Nabadwip and Cooch Behar get heritage tag
The West Bengal government is all set to declare Nabadwip and Cooch Behar as heritage towns. Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, has instructed State Chief Secretary to initiate the process. Accordingly, the State Heritage Commission has been mobilised into action. The commission will be engaging competent authorities to undertake a thorough study of the two towns and assess the importance of the historical sites before formally announcing them as heritage towns. The primary aim is to maintain and preserve ancient buildings and monuments and encourage tourism. Priority will be given to restoration work and all historically important structures, monuments and building will get a makeover. The commission has assigned Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur, to carry out a detailed study of Nabadwip town. Similarly, it has engaged experts from IIT Kharagpur to undertake the study at Cooch Behar. Two separate museums will also be built in each of the two towns and will be declared ‘heritage’ sites. Nabadwip in Nadia district is the birthplace of the great philosopher, Vaishnava saint and social reformer Sri Chaitanya Dev. Since his time, Nabadwip was the seat of learning for generations of philosophers and came to be known as ‘Oxford of the East.’ The buildings and monuments of this ancient town still reflect its rich and glorious past and the vital role it played in shaping the Bhakti movement cult of medieval India. Cooch Behar, on the other hand, is one of the very few well-planned cities developed way back in the 19th century. This architecturally rich town, ensconced in a tiny corner in north Bengal, is a 19th century visionary monarch’s dream project. He engaged a German town planner to handle the project. As a result, the residential buildings were constructed following a German architectural pattern. The residents of Cooch Behar had a long-standing demand to grant their town ‘heritage’ status. Finally, their wish is on the verge of fulfilment.