By Kunal Dutt
New Delhi, Jan 28 Seeking to expand its footprint, heritage body INTACH is all set to open a chapter each in Kerala and Karnataka next month, taking the total number of its branches to over 200, a senior official today said.
A non-profit organisation established in 1984 and headquartered in New Delhi, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) works on protection, conservation and promotion of tangible and intangible heritage.
"A new chapter will be opened mid-February in Palakkad city in Kerala, the seventh in the state, and in Mangalore in Karnataka, the eleventh in the state, late next month. This would help expand our reach in southern India, which is rich in tangible and intangible heritage," the senior INTACH official told .
The new chapters are likely to give boost to documentation and preservation of heritage in the two southern states.
Besides the iconic Palakkad fort, the district in Kerala is home to many 'tharavadus' (ancestral homes) and many old structures stand scattered as a testimony to the grandeur of the past.
Apart from the centuries-old Olappamanna Mana, a heritage feudal house, there are many other old buildings, which were home for many famous joint families. Devi Vilasom Palace belonging to the Kollengode royal family is one of them. It is situated in front of the Government Victoria College in Palakkad town, according to Kerala Tourism.
Mangalore is dotted with ancient Hindu temples and several colonial-era buildings besides churches dating back to 16th century.
Last November, the INTACH had opened three chapters -- Hisar Chapter (Haryana); a joint chapter for three towns of Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan); and Khairagarh (Chhattisgarh).
The new chapter in Chhattisgarh was started in an art university in Khairagarh, considering the tribal culture of the region.
In November 2016, the heritage body had opened a chapter in the historic city of Darbhanga in Bihar and prior to that in December 2015, in silk city Bhagalpur.
Gaya and Sitamarhi have also been on INTACH's radar but, still facing some challenges.
"In Sitamarhi, we got good response, but not the required number of volunteers we need to get the specified number of members and life members, required for starting a chapter.
"In Gaya, we are in touch with faculty at Magadh University to mobilise support for membership, but we have not got good response at all so far," Bihar Chapter Convener Prem Sharan rued.
The ancient city of Gaya, is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mahabodhi Temple, and the iconic Vishnupad Temple, besides a large number of colonial-era buildings.
The Gaya Collectorate, District Board building, District Engineers Office, the Dakbungalow, are some of the oldest heritage buildings in the city, known for the their distinct architecture and red colour.
INTACH has chapters in all major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Shimla, Patna, Ahmedabad and Bhopal.