the Vedantist to assimilate spiritual calmness of the practical yogis to held firm the roots of Indian civilization amid all external turbulence, which is infact all illusion and not the reality. The reality being the inner sense of introspection of the Vedantist.
Reflecting on the wrong interpretations on the caste system in India and its negative impact on the social and the religious life. And his concern on the varna system was equally introspective. Taking the argument to the wider plane as all these parameters have great implications on the Indian national life in terms of religion and politics as well, he was quick to give his perspective for the future and well being of modern India, he said "What should we have is what we have not, perhaps what our forefathers even had not - that which the Yavanas had; that, impelled by the life-vibration of which, is issuing forth in rapid succession from the great dynamo Europe, the electric flow of that tremendous power vivifying the whole world.We want that energy,that love of independence,that spirit of self reliance ,that immovable fortitude,that dexterity in action ,that bond of unity of purpose ,that thirst for improvement checking a little the constant looking back to the past ,we want that expansive vision infinitely projected forward ;and we want -that intense spirit of activity(Rajas)which will flow through our every vein from head to toe."This was his immediate remedy to the degeneration being caused to the national life. But he thought beyond the present scenario that needed short term solution .
He was concerned about the future of modern India.He was bothered about the improvement of India in all spheres-religious, social, political and economic. He gave the principle of such a plan like the great visionary and patriot that puts even the statesmen of great stature to shame.Swami Vivekananda said,"the quality of rajas is apt to die down as soon as it comes up ,like a fire of palm leave.The presence of Sattva and the Nitya or eternal reality is almost in a state of juxtaposition-Sattva is nearly Nitya.whereas the nation in which the quality of Rajas predominates is not so long lived ,but a nation with a preponderance of Sattva is , as it were,immortal.History is a witness to this fact."To be specific about India he said,"In India, the quality of Rajas is almost absent; the same is the case with Sattva in the West .It is certain, therefore, that the real life of the Western world depends upon the influx, from India,of the current of Sattva or transcendentalism;and it is also certain that unless we empower and submerge our Tamas by the opposite tide of Rajas ,we shall never gain any worldly good or welfare in this life;and it is also equally certain that we shall meet many formidable obstacles in the path of realization of those noble aspirations and ideals connected with our after-life."
To sum up, it is appropriate to quote from the Swami Vivekananda's poem 'To the Awakened India', the wandering monk roars like a lion and says "And tell the world-awake, arise, and dream no more!This is the land of dreams, where KarmaWeaves unthreaded garlands with our thoughtsOf flowers sweet or noxious, and noneHas root or stem, being born in naught, whichThe softest breath of Truth drives back toPrimal nothingness. Be bold, and faceThe truth! Be one with it! Let visions cease,Or, if you cannot, dream but truer dreams,Which are External Love and Service Free."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shankaracharya Temple

By A.K.Khanna

The temple of SHANKARACHARYA is located on the top of a detached ridge of an igneous rock, The conical hill rises behind the Boulevard beside the Dal Lake. The temple is situated at a height 1100 ft above the Srinagar city. The temple could be reached by two hundred forty three steps with twenty-three landing and the approximate height is 550ft or 167.68 meters from the end of the road to hill, before one reaches the temple platform.This hill is known as Shankaracharya Hill. A temple is said to have been first built here by the son of the Mauryan King Asoka, the great in 2nd century BC. It also serves as a landmark of Srinagar city on the summit of the Gopadari. According to renowned Archaeologist, R. C. Kak, “Neither the hill nor the Temple preserves its ancient name”.A Hindu Temple is an aggregate of different symbols. It is ritually invested human personality or Vastu purusha which is conceived in terms of human body. The names of various parts of human body from the foot to head are applied in Indian Temple architectural texts or Shilpa sasatra to correspond with the various parts of the Temple. The most perfect body is lifeless without the resident soul. So, the temple has been considered as the abode of God whose spirit is immanent in the Universe. The Sunrise and the Sunset, birth and death etc. are controlled by a Universal power regulating the earth and living species. The temple, therefore, is known in such terms as devalaya, sivalaya and devayatana. The life installed in the form of the deity in the sanctum is known as grabhagriha or the house of the womb. It is here that regeneration is effected and higher self of the devotee is attained through worship, which leads to perception and realization of the power in the Universe manifested in various forms in the Indian religious ethos.The temple consists of a circular sanctum built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a long flight of steps flanked by two-side wall. A parapet wall surrounds the plinth. The inner face of which is embellished with a range of actuate recess enclosed in rectangular panels. The upper part of the original Shikhara has disappeared. The present structure of temple is datable to circa 7th century A. D.Thirteen steps with a railing leads to the dwarf wall at the plinth level, enclosing the parapet wall which acts as the circumambulatory passage or paridiksanapath. The dwarf parapet wall with sloping coping stones has rectangular niches with circular top opens on the inner side. The plinth of the temple has torus and fillet moulding all-around upto the level of the main structure of the temple.The terrace surrounding the temple is reached by three flights of stone steps numbering respectively six, seven and eighteen, the last encased between two walls. From the terrace another flight of 10 steps leads to the door of the temple, the interior of which has a chamber, circular in plan, in the center, a modern multi coloured lingam of probably Dogra period, as it resembles the stone of Ranbireshwar and Rughunath Temples of Jammu. The main shrine consists of a circular Cella . The interior of the sanctum is covered by a ply board ceiling concealing the flat sandstone slabs which are supported by two lintels bearing the load on four eight sided column of stone in the centre. The lower course of the ceiling is still extant in its original shape. There is a large oval shaped Shiva Lingam with reddish black stone probably brought from the Naramada River valley in Madhya Pradesh of Central India. The south-west column bears two inscriptions of Mughal Period. The temple resembles the interior plan of a large temple at Ladhuv (District Pulwama) in the ValleyThe brick roof supporting the slopping stone slabs probably has been added in the 19th century. The lower courtyard has an octagonal precast ornamental iron rain shelter shed with some benches for tourists comfrot. There are some modern structures added on the right side in Dogra period for the benefits of the priests of the temple. The shrine is under the religious control of the Dharmarth Trust for conducting ceremonies. The temple is a nationally Protected Monument under the Archaeological Monument, Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple is located in the valley under high security zone and hence no camera and mobile is permitted on the top. The night view from terrace of the Temple is mesmerizing and enchanting, with yellow, white and saffron lights twinkling city below. The view is a wonderful experience with white snow clad mountain ranges in the background, yellow & white light of Houseboats reflecting in water of Dal Lake, in a series of rows. The valley below provides an enchanting view in moon light from the temple equally of the same enthralling experience as the sight of The Taj Mahal at Agra.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Opportunity to Preserve Our Past

