New Delhi, Nov 22: Aiming to expand its footprint in Bihar, heritage body INTACH is all set to open its new chapter in silk city Bhagalpur next month, a move that is likely to boost efforts to preserve old building and landmarks in the historic city.
Headquartered in New Delhi, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a non-profit organisation established in 1984, besides the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), works on protection, conservation and promotion of tangible and intangible heritage, through its 187 chapters spread across the country in various cities.
"Yes, we have been working on this (Bhagalpur) Chapter in tandem with our Bihar Chapter for long and it will come up in December. Bhagalpur, being a historic place with its wealth of architectural and cultural heritage, especially its importance as a 'silk city' and as home of the ancient Vikramshila University, is an important sign-post in Bihar's and India's historical journey. "
And we are happy that an INTACH presence will now be there as well and help preserve the heritage of the city," Director of INTACH's Chapters Division Rahul Pathak said. INTACH's Patna Chapter, established soon after the Trust's inception in 1984, is one of the oldest in the country. Besides, the state capital, a new chapter was launched in Vaishali district in north Bihar earlier this year.
The overall framework for the state is handled by the Bihar Chapter, which was formed a few years ago. "Bhagalpur as a city and the district in general falls in the region that has been mythically called the Anga Kingdom. Its 'Tassar Silk' is famous the world over, lending the city its nickname. "
Besides the sartorial legacy, the district has its cultural richness in dance, folk songs, cuisine and as the place associated with many famous writers and personalities.
And, now INTACH's new chapter will open here on December 19," Co-Convener of INTACH Bihar Chapter Arun Kumar Prabhat said.
The new chapter would be one of the first major steps in the state in the field of heritage preservation, post the new Bihar government taking charge on November 20.
Bhagalpur city and the district is home to sites and buildings dating from ancient to British-era, but not much has been done in preserving the contemporary heritage here.
While the ruins of ancient Vikramshila University, second in fame only to Nalanda University, is centrally-protected under the ASI, no sites or buildings are protected under the Bihar State Archaeology in the district.
Patna Chapter founding member S K Sinha, in his 80s now, says, "Few decades ago, the then government wanted to dismantle Patna's Sultan Palace, built in the 1920s, but it was only after INTACH Patna's intervention that the building was saved."
The palatial building, shorn of its glory, though still veritably city's grandest building, was once home of legendary barrister Sir Sultan Ahmad of Patna, and now houses the head office of the Bihar State Transport Department Corporation, christened as Parivahan Bhawan.