Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Background on Nalanda

Nalanda was a very rich culture and its remains are a heritage that needs to be cherished and explored further so that we can find pride in our roots and revive some of the lost culture. The ancient remains of Nalanda University that have been excavated so far are just 10 % of whole remains and these are surrounded by villages and most of these villages are on the unexcavated Mound. A large population has been living over these remnants for centuries and the more than 200 acres of the unexcavated mounds are private property. The Mound has dwellings or is used for agriculture purposes. Lots of irreversible damage has already been done to this heritage and it is still under constant threat.

We need to preserve this rich heritage and in the process we need to find ways that the community can get monetary benefits from the growing tourism in the area while preserving the heritage for future generations. Tourism is flourishing in this area and the community is in a very special position to benefit from it but there is a need to chart out a route so that the development is not at the cost of the damage to the heritage. Long term solutions for positive development of the community and the surroundings lies in the interdependency of the people who are living in this vast heritage and the people who cherish it and would like to visit it; all need to come together to conserve the heritage and save the experience for future generations

It is time to identify suitable ways to generate sustainable livelihoods from the growing tourism and make people, both the visitors and the keepers more aware about the delicate legacy that they are holding together to minimize the exploitation. There is a need for improving the physical and social infrastructure that will eventually facilitate more such initiative in other villages with archaeological heritage.
Mapping of Nalanda” an ongoing project of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara; and it is an effort to build a detailed database of places of archaeological interest in and around Nalanda. This database will help in developing appropriate interpretations for sites with their references to the history, and thus the tourist base could be widened and more destination routes may be planned out and it can take tourists to more places that are currently not part of the main stream tourism.

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