By A. K. Khanna

Heritage is our legacy from the past, that we live today and that we pass on to the future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage is both priceless and irreplaceable source of life and inspiration. The World Heritage Sites, Cultural as well Natural Sites belong to all people of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.

In 1972, the General Conference of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) adopted a resolution with overwhelming enthusiasm, thereby, a convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, by which countries recognize that the sites located on their national territory and which have been inscribed on the World Heritage list, without prejudice to national sovereignty or township, constitute.

India is a grand repository of ancient cultural and natural treasure of exceptional value, is a state party to the convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage from 1977 and has been working in close cooperation with other international agencies like ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites) IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and ICCORM (International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property). India is also an elected member of the World Heritage Committee since 1985 and is contributing regularly for the promotion of World Heritage.
As on 2008, India has 22 Cultural and 5 Natural sites, which are inscribed, as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, they are:Ajanta Caves (1983), Ellora Caves (1983), Agra Fort (1983),Taj Mahal (1983), Sun Temple, Konark (1984), Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984), Kaziranga National Park (1985), Churches and Convents of Goa (1986), Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986), Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986), Fatehpur Sikri (1986), Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987), Elephanta Caves (1987), Great Living Chola Temples (1987 & 2004), Sundarbans National Park (1987), Nanda Devi National Park (1988), Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989), Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993), Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993), Indian Mountain Railways (IMR) (1999), Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002), Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003), Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)Red Fort (2007)

The ICOMOS, a wing of UNESCO, has declared April 18 of every year as a World Heritage Day. The Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India apart, from observing the World Heritage Day and augmenting various practical measure in respect of conservation of the World Heritage Monuments have been observing the World Heritage Week (18th – 25th Nov). The World Heritage Week coincides with the birthday of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India, whose love and concern for the Cultural and Natural Heritage well known. These annual events specially aimed to involve the youth of the country in such work as creating awareness, in preservation and propagation of the rich cultural heritage for which our country is World famous.

The World Heritage Day offers an opportunity to raise public awareness concerning the diversity of the World’s Heritage (tangible, intangible & Natural) and the efforts that required to protect and conserve for the future generation as well as to draw attention to its venerability. There are two major issues to the theme of ‘Heritage and Science ‘that has been chosen for International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day on 18th April, 2009. One being the role that the science and the scientific process has played in the creation of heritage and the other being the contribution that science and technology offers to the study of heritage. The term Science and Technology are twin sisters, science defined as a system of process that and a body of knowledge about the physical world cannot exist without technology .As technology is a system of tools and procedure concerned with modifying the physical World and to a great extent is based on science.

The bulk of the World tangible or build-in heritage excluding purposes completely natural landscapes is the result of the practical application of knowledge under science and technology.

