Shalimar Bagh vandalized for Zubin Mehta concert!

'Auditorium' Being Erected Over Mughal Era Fountains; Papier-Mâché Work Gets White Coat

SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI

Srinagar, Aug 30: The Mughal emperors wouldn’t ever have it in their wildest imaginations that the majestic fountains of their royal gardens in Kashmir would someday be buried under iron planks to host auditorium. But this is something, which is happening at Shalimar Bagh where seating arrangement for guests is being erected over the heritage fonts for the Zubin Mehta concert next month.
 The fountains –dotting a central stream in the three-terrace garden –have been covered with iron and concrete planks to pave way for seating arrangements while some portions of the heritage venue have been white washed. The fountains and streams will run dry.
 As the history goes the third terrace of this marvel built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan, in 1619 was believed to be most delicate in style –dedicated specially for the female folk of the conservative emperors. But for now this portion of the garden, hosts the upcoming "auditorium" adjacent to the Diwan-e-Khaas(the lounge for the privileged) of the once royal era.
 Apart from this, some of the walls have been white washed, including the portions believed to have been earlier tastefully decorated with papier-mâché.
 SA Hamdani, a prominent artisan, who in the yesteryears had repaired some of the decayed artwork was Friday shocked to see the papier-mâché portion white washed. “White wash of papier-mâché is insult of artwork,” said his colleague.
 Some laborers giving a “special facelift” to the garden ahead of the mega concert said the walls were looking ugly and so had to be white coated.
 The Shalimar Bagh is also famed for Chini Khanas, or arched niches, behind garden waterfalls. These niches used to be lighted at night with oil lamps, which gave a fairy tale appearance to the water falls. As the lamp era ended niches held flower pots that reflect their colors behind the cascading water. But for now the spots are getting massive lighting for the famed western classical music conductor’s show.
 Experts find the lighting noisy. “Façade and passage lighting (for the event) is not in line with the prestige of this heritage garden. There’s too much of lighting, it looks noisy,” said an expert.
 Tourists and locals visiting the garden said it was nothing but vandalization of the historic landmark. “What will be the fun of hosting the international event in this historic ambience when you have altered the majestic beauty of this place?” argued a tourist family from New Delhi, adding “We’re disturbed to see the mess.”
 But prominent expert on heritage Muhammad Salim Beg doesn’t find much of problem with the arrangements. “There are no permanent structures being raised. But what’s required is that all intervention, which is not part of the conservation must be reversed past concert,” Beg told Greater Kashmir.
 Director Floriculture, however, said there was no vandalization. “These are temporary arrangements and shall be removed after the concert… The auditorium won’t harm the fountains beneath,” he said.
 The music conductor of international repute, Zubin Mehta, who will travel to Kashmir for the second time since ‘70s, is scheduled to perform at the historic Shalimar Bagh on September 7 where he will conduct a strong team of over 100 musicians.


(To be concluded)

Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Aug 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Aug 2013 00:00:00 IST




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