Kochi-Muziris biennale has showcased innovative and path-breaking art works. Adding another feather to the cap is the five-minute documentary film by Ratheesh, portraying the blatant misuse of an archeological site in Maharashtra.
The ‘Chaitya’ or prayer hall of Buddhist monastery, which is depicted in the film, is the biggest in the country. It is also one among the three chaityas in the country to have the Ashoka Chakra on its facade.
“A monument, with a legacy of over 2,000 years is being neglected. The monument belongs to the preserved category list of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). I have visited the monument twice and has been beleaguered by what I witnessed,” Ratheesh said.
The Buddhist monastery is located in the Karla hills near Lonavla, between Bombay and Pune. The monastery is thrown open to the public on a particular day every year and there is an entrance fee. “There is a Durga temple adjacent to the ‘Chaitya’ and on Mahanavami days, devotees throng the temple. On the same day, the ASI ticket counter of the monument would be closed. However, the doors of the monument is open to public. The devotees frequenting the site are indulging in actions that destroy the sanctity of the place” he said.
On many occasions, devotees clamber inside the prayer hall to take photographs.
“Any gesture that defiles the sanctity of the place is punishable. Sadly, legacy is being given the least significance. This Buddhist ‘Chaitya’ could be clubbed with the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves in significance. I fail to understand the apathy of the authorities,” he said.
The docu-fiction would be screened at the Yousuf Art Gallery in Mattancherry from March 2 to 12.