The most important tangible heritage of Jammu region is Mubarak Mandi Complex. Clearly reflects the influence of Science and Technology into its construction, the application of science in terms of architectural design, also in mining of stone, making of lime mortar / plaster, Casting of iron girders / grills / railings / pipes etc. In the means Transportation of the raw material from England and to organized skilled and unskilled components that made the structure possible in terms of the palace complex. Apart from this hydrology (Science of water lifting system) mechanic (lifting of load) and requirements of tools suitable for the quarry of stone, placing the large girders, execution of wood work and frescoes on walls and doors. Fundamentally without science and technology, no monument of structure could exist. The contribution that science and technology can now make to the conservation, preservation and even understanding of cultural heritage or tangible heritage is rapidly evolving and expanding with experience of the Archaeological Survey of India in last 147 years of the existence. For example, the use of lasers beam for the treatment of surfaces and measurement of shape and form, non destructive methods of exploration and excavation, chemical and compounds for clearing the artifacts and building structures, the analysis of compounds using x-ray diffraction and mass spectrometers, the use of information system to store and analysis data/ modeling as a means of planning repairs works and even use of information technology for dissemination of research and development.

The celebration of the International Day for Monuments and Sites offers an opportunity to review and acknowledge the role of science and technology in cultural heritage. It also provides incentives to discuss potential benefits and threat that science also posses in the future with respect to the safeguarding of’ the thing we want to keep.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Payer Temple


Payer Temple is the most intact and an elegant temple located on the opposite side of a rivulet in the village of Payer in Pulwama district, 38 kilometer from Srinagar, the summer State capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Payer village is 3 km away from south Pulwama town.

The ancient temple of Payer is of intrinsic beauty and elegance. The superstructure is built of ten stones only, four rectangular stones cut out into doorways, the other four with square trefoil arches and one hemispherical dome stone completing the tri-foliage pediment and the last round in the form of amalaka.

The edifice has been encircled by the newly constructed wooden houses from three sides and is the best preserved example of Kashmiri Hindu shrine in the valley. The single square chamber temple is situated on a square piece of land. It is fenced and has a beautiful garden. The sanctum sanctorum reached by a flight of steps is built on a high square moulded platform of dressed Deveri stones to avoid flooding of the temple structure by the rivulet passing through the village. The temple is square internally and built on a high base. The base has a plain torus in the middle and a filleted torus on the top. Over the base of high platform, the temple of Payer is built of ten pieces of rectangular, square, hemispherical and round stones. The cult image of the temple is a Siva ling, which has an octagonal base. The temple is a naturally protected monument and not under worship.

It is open from four sides and approached through flight of steps. The most important aspect of the temple super structure is built of ten stones. The four door ways have been cut out of four large thick rectangular stones surmounted by a trefoil arch, which in turn is enclosed by a pediment slabs of sand stone. The four trefoil ached stones form the upper part of the temple. These have been placed on a square temple base. The ninth part has a unique feature of pyramidal roof with an inverted dome carved out of a thick sand stone slab to provide the curvature of a dome. Tenth being the amalaka of the temple. The sculptured tympanums over the four doorways with two stone compose the pyramid roof in the form of 8 feet by 4 feet in height, stone carved or chiseled out from interior in the shape of a dome.

The top hemispherical stone hollowed out from inside with expanded lotus in the interior act as pyramidal roof to prevent the accumulation of snow.

The top hemispherical stone hollowed from inside, the lower edge of which is decorated with the straight edges fillets and the beaded circle is a reflection of the Greek Roman architecture The central slab is decorated with expanded lotus the usual feature of Hindu Temple architecture in Indian sub-continent.

An octagonal base at the Linga within the sanctum is a form of Shiva which is installed in the centre. The temple reflects the the original style of the Kashmir valley architecture in true sense which survived in the valley. The elegant small temples reflect the original character of bigger temple like Avantipur, Martand and Naranag temple of the valley which lost their upper part.

The figure of Lakulisha a form of Lord Siva carved on the doorways confirms that the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lakulisha is the founder of systemister of the Pushupati sect. The sanctorum can be approached from four sides . The entrance is through the east four doorways are rectangular and topped by a trefoil arch, which in turn is enclosed by a pediment, a usual feature of Kashmir's temple architecture. The pilasters on which pediments rest are surrounded by capital bearing pair of geese with long stylized foliage tails and the pilasters form trefoil arch springs crowned by two beautiful carved sitting miniatures humped bulls with a common head and two horns each. The bull has scarves tied to their humps which again is a foreign feature on the sculptures of the temple.

The eastern trefoil arch is enclosed by a relief in which Lord Shiva is seen seated cross legged on a throne under the canopy of an overhanging tree.

On the north side, the relief represents Bhairva, the terrible manifestation of Lord Shiva presuming a human being who turns towards him in an attitude of a supplication - behind the Bhairva has a long plain trunk of an elephant. On the western side is the animated figure of six armed dancing Shiva or Nat raja the upper two arms are gesticulating, the lower left-hand holds a lotus and in right the trident, in the left lower corner of the group is a musician plying on a vina or flute, on the right another beating a drum as accompaniment.

The Southern relief depicts a three headed Lord Shiva seated cross legged on a wicker-work pedestal. On the left lower corner is a seated female, probably, his consort Parvati. The remaining three figures are emancipated and are perhaps those of the ascetics. Over the Shiva is seen the flying figure of Gandhava. The corner pilasters are crowned by very beautiful floral, capital

The interior of the walls are plain, roof is hollowed out in a hemispherical dome with small pattern of expanded lotus flower. The gem of Kashmiri temple architecture is in original form, material and style is worth visiting which survived the ravages of time and manmade vagaries in the form of a small scale replica of specimen of Hindu shrine in the valley.

