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October 18, 2013

Indians celebrate Dusshera

Minister launches a project to bring India’s Heritage Online

new delhi The Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch launched a unique project to take India’s Heritage online. Under the project, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has agreed with M/S Google to create 360-degree online imagery of 100 of India’s most important heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, Khajuraho and the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said, these details images will be placed for public viewing over the Internet. The aim of this collaboration is to generate interest and consciousness among the Indian population in general and the youth in particular towards safeguarding the national cultural heritage of India. She said, this information, which will be readily available over the Internet for public viewing, will help in bringing our monuments closer to the public. The Minister expressed the hope that under this project the experience of visiting heritage sites across a vibrant nation would be more accessible and enjoyable and

also to bring it to the notice of billions of people connected globally via the Internet. The Minister said, she is happy to see that in the 151st year of ASI, it is keeping pace with the changing times and is boldly taking forward its mission of embracing partnerships for the future. It is in the fulfillment of its spirit of responsibility towards the protection and conservation of 3678 monuments of ASI that this is indeed a giant step. Once published, this new imagery of Indian heritage sites will be available on Google Maps and on the World Wonders site within the Google Cultural Institute so that people across India and around the world can virtually view and explore these areas, and in the process, learn more about thousand years of Indian history. Speaking on the occasion, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Culture Shri K.K. Mittal said, the Archaeological Survey of India is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monu-

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ments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972. For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 27 Circles. The organization has a large work force of trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists for conducting archaeological research projects through its Excavation Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch, Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and Underwater Archaeology Wing. There are 3678 Monuments are declared as Protected by the ASI, out of which 20 are World Heritage sites. Recently 6 forts of Rajasthan have been declared as World Heritage site by UNESCO under serial nomination as “Hill forts of Rajasthan.”

(File Photo) new delhi Vijayadashami also known as Dashahara, Dussehra, Dashain (in Nepal), or Durgotsav is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms, across Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The name Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara literally means removal of ten (Dasha(ten) and Hara(defeat)) referring to Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons Mahishasur. Godess fought with evils for 9 nights and 10 days. The name Vijayadashami is also de-

rived from the Sanskrit words “Vijaya-dashami” literally meaning the victory on the dashami (Dashmi being the tenth lunar day of the Hindu calendar month). In India, the harvest season begins at this time and so the Mother Goddess is invoked to start the new harvest season and reactivate the vigor and fertility of the soil. This is done through religious performances and rituals which are thought to invoke cosmic forces that rejuvenate the soil. Many people of the Hindu faith observe through social gatherings and food offerings to the gods at home and in temples throughout India and Nepal.

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