On a Heritage Trail to Fallen Warbirds of Itanagar
Itanagar, Feb 15 :For many of those growing up in Arunachal Pradesh,visiting and playing on crashed fighter planes in the state capital Itanagar is not exactly unusual.
What could possibly shock them is that their state, otherwise known for its savagely beautiful glacial peaks, blooming orchids and the Tawang monastery, the second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Tibet, has a dubious reputation in India’saviation history with several fighter planes crashing into the area since World War II.
Dubbed ‘the hump’ during the Second World War, Arunachal Pradesh hasrecorded a large number of air crashes. The fallen fighter planes are located at Indira Gandhi Park and outside Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum in Itanagar.
Local residents can now get a glimpse of aviation history and the manufacturing legacy of the two HAL-built Gnat fighter aircraftsfrom the sixties and local folklores associated with them through a curated heritage walk as part of the ongoing India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF).
The 150-minute walk, ‘A Heritage Trail to the Fallen Warbirds of Itanagar’, will be conducted on February 17 (Saturday)by Mr. Duli Ete, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Dera Natung Government College, Itanagar.
Itanagar is among the 20 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2018 organised jointly by Sahapedia (sahapedia.org), the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, and YES Culture, the cultural division of YES Global Institute, a practising think tank of YES BANK, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns.
Another heritage walk in the capital city, scheduled on February 24 (Saturday), will take participants to the Western Gate, one of the three gates of the medieval fort complex of Itafort. Threatened by the expansion of National Highway 415, the Gate located within Archaeological Museum and Park Complexlies in a dilapidated condition.
This heritage walk will also be led by Mr Ete and aims to create awareness about the archaeological landscape of Itafort, its history, enigmatic ruins of the Southern Gate and local folklore associated with it. In fact, Itanagar derives its name from Itafort.A relief sculpture depicting Sita with Hanuman in Ashok Vatika has been recovered from this fort.
Details about the walks and other programmes of IHWF 2018, map routes and registration information are available on http://www.indiaheritagewalkfestival.com
Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, says, ‘The India Heritage Walk Festival 2018 is a celebration of all that Sahapedia stands for. In an attempt to create authentic, credible, and exhaustive content on our rich heritage and culture, we are developing a network of cultural practitioners across the country. This festival is a part of this pan-India movement, making heritage spaces more popular, more accessible, and more experiential.’
Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Global Institute, says “India is blessed with a rich heritage and cultural history, which is abundantly manifested in monuments and architectural sites across our country. Civil society participation in our Nation’s heritage, aided by activities such as heritage walks, is integral to the preservation and conservation of these sites. Such heritage tourism initiatives, with the wholehearted participation and involvement of local communities and citizens, have the potential to instill immense national pride and further the agenda of heritage development,”
Preeti Sinha, Global Convenor, YES Global Institute, says, “The understanding of heritage in 21st century India has expanded from the protection of historic buildings and monuments to focus on more general understanding of the wider context and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural forms. Through active engagement with built, natural and living heritage through the design of walks, talks, and digital media such as films and social forums, the festival is a touchstone for conscious thinking towards formulating historically-sensitive policy and decision making.”
IHWF 2018, covering 20 cities and towns around the country, features walks to historical monuments and shrines, well-known landscapes, places known for art, culture, cuisine and flourishing trade. There is also an online film festival of documentaries based on cultural themes and lecture series curated as 'baithaks' and Instameets as part of nearly 70 events scheduled throughout the month.
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