An octagonal base at the Linga within the sanctum is a form of Shiva which is installed in the centre. The temple reflects the original style of the Kashmir valley architecture in true sense which survived in the valley. The elegant small temples reflect the original character of bigger temple likes Avantipur, Martand and Naranag temple of the Valley.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


HERITAGE INITIATIVE FOUNDATION has a primary objective that lays focus on the research activities concerning the heritage and cultural aspects of human societies .The collection and interpretation of the data related to these fields for the objective understanding of the heritage issues .Interpretation of heritage is the most challenging issue in the present world order when the domain of understanding the aboriginal culture has minimized due to the political vested interests who bully the policy making and decision establishment and work against the minority groups.

HERITAGE INITIATIVE FOUNDATION has a resolve to release the heritage and culture from the tentacles of the vested interests who have held these minority groups and internally displaced communities hostage to their fascist tendencies working overtly and covertly to instigate the communal forces from the majority community to trample and erase the marvels of nature and innovations of the human mind.

HERITAGE INITIATIVE FOUNDATION resolves to expand the intellectual domain of the heritage issues with exemplary research and thus generating a data base for the scholars and the policy making bodies at the international level to preserve and conserve the heritage for the posterity and save the humanity from abusing the outcome of the interaction between humans and the nature that is the heritage in all its tangible and intangible forms.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Aesthetics of Mubark Mandi Palace Complex of Jammu

