India s Conservation Diplomacy

Published: June 11, 2019

Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the Maldives announced that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will undertake restoration work of Friday Mosque under the Indian grant.

Friday Mosque

Friday Mosque also known as Hukuru Miskiy is a unique place of worship made of coral stones.

The heritage place of worship built in 1658 during the reign of Ibrahim Iskandar I (1648 1687). It was built over an earlier mosque constructed in 1153 by the first Muslim Sultan of Maldives, Mohamed Bin Abdullah, after his conversion to Islam. The mosque was added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage cultural list in 2008.

Other Initiatives of ASI outside India

  • The ASI carried out the conservation of the 12th century Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia between 1986 and 1992.
  • The ASI has restored the fifth century Wat Phou Hindu temple complex in Laos.
  • The ASI is had restored the Ananda temple in Bagan in Myanmar.
  • The ASI undertook the restoration of the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple in Mannar, Sri Lanka.
  • ASI archaeologists excavated burial mounds in Hamad town in Bahrain at 1983.
  • Buddhist archaeological sites in Sidharthanagar, Kapilvastu, Tilaurakot and Lumbini of Nepal were excavated in the early 1960s.
  • India helped restore the sixth century Afghanistan s Buddhas of Bamiyan and the 15th-century mosque at Balkh of Sufi leader Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa in the 1960s,
  • ASI carried out the preservation of murals of Bhutan s Do de Drak, Nekhang- Lhakhange and Mithragpe- Lhakhang of Tongsa Dzong in the late 1980s.
  • ASI has also played a key role in the conservation of Angola s Museum of the Armed Forces located inside the 17th-century fortress of Sao Miguel in Luanda in 1988-89 and to salvage ancient artefacts around Afyeh and Tumus sites of Egypt that were being submerged by dam waters.

The ASI through its conservation efforts is adding to the soft power credentials of India.

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