Four Indian sites in 2010 Watch Map Monuments Fund

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Washington, October 8 (ANI): Four Indian monuments are among the sites listed in the 2010 Watch Map Monuments Fund.

The first, Chiktan Castle, located within Kargil, a remote, mountainous region of northern India, was built in the 16th century by Balti (Pakistani) craftsmen.

The castle served as a royal residence for centuries despite shifts in rulers as the region was amalgamated with neighboring kingdoms.

It is composed of rammed earth and stone masonry with mud mortar. Following the designs of architect and carpenter Shinkhen Chandan, the castle used timber to support the ceilings of the structure as well as to frame the doors and windows.

The second site, Dechen Namgyal Gonpa, dating to the 17th century, was an early monastery, or gonpa, of the Drugpa Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism along the ancient trade route of Ladakh.

Perched 14,000 feet (4,270 meters) above sea level on the Western Tibet Plateau, Dechen Namgyal Gonpa was built under the patronage of the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal with the assistance of the Tibetan priest Stag-Tsang-ras-pa.

The advantageous position on the trade route plateau is reflected in the architecture, which is a combination of a monastic layout and fortification.

The interior is embellished with notable wall paintings and sculptures, and it is still used today as a place of worship for ten monks.

The monks perform their daily rituals and maintain the building with help from local residents of Hanle.

The third site is the historic civic centre of Shimla, which was built in the 19th century.

After a municipal committee was established in 1851, a core of civic buildings was constructed along a 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) axis known as the Mall.

The spine of this district stretches from the neo-Gothic Christ Church on the east over to the Telegraph Office on the western boundary, with the iconic greystone Town Hall as its centerpiece.

Other important public structures built in this era include the Gaiety Theatre, the tallest five-story building of the period, and the General Post Office Building, which is the oldest post office in modern India.

The fourth site is the Kothi, located at the Mahmudabad Estate, which was founded in 1677 by Raja Mahmud Khan, a descendant of the first caliph of Islam.

The Kothi, or palace, is part of a 20-acre complex called the Qila, or fort.

It is a leading example of Awadh palace architecture, and served as an important administrative and residential complex for rulers of Mahmudabad throughout the Mughal period and subsequently during the British colonial era. (ANI)

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