Jasbir Singh Katoch

Jammu has a rich cultural and built heritage. In the form of temples, forts, palaces, serais etc. It is however, the Mubarak Mandi palace complex which has been regarded as the crown of Jammu city. It is a living example of rich cultural heritage, of which architecture is a major component as it contains message from past about our cultural and traditional aspects.
Mubarak Mandi palace complex not only form an essential aspect of the cultural heritage of Jammu but is the most significant and important building in terms of history and the location of Jammu region. Strategically it is located on a hillock overlooking the river Tawi, in the heart of the old city of Jammu. It remained the royal residence of the Dogra rajas of Jammu, prior to the shifting of Maharaja Hari Singh to Hari Palace, at Manda hills. Besides, being a heritage building and a place of residence for the royalty, the importance of Mubarak Mandi also lay in the fact that it remained a hub of political and social activity till 1947. The darbars of Dogra rajas continued to be held in the palace complex till the union of J&K State with Indian union.
It is, however, unfortunate that the palace complex is disintegration rapidly. The reasons vary from public as well as political apathy to the lack of awareness regarding the monumental value of the palace; otherwise what could explain the ignorant use of the historical building at the hands of various government departments, who have over the years put the palace complex under every imaginable torture without caring for its, monumental, cultural and heritage values. Mubark Mandi Royal Palace Complex, which is the glorious landmark in Dogra architecture developed in phases over the last two hundred years till the reign of Maharaja Partap Singh. It seems that after the establishment of Dogra rule over the state of Jammu and Kashmir State in the second quarter of nineteenth century i.e. in 1846 A.D. various Dogra rulers constructed the Mubarak Mandi palace complex in phases during different periods according to their needs and requirements.
Historical Background: Prior to the construction of Mubarak Mandi palace complex, it is said that the rajas of Jammu until the time of Raja Gaje Singh, resided in the old palace, popularly known as the Purani Mandi / Mal-Dev-Ki-Mandi / Khalki Mandi. It was Raja Gaje Singh (1692-1707 A.D.) who selected the new site of Dhounthly spur overlooking the river Tawi for the construction of a new palace complex. But Raja Gaje Singh was unable to go beyond that and it was his son Raja Dhruv Dev (1707-1733 A.D.) who finally laid the foundation of the new palaces. This is corroborated by the chronicles of the region.
According to the chronicle Rajdarshani, during the reign of Farukh Siyar in the year 1126 Hijri corresponding to Vikrami 1767 i.e. 1710, Raja Dhruv Dev started the construction of residential palaces for himself and his family on the new site on the lofty bank of river Tawi. It was he who then shifted his royal household and darbar from Purani Mandi palace to the new palace constructed at Dounthly area, which later became famous by the name Darbargarh.
After Raja Dhruv Dev, his son Maharaja Ranjeet Dev (1733 to 1781 A.D.) is said to have added few more buildings to the palace complex.
It was near about four decades after Maharaja Ranjeet Dev, Majaraja Gulab Singh (1792-1856 A.D.) was crowned as the Raja of Jammu by the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in the month of Har, Vikrami 1879 i.e. June, A.D. 1822, under the Jia pota tree at Akhnoor near the bank of Chandarbhaga river i.e. Chenab (Asikni). After becoming the raja of Jammu, Maharaja Gulab Singh is said to have added a beautiful mansion in the same premises at Dabargarh area (Jammu City). He later added more buildings on he north-east side of the palace complex, Maharaja Ranbir singh ruled Jammu and Kashmir State from 1856 to 1885 A.D. Maharaja Ranbir Singh rebuilt most of the palaces of palace complex in around 1874 A.D. and completed the palace complex as it looks today. Maharaja Partap Singh ascended the throne of Jammu and Kashmir on 15th September 1885 A.D. and he ruled Jammu and Kasmir State from 1885 to 1925 A.D. He is also said to have constructed few buildings within the palace complex. These included the palace of Maharani Charraki on the eastern side of the palace complex, facing the river Tawi. During the reign of Maharaja Partap Singh, in the year 1898 A.D. on the evening of the 28th April a fire broke out in Mandi palace complex for the second time and due this incident of fire serious damages were inflicted to the following buildings:
1. Dewani Office
2. Governor’s Office
3. Foreign Office
4. Green Darbar Hall
After the incident of Mandi fire Maharaja Partap Singh rebuilt these
buildings in the early part of twentieth century. Maharaja Partap Singh ordered for the construction of Green Hall Governors office. Foreign office and Dewani office. The construction of these buildings was completed before the celebration of marriage ceremony of Raja Hari Singh in the month of Baisakhi, Sambvat 1970 i.e. in the year1913 A.D.
In A.D. 1925 Maharaja Partap Singh was succeeded by his nephew Raja Hari Singh son on his younger brother Raja Amar Singh, Maharaja Hari Singh (1925-1947 A.D.) shifted his residence from Mubarak Mandi palace complex to the newly built Hari Palace to the north of Jammu city at Ramnagar forest area near Manda hills.
The main focus of the paper is to discuss the Aesthetics of Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex.
Aesthetic is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty, especially in art. It emerged as a distinct branch of enquiry in the eighteenth century. In the western world, it is popularly know as “a theory of beauty” and in India, aesthetics is considered to deal with dramatic art and recognized as subordinate to architecture, which is a mother of the arts of sculpture, painting and the decorative crafts.
Some of aesthetics is found in several kinds of art like sculptures, paintings, architecture, decorative crafts etc. As for as the aesthetical aspect of architecture is concerned, it means art of designing structures. An architectural monument thus is a living expression of qualities like sacrifice, truth, power, courage, valour, love and beauty.
In this regard, aesthetic aspects of architecture have been found in Mubarak Mandi palace complex that can be discussed in two categories”
a) Structural features
b) Decorative features
A) Structural features: Structural features of Mubarak Mandi palace complex included the domes, bay windows, arches, spandrel, triangular pediment, segmental and broken pediment, cornices, brackets, projected balconies, pillars, iron railing, bulbous and small octagonal kiosks etc. The main purpose of these was to beautify the palace complex.
i) Domes: The domes which have been found at Mubarak Mandi palace complex are of two types:
a) Traditional Hindu and Rajputana style of Architecture.
b) Hemispherical and saucer domes.
c) Small dome/onion or Bulbous like sturcures.
a) Domes of Traditional Hindu and Rajputana style: These domes crowded the Gole Ghar, Grey hall and Army Headquarter and buildings. Total number of six domes of this type crowned the Mubarak Mandi palace complex. The architectural style of these domes is traditional Hindu and Rajputana. The shape of these domes is that of Hindu temples. These domes are octagonal in plan and shape. No influence of Islamic architecture is discerned in these.
