Bamiyan type Buddha statues in Kargil
HERITAGE WEEK BY M. HUSSAIN PASHKUMPA
Kargil district of Ladakh is dotted with a number of ancient monuments and valuable heritage sites. Among these are the three huge rock sculptures locally known as chambas at Mulbekh, Kartsekhar and Apati. These are 7 to 9 Meter high rock statues of the Maitreya Buddha curved out in deep relief. These rock carvings have gained attention of national as well as international scholars after destruction of Bamiyan Budhas in Afganistan. The type of rock statues now left are priceless ancient heritage of Kargil besides being major tourist attractions.
Out of the above three statues, the Mulbek Chamba is declared as a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India, though it has not yet got due attention for its protection in any real sense. The other two of the monuments are yet to be enlisted by any government or non govt. agency concerned.
In 2009 the Archives, Archaeology and Museums Department announced that the Rock Statue of Kartse Khar will be declared as a State Protected Monument. The announcement came after its Director General visited the site in Kargil. This was carried out on the front page of the local dailies on Dec. 27th 2009. Whether any notification in this regard was ever issued or not, it is not known, but seeing the situation on the ground it is evident that nothing has happened.
At present this monument is the victim of the official apathy of government departments and the halfhearted attitude of the local Hill Development Council. Normally no construction is allowed within 200 Metres of an ancient monument. Here a Government School building has been allowed to be constructed at an odd location near the monument. One more structure of another Government Department probably a store is under construction. Besides the local people have grabbed lands and constructed shops and stores adjacent to the monument as well as its approach path without any check. This apathy of the authorities together with the greed of some locals have already started chocking the approach to the monument and spoiled the environment of this heritage site.
The colossal statue at Apati although in the vicinity of Kargil town is yet to be given an easy approach not to speak of any conservation effort.
The historical, cultural and tourism value of these monuments and statues scattered in the district of Kargil also needs to be got under the ambit of preservation of Heritages of the state. It is high time that Department of Tourism and all concerned should act to preserve this valuable ancient heritage for posterity. It will be a great asset to the state tourism.
(M. Hussain Pashkumpa is a retired Tourism Officer. Reavh him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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