Our heritage connects us to the past, lends meaning to our present, and gives us hope for the future. Whether it’s the beautiful forts, temples and churches, or the national parks of India, it is important that we cherish and protect this glorious legacy.
Maintaining heritage sites is not just a job for the professionals. As young, responsible citizens, it’s on each one of us to protect our nation’s cultural symbols.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Visit the Sites More Often
All you need to do is to visit the heritage sites in your city, and all over India, if possible.
The money you spend on the ticket will be used in maintaining the site. Plus, the very fact that there are visitors will keep the sites from falling prey to neglect and encroachment.
Many lesser known historical monuments have faded into oblivion just because they couldn’t attract enough visitors.
Anuja Bhardwajan (23), a student, often visits the historical monuments in Delhi. “The red sandstone, the arches, the domes, the carvings — they have a thing that transports me to a completely different era. It is important to be aware of their history. Not everything can be found in books. Some things have to be seen and experienced.”
“People keep striving for foreign trips and knowing the history of a different country without realising how much of their own local history surrounds them every day, every moment,” she adds.
2. Be a Responsible Traveller
Whoever thought of opening these marvellous pieces of architecture to public, clearly didn’t know of the dull creatures who’d vandalise them in hope of immortalising their love!
As a traveller, one must develop and encourage a sustainable attitude. Always try to leave a positive impact on the local environment, economy and society.
“It’s almost blasphemous to think of destroying a heritage site that has been standing for centuries. Sometimes people try to take away a piece of the monument as a souvenir for their homes,” Deepika Jayara (24), a travel enthusiast, points out. “I discourage people from littering, scribbling or spitting in the premises of any tourist place I visit.
She says, “Try carrying your own water bottles, and using local transport. Be alert to incidents of vandalism and encroachment, and report them immediately.”
3. Adopt a Monument
For those who feel that individual efforts might not turn out to be effective, there are various options where they can associate with organisations that are working to preserve our heritage.
Adopt a Monument, which was launched along with the Incredible !ndia 2.0 campaign, allows you to become a ‘Monument Mitra’ and work for the development and maintenance of heritage sites on an individual and collective level.
4. Volunteer for UNESCO
You can volunteer for UNESCO by being a part of its World Heritage Volunteers initiative.
It aims to mobilise and involve young people and youth organisations in World Heritage preservation. If you’re pressed for time, you could also help by making a monetary donation to UNESCO here.
5. Spread Awareness
Our heritage sites are a crucial part of the legacy we will leave behind. It is necessary to spread awareness about their historical significance and the need to protect them. Make the most of social media to get this out.
You could also organise a visit to some of these sites with friends and family, especially school kids, or volunteer as a local tour guide.
In protecting these sites, we’re protecting ourselves…
Be it heritage monuments or natural sites, we can reap a number of benefits from them even today. They’re essential to the country’s tourism sector — they help boost the economy and create employment opportunities.
And of course, they define our roots, the very place you and I came from! So let’s do whatever we can in our individual capacities to keep their light shining.
Image Credit: Lifegate