Cooch Behar, Nabadwip towns to become heritage sites for historical importance
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Mamata Banerjee-government will declare historically important towns — Nabadwip and Cooch Behar — as heritage sites. Bengal Chief Minister had Mamata Banerjee gas directed the State Chief Secretary to take steps in this regard. Accordingly, the West Bengal Heritage Commission has initiated necessary measures including engaging competent authorities to undertake a study before declaring the places with immense historical importance as heritage towns.
The main purpose of taking the decision is to preserve and maintain the old monuments and encourage tourists to visit them. The Commission has engaged Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur, to carry out a study on Nabadwip Town and IIT Kharagpur is undertaking the same for Cooch Behar town. Teams comprising conservation architects and experts will be visiting the towns soon. After a detailed research work, both the premier institutes will be filing their reports to the heritage commission which will be forwarded to the state government.
A roadmap will be chalked out based on the reports for the restoration of the historically important monuments and buildings in the towns. Usually, there has to be a museum in a town that gets a heritage tag. So steps will also be taken to build a museum in each of the towns where its history and reasons behind declaring them as heritage ones will be displayed.
Nabadwip in Nadia district is the birthplace of the great Vaishnava saint and social reformer Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Nabadwip town, that was known as the “Oxford of East” for centuries was once a centre of learning and philosophy. It is a centre of pilgrimage for lakhs of people from different parts of the world and the country as well as its history, old structures and monuments still portray the richness and glory of the Bhakti movement in the medieval period.
On the other hand, Cooch Behar is considered as one of the few properly planned cities that came up during the 19th century. The architecturally rich place in North Bengal had a progressive king in the 19th century who had engaged a German town planner. As a result, the houses were built on the lines of German architect. All the roads in the town were built following a particular plan and banks of ponds were also beautified. The king had also planned the setting up of an airport in Cooch Behar. Moreover, it had been a longstanding demand of the people of Cooch Behar to declare it as a heritage town. After coming to power in 2011, the Chief Minister had decided to preserve the heritage of historical towns and develop their infrastructure.