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Past as Present

A unique three-year new calendar by Haryana’s Department of Archaeology and Museums showcases the state’s rich architectural history

Written by Parul | Published: July 27, 2012 12:36 am

A unique three-year new calendar by Haryana’s Department of Archaeology and Museums showcases the state’s rich architectural history

It’s a chance to look back in time and witness a slice of history while staying in the present. “Haryana — The Highway of History” is an artistic effort by the state’s Department of Archaeology and Museums to showcase its rich past that has stood the test of invasions,battles and adversity. “The character of a civilization is encased and enshrined in its monuments,and this calendar strives to showcase the secular and inclusive architecture of Haryana,” says Vijai Vardhan,as he flips through the first copy of the calendar. Vardhan,the Principal Secretary of the state,has conceptualised and designed the calendar and written a brief history of each monument that finds place in it.

Taking one through the corridors of the past,the calendar gives a pictorial view of the rich tapestry of ancient,medieval and modern eras. “The state bears the footprints of prophets,poets,saints and warriors as Haryana housed 80 per cent of the Indus Valley Civilization,” adds Vardhan,who is also a poet,author and a “passionate student” of history. Against the continuous backdrop of invasions and battles that changed India’s history,the resilience of the spirit of its people finds resurgence in the state’s architecture,which is both secular and inclusive. The calendar showcases the relics and monuments of the state,in the hope of reviving people’s interest in their history and also makeing them aware of their heritage,while also promoting these tourist sites.

Starting from August 2012 to January 2014,the historic journey begins with the Kunal Seal (District Fatehabad) from the early Harappan settlement,3500-2500 BC. The seal is also the logo of the department. One will get to see well-known and frequently visited monuments like the recently restored historic Yadavindra Gardens in Pinjore that were built in 1669; the Mata Mansa Devi Temple in Panchkula; Bhima Devi Temple in Pinjore and Nada Sahib in Panchkula.

It showcases the fascinating Sufi and Buddhist character of the state,which is still alive in monuments and shrines. Sheikh Chehli’s Mausoleum in Kurukshetra (17th century AD),made of buff sandstone and white marble,is the tomb of revered Sufi saint Sheikh Chehli. The baked brick Buddhist Stupa (3rd Century BC) of Chaneti is one of the 10 stupas referred to by Chinese traveller Hieun-Tsang. The Jal Mahal,Narnaul,is a palace situated in the middle of a water tank,while Lat Ki Masjid (14th century AD) in Hisar is a unique example of Tughlaq architecture. The tomb of Ibrahim Khan Sur in Narnaul,constructed by Sher Shah Suri,is a fine instance of Afghan architecture.

When asked about selecting such an unusual time period for the special calendar – August 2012 (instead of January),up to January 2014 instead of ending it at December 2013,Vardhan explains,“We wanted it to be special. So,instead of one year,it has covered three years,and made space for a new calendar in 2014.”

“There is a treasure-trove here waiting to be discovered by people,students,and history lovers. We will distribute this calendar all over India in the hope of making people aware of the beauty and architecture of this state,” concludes Vardhan.

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