Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday pressed for preservation and conservation of Mumbai’s Gilbert Hill heritage site. The 200-ft tall Gilbert Hill, a protected Grade II heritage structure, in suburban Andheri, which is believed to be the remnant of a ridge formed 66 million years ago, has been facing issues due to erosion and encroachment over the years.
Thackeray, while addressing a live online gathering to mark the World Tourism Day on Sunday, sought the preservation of the historic site as a national monument on the lines of the Devils Postpile National Monument in California, which is a similar rock formation of basalt. “In the USA, they have turned it into a tourist attraction, a national monument,” Thackeray pointed out, while claiming that the rock formation in Andheri was among the rarest in the world.
Believed to be formed due to molten lava being squeezed out of Earth’s clefts during the Mesozoic Era about 66 million years ago, Gilbert Hill is a monolith column of basalt, which has a couple of temples and a small garden sitting atop.
On Sunday, Thackeray presided over a function organised by the state’s tourism department and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) on the occasion of World Tourism Day. During the function, Thackeray conducted the online inauguration of a 14.48-hectare Grape Park Resort and a Boat Club near Gangapur dam in Nashik, besides launching a MTDC-run tourism complex in Kharghar near Mumbai. Contending that Maharashtra had something to offer of all tourists, Thackeray said his government aims to make the state the number one tourist destination in the country while rooting for an improvement in facilities for tourists at tourism sites.
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