The larger domes were placed at the centre of the buildings above the main entrances and other four smaller domes at the extreme comers of the buildings. The larger dome of Green Hall is different in shape from other two small domes but similar in plane. They go on tapering up to the top.
The central dome above the main entrance of the green hall buildngs has an iron rod. This iron rod was used for holding the flag of the rulers of Dogra Dynasty. The length of iron rod is about 10 feet and it is about 5 cm diameter. The top most portion of central dome was composed of round burnt bricks and held together with the help of gypsum Surkhi mortar. It is about 3ft in diameter. The smaller domes of both buildings were provided over the stair halls. These domes were decorated with the provision of cornices at different heights. Cornices were supported by brackets. These brackets were made of single stone unit and thickness of these cornices was 3 inches. These cornices were placed so that the splash of rainwater could not find an access into the structure. The function of cornices was not only to prevent an access of water into the buildings but
Also to enhance the beauty of the buildings. However, the era in which buildings were constructed the function of these cornices was purely aesthetic.
b) Hemispherical and Saucer domes:- Two hemispherical and one saucer domes were provided at Gale Ghar building. The architectural style of these domes is different from the domes crowning the green hall and army headquarters buildings. The total number of these types of domes is three. The dome that was placed at the left corner of the building looks like saucer dome.
Among the other two domes, one was placed in the center and the second at the extreme right corner of the building overlooking the bed of river Tawi are hemispherical in shape. The tops of these domes were decorated with padmakosa (lotus petals), which supported the flagstaff.
c) Small dome/Onion or Bulbous like structures:- Small domes like structures were provided at the four corners of central domes of both buildings and these were provided only to improve the aesthetic of buildings. The height of these is about 5 ft. from the lower cornice of the main domes. These were made of stone and fixed with the help of gypsum mortar. Small bulbous like structures were also placed all around the main domes. These were made of stones and carved in the shape of onion bulbi. The height of these is about 4-5 feet from the upper cornices of the main dome. The architectural styles of all these domes ha enhanced the beauty of whole Mubarak Mandi Complex.
2. Arches:- Arches are typically carved structures. These are used to bridge spans in building construction and civil engineering. The arches acting a self-supporting structure composed of bricks or stone blocks and capable of bearing the weight of upper parts of buildings. There are many different types but the principal types of arch are horseshoe, cusped, semicircular and ogee in accordance with their shapes.
Several types of arches like pointed, lancet, round, flat and arches of typical Hindu and Rajputana in styles have been found in the buildings of Mubarak Mani complex. A series of pointed arches have been found in the pink hall building and also in other buildings of place complex.
Lancet or acute gothic arches (the lancet windows and gateway topped by pointed arches) were used to decorate the deodhi Mubarak. Arches were also used to decorate the main entrance of the Grey hall building. The man entrance of the grey hall was divided into three parts for the purpose of aesthetics. It has two types of arches i.e. lancet and flat arch. The height of the main entrance is about 14 ft. from the floor level and it is about 13 ft. in width. The columns were highly carved by various floral designs and whole work was carried out in stone. An arcade of arches of typical Hindu and Rajputana in style were used to decorate both the grey hall and Army headquarter and foreign department buildings. Both buildings had long reception verandas. The verandas have an arcade both on the ground floor and first floor of the buildings. The stone columns supported the arches. These stone columns were beautifully carved and have elaborately decorated capitals. These are multi centered arches and were made of two stone units one unit of stone making each half of arch. The stone units were fixed by using gypsum mortar as cementing material. There are 64 arches in the front elevation of both grey hall and army headquarter and foreign department buildings These arches give a traditional and decent look and further enhanced the aesthetic beauty of the palace complex. The colour of stones used in these arches matched with the colour of the buildings. Thus, one can say that without these arches both the building blocks would have looked incomplete.
3. Bay window / Jharokas: Bay widow are corbelled out from the face of a wall by means of projecting brick or stone masonry. In other words it is an angular or curved projection on the wall of a house or buildings filled by fenestration. Bay windows or jharokas of different size and design were provided in almost all the buildings of Mubarak Mandi palace complex. These Jharokas have been found on the walls of both residential and official buildings the openings of these jharokas were carved both outside and inside and the frames and shutters were made of deodar wood and fitted with glass panes. Most of the jharokas were carved with the petals from above and bottom. These jharokas were provided not only for the aesthetic look of the buildings, but also to protection from the sun and rain.
4. Spandrel: Spandrel is a triangular space on both sides on the top of arch, the vertical of its apex, the space between the two arches and in case of vault the space between the adjacent ribs. In Mubarak Mandhi palace complex the spandrels of different arches were decorated with various floral designs, for example deodhi Mubarak, Grey hall, Army head quarter and foreign department building, Royal entrance etc.
5. Columns / Pillars:- Columns/ Pillars are provided not only for the purpose of aesthetic look but also to act as load bearing members. In Mubarak Mabarak Mandhi palace complex pillars were provided at the main entrances and at the comers of both Green Hall/Grey hall and the army headquarter and foreign department buildings. The pillars were raised up to the cornice below the parapet railing, which provided good aesthetic look to both the buildings. These pillars were made octagonal and material used was stone and brick masonry. However, the pillars, which were provided inside were meant not only for aesthetic look but also to bear the load of the building. Inside the Green Hall building, pillars were provided at regular intervals.
Twin pillars:- Twin pillars inside the grey hall building still exist in good. These twin pillars were comprised of two half visible pillars. The outer halves of these pillars seem to have been embedded in the walls meant to carry and support the roof slab. These pillars vanish towards the top such as seen in case of warm eye view of the sky scrapper. These twin pillars were provided at a point where the passage named as corridor and now days used as waiting hall. The height of these pillars is about 43 feet and 2 feet being consumed by the corniced decoration.

