The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is all set to develop Bishnupur temple complex as an international heritage tourism hub and project the exquisite terracotta work as one of the finest in the world.
Already declared a 'World Heritage Centre' by Unesco, Bishnupur - some 130km from Kolkata - can be the gateway to Bengal heritage tourism, feels the ASI.
A boost for tourism
“Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been proactive in promoting tourism in a big way. ASI can indeed play a role here. I will write to the CM for land needed to build a pathway for tourists. I have already had discussions with the district administration for a concerted effort to stop any kind of unplanned construction," said ASI regional director (east) P K Mishra.
Archaeologists and researchers call for a concert in the heritage complex since a school of music, called the Bishnupur Gharana, was established here way back in 1370 and flourished under the patronage of the Malla kings. The gharana hit its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries. It's rooted in the Dhrupad style and is still being kept alive in local academies of music.
Thumbs up to the economy
A surge in tourism will be boost for the local economy and it will encourage locals to feel protective and care for their heritage. Since the place has a very vibrant history, local youths can be roped in as guides. Each monument portrays some fascinating tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata through terracotta works. There are also excellent depictions of social life in the 17 and 18th centuries.
ASI is also exploring ways to engage local youths in developing and promoting local crafts. Terracotta pottery, artefacts and even jewellery made in this very traditional material are exquisite, yet there has been no effort to develop a craft-village closer to the site. "Tourists would love to come for crafts, if not for heritage. Bishnupur is equally known for tussar textile," said an official.