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Scaling the Walls

They are priceless repositories of our cultural heritage and are now being celebrated through a first-of-its-kind festival.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: March 22, 2012 2:48 am

They are priceless repositories of our cultural heritage and are now being celebrated through a first-of-its-kind festival. Brought to the city by the Community Theatre Workshop,the Festival of the Heritage of Forts of India will,over three days,step into the walled cities,citadels of architectural genius that showcase a millennia of history,sculpture,painting and art. “These bastions of heritage provide an excellent introduction to the mind-boggling diversity of incredible India,” says documentary filmmaker GS Chani,who along with Gyandev Singh Chani aired a series titled “Forts of India” on Doordarshan.

As part of the festival,Chani’s documentaries on the forts will be screened and discussions and seminars will be held to initiate a dialogue on conservation and rehabilitation of these forts. “Qila Mubarak in Patiala,for instance,is the only fort in India conceived,built and nurtured by the Sikhs. The Masjid in Purana Qila in New Delhi is breathtaking and also has symbols of Hinduism in it. If Mandu was the playground of Baaz Bahadur and Rupmati,then forts of Chittor,Gwalior and Mehrangarh were centres of artistic displays. In Bidar,the shadow of Mahmud Gawan looms large and the confluence of Persian,Turkish,Tamil,Andhra and Maharashtrian cultural streams makes Deccan forts special,” says Chani. According to him,knowing forts of India is understanding India,its heroes and villains,its past and present.

Ideas on fort conservation and its artistic heritage will be shared by stalwarts like Amita Baig,monuments heritage consultant. Dr Shikha Jain will deliberate on conservation challenges,architect Adreesh Chakraborty and urban planner Anuj Bhandari will share thoughts on converting forts into public spaces in order to connect culturally and art historian Dr Yashaswani Chandra and Vaibhav Chauhan will throw light on Sahapedia,a resource centre on music,architecture,art in forts and so on.

The seminars will be held from 10 am to 1pm at UT Guest House,followed by interactions from 2 pm to 5 pm organised by Sukhmani Kohli,who runs the World Cafe and is the festival director. Screenings will take place 7 pm onwards at Tagore Theatre.

For more information,call Sukhmani Kohli at 09779078752.

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