(i) Single pillar; this type pillar is to be found embedded into the wall of the grey hall. The capital of the pillar was decorated by carving the petals of Petunia flower. The petals of flower were painted in silver grey colour paint and the pillar was painted alternately with green and silver grey colours. This floral design is very prominent on the top of the pillars of grey hall building. The design was skillfully carved by the artisans of the time. All these pillars are highly carved and circular in plan.
(ii) Circular columns: Circular columns are also found on the external façade of Raja Ram Singh’s palace. These columns were provided not only for the purpose of aesthetics but also to act as load bearing columns. The material used in the construction of these columns was bricks, surkhi and lime and plastered with gypsum mortar.
(6) Railing: Railings were provided at various buildings of the Mubarak Mandi complex. Railing was made up of iron of high quality. These railings were well decorated by highly skilled artisans of Dogra rulers with great care and devotion. These have been used in the balconies of raja ram singh’s palace, Nava Mahal, Maharani Charaki palace, green haqll, Army headquarter and foreign department buildings. Unfortunately the projected balconies of Raja ram Singh’s palace and nava mahal have collapsed and vanished. Only the lower portion of Raja ram Singh’s Palace balcony supported by the iron brackets still exists on the rearside. However railings of different designs still exits in the projected balcony of Maharani Charaki palace and in the verandas of ground and first floor and on the parapet of the Green Hall and Army headquarter and Foreign department buildings.
(7) Ceiling: Wooden ceiling have been filled with various floral designs in Kashmiri pattern. Some ceilings in the palace complex were highly skillfully carved in plaster of paris in various floral and geometrical designs. The light colour of these designs emligtened when the light from outside falls on the ceiling. It is a great fascinating piece of art of Dogra artisans of that period.
(8) Artificial and projected balconies: Artificial balcony type structures have been found at the first floor of Green Hall and Army headquarters buildings. These were provided only for the aesthetic look and ventilation of the buildings. Their provision on the suitable sites helped the structure to regain its rigidity. The balcony from inside looks like a semi-circular arch and from out side the spandrel of the arch was decorated with various floral designs.
Projected balconies were provided at the third floor of Raja Ram Singh’s palace building and at the second floor of Nava Mahal, unfortunately which have collapsed. But only the lower portion of balcony of Raja ram Singh’s palace remained and the balcony of Nava Mahal completely vanished from the scene. The balcony running all along the façade of Raja Ram Singh’s is a recent construction and supported by steel girders. The projected balconies found at tge first second floors of Maharani Charaki are still in good condition. The balcony which runs along the riverside is supported by decorative cost iron brackets. The balcony is well decorated with iron railing and pointed arches of iron containing various floral patterns. These pointed arches of cost iron were provided to bear the load of projection roof of balcony and the iron bracket beers the load of whole structure. These artificial and projected balconies had further added beauty to the aesthetic look of these buildings.
(9) Other structure features of Mubarak Mandi palace complex: Other structural features of Mubarak Mandi palace complex are triangular pediments, segmental and broken pediments, doors and windows, brackets, domical vaults above the deodhis etc.
(B) Decorative features: In addition to the structural features, the Dogra master building adopted several decorative feature. They used theses decorative features in order to enhance and add to the aesthetic beauty of the palace complex. The decorative elements used by the Dogra builders while constructing the buildings of palace complex, were as under:
1. Gravel stones
2. Mosaic
3. Stucco
4. Geometrical designs
5. Motifs
(1) Gravel stones: gravel stones were used to decorate various buildings of Mubarak Mandi palace complex. This type of decoration has been found immensely on the external walls of buildings like Grey hall, Army Headquarter and foreign department building maharani Charaki palace. Some features of these gravel stones decoration have also been found on the columns of arches, in the ground floor ruins of Maharaja Partap Singh’s palace. These small gravel stones were arranged in various geometrical and floral designs and also fixed in regular manner in the shape of chain, almost in a fret motif
(2) Mosaic: The word ‘Mosaic came from the Greek word ‘Mousaikon’ and it means polished. Mosaic is composed of small pieces of glass, stones, marble and other materials called tesserae12. Mosaic work was done on the walls or floors in the form of various geometrical or representational and floral designs. In Mubarak Mandi palace complex, the lavish chambers of Maharami Charaki palace were beautifully decorated with mosaic work. But due to the pathetic attitude of callous government and vagaries of nature have finished the aesthetic work of mosaic.
(3) Stucco: Stucco is a slow setting plaster. It is basically composed of gypsum, sand and slacked lime with other substances. The main purpose of stuccowork is to make the surface plain. Stuccowork is employed on the walls of soffit for making incised, low relief or painting work, to facilitate modeling and ensure durability.
In Mubarak Mandi palace complex the stucco work is found on the ceilings and walls of several buildings, for example Grey hall, Army headquarter and foreign department building etc. When light outside falls on these ceilings and walls, the designs and other decorative works on them get enlightened.
(4) Geometrical designs: The geometrical designs can be square, triangular, rectangular, circular, oval, conical, octagonal, pentagonal etc. in India the use of geometrical designs is very old. It is evident from the Dhamka Stupa at sarnath constructed during Gupta period in around fifth century A.D.17 geometrical designs have also been found on the ceilings of Ajanta and Ellora caves i.e. in cave No. 1 and cave no. 32 respectively.
In Mubarak Mandi palace complex too the use of geometrical designs on the ceilings and walls of few buildings is extensive. They are found in the following buildings of Mubarak mandi palace complex like grey hall, pink hall, Maharani Charaki palace, army head guarter and foreign department building etc.
(5) Motifs: Dogra artisans have employed different styles of motifs on the various buildings of Mubarak Mandi palace complex, for example Grey hall, deodhi Mubarak, pink hall, royal entrance, army headquarter and foreign department building, maharani Charaki palace etc. Some of them specific to Jammu region and others adopted from outside. The motifs which have been used on different structures of these buildings such as pillars, brackets, crown of the dome and cupolas, spandrel of arches, charkas etc. These motifs are lotus, Chinar leaves, petals of petunia flower, sunflower and various other floral motifs, etc.
(i) Lotus (Kamal): Lotus is one of the oldest Hindu and Buddhists symbol before it is used by other faiths. It represents the principal of growth and also seat of God brahma. The Lotus is an ancient motif and it is widely used in India from the earliest times.19
In Mubarak Mandi palace complex this motif is used to decorate tops of the domes of Gole Ghar building. The inverted petals of lotus were used to form the Padmakosa. This type of padmakosa decoration found almost in all mughal buildings, for example Taj Mahal. Humayn Tomb etc. these petals were also used to decorate the jharokas of various buildings, for example palace of raja Amar Singh, Garvi khana building, Pink hall etc.
(ii) chinar Leaf: This type of motif had been found on various buildings in Mubarak Mandi palace complex, for example grey Hall, Army Headquarter and Foreign Department and Nava Mahal buildings. The Chinar leaves motif used to decorate the main entrances of grey hall and Army Headquarter and Foreign Department buildings and the basement wall of Nava Mahal above the ground level. Chinar trees mostly found in Kashmir and hence it appears that Dogra builders adopted various motifs of different regions.
(6) Other decorative features of Mubarak Mandi palace complex: Other decorative featres of Mubarak Mandi Palace complex are motifs of false arches and doors and several other floral motifs have also been found on the walls of various buildings of the palace complex for example the palace of Raja Amar Singh, Garvi khana building, Pink hall etc.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Jammu tourism needs value addition

