Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeast Region G. Kishan Reddy on Sunday announced that a new light and sound show at the historic Golkonda Fort will be unveiled to the public on January 24; another such show at Osmania University College of Arts and Social Sciences will also be dedicated soon.
The country’s first epigraphic museum, where a digitised collection of one lakh ancient inscriptions will be displayed, will also be ready for opening in February next year at Salar Jung Museum. The epigraphic museum was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech last year, Mr. Kishan Reddy said.
The Culture Ministry had allocated ₹100 crore towards the restoration and preservation of Quli Qutb Shahi Tombs near the Golkonda Fort. The foundation stone for the proposed Komaram Bheem tribal museum will laid at Abids in the coming days, he said.
The Minister was addressing a gathering after inaugurating five new galleries in two new blocks — European marble gallery, European bronze gallery, Indian stone sculpture gallery, Bidriware gallery and Lamps gallery — established at ₹1.75 crore at the 72-year-old museum.
Preserving and protecting our heritage and culture is important for future generations to know about the past, he said and pointed out that it was the Modi government’s initiative that brought UNESCO heritage status to the Ramappa Temple in Warangal.
Efforts are under way to restore the 1,000-pillar temple, built by the Kakatiya rulers. Stones are being procured from the Prakasam district and about 40 expert sculptors from Tamil Nadu are carrying out the work round-the-clock to complete it next year. A new light and sound show will also be unveiled soon at the Warangal Fort, said Mr. Kishan Reddy.
Similarly, the Tourism Ministry has allocated funds for developing pilgrim amenities at Sri Seetharamchandra Swamy temple at Bhadrachalam, Jogulamba Temple (Alampur) and others. The Centre has also put in place an action plan to bring back the smuggled and stolen artifacts, with 344 obtained in the past 10 years as against only 13 till 2014.
Mr. Kishan Reddy credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being the ‘tourism brand ambassador’ and for taking up the return of stolen artefacts with his foreign counterparts during every foreign visit. The number of foreign tourists, too, has increased by 56% (about 73 lakh) till October 2023 compared to the previous year.
The artefacts in the national museum will also be shifted to the revamped galleries in the North and South blocks in Delhi with the help of French technology. Similarly, new modern galleries are being built inside the historic Red Fort in association with the Archaeological department and other related wings.
‘Parasuram Khund’ is being developed in Arunachal Pradesh, and facilities are being improved at Somnath Temple as also Adi Shankara’s grave at Kedarnath Temple. Kashi Vishwanath Dham development is being done after a gap of 240 years and the grand Ram Temple is getting ready at Ayodhya after 550 years, he explained.
Tourism officers have been appointed in foreign embassies, including those in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. E-visa facilities have been initiated for 167 countries. About ₹5,294 crore has been allocated for 76 projects to develop domestic tourism and another ₹1,630 crore for 46 projects to develop Buddhist, Ramayan and Krishna circuits, he added. Museum director Ashish Goyal, his predecessor A. Nagender Reddy and others were present.