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Principal Secretary visits prominent cultural sites in Akhnoor

Emphasises on maintaining spiritual, architectural integrity while executing development plans

AKHNOOR, FEBRUARY 10: As a sequel to government initiatives towards preservation and promotion of cultural heritage and tourism in the region, Principal Secretary, Culture, Suresh Kumar Gupta, conducted an extensive inspection of historic and cultural landmarks of Akhnoor.

The principal Secretary visited the Ancient Buddhist site at Ambaran, known for its archaeological significance and potential to attract heritage enthusiasts. He assessed the site’s current status and discussed strategies for its conservation and enhanced accessibility to the public.

The tour also included a visit to the majestic Akhnoor Fort, a historical marvel that stands as a testament to the region’s historical past. He took stock of fort’s current condition and explored possibilities for its restoration and development as a prime attraction for history buffs and tourists alike.

While visiting both of these sites, he directed the Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Srinagar Circle, Manoj Kumar Joshi, to explore possibilities for attracting students and tourists to these sites.

The Principal Secretary also visited the site for Maharaja Gulab Singh Library and issued directions to the director, Directorate of Libraries and Research, J&K for early submission of DPR so that the work on this library could be started at the earliest.

He also participated in the National Art Camp organised by Master Sansar Chand Baru Charitable Trust in collaboration with Petronet LNG Limited, Ministry of Petroleum, as chief guest and interacted with the artists and students.

While commending the work being carried out by the trust under Anuradha Rishi for promoting visual art in rural areas, he said that such camps act as therapy for stress in  today’s busy world and emphasized focusing on traditional art of the Jammu region.

The visit culminated at Kameshwar Temple, an ancient site of religious and historical significance.

Gupta discussed plans to enhance the temple’s infrastructure while maintaining its spiritual and architectural integrity, aiming to make it a key destination for pilgrims and cultural tourists.

Throughout the visit, Gupta engaged with local authorities, historians and conservation experts to address key issues and chart out a comprehensive plan for developing these sites into prominent tourist destinations.

“This visit is a step towards recognizing and celebrating Akhnoor’s rich cultural landscape,” said Gupta. “Our goal is to develop these sites in a way that they become beacons of our heritage and attract visitors from across the globe, thus contributing towards area’s economic and cultural vitality”, he added.

Among others, Raj Kumar Katoch, Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums; Sanjeev Rana, Additional Secretary, J&K Academy of Art Culture and language, and Dr. Sangeeta Sharma, Assistant Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums accompanied the Principal Secretary during the visit.