The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, March 19, 2019

New modern metro threatens India's historic Pink City
In this photograph taken on November 14, 2014, Indian construction workers labour on a Metro Rail site in the old city area between Chhoti Chaupad and Chandpole in Jaipur. Authorities are building an underground metro near the Hawa Mahal or the "Palace of the Winds" in Jaipur's old city, a bustling place that blends historic charm with the allure of ancient royalty and draws millions of domestic and foreign visitors. AFP PHOTO/ROHIT JAIN PARAS.

By: SP Singh

JAIPUR (AFP).- As she expertly leads tourists past honking cars and rickshaws to a majestic dusty-pink palace, Sunita Sharma voices fears for the northeastern Indian city's historic landmarks as a new transport link looms large. 

Authorities are building an underground metro near the Hawa Mahal or the "Palace of the Winds" in Jaipur's old city, a bustling place that blends historic charm with the allure of ancient royalty and draws millions of domestic and foreign visitors.

But archaeologists as well as tourist guides like Sharma fear the multi-million dollar project will disturb the foundations of the monuments, built in the 1700s by the all-powerful Maharaja rulers.

"Jaipur is known worldwide by these monuments, and if any loss occurs, the grandeur and architectural heritage can never be revived," Sharma told AFP.

Tour operator Sanjay Kaushik agreed, adding he feared visitor numbers would also drop because of the years of looming construction work and resulting traffic chaos. 

"Tourist season is beginning next month and we fear a decline in the footfall," Kaushik said from his office in the old city.

Tunnelling in the old city is also expected to start next month for the project, which authorities hail as a much-needed upgrade of infrastructure in the "Pink City", capital of the desert state of Rajasthan.

The Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC), which is spearheading the multi-year project with a loan from the Asian Development Bank and state government funding, denies the monuments are under threat from tunnelling or from eventual vibrations from the trains.

"An environmental impact assessment report was prepared a year ago which said that the vibrations created during the boring and operation of the metro would not be of a level which can harm any structure," JMRC chairman and managing director N C Goel said.

"The vibrations will be low hence the monuments will be safe," he told AFP, adding that preparations for the tunnelling were at an advanced stage.

But some are not convinced, arguing it is almost impossible to guarantee centuries-old buildings will not be weakened by modern-day construction underneath.  

"Today's engineers can guarantee strong foundations of a building they are constructing today, but not those of a structure which was built 200 years back," archaeologist Rima Hooja said. 

"The government should reconsider whether they want to create a facility at the cost of heritage," Hooja, a member of the National Monument Authority, told AFP.

"Who will be responsible if a loss to these sites occurs?"

Terrible consequences 
One of the metro stations is set to be built at a market that lies just 100 metres (328 feet) from the palace.

The tunnel will pass near the neighbouring UNESCO heritage-listed Jantar Mantar site, with its giant astronomical instruments carved from sandstone.

Even slight damage to the 20-odd instruments, designed to observe astronomical positions with the naked eye, would be "a great loss", said Hooja.

Known as India's first planned city, Jaipur was built in 1727 on a grid system with a fort, palace and other impressive buildings.

Construction was overseen by the Maharaja ruler Sawai Jai Singh II, who had a keen interest in architecture and astronomy. 

Its thick perimeter walls and imposing entrance gates drew merchants from around the country who settled in the new city to ply their trade in relative safety.

Designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna, the five-storey palace has more than 900 small windows.

Decorated with intricate latticework, they were designed to allow ladies of the royal court to sit and observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

Another archaeologist, Akshya Jagdhari, said he was concerned that damage to some of the monuments may not be immediately noticed, but could have terrible consequences if left unattended.

Jagdhari also pointed to the recent discovery at one of the proposed railway stations of a buried structure that he believes may date back to when the city was built. 

"This shows that the city has many such ancient structures not only above ground but below the ground too, which need to be preserved," he said.

Tourist Vijay Khandelwal, from neighbouring Gujarat state, pondered the impact of the new rail network as he took a break from listening to a lecture on the palace.

"We read and hear about the Pink City, its architecture and structure, but it is very disappointing that its heritage is at stake for a metro project," Khandelwal said.

"Archaeological treasures should not be ignored."

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

November 21, 2014

Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

William F. Ruprecht to step down; Sotheby's board conducting search for next CEO

'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach

O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

Ancient Resource taps into major collections for its Dec 7 Fine Ancient Artifacts Auction

Oscar-winner Mike Nichols, who directed nearly two dozen films in all, dies aged 83

Art teacher's gift helps National Gallery acquire rediscovered David Wilkie painting

Self-made South Korean chicken mogul buys Napoleon Bonaparte hat for his 'spirit'

The archaeology of daily life during the Great War: INRAP finds a German camp

Whitney Museum of American Art announces new building will open on May 1, 2015

Exhibition of seventeen large-format photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto opens at Pace London

Mosby & Co. to offer dolls, advertising and off-the-wall circus memorabilia in Nov. 29 auction

Dallas Museum of Art acquires its first painting by seminal artist Frank Bowling

Sahand Hesamiyan's first solo show in the United Arab Emirates opens at the Third Line

James A. Michener Art Museum presents works of Bucks County's 'Master Painter'

Austrian photographer Otmar Thormann opens exhibition at Salzburg's Fotohof

Sotheby's to offer contemporary art by artists from across Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus

Alan Cristea Gallery opens first solo exhibition with the British artist Mark Neville

de Pury de Pury opens 'Mary McCartney's Monochrome/Colour' exhibition

New modern metro threatens India's historic Pink City

$8.4 million George Washington proclamation for sale at Keno Auctions

Morgan Lehman opens solo shows of works by David Rathman and Rubens Ghenov

McMichael exhibition celebrates promised gift of important collection of Quebec art

Harvard Art Museums launch redesigned and expanded website

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Historic show marks 350 years of Rembrandt, the 'first Instagrammer'

2.- Kimbell Museum Acquires Cranach Masterpiece

3.- Exhibition presents the most outstanding works from the Princely Collections

4.- MIMA opens an immersive and playful exhibition called "DREAM BOX"

5.- First exhibition of its kind pairs classic cars and Postwar paintings

6.- New Bouguereau exhibition at Milwaukee Art Museum explores artist's popularity in Gilded Age America

7.- Superstar designer Karl Lagerfeld dies at the age of 85

8.- Paul Gauguin's artistic innovations installed in tropical setting reflecting their inspiration

9.- Major gift to The Met of Peter Doig's modern masterpiece Two Trees

10.- Monet - Reinventions of Impressionism in a new large-scale exhibition

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful