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Indraprastha Archaeology Park to Show Cultural Continuity of Delhi

Driven by the idea to open the area for education and interpretation, the Delhi Development Authority has cleared the proposal for ‘Indraprastha Archaeology Park’ near Purana Qila in Delhi

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:December 15, 2017, 1:05 PM IST
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Indraprastha Archaeology Park to Show Cultural Continuity of Delhi
File photo of Old Fort, Delhi. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: There are various cultural layers untapped in the Purana Qila vicinity that have potential to throw light on the “cultural continuity, antiquity of our capital”.

Driven by this idea to open the area for education and interpretation, the Delhi Development Authority has cleared the proposal for ‘Indraprastha Archaeology Park’ near the monument.

The proposal for the same was sent to the Ministry of Urban Planning and Development and is awaiting notification from the Ministry of Housing Affairs.

A source from the DDA said, “This is a 16th-century Mughal landscape and has resources, cultural layers untapped for further education and interpretation. There are questions about the cultural heritage of the Purana Qila, hence, having an Archaeological Park would be helpful in understanding the cultural continuity.”

The approval letter, a copy of which is with News18, says, “The Indraprastha Archaeological Park has been designated under Chapter 10.0 of Conservation of Built Heritage of MPD 2021.”

According to the Chapter 10.0, an Archaeological Park is “an area distinguishable by heritage resource and land related to such resources, which has potential to become an interpretive and educational resource for the public in addition to the value as a tourist attraction”.

Decisions regarding Built Heritage, Archaeological Parks in particular, should be based on evaluation of the pertinent aspects like form and design, materials and substance, use and function, traditions and techniques, location and setting, spirit and feeling and other internal, external factors.

As of now, the following areas have been designated as Archaeological Parks: Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Tughlaquabad Archaeological Park and Sultan Garhi Archaeological Park. Other areas can be added to the list on the basis of studies.

Approximately an area of 192 hectares, covering northern edge Purana Qila, southern edge Humayun's Tomb Complex, eastern edge DDA Indraprastha Park and western edge Mathura Road will be covered.

According to legend, Delhi is said to be standing in place of the Khandava Forest or Khandavprastha, an ancient forest mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Pandavas cleared this forest to construct their capital city called Indraprastha.

The letter to the Ministry further states: “DDA revisited the proposal and made necessary changes with the Authority’s approval.” One of the major changes incorporated from the earlier plan was to remove railway properties, line from the boundary of the Park.

“The railway coach factory and other railway properties within the proposed Indraprastha Archaeological Park have been excluded from the boundary of the proposed park. The same may be fenced and Right of Way be given to them,” added the source from DDA.

Draupadi Dream Trust, a charitable trust that works for creating a better understanding and appreciation of ancient Indian Culture and History, helped expediting the project and is also proposing an Interpretation Center. The source from DDA said, "The Trust approached us with this proposal and the authorities are examining it."

Neera Mishra from Draupadi Trust said, "Our capital’s antiquity dates back several thousand years, yet what we see is only about 600 years old. Thus creating a false sense of history. We have no world class Interpretation Site Museum to tell us the antiquity, glorious past.”

The idea for an Interpretation Center is to expose and showcase the excavated site at Purana Qila that will cover the journey of our capital from Khandavprastha, Indraprastha to New Delhi. It is set to include the Cantonment fort areas (Siri, Ferozabad, Tughlaqabad etc) built by the Sultanate and Mughal rulers.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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