Despite multiple attacks from invaders, Indian civilization continued to march in modernity with full glory. The reason behind the rich sustenance of culture from the beginning of time is due to the fact that people of the civilization never stopped the observance of its practices of what they believed to be true. And, the Indic Civilization will continue to grow till eternity because of the Santani’s custom of assimilation of change in its ancient cultural practices.
3800 Heritage site under ASI
According to a news report, the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) is planning to reopen the mandirs which are closed and protected under the law.
Quoting the highly placed sources in government, the news agency reported that “at present, there are about 3,800 heritage sites under the protection of the ASI in the country. There are more than a thousand temples in these. Of these, there are very few temples, such as the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala and Jageshwar Dham in Uttarakhand, where worship is performed. Most of the temples are closed and any kind of religious activity is prohibited in them. Among them, there are many such temples like Martad temple in Jammu and Kashmir, whose remains are left in the form of ruins”.
ASI’s thinking in this direction should be welcomed by everyone. For the preservation and protection of unique ancient architecture styles of mandirs, the ASI has been entrusted with the responsibility for the maintenance, upkeep, and conservation of the site.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASAR) Act, 1958 provide for the preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance, for the regulation of archaeological excavations, and the protection of sculptures, carvings, and other like objects.
Further, section 19 of the AMASAR Act 1958 provides that no person shall utilize a protected area or any part thereof in any other manner without the permission of the Central Government. Further Section 20 of the AMASAR Act 1958 gives power to the Central Government to acquire a protected area if it “contains an ancient monument of antiquities of national interest and value”.
Following the 1958 Act, ASI controls thousands of ancient mandirs and sites. Further to protect and preserve they control around 3800 sites under which thousands of temples are locked away.
So after the amendment in the AMASAR Act 1958, the Central Government can allow the common public to utilize the places according to their ancient rituals and practices. There are many temples like Jagannath Mandir in Orissa, Sri Padmanabhaswamy Mandir in Kerala, and Jageshwar Dham in Uttarakhand wherewith the protection of ASI, rituals are performed. But there are thousands of mandirs like Martand mandir in Kashmir which are closed and the common public is not allowed to follow their rituals.
Preservation of ancient culture through an institution will be limited to the extent of its physical appearance but if people are allowed to follow their centuries-old traditions and practices then the intangible culture can also be preserved for ages. The decision to reopen mandirs will help in reviving the old dying traditions and architecture.