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ASI to de-notify Chikkajala megalithic site

By Angarika Gogoi

angarika.g@iijnm.org

Bangalore Sept 5, 2017: The Chikkajala megalithic site is to be removed from the ASI conservation list.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has proposed to de-notify the Chikkajala megalithic site, and remove it from its conservation list. The site had been declared a pre-historic site in by the ASI.

The Chikkajala Fort

Assistant Archaeologist of the ASI, Saranya, said they have proposed that the site be de-notified because of a dispute that had emerged when owners of the land sold it to private construction companies.

The Chikkajala fort on the other hand, came into limelight in 2012 when a part of the 200 year old fort’s wall demolished by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to widen the roads. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Bangalore said it had nothing to do with the fort, given its nature of private ownership. The architecture of the fort constitutes a large square shaped step well, a temple and the remaining dilapidated parts.

Archaeology and history aficionados blame the ASI for the lack of upkeep of the megalithic site.Mr. Keseva, a former Superintending Archaeologist of ASI explained that the megalithic site was difficult to fence as the rocks were spread over a large area.

Reports say that the Chikkajala megaliths have gone ‘missing’ over the years. Dr. V Kantharaju, Assistant professor of History at Jyoti Nivas College under Bangalore University who has visited the site recollects that most parts of the archaeological site had been destroyed by the locals unearthing the site to discover valuables.

Suresh Moona, a historian based in Bangalore and the founder of AARAMBH (An Association for Reviving Awareness of Bangalore Heritage) spoke about how there are several other sites of historical importance in Bangalore which lack protection under a governing body. He mentioned the Tipu Sultan Armory and the Binny Mills as examples.

Meera Iyer, Co-Convenor of INTACH Bangalore Chapter, says it is important to preserve our monuments because we learn important details about our past from them. She talks about inscriptions and writings which can be found on the walls of these monuments which give valuable information about the past. She says monuments can also become venues for cultural events as in the case of India Gate and Lodhi Gardens in Delhi. “Once a monument is transformed into a valued cultural and public space, it automatically adds to the city's tourist potential and helps generate revenue.

Suresh Moona spoke about how civic bodies play an important role in conservation because as a layman, since one doesn’t have any authority over the land where the monument stands, they can’t take steps towards conservation even if they want to.

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