SRINAGAR The Jammu and Kashmir chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on Thursday said it is preparing a dossier to be submitted to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry for inclusion of Srinagar in the list of UNESCO heritage cities.
“We are applying for Srinagar city to be listed as a UNESCO heritage city under the category of crafts and folk arts’,” Saleem Beg, convener of the state chapter of INTACH told a news agency. The dossier has to be submitted by June 30, he added.
There is one slot each year for an Indian city to be recognised as a UNESCO heritage city.
“In order to make a strong case for the inclusion of Srinagar city in the list, we are working together with the Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage (DRONAH),” he said.
Beg said that they had to take DRONAH on board “because the state government has laid down a condition that only that organisation can tender for getting a city listed as a UNESCO heritage city that had at least once successfully competed with the tender”.
“DRONAH had last year succeeded in getting Jaipur listed as a UNESCO heritage city. Till now Jaipur is the only city in India to have made to the prestigious list in the category of a ‘crafts city’. The other two cities, Chennai and Banaras (Varanasi), are in the UNESCO heritage list in the ‘music city’ category,” he added.
Beg said Srinagar has a strong case since it is a 2,200-year-old city with historical standing in crafts and folk arts drawing on its centuries-old connections with Central Asia.
Founded originally during the reign of the Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire around 250 B.C., he said that crafts and folk arts flourished greatly in this city during the reign of local Sultan, Zainul Abidin (c 1420-70), known popularly as ‘Budshah’ (The Great King) of the Shah Mir dynasty.