Art, Culture & Architecture

    Gujarat: Bhuj's Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Among UNESCO's Most Beautiful Museums' List; PM Modi Reacts

    Inam Ansari
    June16/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Gujarat: Bhuj's Smritivan Earthquake Memorial

    New Delhi: Gujarat has added a new feather to its cap, further boosting its global recognition and prestige, as Bhuj's Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum has been listed as one of the world's seven most beautiful museums by the renowned Prix Versailles Award for Architecture and Design, presented annually by UNESCO.
    Smritivan has become India's first museum to receive global acclaim for its adherence to local culture and environmental conservation. The recognition is a moment of immense pride for every Gujarati, with Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel congratulating the entire team involved in constructing and managing Smritivan on reaching this significant milestone.
    On August 28, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Smritivan Earthquake Memorial in Gujarat, in memory of the lives lost during the devastating earthquake that struck Kachchh on January 26, 2001. After the museum made it to UNESCO's list, PM Modi hailed the achievement and called the museum a tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic earthquake of 2001. "Smritivan in Kutch is a tribute to those we lost in the tragic Earthquake of 2001. It is a reminder of human resilience and courage as well. Glad that this Museum has found a place on the World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024," he said in a post on X on Saturday.
    Smritivan embodies Kachchh's resilience against adversities--a tale of perseverance, a symbol of rebirth, and a testament to transformation. Envisioned under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, Smritivan spans an area of 470 acres on Bhujio Hill in Bhuj.
    Smritivan features the world's largest Miyawaki forest with 500,000 trees. The site includes 50 check dams adorned with plaques bearing the names of 12,932 victims of the earthquake as a mark of tribute. Other features include Sun Point, an 8 km overall pathway, a 1.2 km internal road, a 1 MW solar power plant, parking for 3,000 visitors, a restored 300-year-old fort, extensive tree plantation, and electric lighting. The dedicated museum, spanning 11,500 sq m, offers insights about earthquakes as one of the most devastating natural disasters, complemented by a special theatre that provides a realistic simulation using sound, light, and vibration to recreate the 2001 earthquake experience with a 360-degree projection.
    The list of the most beautiful museums in the world for 2024 includes A4 Art Museum, Chengdu, China; Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza, Egypt; Smritivan Earthquake Memorial, Bhuj, India; Simose Art Museum, Hiroshima, Japan; Paleis Het Loo, Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Oman Across Ages Museum, Manah, Oman; and Polish History Museum, Warsaw, Poland.
    During PM Modi's tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, the government consistently aimed to elevate Gujarat's cultural heritage and bring international fame to its historical landmarks.
    His initiatives under the motto "Vikas Bhi, Virasat Bhi" have already earned global recognition for Gujarat's Garba and Dhordo villages in the Kachchh district. On the back of the Prime Minister's vision and the Chief Minister's leadership, the Statue of Unity, renowned as the world's tallest statue, has achieved global recognition. Smritivan Museum is the latest addition to Gujarat's cultural and heritage destinations that have garnered global prominence.
    Last year, Gujarat's Garba attained global acclaim. UNESCO designated 'Garba of Gujarat' as the 15th element on its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity list. Additionally, Dhordo village in Gujarat's Kachchh district was awarded the title of 'Best Tourism Village' by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Since 2015, the Prix Versailles Awards have been announced annually at UNESCO headquarters. The award honours exceptional architecture and design on a global scale. Categories span airports, campuses, passenger stations, sports facilities, museums, emporiums, hotels, and restaurants. —ANI