NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may take up a proposal to organise weekly ‘musical events’ at its protected sites in the national capital and other prominent heritage buildings across the country on the line of sound and light shows.
According to a government representative privy to the matter, the suggestion to hold regular musical programmes was forwarded to the culture ministry by some members of parliament (MPs) some time ago.
Provisions for food kiosks have also been recommended, he said. “Our policy should be to promote our rich legacy and not to discourage visitors. We have some good examples from other countries. This will also help us to generate revenues,” said the representative.
At present, sound and light shows are conducted at 12 sites including the Purana Quila in Delhi. However, these shows are suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the ASI officials, the ministry has already given in-principle approval for the musical shows at 12 other locations such as Raigad Fort (Mumbai), Shore Temple (Chennai), and Leh Palace.
According to the officials, such programmes are possible at ticketed monuments. The ASI manages and protects 3,691 monuments and 143 of them are ticketed sites. There are about 170 sites with ASI in Delhi and only 13, including Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Safdar Jung’s Tomb, Purana Quila, and Hauz Khas, have paid entry.
Lauding the proposal, Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, author and heritage enthusiast, said that the opening of historic sites for such celebrations is good for both the ancient buildings and visitors. “Keeping people away from heritage buildings and monuments is archaic thinking. ASI and other agencies need to change their mindset. There used to be frequent programmes at historic buildings but they stopped years ago without any reason. We should allow people to enjoy and celebrate heritage,” he said.
The Delhi government’s archaeology department has planned similar activities at sites under its jurisdiction to promote them as centres of arts and cultural heritage. The plan was to hold weekly performances and exhibitions. However, the project couldn’t take off and it organises events at some sites on occasions. “A private player can be engaged for the setting of food kiosks and plan events. It should also be given the responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the site,” said a member of a government panel associated with the ministry.