ASI Current Affairs - 2020

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ASI identified 138 monuments as ‘Must See Monuments’: Govt

The Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Patel, informed Parliament that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has identified 138 monuments as ‘Must See Monuments’. This information has been made available on ‘Must See’ portal of ASI.

World Heritage Sites (WHS) in India & ‘Must See’ List

WHS is a landmark or area selected by UNESCO (a UN specialized agency) as having historical, cultural, scientific or any other form of significance. Such site is legally protected by international treaties.

There are 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, which includes 30 cultural sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed-criteria site. India has 6th largest number of sites in world. Out of 38, the 22 cultural sites including monuments, buildings and caves are under protection of ASI. Therefore, the ‘Must See’ list features outstanding Indian monuments and archaeological sites, under protection of ASI, including those that feature on World Heritage List of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Such buildings, monuments and sites are a unique testimony to civilization in past, as they display exceptionality in terms of arts and architecture, planning and design as well exemplary engineering skills.

About Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

It is an Indian government agency that is responsible for archaeological research, conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in country. It functions under Union Ministry of Culture. It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who was also the first Director-General of ASI.

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Facts Box: Ayodya Verdict

Supreme Court recently pronounced its judgement on disputed land in Ayodhya in the Ram Janma Boomi-Babri Masjid case. In 5-0 verdict of the 5-bench judgement, SC said that the land should be handed over to the Hindu trust to build a Hindu temple. It also ordered the GoI to allocate 5 acres of land to the Muslim community to build a Mosque

SC’s judgement was based on ASI’s finding. The case was the longest in the history of Supreme Court after Keshvanand Bharti case.

ASI’s findings

  • Under Allahabad High Court’s court, the disputed site was taken by the ASI for investigation
  • On the whole there were 2 excavations conducted at the disputed site. One in 1976 and the other in 2003.
  • ASI found a circular temple that belonged to 7th century
  • ASI said that the disputed Mosque structure was built in 16th century on top of the ruins of the building
  • ASI also found ruins of Buddhist and Jain temples at the site. They were dated after 7th century
  • Among the ruins ASI found the remains of Kushan and Shung period to Gupta period

The Upcoming Ram Temple

  • The current blueprint of the temple finalized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad resembles the original temple
  • A total of 212 pillars are to be erected.
  • The temple will be 128 feet high, 140 feet in width and 270 feet in length.
  • No steel is to be used in the mammoth structure.
  • 75 lakh cubic feet of sandstone will be used.
  • The temple will have 5 entrances.

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