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World Monuments Fund, Government of Madhya Pradesh announce conservation partnership
Interior painting detail, Raja Mahal, Orchha.
NEW YORK, NY.- Bonnie Burnham, President of World Monuments Fund, and officials of Madhya Pradesh, announced today a partnership to conserve a portfolio of historic sites in the Indian state. The initial focus will be on a group of seventeen significant buildings at various locations throughout the state, with WMF committing up to $5 million for assessment, documentation, and development of conservation management plans, as well as monitoring the implementation of selected conservation projects to completion. The Madhya Pradesh government will fund the implementation of the projects with funds from the Indian government’s 13th Finance Commission.

Mr. Vinod Chandra Semwal, Principal Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Department of Culture, and Mr. Pankaj Rag, Commissioner, Archaeology, Archives and Museums, Government of Madhya Pradesh, held a meeting with the representatives of World Monuments Fund in Bhopal, in which they said that the conservation works of monuments at Orchha in Tikamgarh and a group of temples at Ashapuri in Raisen district would be taken up on priority basis.

“WMF is proud to announce this partnership with the government of Madhya Pradesh,” said WMF President Bonnie Burnham. “In terms of scale and financial commitment this is the largest initiative we have ever undertaken in nearly 15 years of work in India, and we look forward to bringing our expertise to this joint venture to ensure the conservation of a portfolio of significant monuments of worldwide importance.”

The agreement between Madhya Pradesh and WMF, signed in December 2011, was followed by discussions to select the sites that will be the focus of the conservation partnership. The first project will be at a collection of significant seventeenth-century monuments in Orchha in need of immediate documentation and conservation, including the Laxmi Temple (1662), known for its exceptional mural paintings, and Rai Praveen Palace and Gardens, built in honor of poet and musician Rai Praveen in 1618 and notable for its octagonal Mughal garden. The project is expected to last from 2012 through 2015.

Due to the region’s strategic location at the heart of the Indian subcontinent, Madhya Pradesh has been a point of contention between rival political powers at various times over some two thousand years. As a result, Madhya Pradesh has some of India’s most iconic and important monuments. The cultures that both swept through and settled in the region have left an incredible array of structures that, today, exemplify India’s cultural heritage.

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