'Take all necessary steps to restore glory of Mughal Gardens'

Commissioner Secretary Floriculture, Gardens and Parks, Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad on Monday directed the officers to conserve the heritage value of the Mughal gardens during their restoration.

He made the remarks during a meeting held to review the renovation and restoration of Mughal Gardens. Commissioner Secretary Tourism and Culture, Zubair Ahmad was also invited to the meeting for his recommendations and suggestions. Director Floriculture, Farooq Ahmad Rather, representatives of Tourism, Archives and Archeology departments were also present in the meeting.

Fayaz asked the officers that restoration works of all the culturally significant landmarks need continuous attention. He urged them that originality of the structures has to be maintained at every cost as it only will ensure recognition of these gardens as world heritage sites.

Zubair advised the department that all the critical interventions necessary to be taken for restoration of these cultural monuments should be sent to Archives department for their suggestions and guidance. He said these works should be in line with the requirements of UNESCO heritage list standards.

The Archives department was asked to provide their expertise and guidance for restoration and renovation works of Mughal gardens while keeping intact their cultural and historic ethos.

A committee of officers from all the departments concerned and consultant was decided to be framed for studying all the works of emergent nature and the way of completing them aesthetically.

It was given in the meeting that six Mughal Gardens – Nishat, Shalimar, Cheshmashahi, Pari Mahal, Achabal and Veerinag were currently under tentative world heritage list of UNESCO. The meeting further discussed that few works like repairs of boundary wall, restoration of structures inside these gardens, conservation of water channels, water bodies, restoration of terrace toe walls and fixing of devri stone pavers has to be undertaken for restoring the glory of these gardens.

The meeting was called after a similar meeting was taken earlier by Baseer Ahmad Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor of J&K during which directions were given to the Floriculture department to prepare a white paper on preserving the heritage gardens.

The government has already hired a consultant for preparation of a dossier for onward submission to UNESCO through government of India so that these tentative sites were empanelled as world heritage sites permanently by the international body, which would put them on international tourist map and attract attention of tourists visiting Valley from all over the globe.