By Mahesh Kaul

Tourism cannot grow in isolation. The intangibility and multiplier effect that are inherent components of every tourism product make it special and delicate. Tourism is not just marketing of a destination area without creating a proper infrastructure for the tourist intake and thereby neglecting the carrying capacity. Tourism means value addition with changing customer demand and taste. If timely value addition of a tourism product is not made possible with professional skill then there is every possibility of its decay prematurely.
Value addition leads to prolonged tourist stay in the destination area. The longer the stay of the tourist in the destination area, the more is credibility quotient. Jammu has been the focus of attention primarily due to the pilgrimage tourism. And the source of attraction being the Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. The planners and policy makers have not been able to expand the tourism circuit of Jammu properly beyond Mata Vaishno Devi. The reason being simple - the ignorance of heritage potential of the Jammu region. Jammu has been the seat of power and epicentre of rich cultural heritage. The forts, palaces, educational institutions being the tangible part of the folklores, and other art forms that are unique to this region. Both these aspects have not been focussed upon and well documented. If these aspects are incorporated into the tourism circuit in phased and planned manner when the tourism of Jammu region will be phenomenal success. As the focus has never been on heritage in technical terms - it has lead to the destruction of the heritage in this region.
Historical palaces, temples and forts are in shambles due to lack of proper conservation and preservation. If anywhere restoration has been carried out that too has been done with incompatible material. Thus altering the heritage character of building or monument.
The historic Mubarak Mandi is an apt example of vandalism, ignorance and lack of the sense of heritage on the part of one and all.
These are numerous examples of the lack of sense of heritage in the Jammu region.
This negligence has minimised the tourism potential of this region.
If the tourism potential of the Jammu region has to be made sustainable then the policymakers and tourism planners will have to understand that involvement of professionals at various levels from diverse fields is the need of the hour.
The tourist stay can be prolonged if the itinerary is crafted with professional skill. The involvement of historians, conservators, tourism management professionals and expert bodies like ASI is of paramount importance.
To create tourist gaze in Jammu region. We need to focus on the following crucial areas.
* Listing and documentation of heritage sites and monuments.
* Conservation and preservation of these sites and monuments.
* Incorporation of these sites and monuments into the tourism circuit.
* An analysis of the tourist carrying capacity.
We have no proper listing and documentation mechanism for the heritage sites and monuments. This has resulted in their vandalism and negligence. Once these sites and monuments are listed and documented it will lead to heritage tourism in this region.
The next stage should be to involve professionally trained conservators, architects and historians for their restoration so that these monuments and sites becomes the symbols of tourism of this region and add an element of sustainability to it. Once these sites and monuments are restored then these can be easily incorporated into the tourism circuit. This will be the real value addition to the tourism of the Jammu region.
This will also ease the pressure on the limited circuit of tourism due to Mata Vaishno Devi.
A proper frame work for the carrying capacity analysis should also be devised so that the tourist influx can be accommodated and managed properly.
Another aspect that needs special focus is that global climate challenge is posing a serious threat to the heritage structures all over the world. In the coming years, as per the UNESCO, prominent heritage sites will be out of the heritage list. This means that the heritage structures need special professional and technical attention if we want our posterity to know about their roots.
To sum up, Jammu tourism can be converted into sustainable tourism product if the above mentioned inputs are in corporated for its value addition