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Would like to replicate Humayun's Tomb module elsewhere: Govt

New Delhi: Buoyed by Humayun's Tomb site museum project, the Centre on Tuesday said it would like to "scale up" and "replicate" this module for other World Heritage sites in the country, starting with the Taj Mahal. The underground museum at the 16th century tomb is being developed in a public-private-partnership and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is building it on behalf of the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI). "Sites like Humayun's Tomb are our pillars of strength and after this project we would like to scale up and replicate this module for our other World Heritage Sites like Qutub Minar, Red Fort. "The ASI, cultural ministry working with leading experts from the field of restoration...Maybe, out next stop could be Taj Mahal," Secretary, Tourism Ministry, Lalit K Panwar said. He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the country's first sunken museum at the tomb here, which after it's completed by 2017, will showcase the heritage of Nizamuddin area over the last seven centuries. Union Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma laid the foundation stone today in the presence of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. Calling the PPP a "win-win situation", Sharma said the project shows the synergy between "the NGO and the government of India." "The museum at the tomb will tell sagas of great Indian history that we have. And, after this project, we would like you (AKTC) to take a look towards our wonders of the world, say Taj Mahal," he said. Sharma, also the minister for tourism, said that India constitutes only 0.64 per cent of international tourism therefore we want our cultural and natural sites to attract more visitors. "We have roughly 73 per cent of Himalayas on our side, so we should try and leverage all possible opportunities. And, this museum is one such instance," he added. The Aga Khan later responding to the government's proposal said, "We are very humble in our approach towards monuments." "I see the government has suggested to work with something on the Taj Mahal too. But, we are very humble in front of our monuments. But, yes, further partnerships could be considered," he said. With a built up area of 9,000 sq m, the museum will be located at the entrance zone of the World Heritage Complex and serve as a bridge between the three sites of Nizamuddin, Sunder Nursery and the 16th century Tomb. "While we are open to new partnerships on other World Heritage Sites in India, we will take final decision only after careful consideration, after weighing in all the factors involved. And, that goes for Taj Mahal too. We are not going to rush to something in a snap judgement," AKTC's Director General Luis Monreal, present on the occasion, told PTI. The Humayun's Tomb annually receives a footfall of 2 million including over 5,00,000 children. PTI

Updated : 8 April 2015 7:45 AM GMT
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